Diving deep into Greek island life
Interview with the Captain of Amels yacht STELLA M
The majestic Greek islands offer an island-hopping superyacht itinerary like no other, where each location delights with something different. Spyros Karalis, Captain of 60-metre Amels STELLA M, counts the Cyclades, a large but dense collection of islands occupying the central part of the Aegean Sea, among his top destinations. Santorini has the sunsets, Mykonos has the night life, but for Captain Spyros, few areas come close to the scuba diving sites found at Dorousa Island.
“There are some nice wreck dive sites throughout the Greek islands, but my favourite is the AVANTIS III shipwreck in Dorousa. Lying on the seabed at a depth of around 40 metres, the sunken 80-metre cargo ship is a daring dive best suited to advanced deep-sea divers.”
Spyros Karalis, Captain of 60-metre Amels STELLA M
Greece is awash with underwater reefs, cliffs, arches and canyons that keen divers avidly explore, including an Arado World War II plane wreck in Naxos. But for those who prefer to snorkel in the shallows, Captain Spyros recommends the sea caves at Milos for an otherworldly experience. When guests are ready to relax on land, Rineia offers secluded beaches best accessed by boat. Narrow trails lead into the pastoral landscape. In the small fishing harbour, fresh catch of the day is served with a slice of lemon and a healthy side helping of rejuvenation. It’s separated from Delos by a small strait, making the famed Terrace of the Lions and Delos’ ancient theatre an easy cultural shore excursion.
STELLA M’s seasoned captain has cruised Greece’s sapphire-blue waters extensively during his 17-year yachting career aboard both private and charter yachts.
Cruising the Greek waters
Watch our film of STELLA M enjoying the best of the summer.
Isternia Bay on Tinos Island is where his number one eatery resides, serving local produce and traditional Greek dishes with outrageously good flavour combinations. Described by Captain Spyros as “one lonely restaurant by the sea”, Thalassaki sits perched on the edge of the beach at the tip of an alluring old pier. The shoreline waters are rich in small marine life and rocky outcrops, while anglers looking to reel in a big one should head further out to sea.
“For guests keen to hook a seabass during their trip, all the Greek islands are well suited for jig fishing. In addition, the Myrtoan Sea – which lies between the Cyclades and Peloponnese – is a good spot for trolling on the way back from Milos to the mainland.”
Alongside the Cyclades, Captain Spyros also favours the Dodecanese, a loose collection of complex small islands in the southeast between Crete and Turkey. This lesser known group of 15 islands offer medieval castles, Byzantine churches and velvet sandy beaches. They’re also home to his favourite Greek anchorage, Tiganakia bay in Arkoi. This remote location off the beaten track gifts gin-clear waters, a lunar landscape and three small Greek tavernas for a convenient and authentic slice of island life when at anchor. “STELLA M is ideal for cruising the Greek islands, because she provides a superyacht experience yet can fit in most ports,” he explains.
Delivered in 2021, STELLA M is equipped with a large selection of the latest water toys, including lift foils, seabobs, electric jet boards, a Reverso air sailing dinghy and towables. “We deploy the toys in all the Greek islands, as the sheltered bays are ideal for guests of all abilities to explore and have fun,” says Captain Spyros. “The beautiful double bay of Kolona in Kythnos is particularly well suited for trying out new water toys, but to catch air, we drop anchor between Anti Paros and Paros to take advantage of the most famous kite boarding spot in the region.”
WIND POWERED SPOTS
Greece has earned a reputation as a hub for wind-powered sports thanks to the phenomenon of its Meltemia winds that blow in the summer months. These strong, dry, seasonal winds appear all over the Aegean, blowing from the north. During STELLA M’s summer cruising in 2021, the yacht endured 8 Beaufort winds (akin to a gale), and this is where having an experienced captain and crew who know the lay of the land comes into its own.
“I know 99% of Greece’s best yachting destinations, which makes hiding out bad weather easier,” says Captain Spyros, who adds that being aboard a yacht of STELLA M’s capability is also a big advantage. “STELLA M’s build quality is exceptional, as is the yacht’s seakeeping capabilities in rough weather conditions.”
During calm winds and following seas, the magic of Greece’s verdant islands scattered with white-washed buildings and turquoise domes beckon. Come rain or shine, aboard STELLA M, the best of the yachting lifestyle awaits.