I have been looking forward to this for a long time. Like over a year.
Paxos Boat Hire – Do Your Own Trip From Paxos To Antipaxos. This is what we did. And an absolute joy it was, just one of the best days. In this post I will tell you all about one of our best days out ever. We rented a boat from Lakka, travelled down the west coast of Paxos, crossed over to Antipaxos then headed back up the east coast of the Greek Island of Paxos.
Why are we doing this?
We have been to Antipaxos before. We found Paxos by going on a day trip from Corfu to Parga (an the Greek mainland) and Paxos.
This introduced us to Paxos. And on our first visit to Paxos we visited Antipaxos on another day trip.
Now we are back on Paxos and want to go back to Antipaxos but under our own steam. Well I say steam diesel is more accurate.
Finally the big day is here.
To remind you, we rented a boat through our very knowledgeable and helpful Olympic Holidays rep Sam. It cost us €60, which was considerably cheaper than other prices we came across. The boat is moored in Lakka. Perfect.
Today it is just the two of us and a little hire boat. First job is to get snacks. Very important when you are venturing out onto the high seas!!
We buy supplies from the bakery on the way down to the front. We get a lovely sausage roll and a Greek cheese pastry thing. I also get a large cappuccino, which is not large but is still lovely all the same. And of course we have an amount of water to keep us hydrated on our epic day out.
And where is our boat? Opposite Romantica no less!
Yes, our boat is moored facing our favourite sundowner location.
Leonardo meets us there and gets us sorted. He explains the basics of the boat and where everything is stowed and that it is us good to go.
And yes, the boat is called Lady Diana!
I reverse the boat skillfully out of the mooring area and before we know it we are travelling amongst all those lovely white boats moored in Lakka.
It is so nice to be able to look at Lakka from the sea – it looks even nicer when viewed from the boat, with all that lovely flat water and the reflections of all the buildings.
Leaving Lakka for the open seas
We get to the entrance to the bay in Lakka, and turn left. This takes us to down the west coast of the island.
This is the bit with all the caves in it, which is all rather stunning I have to stay.
We stop to have a look at some of the caves, and there is a very surreal moment when the birds are circling above us with their cries echoing around the rocks and the caves.
I think what they are trying to say is – bugger off out of our house – whatever that is in Greek bird speak.
Check out the video of this unusual experience on the Paxos Travel Guide YouTube Channel!
We slow down a few times checking out these wonderful caves as we travel down the west coast of the island, but do not stop anywhere or get out for a swim – plenty of time for that later.
And here is a video taken driving away from these wonderful cliff faces, again on the Paxos Travel Guide YouTube channel.
The magnificent Tripitos Arch
As we head down the west coast of Paxos we pass the magnificent Tripitos Arch.
I will write a separate post solely about this wonderful natural structure. We pass close by the arch and marvel at the wonderfully clear blue waters with the rocks on the seabed clearly visible even though they are metres below us.
Getting to Antipaxos from Paxos
We get to the bottom of Paxos in about an hour, not going too fast as it is quite choppy in places. We then just go for it straight to Antipaxos, which we can see in front of us.
The crossing is a bit bumpy in places but before we know we are in the waters of Antipaxos.
Arriving at Antipaxos
We sail/ drive past the first beach on Antipaxos, Vrika Beach, and the next much smaller beach Mesovrika Beach.
The next beach is called Voutoumi Beach, which has the Beach Bar and Restaurant Voutoumi just off the beach, and the restaurant called Bella Vista looking down on this wonderful beach.
The water is stunningly aquamarine and clear. And there are some incredible boats moored there – yachts and things that are so big I am not sure what the right word is for them. Big boats? Ships? Yachts? Floating palaces? Whatever they are stunning vessels. Check out this low quality video.
No idea but they are absolutely jaw dropping. And clearly they cost a lot of money.
Maybe next year…
We headed back to the first beach, which is where we are going to stop for a drink and a bit of relaxing after that busy old morning! Relaxing on Antipaxos += beer and sunbathing.
The question however is this– how do we get off the boat with our bags?
