On September the 10th our team traveled to Alonissos for the ancient wreck of Peristera.
When we arrived at the island we were welcomed by our partners, Seacolours Dive Center & Triton Dive center. Professionals, great guys with years of experience in diving and also specially trained by the Ephorate of Archaeological Authorities in order to protect our heritage & guide the divers to the ancient wreck.
Our dive in history was for the next morning. There are only 4 slots per day with a maximum of 8 divers per slot, making two groups of 4 divers plus the leader for every group.
Before the dive we had the opportunity to visit the old town of Alonissos where the municipality had built a museum with information for the ancient wreck. There everyone, diver or not can have the great experience of diving the ancient wreck from a 3d display and observe the replicas of the amphorae from close. Great introduction for what we were about to see the next morning.
Next stop our hotel. We stayed at Paradise hotel which is located at Patitiri. Magnificent view of the lovely swimming pool and the Aegean Sea. The convenient location of the hotel gives a five-minute access to the harbor side of Patitiri which has a parade of excellent and traditional tavernas. Unique Mediterranean cuisine and local drink “tsipouro” is a must when you are on the island.
View from Paradise Hotel (Photo by Avgerinos Vrazopoulos)
We had the opportunity to have dinner with Mr. Petros Vafinis, the mayor of Alonissos. Mr. Vafinis become a diver just to be able to see by firsthand the ancient wreck and what it can offer to the global culture heritage.
From left to the right, Mr. Avgerinos Vrazopoulos-scubahellas.com, Mr. Panagiotis Anagnostou-Seacolours Dive Center, Mr. Petros Vafinis- Mayor of Alonissos, Mr. Kostas Eftathiou-Triton Dive Center, Mr. Ioannis Petsas-scubahellas.com (Photo by Avgerinos Vrazopoulos)
Waking up with good anxiety and great mood the next morning, our dive took place at Peristera island, so we had to do a 20 minute road drive to Steni Vala, where we met with our partner from Alonissos Seacolours Dive center Panagiotis Anagnostou but also with a member of the Archeological Authorities Achilleas Dionisopoulos.
A view of Steni Vala & Peristera Island (Photo by Avgerinos Vrazopoulos)
Achilleas and Panagiotis gave us a common briefing about the ancient shipwreck, the way to approach but also checked our certifications. Two meters above the wreck and 1.5 meters away from it. Crossing from above is forbitten in order to ensure that the wreck will stay intact.
The big Athenian vessel sunk around 425 B.C. very close to the shore of Peristera island. Its cargo was 4000 – 5000 amphoras full of wine, which the ship crew collected from Mendi, Khalkidhiki, Skopelos & Alonissos with their last destination being unknown.
In order to dive to the ancient wreck, we had to be at least Advanced Open Water divers.
All necessary paperwork, it is wanted by the Archaeological Authorities, was made by Panagiotis. We just had to show our divers certifications and sign the papers.
After the briefing had the honor to meet the Mr. Kostas Mavrikis, the son of Dimitris Mavrikis, the man who discovered the famous & unique wreck. He was the second man that dived to the ancient wreck after his father when he was 14 years old.
Mr. Kostas Mavrikis also founded Alonissos museum back in 2000 which is the largest privately owned Folklore museum on any Greek island. In this four-story building, located at a distance of only 30 meters from the harbor of Patitiri, Kostas and Angela gave place to the cultural inheritance of the island. In addition to historical items from Alonissos, the museum focuses on weapons and objects used in the early days by the pirates of the Aegean Sea. To complete the image of this beautiful stone-built building, every story is foreseen from marble sculptures and paintings of artists who visited or lived on the island respectively still live there.
We boarded on the boat and after just 10 minutes we arrived at the dive site. What a rush! We were about to dive the oldest shipwreck that we could visit in the world!
Over the ancient wreck of Peristera (Photo by Avgerinos Vrazopoulos)
When we started to decent, there is a line that we had to follow so we would start the dive right at the correct spot, and the shipwreck appeared in front of our eyes, we felt excited and emotional. Thoughts and images are flashing in front of your eyes that these amphorae are standing still at this very spot for over 2.500 years, sunken from a ship that people were trying to trade, was an unbelievable flash back like no other!
ΥΠΠΟΑ/ΕΕΑ, On a single breath (Photo by Stefanos Kontos)
We stayed 25 minutes to the wreck which lies at 25 – 28 meters. We had two long “walks” around it and we enjoyed it to the maximum. While ascending we were trying to comprehend what we saw!!! What a shipwreck!! One dive that opens a doorway to our ancient civilization!!
Ancient Wreck of Peristera (Photo by Maria Theofanopoulou)
It was a pilot year for the underwater museum of Peristera. The museum opened its gates on the 3rd of August 2020 till the 2nd of October 2020. During this period, it was dived 66 times by 246 divers.
Everyone must dive this ancient shipwreck. What an amazing experience!
There is much more to come. In the following years we are expecting many more ancient dive sites that have been discovered in the area to open. Alonissos has so much more to offer! Plenty of interested
and unique dives! Wrecks & corals, caves & caverns, a great island to dive!!!
Feature Image source: Ministry of Culture