Passenger Ships in Santorini on 13-14 July 2019
Santorini is perhaps the most famous island in Greece, along with Mykonos. Both Cyclades islands are known worldwide for their beautiful architecture, landscape, beaches and natural treasures, and are the two most visited islands in the country, with thousands of tourists arriving every year, especially during the summer. Santorini is the Southernmost island on the Cyclades, and belongs to the Santorini Archipelago, which is a group of islands that were all part of an island known as Strongili during the Cycladic civilisation era, before volcanic eruptions separated them constantly throughout the years. The islands that are part of that archipelago are (obviously) Santorini (the largest and the most important; the island is also known as Thira or Fyra, which is the name of its capital city), Thirassia (the only inhabited island along with Santorini), Palaia Kameni and Nea Kameni (where the volcano is located) and Aspronisi. All islands are very frequently visited by tourists, although the main island of Santorini remains the most popular destination.
Due to its status as one of the most recognisable islands in Greece, Santorini is, as a result, one of the islands with the most significant sea transportation traffic. Indeed, due to the vast amount of tourists coming each summer, the island sees several connections with the rest of Greece, particularly with Piraeus and other Cyclades islands (especially Mykonos, Paros, Naxos and Ios) but also with Rafina, Lavrion, the Dodecanese and Crete. The latter island is also known for its connection with Santorini through the popular seasonal service linking Heraklion (and occasionally Rethymnon) with the most popular Cyclades islands (usually Santorini, Ios, Naxos, Paros and Mykonos) with high speed craft. Moreover, the island has regular connections with its neighbours, Thirassia and Anafi, as well as with the islands of the Western Cyclades, with the ships serving the latter's lifeline usually reaching Santorini as their last stop. Furthermore, the traffic within the Santorini Archipelago is extremely important, with many tour boats owned by local operators organising daily excursions around the volcanic islands and Thirassia, while others regularly transport passengers from cruise ships arriving in Santorini to the shore (due to the ports of Santorini being too small and too underdeveloped to fit such large ships). I had notably given a quick overview of these operators in February 2016, when I wrote a Blog post about my excursion from Santorini to Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni and Thirassia on 11 July 2015.
I have so far been to this magnificent life three times in my life. The first time was during the summer of 2015, when I stayed there for four days with my family, except for my sister who had athletic obligations. The second time was briefly on 10 July 2017, when I arrived to the island by plane from Barcelona during my high school summer trip, in order to go to Ios (which does not have an airport). And the third time happened to be this year, as I went there for the weekend of 13-14 July 2019 with my sister. I made her a birthday gift by taking her there so that she could see it, as she did not have the opportunity to do so back in 2015. We visited all the main highlights of the island, and notably the villages of Oia and Thira, which have a spectacular view of the rest of the Santorini Archipelago (especially at sunset). We arrived to the island with the BLUE STAR PATMOS of Blue Star Ferries (from Piraeus via Paros, Naxos and Ios), which marked the fourth time that I have ever traveled with this ship. The first time was also from Piraeus to Santorini on 7-8 July 2015, the second time was from Santorini to Ios on 10 July 2017 (a few hours after arriving to the island by plane from Barcelona), and the third time was from Naxos to Paros on 26 July 2018. Thus, I have been with the BLUE STAR PATMOS in Santorini in three different trips, the most-ever so far. She is also the ferry with which I have traveled the most times on the Cyclades so far, as well as the ship of Blue Star Ferries on which I have traveled the most amount of times. We left on 14 July 2019 with her sister ship, the BLUE STAR DELOS. It was my second-ever trip with this ferry, as the first time had been on 23 July 2018, when I sailed onboard her from Piraeus to Naxos.