Getting off the boat on Vrika Beach
The plan is to attach the boat to the fixings on the right hand side of the bay, just like we were told not to. I am not happy with the security of the fixings, and neither I am happy that we are doing what we were told not to, so I change my mind and undo all the work I have just done.
My next plan is to go to the other side of the bay where the ferry drops people off and picks them up again later in the day.
And now on the other side of the bay!
I drive the boat over there, and this is where the problems begin. We can’t find anything to hold on to, and I end up jumping for the shore with the boat rope in my hand and missing the land, dropping in to the rocks right in front of the landing platform.
Yes this really did happen.
I dropped the rope as I crashed into the jetty wall, sliding down the face of it into the water.
Next my flip-flops came off and start floating away.
I manage to grab my flip-flops and get the rope for the boat.
Can I help you Sir?
Not far away an Englishman is asking if we need any help. No thank you I reply as I am struggling to get back into the boat.
Are you sure you don’t need any help??
My next reply is less polite, but no swearing thankfully.
I get back onto the boat, gun the engine and go back to the other side of the bay.
We have words.
I get to the other side and gently drive the boat to a rock up stand with tires and hoops and the like on it.
Still not got off the boat
The latest plan is for Nickie to climb off the boat onto the rock sticking. All I need to do then is pass the bags to her and she can then walk to the beach while I take the boat out into the bay and drop anchor, with me swimming ashore to join her.
I should probably state at this point that Nickie is crying while I struggle with the boat in the waters, which have got very choppy, would you believe.
Anyway she manages to get off the boat and I pass the bags to her.
Time to drop anchor.
I manage to get the boat where I want it, slow down, put the boat in neutral and then drop the anchor while the boat drifts gently forward.
I do this in a highly skilled way. Very proficient and professional.
All I need to do is wait for the anchor to bite once it has found purchase with something on the seabed.
Nothing happened. The boat just continued drifting forwards into the swimming area.
I know – I really shouldn’t be in there.
Three times I try and then success – the anchors feels secure.
I pull the boat back a bit and tie everything off.
I am not sure that the anchor is secure, but the boat is not moving. I am just about to get off the boat when another couple, who are having less success than me I have to say, crash into the side of the boar. Well bump more like – crash is too dramatic.
Just what I needed
Time to swim to shore
I push the other boat away (they are not English) and decide to jump in the sea and swim to shore.
I keep looking back expecting to see the boat moving, but it looks to be fine.
I get to the shore and walk to the beach – Nickie is sat at Taverna Spiros with a beer waiting for me. This is it
Not as cold as when she bought it mind! Still we have an excellent table at the restaurant, and the beer is very welcome.
Crossed words are soon forgotten as we relive that happy moment.
Is the boat still there?
I have my beer, and Nickie goes to the beach. I am convinced that the anchor is not secure and need to go back and check that everything is ok.
I clamber over the rocks, and swim back through the now even more choppy waters, and clamber onto the boat. The ladder is not the best, only three rungs, so you have to throw yourself forward off the ladder and grab onto anything that is there.
First try I think I have broken my wrist, but after a few attempts and me manning up I manage to drag myself onto he boat.
Everything is just fine
And guess what – the boat is just fine. The anchor holds firm and all the knots are secure. The boat has not moved at all in half an hour.
So I tie more knots on the rope just in case. Well it makes e feel better.
I leave the anchor well alone though, as this appears to be perfectly secure – if I fiddle with I will just be worrying that I have made it less secure. Which inevitably is what will happen.
Back to the beach
I swim back to the beach and spend 30 minutes lying on the beach expecting to look up to find the boat drifting away.
Plot spoiler – it doesn’t.
I am ready to get moving, I don’t need to worry about the boat when I am in it.
I have had more comfortable also more relaxing times on a beach!
Oh yes another thing. What do you do with the boat key?
I ended up tying it using the waste cord on my shorts. A top tip from me if you are planning on renting a boat and going from Paxos to Antipaxos – well this applies if you are hiring a boat to anywhere to be fair where all you will be wearing is shorts and a t-shirt.
