The M/S Christina

Today we’ve been cruising around the Ionian aboard the M/S Christina, a sailing boat based in Nydri/Νυδρί.

Unlike the larger boats which run trips from Nydri, the M/S Christina takes just 55 passengers, and each passenger has a sunbed for relaxing. You are journeying in comfort and style!

There are a number of stops which the boat makes; first you pass the Papanikolis/Παπανικολής cave. On our way there a pod of dolphins came alongside and after emerging at the front of the boat, they followed in our wake behind the boat for a while, some of them even jumping out the water.

Our first swimming stop came a bit later, at Formikoula/Φορμίκουλα – a tiny island but with a nice beach for swimming from the boat. Back on board, as we left the bay we caught in the distance a glimpse of the very rare Mediterranean Monk Seal. It is believed there are fewer than 500 remaining in the wild in this region, and 700 globally.

We headed to our next stop Kastos/Καστός. With less than 50 permenant residents, the island is very quiet in the Winter but is popular with the yachting crowd during the Summer when the island’s only shop opens. We stopped in the port for a walk around the village.

Then it was on to our next stop, a beach on the Northern tip of Kastos, for another swim and then a buffet lunch on board the boat. Before we left there, time for another quick swim.

Then we moved on to the island of Kalamos/Κάλαμος, passing by its main village we made our way to the Asproyiali beach for another swimming stop. We then headed for Skorpios/Σκορπιός; a private island owned by the Onassis family but leased to the Russian Rybolovlev family for the next 99 years.

Most of the beaches are cordoned off to the public – the smallest one has been kept for tourists. We were however warned not to go beyond the beach, else we would be shot. The island is patrolled 24 hours a day on foot, by car and by speedboat. We timed our approach well; the much larger Nydri Star II and Nydri Star III boats came in just as we were leaving; the hundreds of people crammed aboard these boats all crowding on to the small beach which clearly wasn’t big enough for them all.

Then we headed back to Nydri, and we drove back to our apartment in Lygia. It had been a fantastic day, not just because of the swimming and the islands we visited, but also because of how much space we had on the boat and how comfortable the sunbeds were.