LEFTERIS REEF

Feb 9, 2021 | 0 comments

Every self-respecting Aegean rock has caused a couple of shipwrecks; in this case Lefteris reef is doing it … successfully for thousands of years.

There are many versions about the name of the reef, according to Papadiamantis in his work “Poor Saint” Lefteris (Liberator) “liberated” the sailors and the sailing vessels from the sufferings of the sea.

The first recorded reef’s “liberation” of a ship was in 480 BC, where according to Herodotus, during the second Persian campaign, Xerxes lost three ships and was forced to build a stone beacon with pieces of rock that weighed up to half a tone.

This beacon is considered the second oldest recorded sign of navigation, built long before the lighthouse of Alexandria and survives to this day, having been transferred to the building of the Naval Administration in Piraeus.

The reef can be accessed two ways. From mainland Magnesia the nearest beach is Katigiorgis, which also has a boat slide, while from Skiathos the reef is quite close to Banana and Koukounaries beach.

Despite the beacon’s existence  for over 100 years, Lefteris has “caused” two recent shipwrecks. In 1931 the cargo ship “Volos” hit the reef after a storm. In 1942, during the German occupation, the famous Austrian marine biologist and cinematographer Hans Hass videotaped the shipwreck that was then emerging and footage was released in his documentary “Unter Haien – Men Among Sharks”

The cargo ship “Vera” is the second shipwreck, clearly more accessible. It sank in February 1999, while operating a route from Fthiotida to Thessaloniki. The ship after a few days on the surface was cut in two and now it can be found at a depth of 16 to 28 meters.

Additionally, the reef hosts quite large areas of Gorgonians.

Although the place offers multiple diving sites, we decided to divide it into 3 dives: Shipwreck Vera, Shipwreck Volos, Gorgonians. You can of course explore it as you wish.

The area is recommended for experienced divers, as the points of interest are at depths below 22-23 meters and divers may encounter currents in the area.

 

We would like to thank Mr. Kartapanis for highlighting through his research many unknown historic aspects of the reef!

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