During our stay in Santorini, while walking around the two villages, I was able to see several ships approaching and leaving the island, as part of their daily services within the Greek coastal service. Just like the post I made about the arrivals and departures of high speed craft in Ios on 13 July 2017 (exactly two years before my stay in Santorini), or about the ships that I saw near the port of Paros between 27 July and 29 July 2018, this post is about the different passenger ships that I saw near the island of Santorini. Many pictures were taken from the top of the island's hills, which made the entire scenery very beautiful and which gave the ships a majestic stature, regardless of their different sizes. Without further ado, let's have a look at the different kinds of ships of the Greek coastal service that I saw during both days.
13 July 2019:
The first ship that I saw was the one and only high speed ferry TERA JET of Sea Jets, which was seen approaching Santorini. I saw her from the Northern tip of the island, as I was heading towards the village of Oia at early noon. Built in 1999 and owned by Sea Jets since 2014, she was spending her first season on the Piraeus-Paros-Ios-Santorini line, which her company inaugurated ahead of the summer of 2019.
The TERA JET seen heading at full-speed towards Santorini. Since entering service for Sea Jets in 2014, she has been the company's flagship. She notably had spells on the Heraklion-Cyclades service in 2014 and in 2015, before operating on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene line in 2016 in order to help transport Syrian refugees that had arrived in these two islands to Athens. In 2017 and in 2018, she had a tremendously successful service connecting Rafina with the Cyclades, which helped cement Sea Jets' presence in the area. For 2019, she operated extremely well on the new service introduced by her company, and has generally been a very acclaimed high speed ferry in Greece.
The next ship that I saw was also a high speed craft. It was the SUPERCAT of Golden Star Ferries, which was seen from the top of the village of Oia.
The SUPERCAT was seen leaving Santorini in order to head towards her next destination, which was Ios. This was her debut summer in Greece under Golden Star Ferries, as she had been purchased by them in 2018. In her first season, she was deployed on the Piraeus-Milos-Folegandros-Santorini-Ios-Naxos-Mykonos line.
While the SUPERCAT was leaving, I noticed another ship heading towards Santorini. It was the small high speed craft ELEFTHERIOS D of Dakoutros Speed, which is one of the many small boats operating across the Santorini Archipelago. In her case, she serves the Santorini-Nea Kameni-Palaia Kameni line.
The SUPERCAT seen during her first season with Golden Star Ferries. It was overall successful, although she occasionally experienced some technical issues which resulted in a few delays and some canceled trips. However, her season was far better than that of the company's other passenger-only high speed craft, the SUPERSPEED, which saw her season on the Rafina-Syros-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi-Amorgos line end prematurely due to a major engine failure that she suffered in Naxos.
The SUPERCAT heading at full-speed towards Ios. As she is a small high sped craft, she is allowed to go through the passageway that separates Santorini from Thirassia. Only ships of her kind and conventional ferries can go there, as they do not produce significant waves that disturb the beaches on the Western part of Santorini. As a result, larger high speed craft need to sail around Aspronisi in order to reach the port of Athinios (located underneath Thira), which is the ferry terminal of the island.
The fast SUPERCAT seen leaving Santorini for Ios. Before arriving in Greece under Golden Star Ferries in 2018, she had operated between 2009 and 2017 on the Tallinn-Helsinki line on the Baltic Sea as the KAROLIN of Estonian company Linda Line, thus linking the respective capital cities of Estonia and Finland in just 90 minutes. Before her stint there, she operated between 2000 (the year during which she was built) and 2008 on the North Sea as the POLARSTERN of German company AG Ems, linking several ports of Germany and The Netherlands with the German islands of Borkum and Heligoland.
The ELEFTHERIOS D seen heading towards Nea Kameni. She was built in 2016, as part of Dakoutros Speed's fleet renewal plan which began in 2013. This company is a subsidiary of Dakoutros Shipping (also known as Santorini Boatmen & Mooring Services), which also operates tour boats around the Santorini Archipelago under the subsidiary Dakoutros Brothers Cruises, which consists of five traditional sailing boats operating on the Santorini-Nea Kameni-Palaia Kameni-Thirassia line: the SANTA IRINI, the POSEIDONAS, the ODYSSEAS, the AGIOS NIKOLAOS and the JASON. Furthermore, it also operates on the same line with the small passenger ship CALYPSO, which operates under the Dakoutros Glass Bottom Boat Cruises subsidiary.
