After witnessing it yesterday, we decided last minute to call Santorini Sea Kayaks to find out availability for a guided stand up paddle boarding trip. As we were complete newbies to this we decided a guided trip would be a good introduction and would avoid us getting lost and paddling our way to Crete! We were hoping to book in somewhen over the next few days but the only available slot for the rest of our stay was in one hours time. Why not! We got ready lightening fast and got ourselves down to Akitori beach, stopping in Pyrgos on the way for breakfast pastries. We decided to drive ourselves instead of the free shuttle bus so we didn’t lose time afterwards likely being the last ones dropped off, and could continue to explore the area afterward.
On our way to the Akrotiri area we got a little lost but ultimately arrived early so decided to share a Nutella pastry at the beach there as the first round of pastries didn’t quite fill us up! We walked along to the Santorini Sea Kayaks building right on the beach and met up with the owners and our guide, and their lovely labrador who was so cute! She kept fetching her stick from the sea and making cute sounds, I wanted to take her home! The tour only had two other takers so it was a nice size and more intimate. The two others were girls travelling around Europe on their summer break from America. We had seen paddle boarding whilst on holiday in Hawaii and really wanted to try it. Our guide, Harris, gave us a brief introduction and we waded out on our boards, with them attached to us by an ankle strap.
At first I was sat on my knees as I didn’t feel too confident, and then moved towards ‘standing’ on my knees when I got a little more balance. Even in the slightest wind at first it felt very wobbly, but it got easier as I got the hang of things. One member of our group managed to drift far out several times, I think staying closer to the shore makes it easier to control the board as the winds are less strong. You wouldn’t want to make a few wrong motions and be on your way to a different island! The route we took wasn’t the most scenic of beach spots but you are at the mercy of the wind.
Along the way we did a few stop offs at beaches, not particularly stunning but still cool to see with their cave houses and interesting shapes. We had a snack stop and tried some Greek nibbles – honey sesame sticks, sticky fig snacks and honeydew melon. I’m not normally a fan of melon but this was super sweet and so juicy it was dribbling everywhere! The tour was around 2.5 hours and the second half more challenging as the wind really picked up. Chris was rather shocked to happen upon a nudist beach and I think almost toppled off his board! I was ‘in the zone’ trying my best to stay upright and missed seeing his reaction.
Towards the middle of the trip I was a lot more confident at controlling the board and managed to stand up fully most of the way, with the occasional sit down due to rocky seas! Harris took photos of us all in action which was a nice touch, and these got emailed to us afterward which was a great idea and we didn’t have to worry about wrestling with our own cameras. At the end we clambered up to shore and got a lift back to our starting point. Harris and his team gave us a bunch of suggestions of places to visit and we said goodbye to them and their dog and headed off in search of lunch.
As we hadn’t yet explored Fira properly we decided to head there, but it was beyond mental packed full of cruise ships and bus tours so we struggled to appreciate it a little bit. Oia and Imerovigli were more our kind of place. Chris struggled with the crowds and the area surrounding the port smelled very strongly of wee, I presume from the donkeys! We browsed a few menus around but the prices were so inflated compared to everywhere else for basic food so we decided to head to Oia instead. We parked up and walked past a yellow restaurant called Skala and decided to give it a go.
The burgers here were very good, big, juicy and made from scratch. As were the tomato fritters which were probably our second favourite of the trip after Zorbas Taverna. The views eating along here never get old. We had a stroll around for a little while afterward, but the sunset circus started to grow so we decided to head back to the hotel for some late pool time. We didn’t have any plans for the evening and decided to pop into the Albatross beach bar along Kamari beachfront as they had live acoustic music and a fun cocktail menu. I liked that they served their cocktails in funky jars and stripy straws, a bit trendier than the other places! After feeling a little merry we had a midnight urge for a waffle stop at Megka on our walk back to the hotel.