Scuba diving

The seabed of Skopelos is a masterpiece with an adventurous and mysterious past! With more than 15 diving sites, the island invites you to enjoy the services of certified professionals and get acquainted with its underwater biodiversity and impressive underwater landscapes. You can try the unique scuba-diving experience and even get certified as a scuba diver. 

When it comes to wreck diving tourism, Skopelos checks all the boxes for a magical underwater journey in the waters of Northern Sporades. The National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades, widely known as the largest marine park in Europe, hosts tremendous marine biodiversity and a great number of shipwrecks, the silent but unquestionable witnesses of the age-old Aegean civilization.

More experienced divers are familiar with the 85 meters-long cargo ship “Christoforos”, the best-preserved shipwreck on the broader region. The vessel sank in 1983 and, nowadays, lends itself for an unequaled wreck diving experience.

This concerns the story of how a major event in the island’s history has been converted into an alternative scuba diving experience. In October 1983, a ship called “Christoforos”, loaded with 2,600 tons of concrete, was carrying out a trip from Volos to Piraeus. Due to unfavorable weather conditions, the vessel ended up with a 7-degree list to the right. Following consultations between the captain and ship-owners on the one hand, and the Ministry of Mercantile Marine’s operation cabin, on the other, it was decided that the ship should sail towards Panormos bay to be rescued. However, the mission was not accomplished, and the boat had to be abandoned and foundered. Thirty-five years later, “Christoforos” is still in upright position on Panormos’ seabed, with the ship’s keel at over 40 meters depth.

 

More experienced divers are familiar with the 85 meters-long cargo ship “Christoforos”, the best-preserved shipwreck on the broader region. The vessel sank in 1983 and, nowadays, lends itself for an unequaled wreck diving experience.

This concerns the story of how a major event in the island’s history has been converted into an alternative scuba diving experience. In October 1983, a ship called “Christoforos”, loaded with 2,600 tons of concrete, was carrying out a trip from Volos to Piraeus. Due to unfavorable weather conditions, the vessel ended up with a 7-degree list to the right. Following consultations between the captain and ship-owners on the one hand, and the Ministry of Mercantile Marine’s operation cabin, on the other, it was decided that the ship should sail towards Panormos bay to be rescued. However, the mission was not accomplished, and the boat had to be abandoned and foundered. Thirty-five years later, “Christoforos” is still in upright position on Panormos’ seabed, with the ship’s keel at over 40 meters depth.

 

Chronology of the cargo ship “Christoforos”

“Christoforos”, an approximately 85m-long and 13m-wide vessel, was manufactured in January of 1950 in the Grangemouth shipyard and was initially named “Thomas Hardie”. Following that, the ship sailed under the name “Birling” from 1968 to 1975 and was integrated into the Greek Commercial fleet under the name “Christoforos” in 1976.

“Christoforos” shipwreck diving

Up until recently, scuba diving was not allowed near the shipwreck because the general area is classified as an underwater archeological site under the Ministerial Decision 23181/12-9-1969. However, the situation changed on the Skopelos Diving Center initiative, thanks to which a unit of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities visited the island. After an autopsy of the underwater archaeological site, it suggested its redelimitation , leaving part of the cove containing the shipwreck outside the restricted area.

“Christoforos” shipwreck diving

Up until recently, scuba diving was not allowed near the shipwreck because the general area is classified as an underwater archeological site under the Ministerial Decision 23181/12-9-1969. However, the situation changed on the Skopelos Diving Center initiative, thanks to which a unit of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities visited the island. After an autopsy of the underwater archaeological site, it suggested its redelimitation , leaving part of the cove containing the shipwreck outside the restricted area.

Therefore, according to the Government Gazette Issue 228/15.10.2018, the shipwreck location, which is mapped, now constitutes a popular destination, ideal for scuba diving enthusiasts visiting the Sporades islands.

“Christoforos” is one of the best-preserved shipwrecks and is ideal for underwater excursions, while those interested in visiting the site can receive relevant training from the instructors of the Skopelos Diving Center.