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RRAvarua_EricaJess_underwater_P1140137-2
Source: http://www.picionline.org/weblog/?p=354

Focusing on preventing debris underwater – One dive at a time
Local scuba divers and Skopelos Dive Center will Dive Against Debris today Saturday the 20th of September at Trahili bay on Skopelos. Trahili bay can be reached when you take the big dirt road that is in a big bend of the road before Panormos. After a couple of kilometers you reach the shore and the bay. As part of Skopelos Dive Center’s commitment to protecting the ocean, trained divers not only remove underwater debris such as plastic bottles, cans, nylon bags, fishing lines, etc, but also identify and document everything they see underwater in a larger effort to prevent marine debris.

The information below is from their press statement.
Marine debris – or our trash in the ocean – makes its way to our underwater environments by the ton. Skopelos Dive Center along with divers around the world are demanding a permanent reduction in and prevention of the garbage we create that damages sensitive marine ecosystems – even in some of the most remote corners of the globe.
“Our aims are: to aware local and guest divers in environmental issues, to clean up the beach and the bottom, to report the data from the survey dive and to initiate a temporal monitoring for the marine derbis”, Kostas Danis- Dive center’s manager, says. Skopelosnews has asked Kostas to take pictures and report back what was found at Trahili bay. Around 10.30 they will start to dive.

Scuba divers are uniquely positioned to tackle the global marine debris issue, to take action every day and prevent debris from entering the ocean. For more information on the ”Clean Up and Marine Debris Survey at Trahili”, visit https://www.facebook.com/SkopelosDiveCenter or contact us (info@sporadesdiving.gr , 0030 6940 448000).
“A small cove with sandy bottom at one of the remotest parts of Skopelos. We like visiting this place because of its small beach and the bright colors underwater. Unfortunately there is a lot of trash in and out of the water”, a local diver comments.
Dive Against Debris, organized worldwide by Project AWARE Foundation, a nonprofit organization mobilizing divers to protect the ocean, has an underwater approach that’s totally unique. It’s a year- round, citizen science program to tackle trash beneath the surface and address its negative impacts.
For additional information in Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris program and to join the global movement for ocean protection visit http://www.projectaware.org.
Skopelos Dive Center, support among others safe and response diving practices, conservation initiatives and field research in the extremely important and sensitive aquatic ecosystem of N. Sporades.
Project AWARE Foundation, a registered non-profit organization, mobilizes the world’s divers to protect our ocean planet – one dive at a time. Join the growing movement of divers striving toward a clean, healthy and abundant ocean planet. http://www.projectaware.org

Voyage to Linariá

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One of the Skopelosnews troika (the bald one…) found himself under the starry skies of our distant neighbour Skyros for last week’s final supermoon of the year. With the summer Achilleas ferry route through the Sporades about to end, and with Skyros itself winding down at the end of its short season, it was either then or next summer.

Discussions between the islands’ two mayors over the possibilities of greater collaboration on transport and other services have piqued many readers’ interests in the Achilleas. It is a remarkable and perhaps even unique project. It was the brainchild of Kostis Ftoulis, mayor of Skyros from 1971-4 and 1978-86, who in 1980 proposed that the islanders buy their own ferry. The municipality purchased 33 per cent of the newly-formed Skyros Shipping Company, while 2,800 islanders chipped in what amounted to two per cent of shares each (the first ferry, the Anemoessa, cost in the region of 36m drachmas, and required a further 6m refit; Achilleas cost eight million euro). The company runs a service between Kymi and Skyros every day of the year bar the four days the ship spends in dry dock every October for service checks, and makes a modest profit while charging just eleven euro between Skyros and Kymi, and twenty-four between Skopelos and Skyros (the latter being a near-seven-hour journey, involving an hour-and-a-half’s wait for a connecting bus for islanders at Kymi). Twenty-three crew are employed in the summer, twenty in winter, with a permanent office staff of five. Thanks perhaps to regular renovations, it is one of the most comfortable ferries our peripatetic domehead has travelled on, with a ‘distinguished’ or proti thesi class cabin, wifi, and a pleasing lack of televisions jammed on daytime soaps. According to Kostis Ftoulis’s son Stamatis, general manager of the company, its Alonnisos/Skopelos route was an ‘immediate success’ when it was first introduced in limited form in 2008.

