Wednesday August 21 , 2019

Aegean Seagulls in Schoinousa & Heraclea islands



A trip to the Aegean Islands, in the heart of the East Small Cyclades

With the wings of AEGEAN AIRLINES

Σχοινούσα- Ηραλειά

   «Νησίς έρημη κατά μεσημβρίαν της Νάξου, αναφερόμενη υπό του Πλινίου, διατήρησεν αύτη το αρχαίον όνομα όπερ έλαβεν από των πολλών εν αυτή σχίνων»
  ..............................................................................................................................................Ι. Ragavis

    Schoinoussa Island, is not deserted. Today, one hundred and fifty people live on this small Island. Also, a hundred people live in Heraklea Island. In the background, the sacred Island of Keros, one of the most important centers of the ancient Cycladic culture. This small complex of Islands in the heart of the Cyclades cradle of civilization for over 3000 years, has been chosen to be the destination for the "Aegean Seagulls". As the time of departure was approaching, in between our trip preparations, an exceptional & unique sense of waiting was flowing through our minds.

    The mission had already been postponed once, because "Aeolus" (in Greek mythology according to Homer, was the son of Hippotes, a god and the father of the winds) had different plans! But this time, the day of November 14, 2014 the weather was on our side. After a night of heavy rains, a cloudy sky and a friendly sea was ahead for our mission.
     Starting point for our mission was the Tomb of Marathon. The humidity early in the morning, created an ideal external temperature that made us feel comfortable with our marine clothing and also created a magnificent scenery for our departure.
A little nervousness among our newcomer’s members is dissolved as soon as we entered the water. A high morale for the team & we are ready to departure.

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The ignition is on. The 3 Captains do the necessary preparation and the heavy sound of the engines sets the departure for our journey.
   As we passing once more the Cavo D' Oro Canaveral, we are heading from Island to Island in the unique Polynesia of the Mediterranean Sea, towards to the Islands of Small Cyclades. Heavy clouds are placed low on the horizon, giving us a warning that we are going to face a possible rain. But our Captains changed the trip to a new course. They made a magic slalom between the curtains of water ahead of us in order to keep us dry. The sun appeared in the sky as we approached the island of Naxos. Full of energy, we had left behind us the city of Athens & new emotions are created from the deep blue. Our minds were already set to the goal of our mission, to offer our support to those in great need “our children”.

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   The first destination drawn is the port of Schoinoussa. Only five hours have passed since our departure. We were so refreshed and relaxed from the magic icons of the trip that we were ready to start our mission. Our personal equipment is transferred directly to our hotel & our medical equipment to the Multipurpose Clinic of the island along with the gifts for the children to the central school. The clinics started at 17:00 according to the schedule.    

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   A total number of 24 children and adolescents were examined by our Team:
• Mr. Gabriel Bukuvaleas, Orthopedic Surgeon, Director at Metropolitan Hospital
• Mr. Ioannis Papandreou, Pediatrician in Adolescent Medicine at Tzaneio General Hospital of Piraeus
• Ms. Eleni Maria Kotsifa, Pediatrician at Metropolitan Hospital
• Ms. Hippolyti Karvuni and Mr. Lefteris Gonos, Medical Assistants
  Also, 3 more additional person were involved to the coordination of the mission & the support to the medical team

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   The psychologists of our team Mr. Costas Pergadis MSc. Person Centered Counselor, Psychologist  and Ms. Lemonia Zapandiotou MSc. Counselling Psychologist, coordinated a meeting with parents and discussed topics about domestic relations and communication skills.

On Saturday, November 15th, a magical sunrise finds us ready to sail to Heraklea Island, the second destination in the course of our mission.
   As we arrived at the port of Heraklia, a warm welcome by good friends were waiting our team. Ms. Konstantina Vgontzas, Mr. John Gavalas and Mr. Agrantis Gavalas took care for our transportation to the school of the Island, the place where the medical examinations of the children took place by the doctors of our team.
   A total number of 9 children and adolescents were examined by our pediatricians. Our group of Psychologists discussed with the teacher of the Island about educational issues and issues faced by students. Subsequently they held sessions with mothers of the children who requested personal meetings.
   Immediately after gifts were distributed to the children, our team played with them, a warm and beautiful experience that reminded us all about the "child hidden" within us regardless of age.

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   Then the people who so warmly welcomed us to Heraklea, shared a delicious lunch with our team on a beautiful balcony overlooking the harbor of the Island. It was time to celebrate the local tastes. The discussion on the table revealed the full picture of the small community. After that, the polite and hospitable friends of us, accompanied our team to a small tour to the island showing its unique beauties.

 When we finally reached the moment to return to Schoinoussa we had a unique feeling that only in Greece you can experience. We felt that we were leaving a part of our soul to the island and to its people. Reluctantly, we said goodbye with an open invitation to come back again soon. It was a short trip back to Schoinoussa & also had to regroup and get ready for our return to Marathon the next day. Before that, a group of adolescents discussed some daily issues with Mr. Ioannis Papandreou and Costas Pergadis.

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The next morning on Sunday, November the 16th at 09.00 our team lined up for the departure from our Hotel. The Hotel owners helped us with our transportation to the main port.

   Ready to sail, full of nice pictures, strong emotions, happy feelings but... the sea always demands our respect. The passage between Naxos and Tinos Islands is always challenging because of the weather. Our Captains, Mr. Evangelos Karabetsos, Mr. Konstantinos Kollias & Mr. George Sagonas took care of our safe return and made us feel comfortable during our long trip.
By sunset, full of nice pictures, strong emotions & great experiences we arrived at the Marathon bay. We have passed almost half of the Aegean Sea in a single day. Another successful mission came to its end. A "mission to the people by the people". An offer as selfless as should have been.

   The mission was accomplished thanks to the unwavering support of AEGEAN AIRLINES, our Great Sponsor and an Institution with Social Responsibility always standing by the side of the children. Two of the children examined, needed further Medical care in Athens.

  We would like to express our gratitude to:
LALIZAS shipping items for our marine equipment
Moustakas gifts & games offered to children of the Islands
ntounisprint for our cloth equipment
• George Bairaktaris parking for storage - lifting - launching of vessels
• The Manufacturer of Inflatable boats Marvel Ribs for the safe transport of our team with its vessels

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 "Aegean Seagulls" Team