Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The sailor and the soak

Skinopi bay, directly north of the port town of Adamas (Adamantas) on the island of Milos (yes, Greece), has a reputation for thermality. 
But whether or not this is real remains to be seen.

The reputation is disclosed on the official tourism website of Milos which has this limited info on the supposed hot springs of Skinopi:
'-          Skinopi
Temperature: up to 41 C
Composition: alipiges (hot springs)'
Alipiges refers from Greek as a saline / salty source. 
But this is about all the info that's available on the bay of Skinopi's thermal reputation; all other references a copy of above. So not much to go by.

Still one never knows.
Skinopi certainly is not a heavily visited place, even though it's only 10 minutes from Adamas. The main reason for not going may well be the access road: a narrow windy and at times dirt road weaves itself up the hill from Adamas and once beyond the mount crashes down to Skinopi.

At the end of the road on the bay, there's a house to the south, and a number of sirmata to the north. 
Sirmata are small structures with a living upstairs and a boathouse downstairs. At least in the old days. Nowadays they are fashionable tourist villa's. Though that wasn't the case here.

The bay of Skinopi looking northwards, to a number of sirmata, sheltered from northern winds.

After parking the car and looking around, it didn't look like we will be seeing any soaking action. Based on my research and the lack of any facilities / hints. 

We decide to shift the search northwards, if not for the thermal opportunities at least for observing the quaint fishermans houses.

There's one other person on the bay and by the noise he's making one would believe there to be many others. But once we draw closer we realize that his chatter is meant for his cats. 

The older and getting bald man greets us heartily, asks us from where we are, apologizes for the ruckus with the cats and then shows us that the cats respond well to his chatter as on command one of them jumps into his arms.

With little prompting he sets off explaining how, as a sailor, he crossed the many seas only to retire after 35 years of service. He then took up fishing in the Aegean, but has now really retired on his own at his little sirmata. 
"Sometimes I go fishing"
he says, pointing to his tiny dinghy, 
"I catch a few fish for myself. And the rest for the cats". 
Life could be hard. And lonely. But he seemed very content with how things turned out.
"You know, I have lived my life".
Having said that, I disclose my reason for visiting his part of the world. 
"Ah yes. Look". 
He points to a place in the water just a meter away.
"Where there are bubbles, there is hot water". 
I place my foot over the bubbles and indeed the water is markedly warmer.  


He continues
"Sometimes, the bubbles are much more lively. At night I hear them from inside my house!"
But not today. The last house south, he notes, has a source inside. There's no outflow, but the owners have a tub which they fill from the source. 
"And you see the rock at the end of the bay?"
He points southwards. 
"Behind that rock is another source, in sea, between two rocks. A nice bath. But very difficult to get there. Only with a boat".
I'll take his word for it, but make a mental note to search for this. Later maybe.

After a little more small talk we thank our Skinopi host profusely and see if it's possible to get our rental Fiat Panda back up the hill
Though we also take the opportunity to wander around the vacant house to the south: no thermal source to be seen from the outside.

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