Archive for January 29th, 2015

While most locals were either voting or enjoying the post electoral sun in cafes and tavernas along the paralia, we decided to check on a story we had heard. The story was that, on January 25, the Giant Tortoise of Velanio makes its annual journey to the sea. Hard to believe and, believe me, we tend not to believe anything until we see it with our own eye.

With camera in hand and some protective gear just in case, we took a position behind a few rocks towards the far end of Velanio and waited. Sure enough at 1:00pm a curious rumbling and loud crunching came from the pine forest above. Something was coming down the mountain getting closer and closer. Suddenly a small pine broke with a thunderous crack sending a thing rolling and bouncing out of control down the steep decline and onto the beach. It was it.

Luckily landing on its feet (we are not versed in tortoise tipping, especially giant ones) the tortoise moved steadily seawards before finally plunging in (score 9.5!). It wallowed, it lolled, it floundered (only once), and reared its head in obvious delight, and lumbered out of the sea and shook off.

As our new “friend” (facebook) searched for a path back up the mountain to its home in a secluded glen, we reflected on the events we had just witnessed wishing that others had been there to observe this unusual event. Our thoughts are with the tortoise, that it has a good year, and hope to see it again next year followed by a gaggle of little ones!

We are happy to share the above photo as proof.

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Skiathian signs off

Skiathian homepageWe are sad to report that pun-lovin’ expat (no hyphen there, Ian) Ian Knights, the one-man band behind our neighbouring island’s lively The Skiathian blog, is calling it a day, although the blog archive will remain online. He and his family have decided to relocate back to England to continue his wife Kamila’s cancer treatment there (we reported their crowd-funding appeal last October, which raised just under €7,000, but probably still some way short of the actual cost here). For the past five years, The Skiathian has provided an independent and affectionate look at daily life on our busier archipelago sibling, and we feel sure that readers will join us in wishing them kali tiki, good luck, and hoping that we will see Ian, SWMBO – She Who Must Be Obeyed – and Junior back in the Sporades soon. Kalo taxithi, folks.

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