“Okay, here we get off!”
The captain called, while the crew members all scrambled to tie the boat to the post, running around barefoot, their glistening brown skin shining in the golden morning sun.
Meanwhile I, along with my sister, my friend and his brother, greedily peered out to the docking point, trying to get a better look. While the sea was behind us, high cliffs covered in luscious greenery were dotted here and there, like little islands. There were a few other boats like ours, docked at separate points, all with their spider-like legs bobbing on the surface of the crystallised water.
“Come on, kids! Put your life jackets on,” the parents fussed as they grabbed all the necessities and clambered all over the food bags and towels to slap some more sun cream onto our noses or rush to the loo one last time.
I laughed as my friend, Joe, was being tugged about by his mum, while his little brother, Elliot, danced around them, deliberately interfering.
“Honestly, mum, there’s no need! Let’s just go already!”
“I swear, Joe, coming back with a nasty sunburn on your shoulders is going to be the last thing you do! Now, put this shirt on or you’ll be getting a very nasty burn that’ll have nothing to do with the sun!”
As Joe started groaning, I went off to collect my bag and climbed out of the boat onto a high, wooden walkway. It was wooden, thin, and rather rickety. The gaps between the wood were rather intimidating, so I focused on the view instead of trying not to let my flip flops fall into the sea below.
Once everybody was off the boat, the crew led us away from the boat, along the path (if the mums weren’t squealing every two seconds, they wanted to take a picture with all of us – “quickly sweetie! I swear, it’ll only take a few moments!” – which delayed us by centuries) and then towards a beach, where a steep set of rocky stairs led up mysteriously into the trees.
“I’ll race you up there!” Elliot said eagerly, and raced off up the stairs, with us close to heel. I mean, it’ll only be a few flights, right?
Only once we started to huff and puff we found out how many stairs there really were. Every step seemed to need all our energy; and Elliot definitely wasn’t racing us anymore. Only the boat crew seemed totally relaxed, totally used to this experience.
By the time we reached the top, we were gasping.
“Okay, now we go down!”
These words did not have the effect the captain most likely was expecting.
“Even more steps?”
“I’m so tired, I just want to have a rest for a bit!”
“Who wants another photo?”
I smiled, and I caught the eye of one of the crew members, who smiled back and did the cuckoo sign with his finger on the side of his head.
“Well, I’m going,” I shrugged, and started following the captain down the steps on the other side of the hill, leaving the others gaping. “At least it’s downhill!”
By the time they caught up with us, we were back onto the rickety walkway, where the path was much more slippery and wet, and shrieks of delight could be heard from not far away.
We were there.