Buy a cheap waterproof container. A brightly coloured one that floats. And put the key in that.
Time to leave Antipaxos and sail back to Paxos.
I get back to the boat, and drive very slowly for the other jetty signaling Nickie where to go. I do a textbook arrival, grab onto the chain at the side, Nickie climbs on and off we go. It was completely incident free.
Why did I not do this the first time???
Next stop is Mongonissi.
At the bottom of Paxos there is a very small round island called Kaltsonisi. There is a lovely channel between the island and the mainland. It is a very pleasant pootle indeed, nice and slow.
Apart from one idiot who has dropped anchor slap bang in the middle of the channel. I have to squeeze myself between them and the rocks as there are boats moored all along to the left.
I make it though of course, and before we know it we are in Mongonissi.
What is Mongonissi like?
Very nice. Check out this video of Mongonissi from the boat. I find a nice spot to moor the boat, drop anchor, drift in serenely and Nickie jumps off the boat straight onto the beach, attaching the rope to the mooring point.
All of a sudden we look like a slick boating double act!
I tie off the ropes, get the keys and we go for something to eat.
Where is my t-shirt??
I ask Nickie if she has seen my t-shirt. I have not seen it for a while.
To cut a long story short it is at Taverna Spiros – the bar we went to on Antipaxos.
Now I have a thing about sitting in a restaurant without a t-shirt on – I have standards you know – we both do.
Mongonissi Beach Bar
As we walk up to the lovely Mongonissi Beach Bar we both apologise to the waitress for my shoddy attire – I have my Barbados towel over my shoulders and that is all. She is fine with that, so we sit down and order drinks and peruse the menu.
What to do about the t-shirt?
I have no phone signal at all – yep completely cut-off. Remember this if you are using your phone as your sole emergency back up when on Paxos – you can have a full signal then find yourself all of a sudden with nothing.
I talk about this in the post Paxos Car Rental – Everything You Need To Know.
It’s only a t-shirt though?
It’s a t-shirt which we bought in Barbados. It is one of my favourite t-shirts, so this is serious!
Nickie texts Babis at Hotel Bastas to see if he can help, and then phones Taverna Spiros.
The bloke who answers the phone does not understand, he just wants to know when we want a table and for how many people.
Now my wife is very resourceful, and asks a local chap standing next to her if he could explain to the chap on the other end of the phone our predicament. It sounds ever so silly now but at the time I needed my t-shirt back!
He has no joy either so we sit down and debate what to do. Which for me is accept that the t-shirt is lost forever.
And here is the spooky thing!
The chap from the restaurant walks over and says – are you the people from Lakka? How he know I have no idea – we never told him that. He tells us that my t-shirt will be at their sister restaurant in Gaios later on that afternoon.
How did that all happen?
And how did he know we were from Lakka?
We thank him profusely, and tell him that we are in Gaios tomorrow so will collect it then.
I know it’s only a t-shirt, but it was a special t-shirt from Barbados as I said.
Lunch at the Mongonissi Beach Bar
Lunch is cheeseburgers and salad, which was very nice. With a large beer which we share.
Back seat driver
Back at the boat now, and on the way out of Mongonissi Nickie takes a turn at driving the boat. Do you drive a boat? I have had this thought before.
I have to say that she does a splendid job, leaving me to take some videos with my iPhone. No the Canon 6D has still not made it out of my bag.
Taking bags on a small boat
Oh yes the bags. When we moored up at Mongonissi all the water at the back of the boat went to the front, getting everything wet – even my beloved Peak Design Everyday Backpack with all my camera gear in (my camera gear was fine though).
Just something to be aware of.
Arriving in Gaios by boat
We sail through the channel at Gaios, which is lovely to see from a boat – I am so proficient at driving the boat I can shoot videos at the same time – here is one of them! The channel is the body of water between mainland Paxos and another small island called Panagia.
Having been to Gaios a few times it is great to see the frontage from a boat.
We follow the channel around the island, ending up at the New Port I Gaios where the ferries drop off and pickup tourists arriving to and departing from Paxos.
