Ferries and High Speed Craft in Tinos on 27-30 July 2021
Located on the Northern Cyclades, Tinos is certainly one of the most beautiful and famed islands of the Aegean Sea, having a rich history and being one of Greece's major religious, artistic and cultural centres. It is also known for its picturesque village and beautiful beaches, and altogether for its warm environment and quietness in contrast to its much more popular neighbour, the island of Mykonos. Tinos is primarily known in Greece for its famed Holy Monastery of Panagia Evangelistria, or Megalochari, and usually mentioned as 'Panagia Tinou' ('Our Lady of Tinos'), after which four historical ships of the Greek coastal service have been named. The Church attracts several visitors and Christian pilgrims during the year, and also hosts major celebrations on 15 August (the day of Dormition of the Virgin Mary) which are known not only in Greece, but also around the world. Tinos also has several archaeological sites dating from Ancient Greece, rich marbles resources, and has also been the birthplace of many well-known Greek painters and sculptors, including Giannoulis Chalepas. Due to its natural beauty and religious and cultural significance, the island has established itself as one of the most popular ones in Greece, and therefore it serves a prominent part of the Greek coastal service. Indeed, the island enjoys daily connection from Piraeus, as well as Rafina and Lavrion. These services help connect it with the rest of the Cyclades, and it is more frequently linked with neighbouring islands such as Andros, Syros and Mykonos. To that end, the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line and the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line have become two of the most demanding and most popular services of the Greek coastal service, with the latter in particular having experienced an impressive rise over the past 30 years, and even more so in the last decade. During the summer, Tinos also maintains good connections with other popular islands such as Paros, Naxos, Santorini or Ios, and, in recent years, it has also been connected with islands of the Northeast Aegean Sea as well as Crete. Ferries operating on the inter-Cyclades lifeline also stop by the island, and therefore further contribute to its good connection with the Southern Cyclades Islands. Finally, several small passenger boats and tour boats stop by Tinos and connect it with Mykonos, Delos, Syros or Andros.
As I arrived in Tinos for the first time in my life during the summer of 2021, I could not miss out on the opportunity to see the port and the various ships that serve it on a daily basis. I stayed there in late July, as part of a trip that I did with friends from my exchange semester in Beijing. We first stayed in Ios from 22 July to 26 July, and during that span I also had the opportunity to see some ferries that served the island during the summer. Afterwards, we traveled from Ios to Tinos on 26 July, sailing onboard the high speed ferry SUPEREXPRESS of Golden Star Ferries. In the next days that followed, I frequently went to the Chora of Tinos, and this gave me the opportunity to see many ships, most of which I managed to photograph. I also saw a few of them from the beaches that we visited, usually while they were sailing towards the island's port or towards Mykonos. This post features pictures taken each day between 27 July and 30 July, shortly before my departure from the island.
27 July 2021:
On 27 July, I briefly headed to the Chora, and I got to see three different ships. The first one happened to be the high speed catamaran FLYINGCAT 4 of Hellenic Seaways. She was operating on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line, temporarily taking over the service that was covered by the FLYINGCAT 3, which had to head to Perama after having ran aground near Mykonos.
A view of the FLYINGCAT 4 in the port of Tinos. For most of the 2021 season, she was operating on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line, where she has been deployed since 2019. She however operated on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line for the largest part of July, as the FLYINGCAT 3 first experienced an engine failure that kept her out of service for a few week, before having her accident in Mykonos only a few days after being reactivated. Fortunately, in early August the ship was repaired and resumed service without any further issues, while the FLYINGCAT 4 completed her season on the Saronic Gulf.
A view of the FLYINGCAT 4 in Tinos, in what was her first appearance on the Cyclades since 2018. Built in 1999, she was initially ordered by the historical Greek company Agapitos Lines, as their first-ever high speed craft. She was known as the SEA SPEED 1 and was due to operate on the Cyclades. However, she never entered service for the company, instead joining Minoan Flying Dolphins in 2000 as the FLYINGCAT 4. She was deployed on the Cyclades, where she went on to become a massive success. Her company was renamed Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002, and was rebranded as Hellenic Seaways in 2005. She has gone to establish herself as one of the most successful high speed craft in the history of the Greek coastal service, having been provided excellent seasons for her company on the Cyclades, as well as on the Sporades (where she operated from 2001 to 2003 and then from 2016 to 2017).
