Sailing The Sporades, Oh Mama Mia!
Greece is famous for it's islands and it easy to see why. There's over 1000 of them and most people have heard of the more famous one like Mykonos in the Cyclades and Corfu in the Ionian. The Sporades islands are not so well known and to me, that's a big plus. I've sailed out of Skiathos a few times now, south towards Skyros and east to Skopelos and Alonissos. It's Skopelos that put the Sporades on the map as it's where the movie Mama Mia was filmed. Until that film, the islands where probably not on the sailing radar as much as they are now. Having said that, the sailing in the Sporades I have done has never been crowded.
So on this trip, we had a group of 3 Australians, 2 Americans, 1 French and 1 Brit. An interesting gaggle of people if ever there was.
The Sporades Islands, Greece
One of the highlights was sailing north up to the uninhabited island of Kira Panagia. There's a very narrow entrance to the anchorage but once through, it opens up to this enormous bay with so many options for safe anchoring. The isolation was wonderful and we were entertained by the goats that were the islands only inhabitants, save for a few fishermen that have a shack there. I've included a quite a few photos from the island that hopefully give you a good impression of what's actually like. We kept bumping into a solo sailor over the course of the week in different bays and passages. He was sailing this magnificent wooden boat that was indeed a thing of great beauty. You could tell he was completely at ease making his way amongst the various islands. I've got some nice shots of his boat in the photo gallery.
I sailed this boat up from Athens and our crew joined us on Skiathos
We kept bumping into this solo sailor everywhere we went
Was it relaxing? Yes I think so!
His boat was absolutely superb. A thing of great beauty :-)
Our anchorage on Kira Panagia
The splendid isolation of Kira Panagia
Taken on the island of Kira Panagia. It's uninhabited except for these fishermen (and the goats)
A world apart.... where time has stood still
Yours truly just taking it all in - Kira Panagia
This show the very narrow entrance into the bay and anchorage. Goat spectators.
Threading the eye of the needle as we head back out to sea
The goats of Kira Panagia
Our solo sailor friend again. Off the north of Alonissos this time.
Nathalie enjoying some quiet time
We anchored off this little beach on Skopelos and stopped for a swim and lunch. Sublime.
Our lunch spot off Skopelos
Our base for the week was Skiathos. I enjoyed taking Nathalie to the taverna that sits on top of the point that overlooks the town. Nestled amongst the pine trees, it's just enchanting. A taste of what you think visiting the Greece islands should be. Once we sailed over to Skopelos, we all split for the day and did our own exploring. We hired a car and drove the length of the island to find the chapel that featured in the wedding scene from the movie. It's not that easy to get to so on the day, we were there by ourselves. Always nice when you are not a fan of tourist throngs. It never ceases to amaze me the effort and difficulties that were overcome to build such churches in ancient times. We had a hard enough time climbing the cliff face to the chapel via a vertical stainless steel stairway/ladder. How on earth did they manage to build this centuries ago??
The heavens about to open at our anchorage off Alonnissos
This was after the rain started to ease off!
That's our boat at anchor on the right
This is the chapel featured in Mama Mia. It's an epic walk to reach the top. We didn't see Meryl.
At anchor and enjoying dinner and some vino
My favorite saying is, "things could be worse"
Sailing gets a bit stressful at times