A few minutes after seeing the SUPERCAT and the ELEFTHERIOS D, I saw another small high speed craft. Indeed, it was the ORPHEAS of the Santorini Boatmen Union, which was seen heading for docking on the small port of Ammoudi, which serves as the port of the village of Oia.
The ORPHEAS seen approaching the port of Ammoudi, with the magnificent landscape of the Santorini Archipelago being shown in the background.
The ORPHEAS seen heading for docking in the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini. She was built in 2009, being one of the first small high speed boats ordered by her company. She was also the last of the four small sister ships built between 2007 and 2009. The ships that preceded her were the CAPTAIN KOULIS and the YPAPANTI in 2007, and the NEFELI in 2008.
The beautiful little ORPHEAS seen from the top of the village of Oia, transporting passengers towards the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The ORPHEAS seen leaving the port of Ammoudi in Santorini shortly afterwards, in order to head towards Nea Kameni.
At the same time that the ORPHEAS was leaving, I spotted another high speed catamaran leaving Santorini. It was the SEA JET 2 of Sea Jets, which was spending her first season on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Folegandros-Ios-Santorini-Amorgos-Koufonisi-Naxos-Paros-Mykonos line, which was also served by her sister ship, the SUPER JET.
In the meantime, as I looked over the Santorini Archipelago, I spotted the ORPHEAS heading towards Nea Kameni, while the small high speed craft TAXIARCHIS D of Dakoutros Speed (a sister ship of the ELEFTHERIOS D) was heading towards the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The SEA JET 2 leaving Santorini in order to head towards Ios. Built in 1998, she began service as the MIRAGE for Strintzis Lines on the Saronic Gulf. The following year she was renamed SEA JET 2 and was transferred to the Cyclades, where she has since been remaining. In 2000, after Strintzis Lines was taken over by Attica Group, the company Blue Star Ferries was established. She operated for them under the Blue Star Jets division, until 2006, when she was bought by Sea Jets (which had bought her sister two years earlier). She became the second ship to join the company, and has been one of the most reliable passenger-only high speed craft to operate in Greece.
The TAXIARCHIS D and the ORPHEAS seen in the middle of the Santorini Archipelago, with another special ship seen behind them (at the top corner on the left side of the picture).
The TAXIARCHIS D seen approaching the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini. She was built in 2016, alongside the ELEFTHERIOS D. Both small high speed craft are sister ships of the IOANNIS D, which was the first small high speed boat built for Dakoutros Speed, having entered service under them in 2013. Besides them, the larger PELAGOS was also introduced in Santorini for Dakoutros Speed in 2016.
The TAXIARCHIS D seen from the top of village of Oia, heading with several passengers to the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The special ship previously mentioned above was the Ro-Ro carrier NEARCHOS of Creta Cargo Lines, which is the oldest ship of her type operating in Greece.
Built in 1968, the NEARCHOS has been owned by Creta Cargo Lines since 2016. In the 51 years since she was built, she has had an extremely adventurous career, having operated as a ferry around the world, namely on the Skagerrak between Denmark and Norway (1968-1984), in Malaysia (1984-1994), then on the Adriatic Sea between Italy, Greece and Turkey (1994-1995), in Portugal on the Madeira Archipelago (1996-2003) and in Cape Verde (2003-2005), before being sold in 2005 to Greek company Efstathiou Shipping. She then began a small conversion in Drapetsona and was renamed MENHIR. She was supposed to be deployed on the Adriatic Sea for the second time in her career, but her owners eventually experienced severe financial difficulties and she was sent for lay-up in Salamina. She went on to spend more than a decade there, with a return to service seeming impossible due to her advanced age. However, against all odds, she was sold in 2016 to Creta Cargo Lines. After 11 years of lay-up she began a major conversion in Salamina, during which her stern was extended and her passenger superstructure decks were removed, which resulted in her becoming a Ro-Ro carrier. She was renamed NEARCHOS and entered service on the Aegean Sea.
