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May 24, 2006

Another glass-bottom boat ride

Glassbottom1 On Saturday we made a second excursion out into the sea off Hania in a glass bottom boat. This time we went on a different trip on the boat Evagelos, which makes a three-hour excursion.

It was a much larger boat than the first one we had sailed in, but the glass-bottom wasn't much bigger, so by the time we were fully loaded with people it was a bit crowded.

First stop was Lazaretta island opposite Germaniko Pouli, and then we went out further to Theodorou. This small island is a national park for the Kri Kri, a type of goat indigenous to Crete. The island is off-limits to all-comers except for one day of the year, when there is a celebration on the church that remains on the island. We spotted a couple of Kri Kri, including quite a young one, from the boat, and then circled the island.

Glassbottom2 Once we got on the unprotected north-western side of the island it was very choppy and blowy, and we both got quite wet.

The planned highlight of the trip comes after the circuit of Theodorou, where the boat stops and hovers over the underwater wreckage of a German aeroplane from World War Two. Downed in 1941, the remains of the upside-down fuselage can be seen quite clearly. It is pretty broken up by now, and is also a refuge for lots of marine life. After that the boat stops by the island of Theodorou to allow people to get off and swim.

We had a mixed bunch with us on the boat. There was one Swedish couple. He looked like quite a dweeb in a rather jaunty white hat, until suddenly he stripped off to go swimming and revealed himself to be a strapping hunk under his dweebish exterior. Then there was a group of Americans, who I think had only met on the boat, and one of them was a right loudmouth. The first time the boat slowed to a halt he, along with most of the other people on the boat, went up to the viewport to see what was down there. "Hah!", he exclaimed to everyone, proud-as-punch, "I knew that would work, I got up to look and you all followed me". I was sorely tempted to point out that maybe the fact that we had also paid €20 each for the priveledge of being able to look through the glass-bottom and this was the first time the boat had slowed down enough to make it worth looking might also have been a factor. Dufus.

Glassbottom3 There was also one family who kept us laughing in a kind of "The horror! The horror!" way the whole time - they seemed to collectively lack any kind of grace or self-awareness. For half the trip most of the buttons on the mother's dress had come undone revealing her tatty old purple bra. Their eldest daughter was between about 10 or 12, and spent half the trip legs akimbo with her skirt crumpled up around her thighs, idly picking at her knickers. She went swimming, but was at that stage where if she just stopped worrying that the water was going to get in her eyes she would be able to swim fine, but kept getting wet and panicing. Their eating habits when they got their packed lunch out were something to behold, and a farcical attempt at changing the youngest child whilst she was standing up left nobody on the boat in any doubt about the contents of the nappy.

If the sunken aeroplane was the planned highlight of the trip, the unplanned highlight was the sight of a turtle on the way back! One of the ship's crew spotted it, a couple of metres out from the boat, a little below the surface. I caught a glimpse of it as we sailed by. The crew circled round and we tried to spot it again. There it was - right in front of us! It came closer to the boat, and then dipped underneath us. Amazingly it swam underneath the glass section of the boat. Everyone was beside themselves with excitement.

Until suddenly, as it moved away from the boat, we all realised that we had mistaken a black plastic sack of roughly turtle size and shape for the real thing. We hadn't seen a turtle after all, just some beach rubbish floating out to sea :-(

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Comments

Do you have an exact location for the war memorial in Germaniko Pouli. I have tried to search Google for information but your site seems to be the only one that actual gives some kind of location to it. All the others are either hotel websites, or just simply say, "the memorial is in Chania". Regards

Hi Richard, there is some more information about the memorial on this post:

http://lemontree.typepad.com/a_lemon_tree_of_our_own/2006/04/how_germaniko_p.html

It is situated at the side of the main road out of Hania to Kalamaki. The local bus routes 15 and 21 go by it. Hope that helps.

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