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Greece (Skopelos)

The Flying Dolphin: A Need for Speed

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Riding Aegean’s Flying Dolphin high-speed passenger ferry

When we booked our return ferry tickets from Skiathos to Skopelos last week, the woman at the ticket office confirmed our booking by asking, “There’s a Flying Dolphin you could take. Would a Flying Dolphin be okay?”

That’s strange, I thought. Of course, a Flying Dolphin would be fine, I wanted to say. After all, we just need to get from Skiathos to Skopelos, and why not get there as quickly as possible?

But then the next morning, bags in hand, standing at the Skiathos port, we saw the Flying Dolphin pull in. Or should I say float in. Or ski in. Or jostle in. From a distance, this vessel flew fast above the water. We could actually see daylight between the bottom of the hull and the surface of the water.  Yes, the name “Flying Dolphin” described this vessel perfectly.

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Photo: Aegean Flying Dolphins

The Flying Dolphin is a hydrofoil passenger ferry operated by Aegean Flying Dolphins in Piraeus, Greece, a port city near Athens. According to the company’s website, it “offers daily service with two modern high speed flying dolphins from the port of Piraeus to Aegina and from the port of Volos (Thessaly region) to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos all year.”

Because of its speed, taking a Flying Dolphin will be a bumpier ride. (Ahhh… that’s why the ticket clerk made sure we knew what we were getting ourselves into.)

In addition, a Flying Dolphin will cost more than a traditional ferry, such as ANES Ferries’ Proteus or Blue Star Ferries’ Flying Cat. (But then again, like us, you may not have a choice: only one morning ferry left for Skopelos on our travel day.)

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A more traditional passenger ferry, ANES Ferries’ Proteus

Don’t expect a lot on the inside of a Flying Dolphin (and there’s no sitting outside either, by the way). Yes, it’s perfectly clean and adequate, but doesn’t have the top-rate feel of other ferries… no coffee shop, no lounge seating at tables. No flat screen TVs or fancy lighting.

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Fairly basic seating. Nothing fancy. A tray table if you need it. 

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Seating includes a large center section of rows and and a single column of double seating along each side.

However, what the Flying Dolphin lacks on the interior,

it makes up for with one thing: speed.

Once the Dolphin reaches full speed, it coasts across the surface of the water, skimming along on fin-like hydrofoils that lift the hull out of the water.

And with that speed, expect a bumpy ride… especially if there are higher than average winds on the water.

We saw the “flight” attendant, who also took our tickets as we boarded, deliver two paper bags to seasick riders about halfway through our fifty-minute ride, which made a stop in Glossa (another town on Skopelos) on our way to Skopelos Town.

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Notice the hydrofoils that become the “wings” of the Flying Dolphin, allowing it to go faster than other vessels. The tires provide a cushion for the vessel when it meets up to dockside.

The water splashes continually onto the windows of the Flying Dolphin as you ride.

At one point, a turn in the water and an especially strong gust of wind caused our boat to tilt right, surprising several riders on board. A few passengers called out with a holler when that happened.

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This photo shows the hydrofoils more clearly.

 

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The crew attaches a walkway to the Flying Dolphin as passengers wait to board.

We leave Skopelos Island tomorrow morning and are taking a ferry to the island of Skiathos where we will fly to Athens. There are winds forecast for the morning as a cold front is coming in. Passengers taking a Flying Dolphin should take warning (or even prepare for a cancellation, we’ve been told).

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The Flying Cat, a catamaran.

Luckily, we’re not one of them. We’ll be taking Blue Star Ferries’ Flying Cat, a catamaran ferry, instead.


Thanks for reading! I’ve been really surprised by the variety of ferries— and watercraft in general— on our Greek tour.  Feel free to click “like,” leave a comment or follow my blog for more.

 

2 replies on “The Flying Dolphin: A Need for Speed”

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