Maybe you have been on a boat. Maybe you have even sailed the Aegean. Maybe you are like a super rich yacht-owning celebrity, but until you have stepped off the cobblestone harbor and onto the Agia Irini, you have not experienced life at sea.
Captain Yiannis is a presence. No, not a presence, a celebrity. No, not a celebrity… a Captain. A bare-footed, beard growing, ouzo-swilling, swaggering, cackling, spear-fishing, bossy-good-time Captain. Step aboard Captain Yiannis’ boat, and you will have a good time. No, I mean it, you will. Captain Yiannis will make sure of it. From the Greek music to the Samos sweet wine to the baby goats, Captain Yiannis’ day trips to Samiopoula are the true Greek party at sea.
The Agia Irini quietly departs her slip at the Pythagorio harbor in the early morning hours, her passengers sleepily shooing the baby goats away from their beach bags. Late in the evening, those same passengers dance their way around the deck as Captain Yiannis expertly guides his ship back to her slip in the harbor, blasting Greek music the whole way. What happens in between that sleepy departure and the rowdy return depends on you, my friend. You can choose the simple all day at Samiopoula trip, or you can choose the picnic with Captain Yiannis. On the picnic trips, the boat departs Samiopoula mid-day to dock at another beach, where the Captain himself cooks a fresh fish picnic, and dancing abounds. If you want to party with the captain, be sure to book the picnic trip…but if you just want to get a suntan=and you are still too shy to dance – I recommend just Samiopoula.
The beach at Samiopoula is a true gem, but the highlight of Captain Yiannis’ day-trip is the surprise (spoiler alert) swimming stop on the return to Pythagorio. Just when the sun is blinding, when the heat of the day is overwhelming, when you almost turn to the captain to ask, “are we there yet?” At that moment, the captain pulls the boat into a quiet cove and turns off her engine. For a moment you might be puzzled…wondering if you’ve had too much Samos sweet wine and forgotten what the harbor looks like. “Was the harbor just a cliff?” you may ask yourself. “Did I ride a donkey to this boat?” you may think, realizing there is no way you scaled a cliff. But then it comes to you, then you realize… you’re going for a swim.
And it’s not just any swim either, this swim takes guts. Those brave enough to hop out of the boat (which is everyone, if the captain has anything to say about it… and he is the captain, so of course he has something to say about it) are treated to marvelous open sea swimming adventure.
I have to take a moment here to tell you that I’m not brave. I’m not even like, a coward with tiny fits of bravery. I am just your average run of the mill boring girl who only jumps out of the boat at all because usually at this stage of the trip I am about to die of heat stroke. I hate to be hot more than I hate to jump out of things. So it is with great cowardice that I decide not to tell you the story of the formidable rock jutting out of the sea within the cove. Maybe I will tell you some time of the breadth of that rock, how it will haunt you if you choose not to swim over to that rock, climb to the top, and dive into the depths. Maybe some day I will describe how it feels to stand at the top of that rock, look down, and decide nope no way uh-uh no I am not jumping from here. Or maybe some day you will stand at the peak of that rock and think those same thoughts. You will have the same shiver of sheer terror at the realization that the only way down is to jump. The ONLY way. And I wonder if you will take a flying leap of reckless abandon, or will you close your eyes and let gravity do her job?
Now you’re wondering too, right? What kind of jumper are you? How do you leap?
If you want to enjoy the truly authentic Greek experience – and find out what you’re made of – Captain Yiannis boat departs for daily trips. He does keep a sign-up sheet in front of is boat along the harbor to reserve your spot. But you can also just arrive around 9 a.m., step on the boat, and enjoy. Be careful, though, this tour has been known to fill to capacity, so if you have your heart set on a certain date, be sure to get your name on the list. Take the leap, my friend. Take it.