Monday, July 25, 2011

Jeff Spotting - Souda Bay, Crete, Greece

The ship left Cannes and made way directly toward Souda Bay, Crete for a week of mid-deployment maintenance. Souda Bay has Hellenic-navy operated NATO piers where several ships, US and otherwise, pull in for work, refueling, and recreation. I had pulled into Souda on my first deployment back in 2005, which was interesting because West Coast based-ships normally don't make it into the Mediterranean. Then and now, I've fallen in love with the Greek landscape: harsh, rocky terrain that softens to pleasant cool tones in the evening with water that gives Hawaii a run for its money. (Hawaii still wins out on beaches, though).

The closest city to Souda is call Chania. The tourist destination in Chania is a harbor right on the water surrounded by shops, bars, and restaurants. The lighthouse in the picture above is at the entrance to the harbor and the picture at left is one of many side streets loaded with shops and hotels.

Since the ships was was moored in Souda primarily for maintenance and in-port work, we were allowed to go into Chania only on the weekend. However, Souda has a Naval Support Activity located close by with a NEX, mini-mart, and restaurant that we were allowed to visit after working hours. Also, about a mile from the NATO piers were several beaches and restaurants. Toward the end of our stay, I ran the hills of Crete several days to stretch my legs. On a couple of occasions, I wound up at a resort beach with gorgeous clear water that was so very refreshing after running in the heat of the day. Jessica and I are figuring out a way that we can come back together some day, although I'm conflicted on if we should rent a villa, rent a sailboat, or backpack from city to city and stay in random hotels.


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