August 26th 2012.
More diving with our friend Kyriakos Dikelas and his crew in Southern Euboea's waters (see http://www.diveinevia.gr/). We visited Galani Reef, next to Mandili Island (aka Mandilou, or Kamandelo - from the Venetian "Cavo Mandelo"). This is the most southern territory of Euboea, a rocky island with an old lighthouse located just off the southern tip of Euboea (off Cape Mandelo). The straits between Euboea and Andros are known as the Straits of Kaphireas (or the Cavo D'Oro Straits) they are notorious for their strong winds, currents, wrecks etc. Mandili island is now an easy 30 min zodiac ride from Karystos - but waters are usually rough espcially in summer - so you need a good day. We got one! The place has amazing visibility and a real feeling of wilderness. On a good day - the deep blue has a 30 m plus visibility - and the prospects of seeing some big fish are usually high also. Galani Reef is a sea mount-like structure rising out of the deep blue - to just 2 meters depth. The reef head's light-blue colour is a fantastic light aquamarine and this gives the place its name (galani = light blue).
A few years ago, in 2009 Mandili was included in Mount Ohi's Proposed Protected Area expansion, and its is now a Special Protected Area (under the EU's Bird Directive) and protected under Greek law in the Natura 2000 network. Protection on paper is not enough, but it is a beginning. The place is important: Audouin's Gull colony, Eleanora's Falcon, Mediterranean Shag, Shearwaters, Monk Seal and Sharks. Of course it is poorly explored, as is much of the underwater Aegean.
I'm posting some of Kyriako's photos from our trip and some of mine and Aris' will also appear soon. (Also the first shot I procured from an internet search because I did'nt have a proper out-of-water landscape of the island - few have photographed it....)
Visit with Kyriakos, dive here, get involved.
This place is worth it!