07 September 2021

The sea is not closed
and the sky is not falling
down in Crete this week

Blue seas and blue skies at Pavlos Beach in Rethymnon today … the sea is not closed, no matter what Dominic Raab says (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

I arrived back in Greece late last night (6 September 2021) on a flight from Dublin to Chania. It is two years since I have been in Greece, and a little longer since I have been in Crete, so arriving back in Rethymnon is almost like a feeling of being back home again.

Last year was probably the first year since the mid-1980s that I had not been in Greece, and I have visited Rethymnon almost every year.

This year, I am staying in La Stella, a small boutique hotel between Platanias and Tsesmes, suburban resort villages on the edges of Rethymnon. I have been staying in this part of Rethymnon since 2015, and I last stayed here during Greek Easter in 2019.

I spent much of this morning at Pavlos Beach, part of the long sandy beach that strectches for miles east of Rethymnon.

Last month, when the British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, should have been handling the catastrophic human tragedy in Kabul, he was reported to be paddle-boarding on holiday in Crete.

He insisted he had not gone paddle boarding at the Amirandes Resort, outside Hersonissos, and denied these reports, saying, ‘The stuff about me lounging about on the beach all day is just nonsense. The stuff about me paddle-boarding – nonsense. The sea was actually closed, it was a red notice.’

I have often passed the Amirandes Grecotel on the road between Hersonissos and Iraklion, and I have never seen the sea closed.

In fact, I have never seen the sea closed in Greece, anywhere, at any time.

I have never even seen the sea being pushed back … by a British cabinet minister, not even by King Canute.

I can confirm, after spending part of the day on Pavlos Beach today, that the sea is still here in Crete. It has not been closed, it has not been sold off, it has not been built on, it has not moved away. Despite my two-year absence, despite today’s threat of rain, the sea in Greece is still here, and it is still blue.

And, despite what Chicken Little says, despite the fact that there has been a threat of rain in Crete all day today that never came to be, the sky is not falling down either.

Despite lockdowns, despite the virtual collapse of tourism in Greece last year, despite the severe trauma that the tourism sector has suffered and endured, the sky is not falling down, nor is it closed.

The sky is still in the sky, and, despite the threatend rains today, the sky promises to be blue later this week.

Blue Skies. Blue Seas. Not closed. Greece is open. And it’s good to be back.

Blue skies and blue water at La Stella in Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

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