The FLYINGCAT 4 seen in Tinos, right before her departure. Her last spell on the Cyclades had been during the 2018 season, when she was operating on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos-Ios-Sikinos-Folegandros line.
In front of the FLYINGCAT 4, I spotted a ship that is very well-known to the locals of Tinos. Indeed, it is the veteran small passenger boat NISSOS TINOS of Tinos Sea Tours, which performs daily cruises around the island, while also serving the Syros-Tinos-Andros-Mykonos-Rineia-Delos line.
The NISSOS TINOS seen docked in her namesake island. She was built in 1979 in Greece, and has spent her entire career connecting Tinos with the other islands of the Northern Cyclades. She was owned by Tinos Island Cruises from 1979 to 2005, when she was sold to her current company.
The NISSOS TINOS seen resting in Tinos. In addition to performing tours on the Cyclades, she has also been used as an emergency vessel , transporting sick or wounded passengers to larger hospitals found in Mykonos, Syros and Andros.
Another view of the NISSOS TINOS as she is seen docked in her namesake island.
The FLYINGCAT 4 seen alongside the NISSOS TINOS. Two completely different passenger ships coming from different generations, yet united by the purpose of serving the island of Tinos.
About an hour later, I spotted the conventional ferry FAST FERRIES ANDROS of Fast Ferries arriving in Tinos. Built in 1989 in Japan, she has been owned by Fast Ferries since 2015. She began service for them on the Rafina-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line, before being rerouted to the company's main service, on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line, in 2016. In 2021, she extended her service to Paros, therefore she was on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros line. This marked the first time that Fast Ferries deployed a ship to the island of Paros.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen arriving in Tinos, in what was her seventh consecutive season under Fast Ferries.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen as she is arriving in the port of Tinos, after having sailed from Mykonos.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen in Tinos. She is one of the many conventional ferries that connect the island with Rafina.
Another view of the NISSOS TINOS, as she is seen docked in the port of Tinos. These were all the pictures that I took that day, and they gave me a quick glimpse of what traffic can look like when more ships stop by the port towards the late morning.
28 July 2021:
The next morning, I arrived in the ferry terminal of the port of Tinos, where I saw two ships of Fast Ferries arriving. Indeed, I spotted the FAST FERRIES ANDROS and the EKATERINI P. Both ships had arrived from Rafina, with the FAST FERRIES ANDROS having also stopped by her namesake island beforehand.
A view of the FAST FERRIES ANDROS as she is seen approaching the port of Tinos.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen arriving in the port of Tinos.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen arriving in Tinos, a port that she has been calling every year since joining Fast Ferries. She also served it between late 2017 and early 2018, when she was briefly chartered to Blue Star Ferries in order to replace the BLUE STAR NAXOS on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line, with the latter vessel having replaced the BLUE STAR PATMOS which was taken out of service due to having grounded off in Ios towards the end of the summer of 2017.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS about to enter the port of Tinos.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen entering the port of Tinos, during her first season on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros line.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen having entered the port of Tinos, with the EKATERINI P following right behind.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS having entered the port of Tinos and seen about to begin her maneuvering procedure.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS beginning her maneuvering procedure in Tinos. Before joining Fast Ferries, she was known across the Greek coastal service as the EPTANISOS of the now-defunct company Strintzis Ferries. She operated for them on the Ionian Sea from 2003 to 2012, when her company ceased operations due to financial difficulties. She spent her first nine seasons on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line, while her final season in 2012 was on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line. That year, her service from Kyllini was stopped and she took over the operations that were provided by the iconic KEFALONIA (her fleetmate at the time), which was laid-up for the whole year. After completing the season, the EPTANISOS joined her fleetmate in Drapetsona for lay-up. The KEFALONIA was then sold to Kefalonian Lines in 2013, for whom she was reactivated on the Ionian Sea from 2013 to 2018 as the NISSOS KEFALONIA, before being sold to her current owners, Levante Ferries, in late 2018. Strintzis Ferries attempted to reactivate the EPTANISOS for the 2013 season, but this failed and the ship was sent for further lay-up in the Elefsina Bay. She was eventually sold to Fast Ferries in 2015, and became a major success on the Cyclades as the FAST FERRIES ANDROS.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen about to maneuver in Tinos. Before she was bought by Strintzis Ferries in 2003, she had operated in Japan from 1989 to 2000 as the SHINKO MARU of Nippon Kaiun, and then from 2000 to 2003 in Taiwan as the KING HUNG of King Fung Ma.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen arriving in Tinos and ready to undergo her maneuvering procedure. Coincidentally, another ship that used to be named EPTANISOS (the ship's former name under Strintzis Ferries) was also operating on the Rafina-Cyclades service. Indeed, it was the legendary EPTANISOS of Strintzis Lines (the predecessors of Blue Star Ferries, which was formed after Attica Group purchased the Kefalonia-based company in 2000), which operated on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Syros line from 1984 to 1992. She became such an acclaimed ship that she brought much popularity to the services based in Rafina, as several other companies decided to deploy ships there during the late 1980s. The EPTANISOS then operated on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line from 1992 to 1995, and then on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line from 1995 to 2000. She was then sold to Ventouris Ferries, for whom she ended her career as the POLLUX in 2003, after having spent three years on the Bari-Durrës line on the Adriatic Sea. Therefore, it is quite impressive to see that the original EPTANISOS operated on all lines that were also served by the newer EPTANISOS, which is now the FAST FERRIES ANDROS. She also performed these services in the opposite order of that undergone by the current FAST FERRIES ANDROS.
