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The elusive Loggerhead sea turtle

The team woke up refreshed and in good spirits; we likely wouldn’t have to paddle into a headwind today and the sea was pond calm. We stopped on the packed beach of Rethmyno for a quick snack and enjoyed being gawked at by the beach goers. Apparently no one else thinks that circumnavigating Crete in a tiny craft is a good idea, for that matter being anywhere other than in a beach chair is odd.

Once past Rethmyno, the shoreline became riddled with beautiful inlets and caves to explore and jump off. We also caught glimpses of several Leatherback sea turtles, but once in the water with my mask on I could only catch glimpses of a shell or fin disappearing into the depths. I am determined to swim with one before the trip is over.

We found a tiny isolated cobblestone beach for the night where we built a camp fire and huddled in under the clear, unpolluted starlight.

Tensions Rise

With a stiff tailwind we made quick work of 20km in the first push of the day. The next stretch was the potentially hazardous crossing past Heraklion, and the busiest port on the island. After a vigorous dispute, the team decided to go for it and we paddled carefully through the shadows of towering tankers moored in the bay of Heraklion. When crossing the port, we luckily caught a clear window through the sizable swells and refracting waves.

The camp for the night was an unglamorous beach right next to the main airport on the island. We found gyros for dinner and a very talkative market cashier named Valentina who was enamored with William’s eyes. The team fell asleep to the sounds of 747s taking off and landing.

The team has been paddling hard for days and tensions have been rising as some hard decision have drawn rifts between group members. We’ve all been eager for some time alone. Spending 17 days together will put strain on any group dynamic.

We paddled a relatively short 15km with big following seas (waves coming from behind) to our first break where CP began to show signs of dehydration and heat fatigue. It’s easy to get there when you’re paddling for days in the sun and getting too little sleep, uncomfortable on the beach.

The team took extra time to rest, CP and Nayr in a hotel and William and I on the beach. Will and I made a dinner of sausage, rice and peppers and spent the night listening to music and drinking lots of Greek wine (we are also fully hydrated). We’ll see what tomorrow brings both with the team dynamic and with miles traveled.

Note: it’s been 17 days without a shower.