With sailors for parents, I have always felt at home in foreign marinas. It didn't matter what country we were in, they all seemed so similar. White bearded men worked at scrubbing the decks on their old teak boats, wind generators ticked with the light breeze, halyards clanged against the masts and wheelbarrows lined the dock ready to carry provisions from the local shop.
When we reached the marina on the Greek island of Kos, it was all the same. Home again. A familiar place in a foreign land. As always, the deck hand greeted us, showing us the features of the particular boat we'd be sailing and telling us all the best spots to visit. I swear these guys are always the same. Crusty, weathered, free spirit no collars who you couldn't ever imagine really living on land. A cross between Captain Ron and Jack Sparrow.*
This particular one, who we always refer to now as Crazy Eyes for an odd reason I can no longer remember, never appeared without some sort of beverage in hand. We can't be sure if there was rum, but we certainly all assumed. Crazy Eyes I’m now regretting now writing down his name, recommended we make the town of Vathy our first port so we set sail to reach the harbour before sun fall. The sound of mountain goats on the steep rock cliffs greeted us as we docked like a joyful welcome from the town. It was a small pier, lined by a few stores and one family run taverna. Two Greek in worn t-shirts and tweed jackets sat at the table near the sea as a young woman waited on patrons. We choose a spot with a great view of the harbour and of the old men smoking pipes by the shore. With orders of salad and grilled chicken decorating the table, we were sure our waitress had just freshly handpicked the ingredients and deboned the chicken. It wasn't just the taste that gave it away, but the cleaned animal bones that laid at the bottom of the azure water just outside the taverna.
The town road dead ended at the pier, forcing the town's people, who drove down to see what local excitement the visitors had brought in, to perform three point turns on the narrow strip of road. We sat there watching them as they watched us. A perfect taste of the quiet Greek life. This is how Greece was meant to be explored.