Swallowing the disappointment of not being able to sail to Folegandros, we began to trudge up the hill, aiming for a cafe with wifi in Fira, to plan the next leg. After a few minutes, we heard an engine behind us, and saw a truck arriving from the port, who on seeing our stuck out thumbs, picked us up and dropped us at the top. What a relief! Both to avoid the heavy hill climb, and emerge safely from a zigzag route where the driver used one hand to hold a phone to his ear, and the other a cup of coffee, a cigarette, and somehow, the steering wheel. It turns out the phone was to arrange repairs – the underside of his truck had been damaged on exiting the ferry in the heavy swell.
After some research in the cafe, we saw that we had to give up on Folegandros altogether. There are too few ferries, and while we could in theory go there 2 days later, it was unclear when we would manage to leave again. Because Folegandros is so small, and so exceptionally quiet this time of the year, we feared being exiled there. (Interestingly it has been used as a place of exile due to its remoteness, from Roman times and even in the 60s and 70s for political prisoners under the military dictatorship.) The Folegandros ferry in two days continued on to Milos, our planned destination post Folegandros, and so we decided to head straight there. That ferry also happened to be the first ferry off Santorini (apart from the daily return trip to Piraeus, the Athens port). So, two more days in Santorini, and as Daniel rightly said, “how bad”?
We returned to our Santorini hosts, who took us back in. Feeling for us with our change in plans, they dropped in a plate of what they were having for lunch – spicy meet and rice, wrapped in vine leaves. Home-cooked food delivered with such kindness: vegetarians or not, we downed it gratefully!
When departure day arrived, we reached the port at 6.15 am, relieved to see the brightly lit ferry awaiting us, and a bit of activity around it.
Thankfully it was bigger than the the wee ferry we had a near miss with 2 days previously, as the sea was lively, to say the least. We would have six hours on this ferry before reaching Milos and we had stocked up on reading material for the trip.
As soon as we sat down we realized that far from reading, we would have a job to keep our breakfast down. Even in port we were rolling around quite a bit, and we both sat staring at the horizon. There were fewer than 10 passengers on board, easily outnumbered by the crew, and we wondered about the future of this ferry company in these difficult times.
Once we lifted anchor at 7am, we had a lovely view of Fira and Oia in the sunrise before heading out to open sea.
Next up was the the sheltered port on the island of Ios, where we collected and dropped a couple of passengers.
Then on to Sikinos, where the port seemed less sheltered than that at Ios. The pilot manoeuvred us into position, well to the left of the dock, knowing the swell would wash us right.
Once secured, two passengers approached to await boarding. But a particularly big wave washed in and ….
It was tough for the port hands, who raced hither and thither, securing and mere minutes later, releasing the ropes.
And finally we were off!
The swell worsened after we left Sikinos, and the ferry seemed to take a battering. We were feeling so ill, we thought this last island would be better named SICK-INOS
We had a brief look at Folegandros as we collected and dropped a few more passengers, and Daniel gamely staggered outside to take a picture.
After passing some sheer volcanic cliffs on the uninhabited island of Poliegos, we quietly celebrated our arrival at Kimolos, which meant less than an hour of sheltered seas left to Milos.
Overjoyed to arrive in Milos, we couldn’t care less that it was raining – anything was better than more time on the ferry!
And so here we are in Milos for a few days. It is wonderful to be back on a slow paced island again and we plan to just take it easy. Amazingly, Daniel is not even planning to take any pictures, saying he already has 600 photos of churches, and hundreds more of cute white-washed villages. We may just stay put on our terrace and drink coffee before noon, and wine after.