Yesterday when we checked into our hotel, Maria's Place, the proprietor immediately gave us a rundown of what to see and do in Santorini. She mentioned the popular Greek Isle day cruises and presented us with a number of brochures from various companies. As luck would have it, today (Saturday) was going to be the annual Ifestia Festival - a celebration of the still active volcano's eruption 3,600 years ago. We knew about the volcano but had no idea about the annual festival, so we really just lucked out with our timing. We weren't planning on taking one of these cruises, but when she mentioned that the festival culminates with an over-the-top fireworks display (best seen from the water, of course), it took us about two minutes to decide to secure our reservation. This was the single most expensive thing we did on this trip, and maybe the single fastest decision we made, but it was worth every. single. penny. The company picked us up at 1PM from our hotel, drove us to the port, and we spent a gorgeous day on a beautiful catamaran with a relatively cozy group of only 16 other tourists and three crew members.
The cruise route took us first to the warm springs on the edge of the volcanic island, where we both jumped in for a swim. We then stopped at the Red Beach and the White Beach (both named for the color of their sand), where Hirsh jumped in for a little snorkeling fun. Sarah was busy enjoying the unlimited beer and wine and snacks on board and chatting up the other tourists. We met two friendly Australian couples and an adorable honeymooning Iraqi-Canadian couple. Included in the price of the cruise, along with the ever important booze, was a delicious barbecue of chicken skewers, shrimp, stuffed grape leaves, and other Greek specialties.
The fireworks show was one of the most impressive we've ever seen, and watching it from a boat with the beautiful Greek islands surrounding us was pure magic. It really felt like a dream, and we didn't want to wake up. We were on that boat from 1:30-9:30pm, and loved every minute of it.