The EKATERINI P seen arriving in Tinos. Built in 1990 in Japan, she has been owned by Fast Ferries since 1999. During the summer of 2021 she was operating on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos-Koufonisi line.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen maneuvering in Tinos, while her fleetmate, the EKATERINI P, is approaching the port. Both ships were introduced on the Cyclades during the 2010s, and their services have generated much favourable feedback from passengers, Cyclades residents and tourists.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen maneuvering in Tinos.
The EKATERINI P seen right outside the entrance of the port of Tinos. This was her first summer of service since 2018. Indeed, right before the 2019 season began, she had a severe engine failure which kept her out of service for the duration of that summer, as well as for the one that followed. She was repaired and refurbished in Perama and in Piraeus, and was successfully reintroduced in 2021.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen as she is maneuvering in Tinos.
The EKATERINI P seen approaching the port of Tinos. When she joined Fast Ferries in 1999, she operated on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line on the Ionian Sea. This was where her company was based for the largest part of its history, having deployed four landing craft between 1975 and 2005. The EKATERINI P became the first conventional ferry bought by the ferry, as well as the third conventional ferry to have been introduced on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line. She remained there until 2012, when Fast Ferries decided to add her as a second ship on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line. She underwent a major conversion in Perama, whereupon her bow was remodeled and her stern was upgraded. Her entry to service proved to be very successful. In 2016 she was deployed on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line, as a result of the introduction of the FAST FERRIES ANDROS on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line. She stayed there up until 2018, while in 2017 she performed a service on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen completing her maneuvering procedure in Tinos, while the EKATERINI P is about to join her.
The reliable and much-appreciated FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen completing her maneuvering procedure and ready to dock in Tinos.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS having completed her maneuvering procedure and now docking in Tinos.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen about to dock in the port of Tinos.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen docking in Tinos, in what was yet another successful summer for her and her company.
The EKATERINI P is seen having entered the port of Tinos, and is now about to dock next to her fleetmate, the FAST FERRIES ANDROS.
The EKATERINI P seen as she begins her maneuvering procedure in Tinos. Just like the FAST FERRIES ANDROS, she was also built in Japan and spent the first years of her career there. More specifically, she was the ROKKŌ MARU of the Japanese company Kansai Kisen, and was deployed on the Kobe-Takamatsu line. She stayed there until 1999, when she joined Fast Ferries.
The EKATERINI P seen docking next to the FAST FERRIES ANDROS in Tinos.
The EKATERINI P seen in Tinos, as she is about to begin her maneuvering procedure.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS now seen resting in Tinos, prior to her departure for Mykonos.
The EKATERINI P seen in Tinos, shortly before undergoing her maneuvering procedure. This was her eighth season on the Cyclades, and her first one on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos-Koufonisi line.
The EKATERINI P seen maneuvering in Tinos. The addition of Koufonisi to her itinerary proved to be a major success, as it gave the island more connection with the rest of Greece, as well as with Rafina for the first time since 2019, when the high speed trimaran SUPERSPEED of Golden Star Ferries was operating on the Rafina-Syros-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi-Amorgos line. That service was however unsuccessful and ended prematurely after the high speed craft suffered a major engine failure in Naxos. She has not returned to service ever since, even following her sale to Sea Jets in 2021. The service of the EKATERINI P helped forget this unfortunate event, and she was one of the two conventional ferries calling at Koufonisi during the 2021 season, alongside the BLUE STAR NAXOS.
