All of a sudden, the day became night. Lightings and thunders began to tear the black horizon in every direction. Dense fog covered the sea. The sea into the port began to «boil» through the fog, looking like a movie scene.
There was literally a chaos. The ropes were crackling in their bindings, the boats were clobbering each other, while several objects were thrown forcefully into the sea by the demoniac air.
This whole mess kept for only half an hour, still looking like a century.
The storm passed, until calmness returned to the harbour and the sun began to emerge slowly among the few clouds. After some time we approached the rib. The cruising tent had sunk in the sea and the deck was full of waters. The clouds disappeared completely and the bright sun gave back to the sky and sea, their beautiful blue colour. We found a chance to dry our stuff and empty the rib from the waters.
At recent years, due to global warming, extreme weather phenomena appear very often, especially in the northern Aegean. Storms erupt suddenly and last for several days. Torrential rains, sudden temperature drops and countless lightning tear the horizon from one end to another. Intense and dangerous weather conditions that we weren’t used to face in our seas. The double and triple waterproof covers, with which we protect the tent-room, are now a necessary part of the basic equipment of the rib.
Despite our episodic arrival, the remaining days were passing very beautiful in the island. We explored Skyros from one edge to another.
It is one of our biggest islands in the Aegean, with a population of 3000 inhabitants. Isolated from the rest of Sporades, it is almost an hour's cruising from Skopelos and Alonnisos, when the sea is calm. A lonely presence in the heart of the Aegean...
It is connected by sea with the port of Kimi, from which is 22 nm.
However, Skyros is one of our most beautiful islands, and its beautiful corners fascinate every visitor. Its coastline is really long with numerous large and small bays, therefore it consists an ideal destination for sailing holidays.
Skyros seems to be a composition of two completely different islands, with sharp contrasts, linked together by a mainland isthmus width of about three kilometres. The northern part, where mount Olympus rises to 400 meters, gathers all the vegetation of the island, with dense forests that descend to the sea. The southern part of the island where Kohilas mount rises to 793 meters is extremely barren and rocky. It is a landscape that prepares us for the bare rocks of Cyclades, which are located a few miles southern. Around Skyros there are many islets, the most main of which are Skyropoula, Valaxa, Rinia and Sarakino.
This side of Skyros is characterized by the inhospitable coasts and the steep slopes falling imposingly into the sea. It is a wild coastline bitten by the sea and the strong north-eastern winds. Rarely will we meet a calm sea in this coastline.
In the eastern side, there is the small settlement of Molos with few residents and small whitewashed houses in short distances between them. The fishing port of the village is quite spacious but with shallow depths, ranging from half to one meter. With its entrance facing south-west, it offers security to all the wind directions, making it an ideal place for overnight, while it is very easy to reach the main village of Skyros on foot.
The town of Skyros is built on the hillside, on top of which the Venetian castle dominates. There is nothing to remind us of the rest islands of Sporades. The first impression that gets in our minds is that we are in Cyclades, because of the architecture of the houses with the flat roofs.
Walking through the narrow streets with colorful bougainvilleas we will discover the traditional Aegean architecture, which combined with the particular local specialties, it creates magnificent images full of beauty and harmony. Our ascent to the monastery of St. George is a unique experience. It is built on the castle, decorated with wonderful frescoes and belongs to the Holy Mount of Athos. From here the view over the Aegean is spectacular.
Just two miles southern of Molos, there is the large bay of Achili, from where Achilles sailed to Troy. Here the new marina of Skyros lies, with a capacity of 150 berths.
Southern of the bay of Achilli the landscape changes. The slopes fall steeply into the sea, creating impressive images. This whole part till the southern cape Lithari hasn’t got any harbors. Just before the lighthouse at south, beautiful caves are formed with waters of amazing colors.
At this side we find one of the largest and safest bays of Aegean, named Tristomo which extends from east to west and reaches 2 nm length. The south side of this bay is protected by the islets of Platia and Sarakino.
Thus the best anchorage, is the bay of Glyfada located on the southern shores of the islet of Sarakino. It's a great long and narrow bay of 500 meters length with an amazing beach in the end. Its entrance faces the south and great attention is required to find it because of its narrowness.
On this lonely inlet we can enjoy the ultimate peace and calmness. In this wonderful corner we always prefer to overnight on board. If you feel like walking and exploring, the ascent to the top of the islet, that is almost 130 meters, will reward you with unforgettable views of the sea. From the top, when the winds blow forcefully, the whitewashed sea offers a fascinating spectacle, while in our little shelter the serenity prevails.
Going to the western coast of the island, that are hiding truly magical corners, we first encounter the large bay of Kalamitsa. With a diameter of up to 3 nm it is protected at the west by the mountains of the islet Valaxa and at south by the rocky islets of Diavatis.
The main port of Skyros named Linaria is located on the north side of Kalamitsa bay and provides safe shelter from north winds. In this place everything is literally near to us, such as small cafes, taverns, grocery stores, tourist shops and rooms for rent. And of course the gas station, just a few meters from the dock is making our refueling very easy. There are taxis and buses that depart every one hour to the main village of Skyros which is 10 km far.
Passing by the narrow channel of the islet Valaxa just in our right side the cove Pefkos is formed on the inlet of which there is a large sandy beach and a small dock to tie up the rib. Just after Pefkos, we meet the beautiful bay of Agios Fokas. An amazing landscape with pine trees embracing the sea welcomes us. A small wooden pier where the small fishing boat of the old man Manolis is always moored, a tavern and a few rooms to let are the only things we find. Nestled in the small stone terrace of the tavern, we can enjoy unique moments together with original people beside the sea. This isolated corner is one of our favorite ones and we always try to spend some time here.
Exactly opposite Agios Fokas, within 7 miles about, there is the islet of Skyropoula. The south side hosts an amazing bay with incredible turquoise waters that gives nice shelter from the north winds. Still, it needs to pay attention when we approach, due to the many reefs just before the entrance.
A few miles northern of Agios Fokas, in the bay of Kalogria, we find the small village of Atsitsa. A few houses and a tavern on the beach make up one of the most authentic corners of the Aegean.
We tied up the rib on the small and wooden pier and went for a walk in this peaceful place. Here the time passes very slowly, away from any tourist development.
In the next 5 miles from Atsitsa till the north lighthouse of the island, there are stunning beaches hidden in the pines, true paradise for those who discover it.
We still had three days left of our holidays, but we already felt truly refreshed and more alive than ever.
Taking the course of return, silently and thoughtfully, with our eyes stuck on our bow, we seemed to thank it for the magical images that gave us for once more…