Hydra static

We’re on the island of Hydra once again. We never go anywhere else when we come to Greece and yet each time our experience of this tiny island is different. This time it’s just us, no family, no friends, no one else joining us, no one to see off at the ferry. And this time learning Greek and to practise motoring about the island in a powerboat. We’ve got the licenses, so now’s the time to put the training into action. Not sure how it will go. Bump bump on the waves a given, but hopefully not bump bump splash. Man over board!

What else is new? Nothing and all of it. We’ve spotted a new buzz of beehives grazing the stipled hillside. They sit halfway up with slender terraces holding them in place in case they have cause to slide. In the early mornings across the amber dawns we hear an excessively keen cock crowing. He reminds us that we want to stay asleep a little longer. And once we manage to blur out his crows there is the tap tap tapping of a building project just below our studio. The project is a grey stone house with a tidy pair of Roman arches and a soon to be completed pitched roof. The workers tap in regular rhythms, each nail whacker managing different numbers of strikes with his hammer. They speak in broken English across several languages, but besides English we only recognise Albanian and Greek.

Throughout the day we are treated to the whine and squeaks of a lonely dog and its token toy. The Huskey dog has pointy ears that touch at their peaks and white rimmed eyes. The eyes and the tilted head implore us to entertain her every time we peer into the pen to check she’s got water. Her conversation, at first annoying, is repetitive enough to be somehow reassuring. We hear her above the wind and through the stillness of the air, the heat and the cool of nighttime.

And the sea. Under strong winds its glorious bounce and embrace were sometimes too tight. Now that the wind has dropped the sea’s languid rise and fall seduces, tempting us ever further from shore, to ever further depths. We swim along the shore searching for an octopus and her garden, or out to the safety buoys. Beyond the buoys the sea taxis surge rapid and reckless between the port and the many bays along the island’s eastern coast. They go beyond occasionally, following pleasure cruisers and rented yachts that rely on motor power instead of the wind. Perhaps these sailors are afraid of losing control of direction and speed. Next stop Cyprus?

We climb hundreds of steps and more steps every day to reach our little cubby hole set high above the sea. Our window frames our view of the sea and the roof of the dog’s house and through the window pass the echoes of the sea taxi engines and random voices in the night. They float along on the shh shh shh of a susurrous Saronic sea. It sounds softly slow, sensuous in the night. And we are together.

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