The EKATERINI P seen maneuvering in Tinos, in a summer that was viewed as a nice comeback story for the Japanese-built veteran ferry,
The EKATERINI P seen docking right next to her fleetmate, the FAST FERRIES ANDROS, in the port of Tinos. Both ships have had very similar career paths. Indeed, they were both built in Japan, and had spells on the Ionian Sea upon being bought by Greek companies, before being deployed from Rafina to the Cyclades during the 2010s.
The EKATERINI P seen about to dock right next to the FAST FERRIES ANDROS in Tinos.
The EKATERINI P seen docking in the port of Tinos. She is the second ship in the history of the company to have that name. Indeed, the first one was the landing craft EKATERINI P, which was built in 1975 in Greece and operated for Fast Ferries on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line from 1975 until her sale to the Greek company Ifigeneia NE, for whom she operated as the EKATERINI D. She then became the KONSTANTINOS G of Costar Lines (2006-2011) and then of NEL Lines (2011-2014), operating on the Mytilene-Dikili line on the Northeast Aegean Sea. She was laid-up in 2013 in Elefsina, and was sold the following year to the Equatorial Guinean company Somagec, for whom she still operates today as the ELOBEY XII.
The EKATERINI P docking next to the FAST FERRIES ANDROS. Both ships have been very successful on the Cyclades and have further contributed to the company's good reputation. Both ships offer very good amenities onboard, always arrive according to schedule in the ports that they serve, and have very friendly crew members onboard. Moreover, Fast Ferries has never found itself in the centre of controversy or media attention, unlike many of its competitors.
The EKATERINI P having almost docked in Tinos in order to join the FAST FERRIES ANDROS. Both ferries are the two oldest ones of the fleet, being 31 years old and 32 years old, respectively.
The EKATERINI P having almost docked in Tinos, while the FAST FERRIES ANDROS is unloading passengers and vehicles.
The EKATERINI P having finally docked in Tinos, and seen right next to the FAST FERRIES ANDROS.
The EKATERINI P seen resting in the port of Tinos, next to her fleetmate, the FAST FERRIES ANDROS, which later left for Mykonos.
The EKATERINI P still seen in Tinos, shortly after the FAST FERRIES ANDROS left the port in order to head to Mykonos.
The EKATERINI P seen departing the port of Tinos, in order to head to Mykonos as well.
The EKATERINI P seen once again as she departs Tinos for Mykonos.
About an hour later, after returning to the port, I saw the BLUE STAR PAROS of Blue Star Ferries. Built in 2002, she has been serving the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line since 2020. She had also been serving it since 2018, albeit being deployed on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Ikaria-Fournoi-Samos line for two seasons.
The BLUE STAR PAROS seen docked in Tinos. Along with her sister ship, the BLUE STAR NAXOS, and also the BLUE STAR ITHAKI (which operated for Blue Star Ferries from 2000 to 2014, and is now the FUNDY ROSE of the Canadian company Bay Ferries Limited) in the past, she has been one of the most successful ferries in the history of the Cyclades and of the Greek coastal service. In almost two decades of service, she has provided excellent service and has been acclaimed by residents and tourists alike.
The BLUE STAR PAROS seen docked in the port of Tinos, right before sailing to Mykonos. I traveled with her back on 20 June 2018, while heading from Mykonos to Piraeus (via Tinos and Syros). She therefore became the second ship of Blue Star Ferries on which I traveled, following the BLUE STAR PATMOS, on which I have been four times, including on 7-8 July 2015 while heading from Piraeus to Santorini, and also on 10 July 2017 while heading from Santorini to Ios.
The BLUE STAR PAROS seen resting in the port of Tinos. She has spent her entire career on the Cyclades, except for the 2016 season and the 2017 season, when she operated on the Dodecanese. This was due to the sale of the DIAGORAS, which was operating on the lifeline for 10 years, to the Moroccan company Africa Morocco Link, although she rejoined Blue Star Ferries in late 2017. Ahead of the 2018 season, the BLUE STAR PAROS was rerouted to the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Ikaria-Fournoi-Samos line, while her service on the Dodecanese lifeline was taken over by the NISSOS CHIOS of Hellenic Seaways, which went on to join Blue Star Ferries in 2020 as the BLUE STAR CHIOS.
