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Trail Tales: A Storm Party on Crete's Wildest Coast

A sudden rainstorm on a roadless coast, classic Cretan hospitality, and living by Zane's motto: "Always be present"


Read on to share the stoke from some unforgettable moments along the Crete Kayak Adventure in September 2023

NWP Guide, Zane Yanzick

Our story is set in Crete's wildest region, Sfakia.


There are no roads along much of the Sfakian coastline. Beautiful mountains and serpentine canyons fringe the shore, and if you want to travel from town to town, you can only do so by boat or trail.

Under late morning bluebird skies, guides Zane and Anna launched their group's kayaks from the remote beach of Agios Pavlos---a charming, rustic hikers' outpost along the rugged E4 trail.

beach at Agios Pavlos in Crete
Agios Pavlos Beach, Sfakia

Agios Pavlos was the first rest stop along the day's three-part kayak adventure. They had just refueled with Greek coffees and fresh squeezed OJ at Pavlos, and Anna and Zane were surely feeling magnetically drawn to their next rest stop: lunch at the incomparable Marmara Beach taverna, Dialeskari.

waiters in front of their beach bar
Our friends at the Marmara Taverna in Crete

During the final third of the paddle to Marmara, the towering Sfakian mountains suddenly gathered dense rain clouds that obscured the previously sunshiny day. A few minutes later a torrent of rain washed down on Zane, Anna, and company, riddling the sea with raindrop dimples all the way out to the horizon.


Zane and Anna led a bee-line for the nearby shores of Marmara, and shortly thereafter the sopping wet group was huddled underneath the thatch roof of the patio--totally useless in the current conditions. Our friends who run the taverna invited everyone onsite inside the kitchen (the only dry shelter for miles around) and immediately put Zane to work!

waiter serving Greek doughnuts
Loukoumades, a Cretan treat

30+ strangers squeezed into the diminutive kitchen, most shivering and forlorn from  their abrupt detour from sunny paradise. But while the Marmara staff whipped up an emergency batch of loukoumades (traditional Greek doughnuts) to share with the captive crowd, they tasked the ever gregarious, grounded-in-the-moment, and, well, tall Zane with raising everyone's spirits.

Raki (aka Tsikoudia) is a local spirit similar to grappa

With jokes and long arms, Zane distributed cheer amongst the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, passing out glasses and pouring the local spirit (and emblem of Cretan hospitality), raki, for all to share a toast and make new friends in this unexpected setting.

After a couple rounds of doughnut bites, the weather cleared and the adventure kept rolling. Our group paddled on from Marmara to the Sfakian town of Loutro, and made a return visit to Marmara in the following days.


The photos below represent a much more typical experience at Marmara!

Want to visit these amazing places yourself? Check out our Crete Adventures.

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