Life on the isolated Greek island of Antikythera, lying at the edge of the Aegean Sea between Crete and the Peloponnesian Peninsula, can be tough if the supply boat does not arrive, as often happens during the winter.
Almost all the things which the few dozen permanent residents need to live on the island arrive by boat, including food and gas for the handful of vehicles there. “Sometimes, when the sea is rough, it is impossible to approach the port,” says Panagiotis Pavlakis, the sub-lieutenant of the ferry that brings essential supplies to the tiny outpost.
But for the local people, the island is more than worth all this trouble — it is an earthly paradise. “There is no other place in the world where you can find such absolute peace and quiet,” says Giannis Tzinakos, a retired Greek Air Force genaral who now spends most of his time on Antikythera .
The aging population has seen the village shrink to just 20 residents, with the school, previously shuttered for 24 years, only opening again last year after a young family with children moved to the island.
To help increase the population, the island has launched a campaign in conjunction with the Orthodox Church to entice people to move to the island paradise and make it their home.
There is one lone kafeneion (coffee shop), which remains open throughout the year and also serves as a grocery store, and perhaps even more importantly, as a meeting place for the islanders. The local hostel, comprised of 15 rooms, is also available for visitors to Antikythera.
During the summer months, life returns again to Antikythera, as people with roots on the island return on vacations from faraway places — Australia in particular — to which many local people emigrated in the mid-20th century.