The difference between my last visit to Passage two years ago and in Oktober 2005 could not be more drastic. Instead of the annoying boat taxi rides to the slalom lagoon and the hours of waiting on the small boat dock, you now live right on the spot. From the restaurant, the pool and even from some of the appartments you have a perfect view of the dock and the slalom course. When it’st time for your ride, you simply walk down to the lagoon.
When you visit “Drepani” for the first time, you will quickly notice that this is finally a resort that has been built for waterskiers. It is not the usual hotel that offers waterski as an additional service to attrack more guests. Drepani is a place to waterski and to stay. Not the other way around.
As a waterski enthusiast, you know that you spend most of your time to recover between your sets. Marianna and Sotiris knew that and made all efforts to make that time as pleasant as possible. The resort is about 200 meters apart from the dock overlooking the lagoon. It consists of a clubhouse with a restaurant, a large terrace and a huge pool with a whirlpool. There is also a sauna and next year they will finish an additional gym. The clubhouse is equipped with a big LCD screen with video and DVD players attached. Needless to say that there are countless waterski videos available and that there is always something waterskiing relevant beeing displayed. You can bring your own video camera and branch it to the video or ask Sotiris to film you with the club camera. Beeing so close to the dock has the advantage that you can watch your last set in slow motion very quick after having skied.
There are 12 spacious appartments for the guests in a seperate building right next to the clubhouse. Nine of them are located on the first floor. They offer a bathroom with shower, a sofa, TV, telephone and air condition. All of them have large terraces with wooden deck chairs and a table. They made a great job by building large doors that slide open to both sides. This gives a wide view to the surroundings on the back side or to the pool with the slalom on the front side. Another proove that the Kyprios family does not do things by half is that these doors are also equipped with additional moskitonet and sunprotection sliders.
The two larger appartments in the base of the building offer a living room, a small kitchen, two bedrooms and two baths. The view out of the windows is not equivalent but the large terrace compensates for that.
It is quite hard to explain the way of living at the club but it is so special that I will try to give you the picture. As very active waterskiers, Marianna & Sotiris knew about the importance to have a place to “hang around” for their waterskie guests. A place where you can relax from your last set, have a chat with another skier about the new techniques or simply watch the others perform.
Exactly this is happening at Drepani. You get yourself a drink at the restaurant and while moving out, you see a skier adjusting his fin settings with a calipper. You have a chat with him and learn something before moving on to your deck chair at the pool. Another skier just comes back from the dock and you ask him if he has had a good set. Having everything together in one spacious complex creates a relaxing athmosphere.
These two images show a panorama shot taken from the pool. The upper image shows the first part while the next image displays the rest. There you can see the beginning of the island of Poros. The gap between the mainland and Poros is the place where the boats from and to Piraeus pass throgh on their way to the harbour of Poros.
How to get to Poros:
While most of the visitors I have talked to enjoyed the tranquility of the site, other told me that they would rather like to stay on the old base on Poros because there is more touristic infrastructure. Since Drepanis is located on the mainland, you will have to drive 5 minutes by cab or scooter to get to the village Galatas, just opposite of Poros. From there, you need to take a boat shuttle to the island of Poros.
The distance is only 200 meters and there is a fleet of shuttles departing all 10 minutes in both directions. The total travel time from the Drepani site to Poros city with its restaurants and clubs is 15 to 20 minutes. Not a lot but it is obviously easier to get there if you are staying near the old club base. Decide yourself what you value more. A poll from one Drepani season shows that 90% of the slalom skiers prefer to stay there.
You will probably arrive by plane at the new airport of Athens. It has been rebuilt and now offers spacious air-conditioned halls, shopping facilities, several restaurants and Internet Cafés.
From the airport there is a shuttle bus (Number X95) going straight to the port of Piraeus (Port no8). The busses are also top of the line, very comfortable and air-conditioned. It makes absolutely no sense to take a cab since it is as fast as the bus but will cost you $40 instead of $2,90 for the bus ticket. (Chances are also very high that the cap driver will overcharge you. Make sure to check the price before you enter any cab!!!)When you arrive at Piraeus, you have the choice to the large spacious catamaran ferry or the flying dolphins a hydrofoil ferry to Poros island. Both ferries will bring you there in about one hour. If possible, take the larger catamaran ferry and take your seat at the right-hand side because it offers a better view to the coastline during the trip to Poros.
