An Excursion to Mouse Island
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Today was totally fun and just what I needed. One of the riding instructors was sick, so all of her lessons were cancelled. This meant there was a lot less work to do at the barn (although we still mucked tons of heavy, rain-soaked poop) and we got to leave early.
A bunch of us went to the beach and then swam to Mouse Island. I rowed Jon's inflatable yellow boat alongside the swimmers. At first, it took me a couple of minutes to get the hang of rowing without the benefit of a sliding seat and fixed oarlocks. It didn’t help that Alexia made me laugh hysterically with shouted comments such as, "Oh dear, do you have a flare gun?" and, “Shall I go grab your passport?” (The latter because Albania is so close.)
After about five minutes, I was good to go. At the island, we had to climb the most uncomfortable rock in the world to get up. It was embedded with seashells poking their sharp ends out, piercing our poor hands and feet. We wandered to the other edge of the island, passing some strutting peacocks and enjoying the views of our beach from across the water.
On the other side of the island, there was a little church. Breaking every rule of politeness and decency in the book, we went into the church in our bikinis. I can hear the gasps of my more religious friends from across the ocean. Really, I don’t know what possessed us. No one was around, but still, it’s extra bad because Greek Orthodox churches are super conservative and are infamous for turning away tourists in such “skimpy” dress as shorts or sleeveless shirts. Nonetheless, I couldn’t let the moment pass… I captured our indiscretions on camera as we laughed like maniacs. (Shaking my head at myself.)
Finally, we went and sat on a terrace near the church, overlooking the water and were reprimanded by the guy selling beer next to the church. Of course he had a valid point but really, he wasn’t one to talk. He pointed inside the church, shook his head no and said something that sounded like, “No. Closed.” Alexia repeated this back to him, confused, and after a bit of back and forth we realized he was saying we couldn’t go in because we had, “No clothes.” Not ones to overstay our welcome, we headed back into the water.
As the boys helped me to launch my boat, it occurred to me that the sharp rocks could be hazardous to a craft made of flimsy yellow rubber or plastic or whatever that stuff is. And, right on cue, I heard a pop and a hiss of air rushing out. I had a waterproof bag for my camera, but I didn’t want to test its limits unless I absolutely had to. The scene that followed was a hybrid of Titanic and Ben Hur. Mark swam alongside and graciously chuckled at the many Titanic references I shouted across the water.
It was hard to row because the boat first deflated in the area just beside the oarlocks, so the oars were wiggling around with nothing to grip. As I rowed with all my strength, my butt sank into the water and my feet rose in the air. Somehow I made it to shore, where I found out that people on the beach saw the whole thing. Awesome.
After dinner, we played Apples to Apples at Captain’s for a bit. I swear that game is magical, because every time I play I’m with a totally different group (family, sorority sisters at a party, kids I’m babysitting for) and everyone always loves it. I won tonight, which was shocking because usually no one ever agrees with my logic and I lose badly.
After the game, we all went to the casino at the Corfu Holiday Palace next to our villa. They have a promotion running where every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, entry is free and comes with a free drink ticket, plus a raffle ticket for 500 euros. We typically go for like half an hour just because of the raffle and the drink. Tonight, Captain’s friend (also named George) won, so that was exciting.
After the raffle, the guys walked back to the house and Captain said he’d give me a ride home on his motorbike. Actually, he kidnapped me and took me to his favorite crepe place. Jon told me he’s taken him there before and warned me that this place could become addictive. Once I bit into my crepe, filled with chocolate and strawberries, I agreed with both of them that it was an amazing place.
Driving back, we sped down deserted streets, weaving through the old town and passing the Old Fort and the Mon Repos ruins in Kanoni, all lit up against the night sky. It was one of those moments where I felt totally alive and so happy to be exactly where I was.