Once embarked on one of the vessels to Athos from Ouranopolis you get a perfect view of the monasteries from the sea. It gives a wonderful perspective on the Medieval buildings and small harbours (arsanas). In 2009 we took the Apos Pantaleimonos. It is a very pleasant cruising. Accompanied by monks, who rest, read or chat, pilgrims who flock together, who sing and talk. An all male trip. Accompanied by the seagulls flying along the boat. A pilgrim fed them by holding a piece of bread in his hand. The seagulls dove and picked the bread. The first building on Athos you can see from the sea is the border building.
The next view from the boat is the Russian skete Thivais. Still a bit in ruins. But some work is going on. It belongs to Panteleimonos.
Then suddenly the first view of the mountain at the end of the penisula. A bit mystic in the morning light. The entrance to an ancient and different world.
IÂ´m not sure about the arsanas below. It is probably the arsanas of Monoxylitis, the vineyard.
Finally we reached Pantaleimonos where we disembarked.