Wednesday August 21 , 2019

Aegean seagulls in Kastos island

Kastos is one of the small jewels of the Ionian Sea. It's very close to the western shores of Greece. More accurately it is only 5 nautical miles (8 nm to the harbor) away from Mytika on the mainland. It has hardly developed any tourism except for the expatriates who keep their family homes as country houses or the occasional visitors sailing through who stay for a couple of hours or several days having rented yachts and in this way secured a place to sleep. Those who come with smaller boats, and this is very easy as the distance from the small harbor of Mytikas is very short and the sea enclosed and well sheltered from the wind, they, can camp on the beautiful beaches around the island .

Aegean Seagulls - Location Kastos


Straight after the mission to Kimolos, we started organizing the next one. A member of the Aegean Seagulls, Lefteris, who visited Kasto the summer before, noticed that this small island had a population of only 50 people who became, with the ex-patriots visiting for their holidays in the summer 100.

At an even shorter distance lies the larger island of Kalamos skirted with many beautiful beaches that have pine trees growing right by the sea. Although this island doesn't have tourist infrastructure either, meaning no hotels, it has a few rooms for rent and it is easier to find provisions than on Kasto. Kalamos has a population of 300 people including 14 children, 6 to 10 years old who attend primary school with one teacher.

These two little islands were the Seagulls' destination. Knowing that only 50 people, most of them elderly, live on Kasto during the winter with no children at all, we contacted the doctor who informed us that their greatest need was a cardiograph. This is what the doctor said he needed in order to examine the patients and be able to diagnose if they would require hospital treatment in order to arrange for transportation.


Aegean Seagulls - Location Kastos


Once the team decided in April that the mission was to provide the medical center on Kasos with a cardiograph the efforts to find it began. Mrs. Liadelli Eirini, (Manger of the export department of the Italian shipping company Osculati) personally offered the money for the purchase of the cardiograph. Truly a very generous gesture.

While searching, another sponsor was found, the Kavalari Accountants Office, who donated a medical blood tests analyzer. Aegean Airlines, an abiding sponsor of medicine, sent two boxes for emergency needs. Having collected the valuable goods the team scheduled the journey to Kasto-Kalamo for the 29-30 of May.

Kastos, with the single settlement around the bay, has a pier with a lighthouse. The harbor however is exposed to the south winds that blow very strong, especially during the winter in the Ionia Sea. With the clever construction of a channel a second smaller harbor has been created inside the port where the boats can be safely tied even in the strongest winds.

There is a marvelous stone building on the beach unfortunately abandoned. The cobbled road to the left leads to the small Western Cape where there is a tavern and an old mill operating as a café, both with a wonderful view of the Ionian Sea. On the other side the cobbled road upwards ends at the top of the hill and a dirt road continues to the other side of the small island.

After a warm welcome from the mayor and the doctor and the delivery of the goods at the rural medical centre were invited to the tavern on the cape where we enjoyed a delicious dinner. Before it got too dark we searched for a place to camp since there are no rooms for rent. We were planning to camp on the opposite side but the mayor who wanted to help us out said we could camp there, on the beach, in front of the abandoned stone house.

Aegean Seagulls - Location Kastos

We set up the tents quickly-quickly and joined the others at the sole "cafeneio". In the company of stonecutters from foreign countries and under the indifferent music coming from the television, we started "a prank" that continued into the early hours of the morning around the fire we lit close to our tents.

We woke up early and walking along the dirt road we arrived at the edge of the Eastern Cape just as the sun was rising behind the Panaetoliko. I ceased the opportunity to take some photographs in the sweet tones of salty nature waking up.

When I returned to camp I found cold coffees laid on ice and various Danish pastries, which had been purchased by thoughtful members of the team the night before from the local mini market. When the "cafeneio" opened, we enjoyed a second coffee and then started to prepare for the return journey.

The residents of Kasto, the doctor and Aegean Seagulls sincerely thank Ms. Liadelli Eirini, Aegean Airlines and the Kavalari Accountants Office for their valuable donations.

For the Team "Aegean Seagulls"

Babis Konstantatos