The NEARCHOS seen leaving Santorini, with the island of Thirassia seen in the background.
The veteran ship NEARCHOS seen in Santorini. Her comeback to service was perhaps one of the most unexpected moments in the history of the Greek coastal service. She began service at the age of 48, making her one of the oldest ships to make her debut for a Greek operator. In 2016, she operated on the Piraeus-Andros-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini-Rethymnon line, on the Piraeus-Skyros-Skopelos-Skiathos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos line, and on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line. The following year, she moved her departure port from Piraeus to Lavrion, with the service from Piraeus being restricted to her fleetmate, the TALOS. She was deployed that year on the Lavrion-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Santorini-Kos-Rhodes line and on the Lavrion-Skiathos-Skopelos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos line. In 2018 she operated on the Lavrion-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini-Skiathos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos line, while in 2019 she was on the Lavrion-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini-Ikaria-Samos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos line.
The hardworking NEARCHOS seen leaving the port of Santorini, during her fourth season under Creta Cargo Lines.
The NEARCHOS leaving Santorini. Since returning to the service in 2016, she has been operating on the Cyclades and the Northeast Aegean Sea. She also operated on the Sporades from 2016 to 2018, in Crete in 2016, and on the Dodecanese in 2017.
Behind the NEARCHOS, I spotted the legendary landing craft NISSOS THIRASSIA of Thirassia Lines, which operates on the Santorini-Thirassia line, heading towards her namesake island.
One last view of the NEARCHOS as she is seen leaving Santorini.
The NISSOS THIRASSIA seen heading towards Thirassia. Built in 1995 in Greece, she has spent her entire career under Thirassia Lines. She is a vital ship on the Santorini Archipelago, as she is the main ferry connecting Santorini with the smaller island of Thirassia.
While the NEARCHOS and the NISSOS THIRASSIA were heading towards the North, the TAXIARCHIS D had departed the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini, and was beginning to head towards Nea Kameni.
Another view of the TAXIARCHIS D, during the fourth summer of her career, with all of them having been spent under Dakoutros Speed on the Santorini-Nea Kameni-Palaia Kameni line.
The next ship that I got to see was the sister ship of the ORPHEAS, the YPAPANTI, which was also heading towards the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The YPAPANTI about to dock in Santorini. She was the second out of the four sister ships ordered by the Santorini Boatmen Union to be delivered to them between 2007 and 2009. The YPAPANTI was built in 2007, and entered service just a few months after the CAPTAIN KOULIS. The NEFELI followed in 2008, as did the ORPHEAS in 2009.
The beautiful YPAPANTI having docked in the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
In the meantime, the NISSOS THIRASSIA had just departed Thirassia and was seen heading towards Santorini once again.
The YPAPANTI seen leaving Santorini shortly afterwards.
I then saw another notable ship leaving Santorini. Indeed, it was the oil products tanker CHRISANTHI of Argo. She also operates all around the Aegean Sea, and also features a garage like ferries do, although she is not a passenger ship.
The YPAPANTI having departed Santorini.
The NISSOS THIRASSIA is seen heading from Thirassia to Santorini.
The NISSOS THIRASSIA on her way towards Santorini. She is one of the most experienced landing craft operating on the Cyclades.
The next ship seen near the village of Oia was the small high speed boat MYTILINAIOS CH of the Santorini Boatmen Union.
