Boats have sunk and roads have been washed away amid storms and torrential downpours in the Greek Sporades Islands, as Kay Parkes reports
Kay Parkes writes:
Our plan was to enjoy an end of the season cruise around the Northern Sporades National Park. High winds in the Aegean were making themselves felt in Stenon Kafirevs and the Evia channel. We headed north, leaving the worst of the wind in our wake, transiting the bridge at Khalkis before midnight. An early start, to avoid headwinds, got us to Ay Yeoryios where we tied to the quay, for the night, with a couple of fishing boats for company.
Fluky winds took us to Koukounaries on Skiathos where we swam and sunbathed. From there we motored and occasionally sailed, in very light airs, to Skopelos and moored on the town quay. So far so good. But … storms were forecast.
The Azores High was keeping the frontal system firmly in place and thunderstorms were rattling around bringing plenty of rain which flooded roads and disrupted flights on Skiathos. On the night of the 22nd September it rained heavily, on Skopelos, for over five hours. Mud and debris washed down from the hillside filling the ground floors of the buildings.
The river, which is partly underground, burst its banks. Large sinkholes appeared in the harbourside road. At least five cars were washed into the harbour, others were piled higgledy piggledy, four deep and a police car was stranded in a tree. Motor bikes were totally crushed. Amazingly no fatalities occurred.
The boats fared rather better. We woke to a harbour covered in sludge topped with fruit, vegetables and other assorted items. The ferry path and quay weren’t affected. Apart from two small fishing boats which were swamped and sunk on their moorings the rest of us were fine.
During the day under a watery sun the clean up operation began. The tavernas and small shops were soon restored to some sort of order and were able to open. Both supermarkets remained closed. Yachts arrived and departed. An eighty year old resident commented that there had been nothing like this, on Skopelos, during her lifetime.
Today weather in the Sporades has returned to normal with wall to wall sunshine. The clean up continues but the structural damage to the south end of harbour will take rather longer to repair.