Its name may not be as recognizable as Santorini, Mykonos, or Crete, but the next Greek island on our private yacht tour of the Dodecanese was spectacular in its own right.
After a splendid night of star gazing and whiskey dreaming at our anchorage in Bozuk Bükü, we awoke the next morning to crystal clear waters and brilliant blue skies. Outside of the safe harbor, the wind was whipping the tops of turquoise waves into whitecaps, and Captain Max guaranteed we would actually be sailing on our way to Symi this morning and not just running the motor.
Zack and Ben were eager to begin their sailing lessons, while Angela and I were eager to continue doing absolutely nothing. The boys helped hoist the anchor, and we bid farewell to Turkey again, motoring out into the stiff and steady Greek wind.
There is an incredible moment that occurs when switching from engine power to wind power for the first time. When the motor is silent, and the sail pops to life, and the boat catches and leans gracefully into the surf. All that kinetic energy at work, harnessed by the ingenuity of mankind to propel us to distant and undetermined horizons.
It took about four hours to tack our way across the fifteen linear miles that separate Bozuk Bükü from the port of Symi, and we spent the time reading, dozing, and watching the seascape drift by us.
Situated on the northern shore of the island that shares its name, the town of Symi is surprisingly sophisticated for its size and its distance from the typical cruise routes. Sophisticated in the sense that several very large private yachts were already moored in the harbor when we arrived. Sophisticated in that it boasted a bakery, several boutique shops, and arguably some of the best restaurants in the Greek islands.
We had arrived early enough to catch lunch at one of the harbor-side cafés. But the boys were more interested in packing a lunch and hiking the hills that surrounded the village, and Max offered to go with them. So Angela and I found time for an impromptu date and made the most of it by exploring the town.
We lingered over fresh bread, cheese, and olives as we wandered the ancient cobblestone streets and irregular steps. We witnessed a heated but friendly argument on the merits of ouzo versus sambuca, and I had to sample both, several times, to make my own determination. We were enthusiastically drawn into a roving wedding procession. And we experienced a fantastic early dinner at the Taverna To Spitiko that set the benchmark for fresh Greek seafood during this trip.
The boys had arrived back on the boat before we did, exhausted but excited about their day of adventure above the town. They chided us for not coming with them, saying that the views were spectacular. But we were still happy with finding a few stolen hours alone on this family trip. And, as with the maze of streets in Lindos, they had made their own adventure. Together. As brothers.
Perhaps it was this new experience of sailing. Perhaps it was the undeniable beauty of these rugged but rich islands, united in their isolation. Perhaps it was the closeness of my family on this new adventure. But in that moment I felt a transcendent love for this world and the wonders therein. In that moment, I was happy beyond words.
Or, perhaps it was the ouzo.