Athens to Milos – the journey from hell

Warning – avoid reading if you are about to use Sea Jets and / or you get sea sick!

The first sign that our trip from Piraeus (Athens) to Milos wasn’t going to be plain sailing was that as we boarded there was a plentiful supply of sick bags. From a pile at the bar to individual ones in our seat pocket it was obvious that sea jets were well prepared. I’m not a good traveler, I always have a supply of travel sickness tablets with me even for short car journeys. With this in mind we’d booked the faster ferries in the hope that the shorter the ride the less likely I was to be ill, however in Greece it seems the opposite is true……..

Piraeus port, Athens

The night before our ferry trip, as my anxiety grew I started to read more about the journey. Big mistake. Each search brought up horror stories of how bad sea jets are in rough seas as they are small catamarans. Greg, trying to allay my fears, checked the weather forecast and we then quickly taught ourselves about the Beaufort scale. The forecast was for light winds, ‘it’ll be fine’ Greg said. Feeling relieved I drifted off to sleep looking forward to arriving in Milos. The next morning we arrived at Piraeus at the specified time and there was already a long queue. People were drinking coffee, eating pastries and looked relaxed, surely if it was as bad as people said they’d wouldn’t look so happy. I popped my travel sickness tablets and updated my Instagram.

Piraeus at dawn

As the sun was rising we started to board. It was a bit chaotic as people pushed and jostled to put their cases into the luggage holders but we just threw our backpacks on top and went to get our seats. Greg reminded me that it was very similar to the ferry we’d taken in Langkawi (which had been fine) but I felt a little claustrophobic. I went to get Greg a coffee and doughnut take my mind off things, I decided I would travel on an empty stomach. As we set off a muffled announcement said we’d have an additional stop making our journey longer. Not ideal but more time to listen to podcasts. We settled down for a 4hr ride.

At first it was reasonably smooth but as we headed into open sea it was getting a bit choppier. Like when there’s turbulence on a plane I looked around the assess if anyone else was looking for escape routes but no, everyone looked fine. I put my headphones back in and closed my eyes. A couple of minutes later Greg nudged me ‘I need to go to the bathroom’. He looked a little pale and he headed to the back of the boat. About 10 minutes later I had that sense of dread. My mouth went dry and I could feel my saliva glands filling. I was about to be sick. I quickly got up, tried to run to the bathroom clutching a sick bag whilst ricocheting off seats and luckily made it in time to vomit everything I’d eaten the day before into the toilet. The toilets were like airplane toilets ie tiny and I could hear a rhapsody of people in the toilets at either side vomiting too – this in turn made me be sick again. As I left the bathroom I saw Greg and he was literally holding onto the luggage racks with both hands, trying to steady himself and white as a sheet. ‘Have you been sick?’ I asked him. He simply nodded. There was a guy next to him being sick into a bag and one of the staff members was running around with a mop. What a job!

I returned to my seat and tried to distract myself with a podcast but it didn’t work. I returned to the bathroom dodging the luggage which was falling from the racks and clambering over musical instruments. As the journey went on more and more people were ill. Staff were walking up and down with sick bags (empty and full) and mops. There was a girl near me who was just shaking and crying. I didn’t feel in danger at any point, just so sick. I looked to the back of the boat and Greg was still wedged in the same position staring into oblivion. Then the worst thing happened. I got such bad stomach pains I was almost doubled over. I’m not sure if it was because I’d pulled muscles or if it was hunger (genuinely!). So I looked at Greg’s seat and there, in a bag looking completely delicious was a big, fat, sugared doughnut. Don’t judge me for what I did next…..with my double bagged sick bag in my left hand and my right hand free I started eating the doughnut. I’m laughing writing this at how ridiculous this may seem but I was so hungry. God, that doughnut tasted like heaven.

Just as I finished it the announcement came on that we’d arrived in Milos. The 4hrs of hell was over. Once we’d docked I was reunited with Greg and we both agreed we would rebook all of our ferry tickets onto a slower, cheaper alternative. No more sick jets for us! On a more positive note Milos was absolutely beautiful, I’ll be posting about our stay there soon!