Beachcombing Bliss at Elafonisi.

For the last few weeks the weather has been ‘iffy’ and unsettled, but at least we’ve not had further storms or even much rain. It’s just been cloudier and cooler than is normal this time of year. Of course…. it’s going to be gorgeous again soon!
Because the weather has been so unpredictable, finding the right day to go to Elafonisi was difficult. We’d already had a day where we drove as far as Kissamos before we realised it would be a bad day for Elafonisi. It is the most unspoilt, wild and beautiful area but its location right on the tip of Southwest Crete, leaves it very exposed to the weather – especially the wind! However, no winter beachcombing season would be complete without a trip to this awesome coastline.  I have written about this wonderful place several times over the years and I love to visit Elafonisi whenever I can.

Just a part of Elafonisi... there's so much more!

Just a part of Elafonisi… there’s so much more!

I am pleased to say that Lisa has returned to Crete and so it was that the three of us – Lisa, Debbie and I, finally got our day on Elafonisi. The weather was fab for the two hour drive down through mountains with gorges far below, which meant stunning scenery all the way! I also love all the little mountain villages we pass through on the way. It was warm and sunny when we arrived and there was only a smattering of tourists as far as we could see.

Lisa and Debbie - just after our picnic lunch!

Lisa and Debbie – just after our picnic lunch!

But we were not surprised to find it was very windy out on the sandbars and going across to the island. Yet there is so much to explore on Elafonisi that one day is just not enough! There is even a shipwreck somewhere near the island, though we ran out of time to investigate it. We need to come back in November when all the tourists have left and maybe go snorkelling too.

 

Vast expanses of pink sand and with gorgeous turquoise sea, Elafonisi has it all!

Vast expanses of pink sand and with gorgeous turquoise sea, Elafonisi has it all!

We had the most awesome and wonderful day collecting seashells, exploring all the different beaches, enjoying our picnic in the sunshine and all three of us feeling so lucky and blessed to be experiencing such a beautiful place here on Crete, knowing that we can visit this special natural landscape whenever we want to! Lisa, Debbie and I had about 7 hours of beachcombing bliss that day and we all had such good fun! We can’t wait to return to Elafonisi again later in the year.

Over on the little island, across the sandbank.

Over on the little island, across the sandbank.

I really really love this island! Since I’ve been back home on Crete… everything has gradually started to get better and things are looking up for me again – in all directions! It’s been good for me to get out and about with my friends Lisa and Debbie and we’ve got some great times planned for this summer! We are going to party and enjoy ourselves and I am excited and grateful for so many things – I cannot begin to list them all! I have had some wonderful news which I hope to write about in a future post. I am well organized for and looking forward to my beach selling season and I am so excited about family and friends visiting soon. Now everything is going right in my world again!

Exploring!

Exploring!

In just a few days time, Zoe, Emma, Ralph and Neve are coming to stay with me for a week and so I am very excited and happy about that! I will be spending these next few days getting everything ready for their visit. I’ve needed to find a travel cot, car seat for baby Neve, booster seat for Ralph and a highchair. But I am lucky enough to be able to borrow all these from good friends.

Yes... Life is Wonderful on the Beach!

Yes… Life is Wonderful on the Beach!

Before my family arrive on Tuesday, it is Greek Orthodox Easter here this weekend. It’s usually a week later than the Western Easter, although approximately every four years it falls on the same date. Lisa, Debbie and I have made some plans and we aim to have lots of fun and celebrate it as best we can!

Lifting my spirits by doing the things I love doing!

It’s been a hectic six weeks since I returned from the UK.  Lots of things to catch up with and attend to – so many different things that needed doing… and yet this has helped in part, to distract me from the sadness of losing my Mum… I really miss her.

Fishing Boat & Seagulls in Seashell Mosaic - 30 x 40cms - Available to purchase from my Etsy shop.

Fishing Boat & Seagulls in Seashell Mosaic – 30 x 40cms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop.

Helping me cope with my grief, I have enjoyed getting seriously back into my Art and I have created a few new designs as well as building my stock for the coming summer beach selling season.  This has been so therapeutic for me and has lifted my spirits enormously.  I have also been ordering seashells from my regular suppliers and enjoyed cleaning and sorting them all, ready for use in future seashell mosaics.

However I have been so absorbed in creating my Seashell Mosaic Collages that I have missed out on all the fun going on in February and March!  Carnival and Clean Monday went by without me really noticing!  I just haven’t been in the mood for partying.  However I did make an effort and went to Mary’s 60TH Birthday Party at Vangeli’s last week, so I have not been a complete hermit!

Penguins in Seashell Mosaic

Penguins in Seashell Mosaic – 20 x 25cms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

One of the most wonderful activities I absolutely love doing is to go beachcombing!  I just have not had the time to do this these past 18 months, but I have surely been making up for it during the past 6 weeks!  Winter is always the best time to beachcomb, after storms and when the beaches are deserted.  I love to explore the fabulous coastlines around Crete, taking in all the stunning scenery and gathering sea treasures to use in my Seashell Mosaic Collages.  These recent beachcombing trips have lifted my spirits like nothing else can!

We’ve had some pretty severe storms since I’ve been back.  This beautiful Island of Crete has certainly taken some battering and in the Apokoronas area of Crete where I live, old bridges have come crashing down and floodwaters were everywhere!  Chania Harbour Front was seriously damaged – I saw for myself when I spent a day there recently, with Debbie. We spent some time looking around the shops and buildings in the little cobbled back streets behind the Harbour. 

An old shop in Chania, revealing another building underneath - fascinating!

An old shop in Chania, revealing another building underneath – fascinating!

