I was travelling on less than an hour’s sleep that morning. We had previously spent a few days on Astipalea, and had pre-booked tickets to take the 5:15 a.m. Blue Star Naxos to Amorgos. Elias, the owner of the Fildisi Boutique Hotel where we had been staying, said he could give us a complimentary ride to the port — but we would have to be packed and ready to go by 4 a.m.! I went to bed shortly past midnight, but I could barely sleep and was totally groggy and bleary-eyed when we loaded our luggage into the back of Elias’s pickup truck and headed for the port.
It was dark most of the ferry ride, and I managed to nap for part of the trip. But as the sun slowly started coming up and the early-morning mist above the sea began to dissipate, I could see imposing tall cliffs in the distance — the rugged northeast coastline of Amorgos. The Blue Star Naxos travelled parallel to the rocky crags for what felt like an eternity; the formidable, sheer cliff face of the island seemed to stretch on forever.
Intense, blinding sun as we passed Cape Koutsogiani
The sun was a little higher in the sky by the time we passed tiny Monopetra island — basically a jagged rock jutting out of the sea, a few hundred meters off the coast — and began turning to the south as we rounded Cape Koutsogiani. I headed for an open deck to take photos, but the sunrise was so brilliant I could barely see anything, even with sunglasses. I wasn’t the only passenger who found the sunlight incredibly intense. A German tourist who was trying to take pictures told me the brightness was hurting her eyes, too. I managed to snap a few photos but quickly retreated into the ship because the strong sunlight was making my head hurt.
I went back on deck a short time later when the ship began turning to the east as it rounded Cape Pounda for its approach to Egali port. By this point, the sun was climbing behind clouds above the island, and most of Amorgos was still in silhouette for the sunrise, so there wasn’t much to see. But then whitewashed buildings on the mountainsides above Egali began coming into view, and the port town itself quickly appeared before us. An announcement urged passengers to immediately descend to the cargo area to prepare for disembarkation, so I returned to my seat, gathered my belongings, and headed for the lower deck. It was shortly before 7 a.m.
When we left Amorgos to travel to Naxos several days later, it was on another early-morning ferry departure. This time it was on a different boat — the Express Skopelitis — and thankfully at a more reasonable 7 a.m. sailing. Since we were staying at the Yperia Hotel in Egali, just a short walk from the ferry pier, we got to sleep in until after 6.30.
The Skopelitis took a completely different route than the Naxos, of course, sailing to the northwest past Nikouria island. Nevertheless, I once again got to watch the sun climbing into the sky above Cape Koutsogiani. I didn’t take many photos, however, because the wind got too chilly on the Skopelitis’s open upper deck as we moved deeper out to sea. But it did strike me as a curious coincidence that my last view of the island was almost identical to the first.
Below are more pics of our sunrise arrival and departure from Amorgos.
The sun is a giant ball of brilliant white fire as it climbs higher in the sky above the mountains at Cape Koutsogiani on the north coast of Amorgos
A ferry passenger watches the rugged coast of Amorgos pass by as the Blue Star Naxos nears Cape Pounda and turns into Egali Bay
The sun is higher above the mountains as the ferry turns toward Egali Bay
Formidable mountain terrain extends the length of Amorgos
Dark clouds were moving over the island as we approached Egali port, but they cleared away later in the morning
Buildings on the mountains above Egali Bay start coming into view
The rising sun illuminates the rugged rocky coast of nearby Nikouria island
The Potamos villages (right) on the mountainside above Egali (left)
The Blue Star Naxos sails out of Egali Bay around 7 a.m., mere minutes after we disembarked from the 1,473-passenger liner
After four amazing days on Amorgos, we travelled to nearby Naxos on the Express Skopelitis (seen arriving at Egali port on Amorgos two days earlier)
A sole passenger sits on the open upper deck as the Express Skopelitis steams out of Egali Bay on our early morning departure from Amorgos
We passed this fishing boat in Egali Bay, near the northeast coast of Nikouria island
Early morning sun illuminates mountains on Amorgos. The long, triangular sliver of jagged coastline in the foreground is part of Nikouria Island.
Amorgos begins to fade into the distance as the ferry heads farther out to sea
It’s truly déjà vu as I get another ferry view of Cape Koutsogiani at sunrise
Our final sunrise view of the mountainous Amorgos coastline