Wednesday we had a lazy morning of reading, swimming and generally lounging around in Stafolos. We were in no hurry to leave or arrive at a new destination. Relaxation is the order of things for the next few days. We eventually left for Panormous where we had previously anchored on Skopelos. We rafted all 3 boats together in an area of the bay where we could optimize 270 degrees that evening. Tawny, Clara and I went ashore to BLO taverna and had lunch of souvlaki, spaghetti carbonara, cool sherbet and spent our day swimming on beach, reading books, and relaxing. Its an interesting gravel beach with a very gradual but deep slope into the bay making for an excellent swimming area. We had happy hour on boats and then Judy, Tawny, and I went back to BLO to get their excellent bacon wrapped souvlaki and bring it back to the boat for dinner aboard. The sunset was spectacular.
Posts Tagged With: Skopelos
Return to Panormous
It took us a little over 7 hours to reach very pretty Stafylos Bay from Skyros. Stafylos Bay features crystal clear waters of a protected bay surrounded by rugged and red cliffs with a sandy swimming beach and beach taverna in the center. Its fronted by a large headland (Stafylos Cape I believe) upon which a King (Minoan I believe) had established his castle and a city here at one time. There’s a huge cave under the headland in the entrance to the bay. There was also a later tomb found on the headland complete with treasures such as a gold hilted sword from the 15th century which now sits in the national antiquities museum in Athens. Here we had our best snorkeling and a nice meal at the cliff taverna with perhaps the sweetest feral cat we’d ever met.
Mama Mia Church
Tuesday, in the early afternoon, we left Skopelos Town for Alonnisos and the port of Patiriri. But first we had to make a detour by heading up the rugged northern windward coast of Skopelos island so we could see the Church of the Virgin Mary made famous in the film Mama Mia.
It was a bit cloudy and foggy out. We had pretty rough seas with a strong northerly blowing in. The previous night we had quite a wild wind and considerable lightning in the distance. Zeus and Poseidon apparently not pleased with a gaggle of Americans and ex-pat Brits from Dubai invading their waters.
As we approached the church it was more majestic precariously perched high on a seaward rock than it appeared in the movie. We found a few ABBA songs on our iPhone and played Dancing Queen as we approached the rock.
The seas were quite rough but we dropped anchor in the heavy seas and Tawny, Clara, and I braved the swell, boarded the dingy, and navigated the jagged rocks for the nearest shore.
Its was either 199 or 200 steps to the top (in the sweltering heat we lost count). The steps were treacherous but clearly a railing had been added in recent years to cope with the influx of tourists that visit the church.
The church was considerably smaller inside than the movie would make it seem. So small, it was difficult to take a photograph inside the dark and confined space. But it did contain a lot of religious art and artifacts.
Outside the church upon the grounds were a few weathered and ancient olive trees vibrating with the sound of cicadas in their branches.
And an outhouse perched on the edge of the cliff. This one put the long in the term commonly used for outhouses – long drop. No, I didn’t use it.
The heat was nearly unbearable and so we headed down and back to the boat to make our way to Alonnisos. The swell on the way had us all pretty nauseated. But as we rounded the south cape of the island the swell subsided and we could see the ancient city upon the hill.
On the way into Alonnisos we had a dolphin swim right up along our port side. “Dolphin off port”, I yelled, grabbing my camera. The dolphin swam to the bow wake and took two quick jumps before I could ready my camera. I missed it. Hopefully I’ll get another opportunity.
Going Off The Grid
Since last post we sailed from Skopelos Town up the rough Northern Coast of Skopelos to see the Mamma Mia church. Will post more about that later.
We sailed to island of Alonnisos to ports of Patariri and Votsi and on to Steni Vala. We’ve had wild unsettled stormy weather. Thunder, lightning, high winds and torrential rain.
We’ve had great food but spotty cell phone and wifi.
We’ve provisioned in Steni Vala and are heading to the deserted islands of the Lesser Sporades (Peristera, Kira Panayia, and possibly Psathoura and Yioura) We’ll be off the grid for a few days now until we land in Skyros early next week.
Limnonari Beach & Skopelos Town
Monday morning we pulled anchor on Panormous and headed down the southwest side of Skopelos island toward Skopelos town.
We saw dolphins as soon as we pulled out of the harbor.
The island is riddled with caves, in which many artifacts dating back to the early Minoans have been found. They conjure images of early mythical times.
We took a quick break for a swim at picturesque and secluded Limnonari Beach where you could sit in a hammock hung from an olive tree.
We pulled around the dramatic southern cape of Skopelos island and headed towards the harbor of Skopelos town. Skopelos town is about as picturesque as it gets, with 120 small churches and whitewashed homes with red tile roofs.
This was our first Mediterranean style moorage (where you drop anchor and back in between other boats and drop a gangway to the dock off the stern). Mooring this way was easier than expected, but others didn’t fare so well, with dragged anchors, crossing anchor chains with other boats, mooring to close (so when ferry traffic came in the wake caused the masts to cross, hit, and damage each-other). Gale force winds came up in the afternoon and started many of the boats to scramble, with several boats careening into each-other. Jim, Carol and Tom had to move their boat. The boat next to us had to move as well as he dragged anchor in the wind and smashed into the sailboat next to him. Several boats (not in our group) were damaged. The wind continued to build through the night and it was a maelstrom of lightning and high winds all night. Not a restful nights sleep as we had to periodically check the lines and readjust the bumpers to keep our moorage from cutting loose overnight.
Famous Skopelos Cheese Pie in Loutraki, Moorage in Panormos
We set sail from Skiathos for Skopelos on a hot and sunny day at our brisk swim on Tsoungria.
After a few hours we pulled into our fist port on Skopelos to a small port town called Loutraki to take lunch at a small family run taverna where I had my first taste of the famous Skopelos Cheese Pie (which is feta cheese rolled in phyllo pastry and then deep fried!).
From Loutraki we headed down the coast to anchor for the night in Panormos. Panormos is a striking anchorage, with a very protected cove and crystal clear waters. A few tavernas on a nearby secluded beach provided us dinner for the night.
Sailing the western coast of Skopelos today we passed the Dragon’s Schism where according to local legend: “…a homicidal dragon, which had been terrorizing people on the island, was preached to death by the island’s patron saint. Apparently Saint Riginos’ sermons were so boring that in order to avoid them, the dragon fled to the cliffs east of Cape Velona with the preacher following close behind. There, to escape any more sermons, the dragon threw itself off the mountain to it’s death, whence the cliff split apart. The dragon’s soul is said to rest in the abyss.