September 15th 2010
On September 10th we arrived in the northeastern Aegean Sea and docked in the city of Alexandroupolis. We spent a few hours dealing with customs which was not normal for the Mediterranean countries. Turns out that this area is well known for being an entry point for illegal immigrants from Bulgaria and Asia via Turkey. Lucky for us we had our Greek observer Alexandra Meziti from the University of Thessaly. Alexandra helped get all our paperwork in order and got us all checked in with the local custom officials.
So the next afternoon we took off to start our Greek sampling leg………and to be totally honest it couldn’t have started any worse! We arrived to the sample site (#44 on the sample site map) at sunset, after we collected the samples the seas and winds picked up, plus a big lighting storm could be seen to the north of us and moving our way! For the record you don’t want to be in the middle of the sea with a 130 foot mast in a lighting storm! I was out sampling in high winds, rolling seas as we outran the lighting storm………all worked out and we didn’t get caught by the storm.
We sailed overnight and collected our Thermaikos Gulf (Site # 34) and then headed to an island called Skiathos to anchor for the night. The next morning we sailed to Maliakos Gulf (# 28 on sample map), unlike the previous two Greek samples the water was dead calm and no wind………it was nice and relaxing! For this sample our Greek collaborator Dr. Amalia Karagouni from the University of Athens was onboard.
After our samples were collected we dropped off Amalia and Alexandra and picked up Theodora Nikolakopoulou from the University of Athens (AKA Dora the explorer). Dora would be our Greek observer for the next leg to Santorini.