Shipwreck Beach and the Blue Caves of Zakynthos, Greece
We left early in the morning to drive to the northern end of Zakynthos Island where we would board a boat for Navagio, also known as Shipwreck Beach – so named after MV Panagiotis foundered there and ended up deep in the sand, parallel to the water, after a huge storm in 1980.
The story is that this was a smugglers ship and that the true owners have never been identified nor have they come forward to claim the wreck. Supposedly local sailors looted the boat and stole the contraband goods (primarily cigarettes) which were then hidden in homes across the island before eventually being sold off. Thus the beach is locally called Smugglers Beach. The shipwreck has a broken hull, enabling exploration of a lot of the ship while walking on the sand. The beach is the most photographed site on the island of Zakynthos.
The cove of Navagio (Shipwreck) Beach with the shipwrecked MV Panagiotis buried in the sand parallel to the water; note how a few people are on the beach early in the morning when we arrived
It was very strange to walk around the shipwrecked MV Panagiotis and see the anchor chains in sand, along with the bow and the rest of the ship
As we left mid-morning, there were already many 100s of people on the beach; by mid-afternoon there are typically up to 2,500 people on the beach and the cove is jammed with boats
After having a chance to swim in the cove at Navagio (Shipwreck) Beach, we re-boarded our boat to cruise about 20 minutes south to the famous Blue Caves, so named for the unearthly shade of turquoise blue color of the water inside the deeper caves, a result of refracted light from sea and sky.