As the ferry reaches Skyros late and leaves early, our domehead chose to stay in the port of Linariá, on the west coast but fifteen minutes by bus from the capital, Skyros. Linariá is one of the loveliest ports he has visited, with room for barely more than half a dozen yachts in its tiny limani, a few hotels and rooms and half a dozen restaurants open most of the year, and beaches nearby. Most accommodation ‘in’ the handsome capital is in fact a good two-four km outside town, in the (rather dull) seaside areas of Magazia and Molos. Even though much of this part of the island recently lost its broadband service after an OTE snafu, he would recommend Linariá as a base for visitors, in particular the Lykomides rooms (where, to avoid accusations of payola, he paid the going rate). Probably the most sophisticated port in the Sporades (the work of volunteers, our man was told), it provides bath facilities, bike racks, shopping and garbage trollies, wifi, a dedicated website and even a small open-air library for yachties, and has notices informing visitors that the port is a pooper-scooper zone.

Beyond here and the capital, and a few smaller settlements, the island’s 220-something square kms are largely wild: bare and Cycladean in aspect in the south-east, forested and Sporadean in the north-west, home to migrating Eleanora’s falcons in summer, herds of semi-wild dwarf ponies and, above Tris Boukes (‘three mouths’) bay, the burial place of poet Rupert Brooke, who died aboard a French hospital ship moored in the bay in April 1915, just days after his famous poem, ‘The Soldier’ (“there’s a corner of a foreign field that is forever England”), had been read during Easter Sunday mass in St Paul’s cathedral. Not many who know the poem know also that Brooke was a Fabian, but a Fabian who combined his leftie politics with his patriotism.

Skyros has a very short ‘high season’ – it was over by the first week of September – although capital and port remain open through the year, and the Shipping Company and tourism volunteers are developing culture and activity programmes to extend the season and attract more visitors (the airport at the north of the island, currently used only by Aegean and Sky Express, is expecting its first ever charters, from France, in 2015). They particularly welcome visitors from their neighbouring islands, and those same neighbours may be surprised at just how cheap the cost of living on the most remote Sporadean island is.

Mighty Proteus

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A photo from 06:30 Tuesday morning during the loading of F/B Proteus for its journey to Volos. The photo enlarges nicely with a “click”.

Name that bug

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We spotted this impressive former member of the insect kingdom prone and quite dead on a street in the Kastro area yesterday, but were unable to identify it. It had a wingspan of around three inches and a large yellow and brown striped thorax. At least, we think it was a thorax. Maybe one of the teeming multitudes of entomologists among our readers can help us name it.

After the rain

This really nice photo was taken by our friend Harald at the Glossa end of the isle.
He said: “a view from our hill, after the rain, today”
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We received the photo at 18:30 today and assume the beautiful shot was taken in the late afternoon.
Thanks, Harald!

Fagri

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These big fishes were playing the leading role a couple of days ago when we were trying to buy fish. Not only from the fishing boats you can buy fish, there are also several cars. You can find them usually in front of the Skopelos port entrance and depending on the season they sell many different kinds of fish. This is fagri, a fish unique to Mediterranean waters. It has been variously referred to as a variety of red porgy, of white snapper and even pink sea bream. Source http://milos.ca/features/fagri

An original thank you

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Gillian Maude is very thankful to the health centre on Skopelos. They treated her so well a couple of months ago and Gillian wants to return the favour. The health centre needs new supplies and this is why she has made these beautiful bags that are for sale with all proceeds going to the health centre. The fabrics come from a company called Prestigious Textiles in England.

Jenny Nelson and David Shaw, who have an exhibition in Mercurius starting on Wednesday (see below), have kindly offered a table in Mercurius for Gillian to show her bags.

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