Spirit of Discovery blog
Entering the volcanic crater of Santorini from the established, northern route is my preferred method of approach. The other two gaps on the western side are considerably shallower and, volcanoes and Greek hydrographic surveying being what they are, I prefer to stay safe.
There is only one small spot in which it is shallow enough to anchor here, and normally this is bagged very early on in the day by the eager, typically Italian or Greek, shipmaster. Today however we found ourselves alone in the crater and having located said shallow spot using our echo sounder, dropped the pick, so to speak.
It was a glorious, cloudless day as the local tender boats commenced running guests ashore just after 08:00, although the air cooled by the rocky land overnight was blowing near gale-force initially down onto the warmer seas in the crater – a typical early morning phenomenon here.
A winding, cobble track zigzags up to the picture postcard white-washed town of Thira, perched on top of the crater. In days gone by, donkeys used to be used to transport tourists from Santorini old harbour up this track to the town, at about 1000ft elevation. Fortunately it seems the donkeys have now retired to a better life, leaving the cable-car and those keen to walk to make the trip (and the cobbled track pleasingly free from donkey dung).
Organised tours today visited ancient lighthouses, remote villages, highly commended Greek tapas spots, historic Minoan sites and even volcanic vineyards for those brave enough to taste some Santorini wine. Spectacular views down into the crater can be afforded from many of the sites around the rim.
As the sun neared the horizon and with all smiling adventurers back on board, we weighed anchor and headed back out of the northern entrance towards another must-see Greek Island: Mykonos…
Captain Kim Tanner
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