Posted on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by Peter Knego
Continue with Peter Knego on Sea Dream Yacht Club’s deluxe SEA DREAM I with a visit to Kavala on the northeastern shores of Greece and a call at Kepez, the port for Canakkale (in the Dardanelles) in part three of his latest trek.
All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2013 unless otherwise noted.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
In the early morning hours, SEA DREAM I quietly motored the short distance from her Thassos anchorage to Kavala. Located on the mainland some 90 minutes from Thessaloniki, Kavala is the main sea port for the Macedonian region. It was founded as Neapolis by the Thassians in the 7th Century B.C. and has been ruled by Greeks, Spartans, Byzantines, Ottomans and Bulgarians over the ages.
Although my Greek yogurt, fresh-pressed carrot juice, smoked salmon (with capers, lemon, etc.) and cappuccino routine was delicious if rather predictable, Mike shook things up on his side of the breakfast table with an indulgent banana waffles and cream daily special.
We would take the day leisurely and explore on our own but first I wanted to finish documenting SEA DREAM I’s teak-lined Deck 6, which begins with a sheltered sunning area called The Crow’s Nest, featuring cushioned loungers and Balinese dream beds. More Balinese dream beds follow aft of the Golf Simulator and the Top Of The Yacht Bar. On certain nights, the dream beds can be set up so that guests can sleep under the stars if they so choose.
Soon, we were off on a short walk through the port, then headed up into the Old Town that overlooks the harbor. The main attraction is Kavala Castle, which was built in the early 15th Century atop a Byzantine foundation.
Admission to the castle was a mere Euro 2.50 and well worth it for the views of the city.
Inside the walls, it was sweltering, so we reserved the second part of the day for a refreshing swim after running into fellow guests who raved about the water at the base of the nearby cliffs.
After lunch on the ship, we grabbed some bottled water and beach towels and took a short walk around the promontory to Panagia Beach, where there is no sand, just rock formations. We found a place to rest our gear, then jumped into the spectacular liquid.
For the next hour or so, we swam in the warm, deep but very clear seas along the promontory at Kavala.
Moments after our return to the ship, the wind kicked up and the skies suddenly darkened. Soon the seas outside the breakwater were stirred up and a torrent of rain gushed down. On deck, table settings were instantly decimated and the crew scrambled to salvage glasses, linens and silver.
Almost as suddenly, the sun broke through, so I waited for the rainbow that would surely follow.
A full arc and a partial second bow hovered over Kavala Castle. It was a lovely parting gift from the Greek mainland as the SEA DREAM I began her slow departure.
At precisely 7:00 PM, Captain Smorawski announced there would be a moment of silence to remember the victims of 9-11 on the fantail.
As passengers and crew gathered, the captain stood at the marina and placed a reef into the sea.
We watched as the wreath slowly disappeared into the sun’s reflection in the SEA DREAM I’s wake.
At dinner, when Mike marveled at the quality of the lobster tail main course, he was offered seconds.
Normally, when I’m told a singer sounds like Whitney Houston or Celine Dion, I run for the door but when cabin stewardess Rosie took the stage in her highly touted weekly cabaret performance in the Lounge, my jaw hit the floor. She had all the vocal tricks of the aforementioned divas but with a heaping slice of soul that distinguished her from being just another “pretty voice”.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
After breakfast, we decided to take a final spin on the mountain bikes. SEA DREAM I was berthed in the port of Kepez, some five or six miles away from Canakkale, a charming town that fronts the Anatolian side of the narrowest part of the Dardanelles. About half way there, I realized I had bitten off a bit more than I could chew with busy streets, deteriorating bike paths and the continually searing heat. But when we finally reached Canakkale, I simmered down and began to enjoy the challenges of riding bikes in Turkey.
On the waterfront, we visited the Trojan Horse monument commemorating the nearby ruins of Troy.
When we got back to the ship, I was told the “The Sands Of Alang” was being broadcast on Channel 8. Much to my delight, the good captain found it and “On The Road To Alang” of interest and ran them on the SEA DREAM I’s documentary channel.
At 3:00 PM, SEA DREAM I thrust away from the jetty and made her way into the Dardanelles, past Canakkale en route to Istanbul.
The popular galley tour that afternoon was yet another occasion for champagne and caviar.
In the early evening, with one final, glorious sunset over the stern, SEA DREAM I entered the Sea Of Marmara. We would relish one final night on our yacht. Sadly, we had just gotten to know many of our fellow guests and now it was time to say goodbye to them and the 95-strong crew that made this short journey so spectacular.
At dinner, I selected from a number of tasty Greek courses, including a delicious spanakopita appetizer with a dollop of tzatziki.
As we tried to figure out how to get our things back into our suitcases, we could hear one last sing-along emanating from the Piano Bar, a few short steps down the passage.
Friday, September 13, 2013
We were awakened by the golden glow emanating from our curtains. By the time we got to deck, SEA DREAM I was rounding Kadikoy on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. When she crossed the Bosphorus towards the cruise terminal on the European side, the sun was rising behind the Bosphorus bridge.
After breakfast, our cruise ended much as it began, but with “good bye” instead of a “hello” to the smiling girls in the reception desk.
The wonders of Istanbul awaited.
End Of SEA DREAM I To The Other Side Of The Aegean
Very Special Thanks: Christophe Cornu, Martin Cox, Mike Hicks, Ginny Perkins, Captain Bjarne Smorawski