A Greek Odyssey – Part 2 – Alonnisos underwater

In late August I was back in Europe, and spending a relaxing fortnight with my parents and brother on the Greek island of Alonissos. Located off the East coast, Alonissos is a beautiful island in the Northern Aegean, and the heart of a large marine park.

This was a return, or a reunion of sorts, it being a regular holiday destination for my family and a place I had visited with them years ago. It’s a rocky island girded by abundant seas and in the heat of a late Hellenic summer (after most of the crowds and mosquitoes have left) is an amazing place to visit. We spent our time busy with the normal holiday activities; reading, relaxing, eating as much local food as we could, painting, walking, tearing around dirt roads on motorbikes and quadbikes, cycling, snorkelling.

The aforementioned marine park is probably the main reason we keep returning, as the diversity and volume of sea life is amazing. I was lucky enough to get to play around with an underwater camera (which I managed to break by exceeding the depth limits just before seeing cuttlefish and a flying gurnard, much to my chagrin). Many of these photos were published on my parent’s blog, which I have hopefully managed to reblog properly so you can click through to read it. You’ll have noticed this is part two; part one can be found by clicking through and following the links from there. This one has more of my shots in it though, so I thought I’d just go directly here. I’m hoping this will also allow you to click through to read about their travels around Europe on a three month sabattical, including photos my dad took of a wild bear in the forests of Slovenia. Check it out!

 

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Taking time out

Reports suggest that much of the Mediterranean is over fished, polluted and damaged by human activity.  The Alonnisos Marine Nature Park was established by the Greek Government in 1986 and around the rocky coasts of Alonnisos the water is stunningly clear and pollution free.  At the end of summer the water is warm and offers wonderful snorkelling.

As I found out with my blurry efforts last year, it is much harder than it looks taking good photos underwater.  Not only do the fish keep moving but so do you, making it very hard to hold the camera steady.  This year we gave the camera to our son Jonathan, a qualified diver and good at holding his breath underwater.  He did an excellent job.  Enjoy.

Much of the sea bed is covered in sea grass, an important nursery area for young fish.

The sandy bottom is where to look for flatfish…

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