The MYTILINAIOS CH was built in the United States in 2000, and was originally known as the TAXIARCHIS (whose name is not related to that of the ship owned by Dakoutros Speed). She underwent a major refit in 2014, and in 2015 she was renamed MYTILINAIOS CH, in memory of her late captain, Chrysostomos Mytilinaios, who had tragically passed away a year earlier. She serves the Santorini-Nea Kameni line.
The beautiful MYTILINAIOS CH about to dock in the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The MYTILINAIOS CH seen from the top of the village of Oia, located right above Ammoudi.
The MYTILINAIOS CH having just docked in the small port Ammoudi in Santorini. She was the flagship of the Santorini Boatmen Union from 2000 to 2005, when her fleetmate, the larger and faster ELSA, entered service for the company.
While looking more towards the South, I spotted the high speed ferry SUPERRUNNER of Golden Star Ferries arriving towards Santorini.
The MYTILINAIOS CH departing Santorini shortly afterwards.
The next ship that showed up was another small high speed craft owned by Dakoutros Speed. It was the THEOSKEPASTI, which is a sister ship of the ELEFTHERIOS D, of the TAXIARCHIS D and of the IOANNIS D. She was built a year after the former two, being delivered alongside another sister ship, the KALLIOPI (also built in 2017).
The THEOSKEPASTI seen arriving in the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The THEOSKEPASTI on her way towards Santorini. She and the KALLIOPI were the youngest ships of Dakoutros Speed, until the company deployed its newly-built flagship, the larger and faster MEGA STAR, during the summer of 2019.
A picture showing the ORPHEAS arriving in Santorini, while the MYTILINAIOS CH is heading towards Nea Kameni.
The THEOSKEPASTI having docked in the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The ORPHEAS seen arriving in Santorini once again.
The 10-year-old ORPHEAS seen heading towards the dock of the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The ORPHEAS seen approaching the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini, while the younger THEOSKEPASTI is about to depart.
The ORPHEAS is seen approaching the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini, while the younger THEOSKEPASTI is about to depart. Both ships operate for different Santorini-based owners.
The next ship that appeared was another Aegean Sea workhorse. Indeed, it was the landing craft MARIA T of Thalassies Metafores, which operates as a Ro-Ro carrier across the entire Aegean Sea.
In the meantime, the THEOSKEPASTI has departed the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini, while the ORPHEAS prepares to dock there.
The MARIA T seen heading towards Santorini, as seen from Oia. The 40-year-old landing craft is one of the most busy ferries in Greece, as she connects Elefsina and Lavrion with Evoia, the Cyclades, the Northeast Aegean Sea Islands, Thessaloniki, Kavala, the Dodecanese, Crete and Kythira.
The veteran landing craft MRIA T seen from the hill of the village of Oia in Santorini.
The MARIA T on her way towards Santorini. Coincidentally, I had also seen her from the top of the village of Oia during the summer of 2015, although in that case she was departing Santorini.
The ORPHEAS having docked in the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
The MARIA T seen in Santorini. She has been owned by Thalassies Metafores since 2013. Before that, she was the MARIA P of now-defunct company Paliogiannis Shipping, which deployed her on the Rion-Antirrion line from 1980 to 2008, and from 2010 to 2012. Between 2008 and 2010, the ship operated on the Agia Marina-Nea Styra line on the Petalioi Gulf. She notably underwent a conversion in Perama in 1986 in order to be fully renovated. She was renamed MARIA T upon being acquired by Thalassies Metafores in 2013.
Th MARIA T seen in Santorini. Her Thalassies Metafores fleetmate is the landing craft MELINA II (built in 1980), which was previously known as the CHRISTOS T of Nea Styra Ferries. She notably operated on the Agia-Marina-Nea Styra line (just like the MARIA T, then known as the MARIA P, had done so from 2008 to 2010) between 1988 and 2010. In 2010 she began operating as Ro-Ro carrier across the Aegean Sea (just like the MARIA T is doing right now), while from 2015 to 2018 she operated on the Rion-Antirrion line, a line on which she had also operated from 1985 to 1988.
