A Guide to the Aegean Islands
Aegean Archipelagos is the most beautiful seascape on earth, every
rock in this sea seems to be associated with a four-thousand-year old
story. Long before Odysseus the Gods lived here. Apollo was born on
Delos, which was floating on the sea and was tied down by his
pregnant mother Leto to deliver him and his twin Artemis. Delos is
the center of the circle (kyklos) on which the Aegean world
rotates. Sitting on Mt. Kythnos, Delos' island mountain, watching the
sun turn across the sky, one is surrounded by the shadows of islands
floating across the sea.
Ideally this world should be explored with a sailboat. But since Odysseus' time such a journey has remained the domain of the fearlessly courageous: Poseidon will still persue the daring intruder with sudden fierce storms. Today the less adventurous can take one of the big boats of Blue Star Lines. Incidentally, the greatest sufferers at sea are the Island Greeks....
And do bring a lover with you! This is a most sensual landscape - The Gods and Goddesses are alive in every bay and every stone....
The North-Eastern Islands
PDF files to download and take along - (each
about 1.7 MBy = 25 pages letter-size)
Please do not download the above webpages to your computer wholesale, this will shut-down the website for a day.
Use the PDFs below instead. These printer files are not as luminous as the website, but they contain all pictures and text:
Ferry Boats and Schedules
Riding the ferry boats has always been one of my greatest pleasures of the Aegean. In the “old days” some of the rustiest, thrice recommissioned would plow the sea, and we lived down some frightning nights. Then two or three capsized in the island habors – the captain had been asleep – and before the Olympics the government forcefully retired anything older than 10 years. It was difficult to get to the islands in 2004, there were only the Blue Star Line boats left. I still would take them if I have the choice. But since the Aegean fleet has become much faster and reliable – if less quaint.,
go “steerage”, the only way we ever traveled – with a
sleepingbag – you don't need reservations, but you should still
obtain a current Timetable in Athens when you arrive at the Airport
or at the Syntagmata Tourist Information kiosk to confirm
that the connections and times are correct.
The following schedules may be helpful - they are never accurate:
Good general ferry informations are found in OpenSeas
Best instant Ferry Time Table: Shiptracking.eu
For the larger islands use the reliable, modern boats of Blue Star Lines (especially in bad weather!)
Sailing in the Aegean
Some of you, Patrick, Kate, and Ulysse are passionate sailors, you might entertain the idea of renting a boat..... A dream of mine since the 50s. But be aware the Aegean is no swimming pool. - I attach links to weather and boat rental services.
summer weather in the Aegean is dominated by Etesian winds (meltemi
in Greek) which come from the NE in the north and west Aegean and
from the NW in the south and east. Usually it is a light sailing
breeze of force 4-5 in the early morning hours but as the day
progresses it strengthens to 5-6 by the afternoon and subsides by
sunset. However from mid June to mid
September you can count on the
meltemi to become a gale of force 7-8
and occasionally 9. These gales usually last 3-4 days.
From October to mid May the probability is equal for either northerly or southerly winds. Winds of force 10 are not uncommon in the winter months. Violent thunderstorms are also probable by late October to early May. The southern winter winds are particularly treacherous and unpredictable.
See Winds by the hour
to Boat Rental Services:
Try the following Rental Agencies (bare and crewed):
Greek Island Sailing
Matt Barrett's Sailing advice
A useful overview of Greece sailing is given in Cruising/wiki includes a list of nautical charts to purchase.