After your arrival at Poros, take a cab and tell the driver to bring you to “passage” if you have boked your stay on the island. If you stay at Drepani, take a boat shuttle to galatas and take a cab to Drepani. All the cab drivers know both sites and will take you there in five minutes.
Since 2004 there is also the possibility to fly to Poros from the airport by helicopter. The drepani resort has a helicoptor landing site so if you want to get the maximum “time on the water” you can consider to fly there. The price depends on your luggage and ski size. Ask Marianna for the pricing if interested.
The old club base on the Island:
It sounds a bit odd to write “old club base”. Of course, the base on Poros is very well maintained and fully operational. The base consists of the “bar area”, a large pontoon with four waterski towboats and one special wakeboard boat. On the picture below, I am standing on the pontoon looking across the sea to the greek mainland that is only 800 meters away. It is about 9 oclock in the morning and you can see how calm the water is at this time of the day. The Drepani site is on the mainland on the right hand side of the picture.
View from the main pontoon to the greek mainland
The pontoon is huge and is always packed with skiers that are about to leave for their set or those who just came back and relax on the deckchairs. The three boats and the jet skies are attached to the pontoon. If you turn 180 degrees, you can see Poros Island and the school area with the bar, the pro shop and the terraces.
View from the main pontoon to Poros, with the school buildings
The atmosphere at the old club base on Poros:
As soon as you step out of the ferry, you will note that there is a drastic difference in the way of living between Athens and Poros. Everything slows down. Less traffic, no pollution, easy-going…
This is particulary true for the old club base and Drepani. From the very beginning you will feel the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that rules the place. If you are used to boot camp like waterski schools with strict timetables and guidelines, make yourself ready for a change. The difference between the old club base and drepani is that people at the old club base often leave the site to go to their rooms. Many of the guests rent a scooter and there is a constant “come and go” at the site.
The atmosphere of a waterski place certainly depends mainly on the attitude of the people in charge and the owners Sotiris and Marianna Kyprios are just the opposite of what one would call stressed and nervous people. They always have a smile on their face and you can virtually feel the passion they have for what they are doing.
Sotiri has a lot of enthusiasm in teaching people to ski and spends a lot of time in the boat while Marianna is more in charge of the organization of the school. This is not an easy job since there are constantly 15 to 60 visitors at the school every week throughout the year. Believe it or not, when I visited the place in September, they where already fully booked for Christmas!
The way of living at passage:
Let me try to explain how things work at passage by giving you some examples. You rarely see anybody run or shout. You may miss the boat shuttle going to Drepani because you are late or because they left early but somebody else will always get you there. Maybe a greek quest with an own boat. The visitors sometimes “shop” in the pro shop although nobody is inside. They will later tell Marianna to put it on the bill. All these small examples sum up to an uncomplicated atmosphere I have not often experienced in any other club before.
The bar & bistro:
The bar is the central meeting point of the old club base.
From the elevated terrace you have a great overview over the bay and the waterski pontoon with its waterski boats.
There is a constant coming and going. Wakeboarders come back from their run and discuss their personal bests or sometimes their “personal worst”. You see beginners having their first lessons and pros like the greek Wakeboard champion alike.
At the bar, you can order everything from fresh juices, coffee, sandwiches and salads to drinks and cocktails. There is always some music playing at the bar and the dock.
Just above the bar is the proshop where you will find all kinds of wakeboard & waterski gear. Gloves, skis, vests, T-shirts …
The owner Sotiris is the head coach of passage. He is a slalom specialist with an impressive skiing style. He holds various titles but his true passion is to pass his knowledge to his students and to see them progress. At Drepani, Martin is driving the slalom course skiers. He is also a very good slalom skier skiing at the 12 meter line. Everybody profits from Martins experience of pulling countless waterskiers. He has found his own ways to get skiers out of their old bad habits into a better style. Not to forget Dimitri, an old friend of Sotiris who is a regular guest at passage and an excellent coach as well.
It is interesting to note, that the laid back atmosphere at the school doesn’t conflict the seriosity of the skiing at all. The visitors and the coaches want to ski and they are all determined to improve. On the pontoon there is a lot of joking and laughing but in the course, you see serious skiing at all levels.
Some of my friends have asked me if they would make a fool of themselves by gooing to Poros as beginning waterskiers. It is just the contrary. Many of the “good” skiers have wasted to much time skiing on their own before going to a school. When they finally come to a place like Passage, the coaches are having a hard time to get them loose their bad habits.