Another view of the MARIA T as she heads for docking in Santorini.
The ORPHEAS seen resting in the small port of Ammoudi in Santorini.
An hour after seeing the ORPHEAS, my sister and me had headed down to the beach of Ammoudi. From there, I saw the high speed catamaran ALEXANDER of Cycladic Cruises, which was leaving Santorini.
Built in 1986 in Japan, the ALEXANDER arrived in Greece in 2000 for Cycladic Cruises. She makes daily cruises around the Cyclades, serving the Naxos-Paros-Delos-Mykonos-Irakleia-Koufonisi-Ios-Santorini line.
The reliable ALEXANDER seen leaving Santorini, during her twentieth season in Greece under Cycladic Cruises.
Thirty minutes later, I spotted another ship leaving Santorini from the beach of Ammoudi. It was the cruiseferry BLUE STAR DELOS of Blue Star Ferries, which serves the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Santorini line.
The BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving Santorini, in order to make her return trip to Naxos, Paros and Piraeus. She has spent her entire career so far on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line (though she does not serve Ios during the summer). She was delivered to Blue Star Ferries in 2011, and is considered to be the best day ferry in Greece.
The BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving Santorini. I would go on to travel with her just 24 hours later, as I headed back from Santorini to Piraeus on 14 July 2019. It was my second-ever trip with her, having already done one the previous summer from Piraeus to Naxos (via Paros) on 23 July 2019.
The great BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving Santorini, during her seventh summer in Greece, with all of them having been spent on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Santorini line.
Another view of the BLUE STAR DELOS as she leaves Santorini in order to head towards Naxos.
Just a few minutes later, I spotted the NISSOS THIRASSIA once again, as she was heading towards Thirassia.
After another hour, we had left the beach of Ammoudi, and headed back to Oia. From there, I spotted another ship approaching Santorini. More specifically, it was the historic SUPERFERRY II of Golden Star Ferries, which was spending her second consecutive season on the service connecting Rafina with the Cyclades and Crete. For 2019, she was on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Santorini-Heraklion line.
The iconic SUPERFERRY II seen heading towards the port of Santorini. Since entering service in Greece in 1993, she has spent her entire Greek career on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line, while also making occasional extensions to other islands over the years. She first operated on the Channel from 1974 to 1992, before being bought by Strintzis Lines, who converted her in Perama from 1992 to 1993. Her conversion is considered to be one of the greatest in Greek coastal service history. She operated for Strintzis Lines from 1993 until 2000, when the company was taken over by Attica Group, leading to the establishment of Blue Star Ferries. She operated for the latter until the end of the 2010 season. She then began operations for newly-established company Golden Star Ferries in 2011, and has remained with them ever since.
Later during the evening, my sister and me headed to Thira in order to see the iconic sunset that occurs everyday on the Santorini Archipelago. It is one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, and many tourists gather in order to see it. From there, I saw a small boat still working in the area. It was the AGIOS EFRAÏM of the Santorini Boatmen Union, which is one of the first small passenger ships ordered by her company, between 1995 and 1996. She serves the Santorini-Nea Kameni-Palaia Kameni line, and also helps transport passengers arriving in Santorini via cruise ships to the island.
I also saw the YPAPANTI heading towards Nea Kameni during the sunset. This was the last of the many pictures I took that day.
14 July 2019:
The first ship that I saw the following day, during the late morning, was the high speed ferry CALDERA VISTA of Sea Jets, which was seen leaving Santorini.
