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Our Bay Watch Vacation in Agistri

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 133

It was hard to believe that the areas of white foam that had not been there earlier were simply the result of wind and waves. Elsewhere in the bay, the sea was serenely calm and not a breath of wind could be felt. Where we stood on the beach was probably little more than a hundred metres from the source of the disturbances in the water. We strained our eyes to catch better glimpses of dark shapes that elusively appeared and disappeared in the same area of sparkling sea. Then two shapes leaped simultaneously out of the water and high into the air. We no longer had any doubts. "They are dolphins," we shouted, pointing for the benefit of the other people on the beach. "Look, over there, dolphins!"

There were probably less than twenty people on the entire beach. Most of them got up to see. Someone had binoculars which they kindly shared to allow us better views of the performance that continued for the next five minutes or more. It almost seemed as though the dolphins had caught site of their audience and had decided to provide us with an exhibition of leaping, spinning and tail slapping.

The beach from which we had watched the Dolphins that day is named Halikadha. It is a pretty, white pebble beach on the Greek island of Agistri (or Angistri as it is also known). Halikadha beach is reached by following the road out of Skala - the island's capital - past the harbour until the it turns into a track. The track climbs up to the top of low cliffs where Mediterranean pines fill the air with their intoxicating perfume. Following this coastal path across the cliff tops you soon catch glimpses of the beach below. There are two or three ways leading down but two are quite steep and it is best to take the path that leads out past a headland and then walk around this to get onto the beach. Not only is Halikadha in an especially pretty bay but it also happens to be the island's official naturist beach; so perhaps it was the sight of all those naked humans that inspired the dolphins to put on such a wonderful show that day!

Agistri is a tiny, pine covered island in the Saronic Gulf. Together with its close neighbour, Aegena and another six small islands, it is part of a group known as the Saronic Islands. Agistri has an area of less than fifteen square kilometres and it is possible for a fit walker to walk right around it in a day.

Our vacation in Agistri was in a self catering apartment on the outskirts of Skala. We visited the island in late May and the weather was delightful with cloudless skies and temperatures in the low seventies Fahrenheit (around twenty three degrees Celsius) most of the time. We reached the island by hydrofoil from Athens, a distance of only twenty two nautical miles away.

Skala is by no means an archetypical, picturesque, Greek Island village. It does however have a certain charm and several reasonably priced restaurants and bars. Most of the island's holiday apartments are to found in or around Skala but it is not a busy resort except at weekends when Athenians make the journey across the Saronic gulf to enjoy a break from the polluted atmosphere of the city.

We found all of the other villages on Agistri worth visiting, but this was because we enjoy walking and chose to walk to them by way of tracks through the pine forests and along pretty coastal paths. Limenaria is the most interesting. Were we not keen walkers, we could have boarded the island bus to get us there instead.

The church at Limenaria has a wonderful golden dome and the village dates back to the seventeenth century. A shop that is also a taverna sells local craftwork and there is an ancient olive mill in the village square.

Although Limenaria has no beach, other than a concrete slab and a sign boasting that this is the beach, we found a rocky cove nearby where we were able swim and sunbathe in preparation for the walk back to Skala.

A holiday in Agistri (or Angistri) will suit people looking for a quieter Greek island that is easily reached from Athens. Naturists looking for sandy beaches would be disappointed with the hard pebbles of Halikadha beach, the island's only nudist beach. But for others, the beautiful scenery, sense of remoteness and most of all the chance of seeing dolphins, will more than compensate. Probably the best way to enjoy Agistri is to visit it as part of a Greek island hopping vacation and to do so in the late spring when the pine scented hillsides are at their best. And, who knows, perhaps the dolphins will stop by to put on a performance for you too?

The author is a travel article writer and naturist. His website at http://www.bareplaces.com aims to provide travel tips and information for naturists and other travellers who might be interested in locating naturist resorts and beaches.

Source: EzineArticles
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