Nicholas Samaras, Trikeri

Diving in South Pelion, the arrow in the bow of the Centaurs

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I was born in Germany and grew up in Thessaloniki, where I live and work. I change neighbourhood every few years but I never move too far away.

The best holiday I’ve ever had was in South Pelion.If mythical Pelion was the land of the Centaurs, South Pelion would be the arrow in their bow!

Sharp and wild to look at, with bushes and shrubs clinging to powerful rocky formations, it is a destination for nature lovers who find themselves enchanted by little villages that time seems to have forgotten.

If mythical Pelion was the land of the Centaurs, South Pelion would be the arrow in their bow!

The Trikeri- Agia Kyriaki- Paleo Trikeri islet “triangle”, offers excitement and beauty that would take several pages to describe! Agia Kyriaki is the real gem with its island-like charisma, traditional shipyard, picturesque harbor, narrow streets of cobbled stone, two or three taverns serving fresh fish and an old-time café doubling up as convenience store, which you are bound to fall in love with. A few products stacked on its shelves, tables set for groups of visitors round the back, a gas stove and old, dented cooking pans all add to the charm.

There are a couple of experiences that no visitor to Pelion should miss: trying out one of the hiking itineraries – my favourite being the one from Agia Kyriaki through olive trees and orchards all the way up to the pleasantly breezy square of Trikeri – and spending a few days scuba diving in order to enjoy the incredible sea bed which lies beneath the deep blue of the Aegean. The “Kali Tihi” shipwreck, which can even be seen from the surface with the help of goggles, is a must!

I realized that I had forgotten to remove the cover of the lens in the waterproof casing!

On a visit to Trikeri, we organized a two-day scuba diving trip to “Faros tou Lefteri”. It meant waking up very early and several hours driving to the “Katigiorgi” harbor. We dived to the shipwreck and when we reached maximum depth I realized that I had forgotten to remove the cover of the lens in the waterproof casing!

Now I can laugh about it but at the time… When we got back to Agia Kyriaki for dinner, some old sponge divers joined us. They had heard about our diving and came along to share stories from the old times. These were truly emotional and priceless moments.

My favourite place in South Trikeri is “Agia Vaso”, a diving spot. We dived there for three consecutive years discovering orange gorgonies the first time, precious purple gorgonies the second time and precious black coral the third time!

What makes Greece so lovable is the bright light of its long days and the warm, blue waters.These two features also make it such a unique diving destination.

We had the freshest fish and authentic Pelion mountain delicacies in Agia Kyriaki but I will never forget the humble fish soup we had at “Manolas” one Easter evening after a downpour; the taste and scent of the sea right there on our spoons.

The last destination I visited was Agios Nikolaos and Ierapetra on Crete and the next one I am planning to visit is Santorini on a diving project!

For long distance travelling I prefer the plane which can be really affordable with the right amount of planning and for domestic explorations I prefer the car, which is always loaded for an expedition.

I like travelling with the family. Diving takes at least two, as does carrying the equipment and whenever we can, we bring our dog along too.

I’m sure it sounds clichéd but I never travel without my camera.

The most interesting souvenirs I usually bring back from every destination, are my underwater and land photos in the memory cards of my camera. As soon as I get home, I start selecting the best which make up the album for that trip. The top ones are sent off to international competitions and uploaded onto my website for all to see!