When we came across a shop that looked like an archaelogical dig!  The floor had been completely removed and underneath it they found remains of ancient walls set like buriel tombs.  When we looked closer (no-one else was around!) we saw that it must once have been a small mosque.  It was fascinating!  We wondered whether the recent storms and floodwaters had created the damage to the shop.  Either way – it didn’t look like it was going to be open for business again – anytime soon!  I must say that the storms didn’t affect me as luckily, my home is situated so high up that water drains easily away – it’s the wind I have to be wary of!  But I do love to watch a good storm from my balcony overlooking the sea.

Beautiful Chania Harbour

Chania Harbour Front, with the White Mountains behind – stunning in reality!

Whilst in Chania we couldn’t resist taking a quick look at Neo Chora beach, which is only a 10 minute walk or so from the Harbour.  We ended up spending a couple of hours exploring the beach there!  It was really interesting and we found some good stuff.  With that 2 hour distraction, we didn’t return to the Harbour Front for lunch until about 4pm, by which time we were starving!

Inspirational writing in the sand

Inspirational Writing in the sand Collage – 20 x 30ms – Available to purchase from my Etsy shop

In between these storms, there have been some wonderful warm and sunny days that are just perfect for beachcombing.  Even better still is that in the winter, Crete’s deserted beaches are filled with interesting and fascinating things to find after a storm.

Last October, Lisa introduced me to Debbie and I have to say she is the best beachcombing buddy I’ve ever had!  She’s just like me and loves nothing more than spending time exploring beaches and collecting fascinating things that have been washed up on the shore.  Debbie will notice fossils, skulls and bones, sea glass and countless other interesting objects as well as shells.  Whereas I am always concentrating on the seashells, since I have been beachcombing with Debbie, I’ve started to notice all the myriad of other sea treasures to be found!  The driftwood after a storm is quite phenomenal and so I couldn’t resist taking many samples to incorporate into my artworks in some way.

Marathi Beach

One of Marathi’s beaches. Again – the White mountains in the background are stunning!

The fabulous beaches we have visited in the last month have been Stavros (twice), Bali (twice), the furthest parts of Georgioupoli, Frangokastello, Marathi, Loutraki and countless other beaches we found in between.  We’ve had a fabulous time scrambling about over rocks, across river and sea streams, having such a laugh and feeling like we were kids again!  I know I am hooked on beachcombing, I have a real addiction for it!

Collecting shells on one of the beaches at Frangkastello

Collecting shells on one of the beaches at Frangkastello

Now I am busy getting everything ready for my summer beach selling.  My sales leaflets needed updating and reprinting, new display boards putting together and of course, plenty of new artworks for the coming busy tourist season.  I am really looking forward to the summer and especially excited about Zoe, Emma, Ralph and Neve’s visit at the end of next month!

PS There simply isn’t enough room above – to put up all the fabulous photos of the wonderfull views and places we enjoyed while driving along between beaches.  Here are some of the wonderful photographs Debbie took on our recent beachcombing trips.

One of the beaches at Stavros

One of the beaches at Stavros

The view from the mountain which leads down to Frangokastello

The view from the mountain which leads down to Frangokastello

View of the 'pink' Mountains on the way back from Bali

An after sunset view of the ‘pink’ Mountains on the way back from Bali.

Askifou, the plateau high in the mountains.

Askifou, the plateau high in the mountains.

Leaving Askifou Plateau, the sunset turning the White Mountains pink!

Leaving Askifou Plateau, the sunset turning the White Mountains pink!

One of the beaches at Marathi

One of the beaches at Marathi

White Mountains of Crete

Wherever we went, there was no escaping the awesome White Mountains!

Remembering My Lovely Mum

Following New Year I had been home for barely two weeks when I received a phone call from my sister Karen, to tell me that Mum’s health had seriously deteriorated and so I immediately flew back to the UK. She had just been moved to St. Ann’s Hospice so that they could better manage her condition and make her more comfortable. Thankfully I was able to spend the last week with her in the hospice, along with many other family and friends who visited regularly up until the end. Continue reading

Christmas is about Celebrating Quality Family Time

This Christmas time I went back to the UK much earlier than I usually do.
This is a good thing because I was able to spend lots of quality time with my Mum – even though she slept so much! Also my brother Mark came to visit for a couple of days with his two children, Honey and Ted and it was so good to see them all again! As always, it is good to catch up with Karen and Mike, while I base myself at their beautiful home. Continue reading

A Beautiful Day in Bali

There’s not much to report since my last post. Working on my Seashell Mosaic Collages is always a given, because whenever there isn’t anything else that takes priority – I am busy creating! This is also the time of year that I do my seashell sourcing and place orders with my regular suppliers. But I wanted to write this final post of 2018 before I return to the UK on Saturday morning. Continue reading

My Big Birthday Bash on Crete!

I am writing up this post on my wonderful balcony, on this cloudy day in November. We’ve just come out of a prolonged period of fine, sunny and warm weather and now we are getting rain and thunderstorms. But right now it is not raining and I can hear the sea and see the waves rolling onto the shoreline all around Almyrida Bay. Vasili’s sheep are in my garden below again and so I hear the tinkling of the ‘main’ sheep’s bell and the odd almost baby-sounding bleats coming from the little ones. They seem to lamb all year round on Crete. It must be our wonderful climate! Continue reading

August Beach Sales Have Been Really Good This Year!

It has been over six weeks since I last wrote and that is because I have been so busy coping with my hectic work schedule.  That month I spent in the UK meant I had lost a month in terms of production.  I was not as fully stocked with my Seashell Mosaic Collages for the summer season as I would normally have been. So August has been mega busy while I’ve been trying to keep up with the designs that are selling well. Continue reading