Arriving in Athens after an early start (6.30. a.m. from Gatwick) we (Steve & Jenny, Alison & myself) were greeted by torrential rain. Our flight to Milos, in a small twin prop 36-seater, was delayed for an hour while the pilot waited for the storm to pass. Then, after taxiing round the airport in the rain, we returned to our stand to pick up Mike & Fiona, whose connecting flight had been delayed. (How many airlines would do that?) Eventually we took off and landed on Milos 20 minutes later. Transferring to our accommodation we met up with the advance party of Derek, Maggie, Peter & Anne, who had arrived a couple of days earlier. We were staying at Kafeneio Perros in the village of Triovasalos. Sea Kayak Milos is a family business, the kayaking side of which is run by Rod Feldtmann, an Australian. His father-in-law owns the ground floor café/bar and his wife, Petronella, operates the B & B upstairs. The rooms were all very comfortable, with en suite bathroom, TV, fridge etc and the hospitality was very welcoming. There were 4 villages of typically Greek, white-painted houses perched on the hillside where we were staying; all were within walking distance and there were some great views from our balconies, especially at sunrise & sunset. On Saturday evening it rained hard; the first rain since May – just our luck! Group resourcefulness was pushed to the limit as we tried to find somewhere to watch the rugby world cup final. Greeks have no idea what rugby is but Mike was desperate and he managed to find a bar with satellite TV. Having prised the locals away from the football channel we proceeded to educate them in them in the finer points of rugby union. The TV reception was intermittent - what with all the bad weather - but we saw most of the game and even got locals interested. The barman sympathised with England’s defeat by supplying us all with a free glass of raki.

Sunday morning set the routine for the rest of the week. Breakfast at nine in the bar downstairs, load up the trailer & off down to the coast at ten. We would paddle for an hour or so and then stop for a snack on one of the many secluded beaches. Another hour’s paddling and then a long lunch break. Lunchtime could be spent snorkelling, practising rolling or just lazing on the beach. One lunchstop was spent exploring an abandoned sulphur mine, which had been left just as it was when the workers left 50 years ago. The afternoon paddle would get us back to the bar in time for a cup of tea (or a beer) at about five o’ clock.

Each day we travelled between 12 -17 kilometres paddling a mixture of single & double kayaks. (The singles were plastic Rainbow Lazers.) The coastal scenery was spectacular and it varied enormously over short distances. The island is the result of volcanic activity and there were numerous caves, rock formations, arches and tunnels. Dotted along the coast were small villages with brightly coloured boathouses – there was even a shipwreck on the north of the island. The cliffs varied from a startling white to yellows and reds. Despite the fact that marine life was reputed to be fairly scarce, we saw a dolphin on the first day and a turtle later in the week. On one paddle we ended the day in a natural sauna. We sat in a sea cave, sweating away the labours of the day as steam seeped up through the rocks and the seabed below us. At the start of the week it was quite windy but, as Milos is an island, it wasn’t difficult to find a sheltered stretch of coastline. Even so, on the Monday, we were paddling in a force 6. Some of the group elected to paddle in doubles and had a great day’s paddling even in a rougher section of water round an exposed headland. Tuesday dawned windy & overcast & we had a rest day exploring the island; although it brightened up considerably later in the day.


The rest of the week was fine with increasingly sunny days, calm blue seas and light winds. We ended the week with a paddle to the south west corner of the island at Kleftico, where the rock arches and caves were even more spectacular. It was a great week; Milos is a comparatively small island – 20 kilometres across and only ten kilometres from north to south – but it has 130 kilometres of coastline, most of which is dramatic and incredibly varied. There are only 5,000 people living on the island and late October was the end of the tourist season, so the coast was deserted. (The island is untouched by hotel chains & package tours even at the busiest times of the year.) The paddling was suitable for all levels of ability – Anne (a non paddler) was even persuaded to go in a double with Rod on the last day. It was warm enough for me not to have to wear a cag all week and on many days we had the anticipated sunny skies and clear blue seas. Rod was a great guide, sharing his knowledge of the island with us and, most importantly, it was a very sociable trip - the group of paddlers providing good company. Two of our party (Anne & Alison) were non paddlers and they found plenty of interesting walks, to local beaches etc, in the vicinity of the B & B. The site of the discovery of the Venus de Milo was nearby & Alison spent several days looking for the arms – to no avail. In the evenings we would meet up in the bar for a beer (or an ouzo with octopus on the side) before setting off to one of the many nearby restaurants where we could work our way through the menu, sampling the local cuisine. Once you are on the island the daily expenses are very reasonable. The B & B was 20 Euros per head per night & evening meals (including drinks) ranged from 8 to 16 Euros. The kayaking cost 60 Euros per head, per day; which included the use of all the equipment, lunch, and transport to & from the beach. I would recommend Milos to anyone interested in good sea kayaking and great scenery. As a group trip it worked very well but it could be equally enjoyable for anyone who wanted to travel out to Greece on their own. On several days we were joined by other paddlers and the camaraderie amongst sea paddlers means that you are more than likely to appreciate the company of people who, like you, enjoy journeying on the sea. Chris C. Shared with Flock - The Social Web Browser