The Noerthern Sporades

Rob and Jacky Black
Wed 3 Aug 2011 13:44
39 20.6 N 24 04.1 E
Nisos Kira Panayia  - Ormos Planitis
Thursday 28th - Friday 29th July
We had a fairly quick passage to this island - actually managed some proper sailing for a time but the wind didn't get up much and we ended up
having to drop the jib and motor sailed the last couple of hours with a rather lumpy quartering sea which meant having to  re-arrange stuff below and tying
on the water containers as they were slipping across the cockpit floor! In fact at one point the portable generator almost took off so that too had to be re-stowed below.
Once we arrived in the bay all was calm and it proved to be a delightful spot. There were few boats there and a good selection of places to anchor. A couple of yachts were
anchored and tied back to the rocky shore but with all that room we chose to free anchor which is so much easier and allows the boat to swing to the wind which means we
get a good breeze through the forward hatch helping to keep the temperature down in the cabins. The water was crystal clear and turquoise blue - not much to see except a few small fish
but the temperature according to our boat sensor was 33.2 so we were both soon in for a long swim. This island is part of the National Marine Park of Alonnisos and has been uninhabited for many years apart from a solitary Monk Priest who lives in the small monastery on the island to look after the olive trees and the numerous goats. We were soon treated to several small herd of goats( 4 or 5 animals per group) as they came down to the shore and proceeded to wade out and scrub around on the rocks- goodness knows what they were looking for but it made interesting viewing. We soon got to distinguish between the different types some were large (almost donkey size) with black rumps and fawn bodies; others were black and white and then there were some much smaller all black ones.They certainly didn't seem to mix at all and as one group arrived the other would move back away from the beach and up into the heavily wooded hillsides.
Early on Friday morning Rob saw what he thought was an eagle but when we read about the species to be seen here we found out it was probably and Eleanora's falcon which is known to inhabit the area and breeds here too.
We didn't see any of the very rare Monk Seals which are known to breed here - though not on this particular island. In fact it was to help conserve this very endangered species that the Marine Park was formed.
We spent a couple of nights here and then decided to move to the southern end of the island to another well recommended sheltered bay. We had a fairly rough ride down the eastern side of Panayia a fairly brisk NW wind was bringing in a big swell - in hindsight we should have gone round the long way and taken the eastern route!. However on arrival at the next anchorage we found another delightful series of bays with calm water and plenty of space to anchor. Again there was lovely clear water and so we enjoyed another couple of nights just relaxing and watching the world go by - well the goats and the few other yachts and cruisers that came and went! On Monday morning we decided we should make a move and get back to some civilization as we needed bread and a few other supplies. We were up early and were astonished to witness a small group of 5 horses 3 being ridden side-saddle and two being led as they picked their way down from the hilltop towards the beach near us and then disappeared off up another hill and out of view! Goodness knows where they had come from or where they were going but we suspect they had been visitors to the monastery.
We left this lovely island and headed for Alonnisos.