I have seen “beginner” get into short line skiing after three years while others, including me, fight a year or longer to pass from one speed to the next. Obviously, due to the good conditions, there are a lot of very good skiers at Passage. But there are also guests who have never seen a slalom course and even those who learn skiing with two skis.
The passage team:
The passage crew shares the friendly and relaxed attitude of Marianna and Sotiris. I would like to point out Andonis (Toni) who saved my ski trip after some heavy falls with some massages.
And not to forget Maria the Drepani cook. She cooks evey day a different meal ranging from greeks style stuffed tomato to traditional steaks with fries. We originally planned to eat at Galatas or Poros but changed rapidly to havin lunch at Drepani instead.
Martin is the Drepani boat driver & coach
is a close friend of Sotiris and a very good coach
Massage, Reiki / Healing, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology
Runs the restaurant at the Drepani site with her husband Alki
The water conditions:
The crucial point for a waterski vacation is the water flatness. It is hard to progress if you fight constantly changing water conditions. The better you get, the more important this is.
The water conditions at the old club base:
The proximity of Poros to the mainland forms a sheltered channel with good waterski and wakeboard conditions. On the previous pictures you have seen that the sea rather looks like a bay or large river. Unfortunately this is not always the case since the wind blows sometimes just in line with the channel or ferry boats pass by.
One of the three slalom courses of Passage is located directly in front of the dock and you can see the skiers watch from the bar. Especially in the the morning the water is often excellent there and you can start directly from the main pontoon.
The water conditions at Drepani:
One might think that the lagoon is manmade but that is not the case. It has been formed by the fresh water coming from the mountains pushing here into the sea. So the Drepani lagoon actually is a mixture between salt and freshwater. Since it is very shallow, the boat can only go through a small channel in the middle of the lagoon.
Unfortunatel there are months when local winds cause problems in this well protected lagoon because they blow exactly into the slalom axis. But these winds are quite predictable and usually blow from at 11am to 6 pm making the water rougher. It is then a current scene to see absolutely nobody at the dock at 6 and a quarter of an hour later there the list is packed with 15 skiers.
There are waterski places that are better protected against the wind but all in all, with the three slalom courses, the water conditions are very good.
The island of Poros
Poros is a small green and lively island. In a way, it consists of two islands connected by a small strip of land. The city has been built on the smaller steep volcanic islet.
On the picture on the right hand side, you can see the city of Poros and the greek mainland behind. There are many scooter and bycicle rentals on the island and it is fun to use them there. You can take a trip around the island in about 40 minutes with a scooter. There is almost no traffic at all once you leave the main beach road for your trip.
If you know other greek islands, you ill be astonished about the abundant vegetation. While many of the other islands often resemble to deserts, Poros has a lot of pine trees and other vegetation. Some people call it the green isle.
This changes of course when you enter Poros “city” 🙂 The shore line is packed with restaurants and bars, offering all kinds of foods. There are also several Internet equipped restaurants and bars. If you plan for a longer stay, there is also a washing service right in that area.
Where to stay & what to do:
You have the choice between staying in the new Drepani appartments on the mainland or in a hotel or somewhere on the island of Poros. The school does not operate a hotel on the island but they have arrangements with several appartments and hotels that range from simple guestrooms to the luxurious Poros Image hotel. All of them are close to the old club base.
I strongly recommend to check first with Marianna before you book a hotel on your own. Depending on your needs (family, beginner, pro, Wakeboarder etc.) she can advise you where to go and often has better prices arranged with the owners.
There are many restaurants and bars on Poros. Two places I can recommend are the “Caravollus” and “the butcher”. As for the night life, there is little action on Poros. Some bars are open till late but if you compare Poros with other greek party islands, there is nothing big going on.
My personal advice:
If you want to spend a two wek vacation in Greece, fly to Athens, and visit the city for three days. Then take the ferry to Poros and spend the rest of the days at passage. If you are a beginner, or intermediate slalom skier, you can stay at the old club base or Drepani. As a more advanced course skier you should rather choose Drepani.
For both places it is a good idea to rent a scooter to get around quickly. There are some nice beaches on the mainland and on Poros. Make a morning set and spend the day on the “love beach” before having your second set in the evening.
Skier Günther from Germany after running a new personal best
Marianna at the 13 meter line; still smiling 🙂
Skier Ulf beeing late at buy number five
A pitoresque church next to the resort. The picture was taken from the skiboat.
A waterskiers way to attach a dog 🙂
The dock taken from the ski boat
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