The CALDERA VISTA is seen leaving Santorini. It was her second consecutive season under her current name. Before that, she was operating for Sea Jets as the MASTER JET, after having been acquired by them in 2011. As the MASTER JET, she operated on the Heraklion-Rethymnon-Santorini line in 2012 and in 2013, on the Piraeus-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line in 2014, as a spare ship in 2015 and in 2016 (operating in particular on the Heraklion-Rethymnon-Santorini-Ios-Naxos-Mykonos line, on the Piraeus-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line, on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi-Amorgos line, on the Piraeus-Sifnos-Milos-Folegandros-Ios-Santorini line and on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line), before being sent on charter in 2017 to Atlântico Line for service on the Azores lifeline. In 2018 she returned to Sea Jets and was renamed CALDERA VISTA, and was deployed on the Heraklion-Rethymnon-Santorini-Paros-Mykonos-Tinos-Syros line, while in 2019 she was deployed on the Heraklion-Santorini-Ios-Paros-Mykonos line.
The CALDERA VISTA seen leaving Santorini for Ios. She is now the only Sea Jets high speed craft not to have the suffix 'JET 'as part of her name, although she previously had it when she was known as the MASTER JET.
The CALDERA VISTA on her way towards Ios.
Barely a few minutes after the CALDERA VISTA had left Santorini, another ferry was seen arriving. This time, it was the legendary EXPRESS SKOPELITIS of Small Cyclades Lines.
The EXPRESS SKOPELITIS seen from a beautiful church in Oia. This is the perfect Cycladic landscape featuring an iconic Cycladic ferry.
The EXPRESS SKOPELITIS heading for docking, as seen from the top of the village of Oia.
The EXPRESS SKOPELITIS on her way towards Santorini. Since 1998 (when she was bought by Small Cyclades Lines), she operates on the Naxos-Irakleia-Schoinousa-Koufonisi-Donousa-Amorgos-Ios-Santorini line, connecting the Lesser Cyclades between them and with Naxos, Amorgos, Ios and Santorini (thought he latter are served only during the summer) on a daily basis. Her service has been acclaimed by the residents of these islands, as she is their main supplier of goods throughout the entire year. Despite her small size, she operates extremely well, including during the winter, when the weather at sea is more rough. Before entering service with Small Cyclades Lines, the ship was known as the ERESSOS II of Baïraktaris Shipping, and operated from 1986 to 1998 on the Mytilene-Ayvalık line, connecting Greece with Turkey.
The historic EXPRESS SKOPELITIS seen in Santorini, with the beautiful bell of this church in Oia waving at her.
The EXPRESS SKOPELITIS seen heading towards Santorini, during her twenty-second season under Small Cyclades Lines.
I then saw the TAXIARCHIS D once again, as she headed towards Nea Kameni.
Later, towards the afternoon, it was time for us to leave Santorini. We were due to leave with the BLUE STAR DELOS, which arrived towards 14:30. Before her arrival, while heading towards Athinios, I spotted the SUPERRUNNER maneuvering next to the port, as she had arrived in Santorini from Ios.
The SUPERRUNNER seen maneuvering in Santorini. The summer of 2019 was her third straight under Golden Star Ferries and her current name. It was also her third year in a row operating on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line.
The SUPERRUNNER seen in Santorini. Before she was bought by Golden Star Ferries in late 2016, she was the SPEEDRUNNER IV of Aegean Speed Lines, having been bought by them in 2009. After spending seven successful years with them, primarily on the Western Cyclades, while also being the company's flagship, she was sold to Golden Star Ferries. She became the first-ever high speed craft in the history of the company. Since then, three other ships of her type have also been acquired. I notably had my first-ever trip with her, when I traveled onboard her from Ios to Mykonos on 17 July 2018.
One last view of the SUPERRUNNER as she maneuvers in Santorini, in the port of Athinios.
As it was the case with Ios in 2017 and with Paros in 2018, it was extremely impressive to see so many ships arriving in and leaving Santorini, regardless of their type and size, and whether they were local ships or occasional visitors. One thing that Santorini also has, compared with the other two islands, is the fabulous landscape which makes every picture special, and every ship majestic in her own way. It was very nice to see several ships, including some for the first time, while also exploring the beautiful villages of Santorini, which rightfully is one of the prettiest islands in all of Greece.
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