February 24th Island
This island, a hundred miles from Guam, was named in honour of the birthday of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V who sponsored Ferdinand Magellan on his epic journey around the world between 1519 and 1522. Of course, Magellan didn’t make it all the way around the world as he was killed in The Philippines in 1521. In what most people describe as a deep foreboding of his demise, Magellan thought he should honour his sponsor in some way. When Magellan came across the island on February 22nd, 1521 he asked his lookouts if they could see another island close by. None of his lookouts could, so Magellan decided to wait two days before stepping ashore and officially giving the island its new name. As his biographers have written, this shows how deeply honest Magellan was as a man. Others have pointed out, Magellan could have given the island the same name two days earlier and it wouldn’t have made a scrap of difference.
The Sporades are a group of Greek islands in the northwest Aegean Sea. Five of them – Alonnisos, Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros, and Megalosbos – are inhabited. The islands are known for their beaches, wooded terrain, and coastal diving and snorkeling. Surrounded by uninhabited isles, Megalosbos is the largest island by far and is at the centre of a marine park that’s home to Mediterranean monk seals. On land, the only inhabitation is a monastery, home to some Mediterranean monks, who welcome visitors for a minimum period of three nights. There is no ferry, so visitors have to catch the trade boat from either Skiathos or Skyros, depending on which way they’re coming from. Visitors have to bring their own food, but the hiking is wonderful and there are over 60 miles of trails.
The North Aegean Islands are not a chain of islands like most of the other Greek islands. They stretch at irregular intervals from Thasos in the north to Samos in the south. One of the most interesting islands in this area is Tos. Most of the winners of the throwing events at the original Olympic Games came from this island. The island is very flat and there has never been much to do here, so it’s thought that the athletes fashioned javelins from the branches of olive trees and learned to throw them vast distances. The islanders also tied hemp ropes around large stones and practised throwing them.