Day 1. We start our journey from the historical port of Syros, Ermoupoli. The day will be devoted to getting to know each other, a briefing on the Aegean ecosystem and settling down on the boat. You will have plenty of time to walk around the picturesque old town of Ano Syros.
Day 2. Sailing and dolphin spotting is on the agenda today. We will follow the stream from north to south towards Paros island. Plenty of time for dolphin spotting with the aid of our hydrophone and for watching sea birds like gulls (Larus genei, L. auduinii, L. cachinans) and cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) that hang around in these waters. By late noon we will reach the small fishing port of Piso Livadi, where you can taste the local fish delicacies of Antonis.
Day 3. Our prow is pointing to the south, to the very heart of the Aegean, the ''small Cyclades'' complex. Some 50 islands, islets and rocks, giving the impression of an ''empty'' habitat to the unsuspected eye, are hiding an impressive variety of life. The next station of our "project" will be the unspoilt fishing port of Iraklia.
The typical vegetation of the ecosystems here is phrygana. You will be surprised to discover that even a tiny rocky islet may be the home to tens of invertebrate species and even to many vertebrates including birds [chukar (Alectoris chukar) and shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)] and reptiles [gecko (Cyrtopodion kotsyii), Aegean rock lizard (Podarcis erhardii), sand boa (Eryx jaculus)].
Using some simple methods and techniques of field biology we will try to estimate the magnificent biodiversity during our stay in the area.
Day 4. Today's route is to the east. The sailing area we will cover is a well-known passage for dolphins. Despotiko, another small island, favourite meeting point for sailors in the Aegean, is where we'll end our small experiment. We will compare and analyse our results and photos, breaking the work with plunges in the crystal clear waters of the bay.
At night you will be a witness to a unique spectacle: the glowing sea. Thousands of minuscule planktonic crustaceans produce light thanks to the phenomenon of bioluminescence.
Day 5/6. We'll have an early start and enjoy a day sailing towards the unspoilt island of Kimolos. The area north of Kimolos and the neighboring uninhabited island of Polyegos harbor one of the most critically endangered marine mammal species in Europe, the Mediterranean Seal Monachus monachus.
MOm, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal, a Greek NGO, has been working for the protection of Monachus monachus since 1998, through field research, conservation and public awareness actions. After years of research and lobbying, MOm aspires to see Kimolos amongst the protected marine areas of Greece, as the second largest european population of the Mediterranean monk seal lives and breeds in the Kimolos-Polyegos island complex.
We will visit MOm's Info Kiosk, where you will hear the latest news concerning their work. Though the Mediterranean monk seal is not exactly sociable, who knows... We may be lucky!
Day 7. One of the first islands to emerge from the sea, Milos has to present a quite unique fauna. Milos viper Macrovipera hanschweizeri is certainly the most interesting and rare animal in Europe. Its population is estimated to be less than 4,000 individuals and the Greek Law protects it with a special Presidential Degree. Milos wall lizard Podarcis milensis, the extremely rare grass snake Natrix natrix schweizeri and Milos green lizard Lacerta trilineata schweizeri are the three more endemic species of the Milos group.
Milos is the intermediate station for many migratory birds that use the Aegean corridor to reach Africa. Our visit point will be the small subsaline lake of Chivadolimni (lake of shells in Greek). Trekking time! All the aforementioned animals, plus the stripe-neck terrapin Mauremys caspica, could be found here, in this small oasis of water and vegetation in the midst of the general Cyclades aridness.
That will be the end of our "biodiversity project". Please note that all the photographs and specimen that you may collect during the week will be offered to scientists to assist them in their data collection and researches.
We're as flexible as the weather!
The above itinerary is an example of what you can experience in our Wild Tale trips in the Aegean Sea. We don't follow the same route every week and every itinerary may slightly change due to the weather and other factors beyond our control. Remember that we cannot go against the weather! We will do our best. Everything else is KISMET!