Endangered animals like the Mediterranean Seal Monachus monachus and the loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta and endemic species like the Skyros Wall Lizard Podarcis gaigeae, Milos Wall Lizard Podarcis milensis, Milos Viper Macrovipera hanschweizeri are the natural, unique wealth of the Aegean Sea. On our way to discover them sea birds and dolphins will be our companions.
Day 1: We start our journey from the historical port of Syros, Ermoupoli. The day will be devoted to getting to know each other, a briefing on the Aegean ecosystem and settling down on the boat. You will have plenty of time to walk around the picturesque old town of Ano Syros.
Day 2: Sailing and dolphin spotting is on the agenda today. We will follow the stream from north to south towards Paros Island. Plenty of time for dolphin spotting with the aid of our hydrophone and for watching sea birds like gulls and cormorants that hang around in these waters. By late noon we will reach the small fishing port of Piso Livadi, where you can taste the local fish delicacies of Antonis.
Day 3: Our prow is pointing to the south, to the very heart of the Aegean, the ''small Cyclades'' complex. Some 50 islands, islets and rocks, giving the impression of an ''empty'' habitat to the unsuspected eye, are hiding an impressive variety of life. The next station of our “project” will be the unspoilt fishing port of Iraklia. The typical vegetation of the ecosystems here is phrygana. You will be surprised to discover that even a tiny rocky islet may be the home to tens of invertebrate species and even to many vertebrates including birds and reptiles, Aegean rock lizard, sand boa.
Day 4: Today's route is to the east. The sailing area we will cover is a well-known passage for dolphins. Despotiko, another small island, favorite meeting point for sailors in the Aegean, is where we'll end our small experiment. We will compare and analyze our results and photos, breaking the work with plunges in the crystal clear waters of the bay. At night you will be a witness to a unique spectacle: the glowing sea. Thousands of minuscule planktonic crustaceans produce light thanks to the phenomenon of bioluminescence.
Days 5-6: We’ll have an early start and enjoy a day sailing towards the unspoilt island of Kimolos. The area north of Kimolos and the neighboring uninhabited island of Polyegos harbor one of the most endangered mammal species in Europe, the Mediterranean Seal Monachus monachus. The Society for the Protection of the Seal (Mom), a NGO, plays a crucial role in the conservation of the natural habitat of the species and aims to turn the area into a national marine park so that the females give birth to their calves in the caves of the islands without any disturbance. We will visit the research station of Mom where you will hear the latest news concerning their work. Though the Mediterranean Seal is not exactly sociable, who knows, we may be lucky!
Day 7: One of the first islands to emerge from the sea, Milos has to present a quite unique fauna. Milos viper Macrovipera hanschweizeri is certainly the most interesting and rare animal in Europe. Its population is estimated to be less than 4.000 individuals and the Greek Law protects it with a special Presidential Degree. Milos wall lizard Podarcis milensis, the extremely rare grass snake Natrix natrix schweizeri and Milos green lizard Lacerta trilineata schweizeri are the three more endemic species of the Milos group.
Milos is the intermediate station for many migratory birds that use the Aegean corridor to reach Africa. Our visit point will be the small subsaline lake of Chivadolimni (lake of shells in Greek). Trekking time! All the aforementioned animals, plus the stripe-neck terrapin Mauremys caspica, could be found here, in this small oasis of water and vegetation in the midst of the general Cyclades aridness.
Note: The above route may slightly change due to the weather and factors beyond our control.
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