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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

May 2018

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. 

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??

Sailing The San Blas Islands

Sailing to the San Blas Islands has been one of my true sailing highlights. I was on a Lagoon 450 catamaran participating in the World ARC and were on our way to Panama City via the canal. We'd stopped in Colombia for a few days and the San Blas were just off the coast of Panama. 
Relatively untouched, we anchored off islands that had just a few shacks used by the Kuna Indian fishermen and their families. They moved from island to island in their small traditional sailing boats. Put us to shame I'm afraid.

Sailing the San Blas Islands

January 2015

The Kuna Indians from what I could see still live a pretty traditional life and their handwoven mola are incredibly colourful and intricate. The kids we met on one island we certainly pretty happy just playing and swimming amongst themselves. It was a pretty special time just getting a glimpse of how simple life could be. It helps when you live in a tropical paradise I guess!