Cruising the Greek Islands
Peace of Mind
The 85-foot Oh Que Luna is a sure bet for a big, fat, Greek siesta.
Story and Photos by Kim Kavin
It was about 10 p.m. in Portocheli, Greece, when I realized I had succumbed.
Because the wind was kicking up in the Saronic Gulf southwest of Athens, our captain had decided to move the 85-foot Oh Que Luna across the strait for the night, into the harbor of this quaint mainland town. It’s not on the typical charter itinerary; it’s the kind of secret place locals go to do exactly what the tourists think they’re doing in the islands. There are a few shops on the waterfront in Portocheli, but none with the name of the place painted on everything for sale. The tavernas serve real Greek fare, not just the omelets and salads the ferryboat passengers find at each new harbor.
My sister Michelle, a local friend, and I were indulging in a snack of small fried fish served popcorn-style (heads and all) along with a carafe of ouzo, the favored nightcap in Greece. The joint was awash with dark-haired men in polo shirts, all spinning worry beads through their fingers and letting out the occasional whoop toward the soccer game on the rabbit-eared television. I looked down at the skinny stray cats with wide eyes begging for supper on the sidewalk, then looked back up at Michelle. She let out a cavernous yawn.
“No wonder you’re tired,” I said with utter, ridiculous sincerity. “You didn’t get your second nap today.”
Our friend laughed and poured another round of ouzo. “It’s gotten hold of you,” she giggled, raising her shot glass for a toast. “Here’s to the Greek sleeping sickness.”
I rarely get one nap a day back home, let alone two, but the pace of life is so serene in these warm, sunny islands, it’s impossible to cling to American speed.
Here, where simple white houses cascade down the mountainsides and mules still serve as a major form of transportation, existence is more simple. It’s more primal. You eat. You sleep. You eat again. You sleep some more. You don’t have a drink while waiting to do something else; you have a drink because it is the thing to do. Conversation is the dominant sport. Café is a verb.
And boats are the only chariots to this paradise. From Athens, a city that sprawls like a dusty puddle of short buildings, dozens of ferries and high-speed hydrofoils depart daily for the scenic Saronic Gulf islands. All are within a few hours’ cruise, navigable almost by sight, moving at speeds that slacken the farther you get from shore.
It’s soothing to become immersed in this dreamy culture, but it’s downright decadent to succumb while being pampered aboard Oh Que Luna, one of the finest charter yachts in all of Greece.
Next page > Part 2: All meals are served family style, which allows you to try new things in varying portions. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.