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Our Wakes: 2021

The Chalkidiki region: (July and August 2021)
After having spent several days around Alonissos, we decided to move towards Panagia island  where we would meet friends who were sailing there from Turkey. Our friends had spent three  years in Turkey and now wanted to return to Greece. The island of Panagia is mostly deserted,  but 2 monasteries can be spotted on the hills. You  can  visit the monasteries, but you have  to  climb a lot and only in the  early afternoon when the temperature is at its highest. North of  Panagia there is a beautiful bay, well protected from nearly all winds. Only a few goats break the  silence in the   morning. It is in this beautiful bay that our friends arrived. After a few days, we decided to  move both boats towards the Chalkidiki region located north of Panagia. Chalkidiki is easy to  recognize on a map because it is a nearby island located in the Northern part of the Aegean sea  with three long fingers pointing southwards. For sailing boats, the middle finger also called  Sithonia and the Eastward finger, called Akte, is worth visiting. While we were moving towards  the middle finger, we started to see the impressive mount Athos (2200m altitude) locatedsouth  of Akte. In the late afternoon, we arrived at the southern tip of the middle finger in the harbor  of Koufos. This little harbor is not very well maintained, but it offers good protection from the  wind from all wind directions. When the weather allowed us to sail, we decided to move along the  West coast of Sithonia where we could anchor for the night as there were many nice places. The  water was   relatively clear, but infested with jellyfish. The jellyfish were not too dangerous and could  easily be seen by keeping an eye out while swimming. There are also two marinas along the West  coast. The best equipped is the Marmaras marina, but this marina prefers very large yachts and  so we were not interested in going there. A little further northward is the port of Nikiti that  can accept a few visiting yachts on week-days. This port is nice and has a supermarket, butchers  and a good bakery so it is a good place to resupply the boat. If you need to change crew, the  place is convenient as a road connects it to the city of Thessalonica. Later we moved towards  the east side of Sithonia. There are a few little places where you can anchor, but the place to go  is the Diaporos islands that offer plenty of good anchorages. It is also a spot where a lot of  people from Thessalonica come for the week-end to rent a little motor boat or jet-ski. Those  boats are a real pest during the day as they are very noisy, but when the sun goes down, they  suddenly all disappear. The Diasporas islands offer nice walks and when the weather is clear, you can see Mount Athos. Every day we looked  at the forecast to see if it was good to visit the West side of Athos. Akté is occupied by the  Monastic Republic of mount Athos and it is strictly forbidden to anchor nearby. So, to have a  look at the various monasteries of Akté you need to continue to sail once you have sailed there.  We decided to return to the Diasporas islands, which meant a 60-mile journey. We started our  trip using the engine, but the breeze picked up at around 11am, so we could start sailing. The  monastic Republic of Mount Athos is considered a special territory in Greece with its own set of  rules. This place can only be visited by males as no females are allowed. These rules allow the  monks to concentrate their minds only on the Virgin Mary. Female animals are not allowed in the  republic, either, with the exception of chickens (the yolk of the egg is a key ingredient of the  iconic painting) and the cats (to kill the rats and mice). The special status was recognized by the  European community in 2002, also granting them  financial and legal autonomy. Today 2,000  monks live in the various monasteries, but even if their numbers are going down, they are still an  important community. President Putin visited them in 2016 which was a Russian election year.  Many believe that this was more of a photo-opportunity visit. The autonomy of mount Athos  allows them to remain largely above the Greek laws. They refuse to declare their wealth and  many people believe that they may have links to the Russian and Italian mafia. For us, the Mount  Athos region is very beautiful and we strongly advise you to sail along the coast. August is  probably not the best time as you can encounter some violent storms. A friend of ours was hit  by a local storm and had his 2 solar panels ripped off.  In around mid August, we decided to  leave the Chalkidiki region and move towards the island of Lemnos. Even if this place is highly  exposed to the Meltemi, we decided nevertheless to go there as we knew that the harbor offers  good shelter.
Panagia Mont Athos Diaporos Monastries on the West side of mount Athos Top of this page Previous page Next page Top of this page Previous page Next page Top of this Page Previous Page Next Page