Another view of the great BLUE STAR PAROS in Tinos.
The NISSOS TINOS seen resting in Tinos, shortly after the BLUE STAR PAROS left the port in order to head to Mykonos.
Later in the afternoon, I again saw the FAST FERRIES ANDROS, as she had returned to Tinos from Mykonos.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen docked in Tinos, prior to her departure for Andros.
The FAST FERRIES ANDROS seen resting in Tinos. Among the four ships currently owned by Fast Ferries, she was the third one to join the fleet.
Another view of the FAST FERRIES ANDROS in Tinos, shortly before her departure for Andros and later Rafina.
Later during that day, I headed to beautiful beach of Agios Fokas in Tinos. There, I saw the EKATERINI P, which was heading towards the port after having left from Mykonos.
The EKATERINI P seen from the beach of Agios Fokas in Tinos, making her way to the port as part of her return trip from Mykonos.
Another view of the EKATERINI P, as she heads towards the port of Tinos. That was the final picture that I took that day, which was undoubtedly marked by the simultaneous arrival of the FAST FERRIES ANDROS and of the EKATERINI P.
29 July 2021:
I again headed to the Chora of Tinos on 29 July, and I therefore had the chance to see a few ferries in the port. The first one that I saw was the THEOLOGOS P of Fast Ferries, which was arriving from Mykonos. That way, I had now seen all three conventional ferries of Fast Ferries in Tinos.
The THEOLOGOS P seen arriving in Tinos. She was built in 2000 in Japan, and was bought by Fast Ferries in 2006. After being converted for a year, she was introduced on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line during the 2007 season, becoming the first ship of Fast Ferries to be deployed on the Cyclades. Her arrival proved to be a massive success for the company, and she was widely credited for increasing passenger and freight traffic from Rafina to the Cyclades and vice versa. With the success of the THEOLOGOS P, the company later introduced two new ships on the Rafina-Cyclades service: the EKATERINI P in 2012 and the FAST FERRIES ANDROS in 2015.
The THEOLOGOS P seen arriving in Tinos, during her fifteenth consecutive season on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line, where she is currently the ship with the second largest amount of experience, after the SUPERFERRY II of Golden Star Ferries, which became the SUPERSTAR of Sea Jets in October 2021.
The THEOLOGOS P seen arriving in the port of Tinos. Since beginning service for Fast Ferries in 2007, she has been the flagship of the company.
The much-acclaimed THEOLOGOS P seen arriving in the port of Tinos, after having left Mykonos. In 2017, she operated alongside the EKATERINI P on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line.
The THEOLOGOS P seen in Tinos, shortly before undergoing her maneuvering procedure. She is the third ferry in the history of Fast Ferries to be named THEOLOGOS P. The previous two were landing craft that were deployed on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line in the 1970s and the 1980s, although the original THEOLOGOS P also had a spell on the Oropos-Eretria line from 1974 to 1979. The second THEOLOGOS P (built in 1985) is still in service in Greece, being currently known as the PANAGIA THASSOU of Thassos Ferries since 2005, and is operating on the Kavala-Thassos line on the Northeast Aegean Sea.
The THEOLOGOS P having docked in Tinos. I traveled with her for the first time in my life on 15 August 2020, while heading from Rafina to Andros. This was my first-ever trip with a ship of Fast Ferries, and I have to say that I was very impressed with her amenities and the reliable journey that she undertook.
The THEOLOGOS P seen resting in Tinos, just before leaving in order to head to Andros.
A view of the THEOLOGOS P in the port of Tinos, right after she docked following her arrival from Mykonos.
The THEOLOGOS P, one of the most successful ships in the history of the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line, seen resting in Tinos.
The THEOLOGOS P seen once again in Tinos, shortly before her departure.
The THEOLOGOS P now seen departing the port of Tinos.
One last view of the THEOLOGOS P as she is seen leaving Tinos in order to head to Andros.
I once again saw the NISSOS TINOS docked in her namesake island, right before she headed to Mykonos.
Later on, I also saw the high speed ferry SUPEREXPRESS of Golden Star Ferries leaving the port of Tinos. This was her first season on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos-Paros-Ios-Santorini line. I had traveled with her for the first time while heading from Ios to Tinos just three days before taking this picture.
A few minutes after the departure of the SUPEREXPRESS, I once again got the chance to see the FLYINGCAT 4, which was arriving in Tinos from Rafina.