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Jackie’s island

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This is the website of travel writer, Michael Turtle. After working in broadcast journalism for a decade in Australia, Michael left Sydney to travel the world indefinitely and write about his discoveries.

Jackie Onassis naked

She thought she was safe, far away from the creatures that chased her, armed with their notebooks and cameras. She thought she had found a sanctuary where she could be free from constant fear of an invasion. So it was here, on the island of Skorpios in the Ionian Sea, that Jackie Onassis slipped out of her clothes and prepared to lay down naked in the Greek sun.

Click.

A local paparazzo had found her… and he had caught her without any defences. The photograph of the former US First Lady in the nude went around the world. The island, Skorpios, was well-known in high society circles already but now its name was being mentioned in supermarkets and hairdressers.

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At the time it was owned by Jackie’s husband, billionaire Aristotle Onassis. Since his death, it has stayed in the family but is very rarely used by any members. Rumours constantly appear suggesting it is going to be sold to someone like Bill Gates or Madonna, but there never seems to be any truth in them. With an estimated price tag of between 150 and 200 million dollars, it would need to be someone extremely wealthy who would spend so much.

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Skorpios island in Greece

There’s very little infrastructure on the island of Skorpios, although you can tell that it is being looked after. Pathways along the water’s edge are cleared of vegetation and debris and, despite a large amount of vegetation, nothing is overrun. Over 200 types of plants were apparently brought by Aristotle Onassis to the island, which was quite barren when he first bought it.

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Next to a small sandy beach, the small white building known as Myconos house (and once called “The Pig House”) is closed but looks well-maintained. This was where Jackie’s photo was taken. There are quite a few boats anchored in the small bay around the Myconos House – including ours. I’m on an Intrepid Travel sailing trip for a week and we’ve stopped at Skorpios for an afternoon swim as we pass by.

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It’s a beautiful place for a dip and no surprise that it’s popular with the other yachts that come and go while we’re here. You have to assume that the island’s owners and its glamourous past is a large part of the allure, though.

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Being private property, you can’t land and explore Skorpios unfortunately. Although it’s unlikely you would get in anybody’s way – the last census reported just two inhabitants on the island. Perhaps one day it will change hands and there will be an opportunity for us mere mortals to see more of it. That is, if someone who is willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for a tiny bit of land would be so inclined.

* Time Travel Turtle was a guest on Intrepid Travel’s Sail Greece – Ionian Sea trip but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

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20 Comments
  • D.J. - The World of Deej | Aug 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Great story…I didn’t know that little piece of history, although I was familiar with Skorpios…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Pebble Beach – A Golfer’s TaleMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 22, 2012 at 2:40 am

      I’d never even heard of Skorpios before so I had a lot of fun learning more about it.

  • Elmer Cruz | Aug 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Would love to do my own piece of Jackie O there! Hehehehe
    Elmer Cruz recently posted..#RTWA Scuba Diving – Round the World AdventuresMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 22, 2012 at 2:41 am

      Ha ha… I think you may have missed your chance…

  • Linda McCormick | Aug 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Lovely post. If I had a spare Euro 200 million I’d definitely buy Skorpios!
    Linda McCormick recently posted..Discover the Benefits of a StaycationMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 22, 2012 at 2:42 am

      Tell me about it! All I want for Christmas now is an island!!! (Not asking too much am I?)

  • Natalie | Aug 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I am buying it!!! In my dreams but naughty of that photographer though. Invasion of privacy
    Natalie recently posted..The Simplicity of Simena and My Desire to ReturnMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 22, 2012 at 2:42 am

      I feel a bit sorry for her after she’d gone all the way to a private island in the middle of the Ionian Sea…

  • rdsean | Aug 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    what a story.. i just knew it here.. i wish i could buy an island too.. hehe :P
    rdsean recently posted..Top Tourist Attractions of AyutthayaMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 22, 2012 at 2:43 am

      Apparently there are some cheaper islands on the market. Don’t give up on your dream!! :)

  • Beth | Aug 28, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Yes, nice island I guess. Has anyone entertained the idea that Jackie O wanted to be photographed that day? It’s a win win situation…the whole world gets to see her nude but she doesn’t have to be responsible for allowing it to happen. Very early example of publicity in my opinion. If she truly did not want to take the chance of being photographed in the nude, she shouldn’t have been sunbathing in the nude…very logical answer.

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Interesting theory. I would certainly agree that a lot of the celebs who get caught doing things these days have set the whole thing up for publicity. But I’m not sure what Jackie would’ve got out of it in this situation. If anything, she’d be trying to get less publicity – not more – by this stage of her life. But… who knows, eh?

  • Geoff H. | Aug 31, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Looks “fine” lol

    Wonder how much a bottle of soda would cost on this island. It must be so difficult to deliver goods here…
    Geoff H. recently posted..Someone said “Vacations”?My Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      I don’t think the kind of people who buy an island for 200 million dollars really care how much a bottle of soda costs :)

  • Mary @ Green Global Travel | Oct 24, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Poor Jackie, where’s a lady got to go to get some privacy? Thanks for sharing this interesting story about one of the lessor known Greek Islands.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..JORDAN Nature Reserves: Dana Biosphere Reserve & Wadi MujibMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Oct 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

      I know – you couldn’t really get much more remote than that. But still they find her!

  • Solon | Jan 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Technically by law you can land on the island as long as you do not go more than 8 meters into the island from where the winter shoreline is formed. But as experience has shown you will be promptly asked to leave…

    • Michael Turtle | Jan 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Ah, that’s interesting to know. I don’t think this is the island to test the law and argue about technicalities, though! :)

  • Platon | Jan 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    All beaches in Greece are public.

    • Michael Turtle | Feb 6, 2013 at 12:52 am

      I’d like to see someone argue the case with the guards at this island! :)

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