Time to slowly head back from Gaios to Lakka
We head northwards and have a swim stop in an unnamed bay. That was a very welcome dip in the lovely water of the Ionian Sea.
We look at various beaches on the way back – this is a video of Glyfada Beach.
A quick stop at lovely Loggos
Loggos is one of my sunrise photography locations, and I love it. Check out the views of Loggos from the boat.
And here is a 360 video of Loggos taken from the boat.
Returning to Lakka
We arrive back at the opening of the harbor in Lakka at 5pm. The boat is not due back until 6pm, so wee have time to explore Lakka by boat.
And this is my one chance to take some photos and videos of Lakka from the water. Nickie skillfully and slowly drives us around the harbour and I take lots of photos on my Canon 6D and videos on my iPhone.
We are back at the boat hire place at 5.30pm.
When I say the boat hire place I mean the metal hoop opposite Romantica.
Time for the expert to put the boat to bed.
The expert is of course not me – it is the chap from Nicos. The gap for us to get the boat is tiny, but the chap from Nicos is very skilled at making room (unforgiveable I know but I have forgotten his name).
The chap in the very nice boat next to the gap where our little rental boat is going is not impressed, he really was not happy having that little boat next to his shiny expensive thing! But that doesn’t change anything.
We get off the boat and pay for the fuel that we have used – $45. To be honest we have no idea how that calculation was made!
And then head back to the hotel to cool down.
That was the title of a song some years ago.
Clearly the message I have long forgotten. I learnt an important lesson today – not wearing sunscreen on a day like this is really not a good idea.!! Well I did put some factor 15 on my face and head first thing in the morning which I think saved me, but I didn’t put any on my torso, which was bare for most of the day.
Unbelievably I am not burnt. That is a good thing but also a worry!
Back to Hotel Bastas
Time for a quick shower and then back down to Romantica for cocktails and to be reunited with our boat.
We see Babis and Mrs Babis at the front of the hotel having them just gone through changeover day – they look like it has been a long day.
Good news – the hire car is confirmed for 10am – no later!
We reserve a table at Pounentes for 8.30 on the way through – it was really good there the first time, and as time is running out for us we do not want to risk another dodgy meal.
I confused the waiter at Romantica by choosing a blood Mary, stealing his moment of remembering what we both drink for the first time!
We sit down on the front and watch the sunset with Lady Diana 765 sat right in front of us.
Dinner at Pounentes
Dinner is excellent. To get over the not managing to eat everything we order tzatziki with bread to share as a starter. For the mains Nickie goes for the steak with pepper and Metaxa sauce and roast potatoes, and I go for pasta with mushrooms, oil and chili. Not the kind of meal I would normally go for – the chap who welcomed us suggested this instead of the spag bowl I ordered originally – as he pointed out I can have that at home.
But I want it here! I go with his choice – on his head be it…..
A carafe of wine arrives and we sit back and drink and chat until the starters appear, which are lovely. We get a nice break before the mains come.
Am I going to like my pasta dish?
The mains are brought to our table, and I tentatively start eating, not saying anything, which Nickie knows full well means I am not loving it. I persist, and then we have a swap of plates. I have some steak which is lovely, and polish off the roast potatoes left (at Nickie’s instruction I have to add).
Then we swap plates back and, I have to be completely honest, the dish is growing on me.
Outer waiter friend comes over and asks me nervously if I am enjoying it. Deadpan I say it is awful.
His face is a picture.
I take pity on him and quickly smile. I can’t do that to this lovely chap.
He gets it – I am impressed – our waiter at a Greek/ Italian restaurant getting English sarcasm!
We finish our meals and head off back to get some sleep after a very long but most enjoyable day with my best mate, MRs M.
Want to know more about Paxos?
I hope that you have found this post helpful, informative and even a little bit entertaining! To find out more about my favourite, wonderful Greek island all you need to do is click here and I will take you straight back to the start of my Paxos blog. Nice and easy!
Oh yes, I hope that you enjoy the next post.
Oh yes, I hope that you enjoy the next post.