Leaving Anafi

Leaving Anaphi

(written in the mid 1990s. I have not returned to Anaphi, but have heard that there is now a large network of roads on the island)

It was May. There were just two ferries a week from Anaphi to Santorini, on Saturday and Tuesday.

"When are you leaving?" asked my landlady.

I decided to leave on Tuesday. In she bustled, cleaning my room, and giving me a bunch of flowers.

On Saturday the wind howled. The boat was due in around seven in the evening. The arrival of the ferry is a social event. I walked down to the harbour to watch. There is a bus on Anaphi, but at that time of the year it only met the ferry. The bus was already down there when I arrived. A cluster of people were in the taverna, the ticket seller was open, and the bus was by the harbour. Suddenly the bus pulled away and dashed uphill. Those of us left down on the harbour gathered that the boat was not coming. I walked uphill. Perhaps the boat will come tomorrow.

I was happy waiting until Tuesday, but had visions of a storm setting in on Tuesday, If there was a boat on Sunday I would like to catch it.

On the way up I met a German tourist. He asked if I had been to ancient Anaphi. I had not, not being sure which mountain it was atop of. Go by the church with the olive tree, after the valley with the flowers. The next day I went up to Ancient Anaphi. It was still windy. I could see the white horses out at sea. I thought it was unlikely that the ferry would come.

I did not scan horizon with binoculars - but it would be good artistically to say that I did.

Around five I got back to the village and was drinking a beer at the only place open. I caught the words "Santorini Express" and "five" and "this afternoon". It was 5.15. Yes, the boat was coming. The bus had already gone. I would have to walk down. I flew back to my room, packed, paid my landlady, and trotted at high speed down the muletrack. If this was a false alarm I would have to walk back up. With my bags. If there was no boat there would be no bus. On my way down I saw the bus going down the road. A good sign.

Going down the muletrack (a superior sort, concreted and stepless for most of the way. Not scenic, but easier to walk on than the authentic cobbled sort, especially when you are laden down with bags.)

Other people with bags in the harbour. I bought a ticket. The boat must be coming. With a ticket in my paw I felt more secure.

And there she was. There is no shelter at all at Anaphi harbour, and the ship leant sideways coming into dock. The boat was only fastened to the harbour with one rope. But at least I was on board and on my way.