Docked along the waterfront in Argostoli, Cephalonia, where tourists gather to watch turtles surface or to buy fresh fish from the local fisherman, sits a lovely sailing yacht, the romantic home at sea for “living the dream”. Upon closer inspection, this sailing yacht is missing fundamental pieces of equipment, namely the mast, boom and sails.
The sailing yacht Columbo, a Bavaria 50 was hit underway at night by an unlit boat 80 miles from Cephalonia on a direct line from Malta on approximately June 2, 2017. The unlit boat appeared to have many people below decks. No one was above decks on the unlit boat. The boat remained unlit and hurried away as the couple struggled frantically to cut away their rig. The collision dismasted the sailboat and the attached mast threatened to hole the boat. The collision itself split the boat vertically from the starboard midships toe rail to a porthole beneath it.
After watching their mast, boom, all their sails and rigging sink to the bottom of the sea, and patching the hole to not take on seawater, the couple made their way under power to Argostoli harbor in Cephalonia.
They asked me to help share their story to make others aware of the dangers of this patch of sea, as it still seems to be in use for stealth human transport. The couple are willing to share any information that may help others avoid such a tragedy. Many lives in two boats could have been lost.
Ithaka, May 27-29, 2017
Back to Ithaka and the lovely harbor of Vathy.
We have never been here before when there was room on the town wall, so we stayed a few days.
The weather was perfect, not humid, warm, with cooling nights. We ran and walked quite a bit and watched some tennis at the bar immediately behind the boat.
Perachori sits up a steep hill from Vathy, called Ithaka’s balcony, where we Walked for a lunch of Greek salad with a view of Vathi, then continued on for about a 7 mile walk all overlooking Vathy harbor. We had pleasant weather, the flowers still fragrant, the air still cool, the water unbelievable blue. Perfect.
Many beautiful beaches ring Ithaca and a few crumbled “ruins” of ancient buildings (mostly piles of rocks) but absolutely nothing that would suggest real evidence of Odysseus or his kingdom here. In fact, Ithaca has NOTHING to suggest any former civilization was here. This fabled route Odysseus took on his way home from the Trojan war is mostly likely Homer’s attempt to make learning interesting by creating a story to link history and geography. Sort of.
The town of Frise has a nice, new dock that is free with no water or electricity and at least 3 meters all the way in, but there is a rock ledge that must be approached carefully. Perhaps use the dinghy as a Pasarelle, because with that ledge and the swell that comes in the harbor, you would not want to be in too close. Friske has 3-4 cafes or tavernas and a handful of houses, but little else. A small ferry arrives there from somewhere. Kioni bay is also a nice stopping point with a beach, tavernas and a small marina or docking area.
Tremeti Islands. May 15, 2017
We left Fano in nasty waters into 20 knot winds, I suppose so we could be at the Tremeti islands for the nice weather on the following day. It worked! After about 22 hours of slogging to weather bashing into 4-6 foot seas, everything calmed down and by the time we anchored, the sun was shining, the waters calm and clear blue enough to jump in.
The Tremeti islands are trio of small islands with sheer limestone and tuf cliffs and sparse dark green scrub vegetation. Atop San Nicola there is a town and a fort with a large church from which the views over the islands are payment for the climb.
We walked to the harbormaster’s office, which is up the substantial hill to town, then ran for a while before walking up to the fort. There are walking trails all over San Nichola island, including a perimeter trail with overlooks the beautiful waters.
We arrived and splashed Amante in record time, due largely to a new fantastic crew, who had all the work done when we arrived.
We took advantage of all this free time to tour Fano and the surrounding area. Fano is our home town in Italy, steeped in history and filled with varied architecture. It was the end of the Roman road the Via Flamminia and is too noteworthy to spend time retyping what you should all go and read on Wikipedia or a better site. So here- fano.php
Fano is built atop the Roman city, and if you can find a guide, it is pretty impressive to tour Fano Underground. Sadly, we are often there before and after the main tourist season so there are no tours from the tourism office.
We found a guide the way I find everything in Fano- asking Gabriella, the hostess of Palazzo Rotati, our fano address when not on Amante. She connected us with a guide who showed us Fano underground and also the San Pietro en Valle church, one of the most beautiful baroque churches in the Marche region.
We also visited the Frassasi Grotte, an amazing cave found only in the seventies and thus very well preserved.
For the second year in a row I was excited to return to the harsh and uncomfortable, but beautiful Black Rock desert. Burning Man is many things to many people, but my synopsis is that it is a celebration of creativity, freedom, acceptance and instant community. 70,000 former strangers come together for one week and get along despite any real government or law enforcement (exceptions do exist). Thousands of volunteers work year round to make this happen, then in late August, the hottest part of the summer, like Brigadoon, this magical otherworld manifests in the dry ancient lake bed that is the Black Rock desert, and LIVE. Google it, many people have spent more time writing better things about it, but just know, I will go back every time I can.
Burners hijacking the Earth
Sunset on the Playa
Fire Dancer in Love- this man did his whole performance while gazing this beautifully at his fiancé. After his dance, he apologized for setting his hair on fire on their wedding day.
La Victrola by La Victrola Society
Helios by Kate Raudenbush
Medusa Madness by Reared In Steel, LLC
Helios by Kate Raudenbush
The Space Whale by The Pier Group with Matthew Schultz, Android Jones and Andy Tibbetts
@Earth #Home by: Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg
Awakening by: Ryan Elmendorf and Nick Geurts
Symi June 1, 2
A nice couple we met walking to the Church of St. John the Theologian on Patmos told us that if we go into Symi harbor, beware the depth. They were told to go onto the customs dock and he ran aground!
So we wrote that down and promptly forgot it. Good thing we didn’t have to go on the customs dock! But while Symi harbor is one of the most beautiful harbors this side of Bonifaccio, surrounded by steep hillsides of pastel colored Italian style homes, it is very narrow. After mooring we could walk steps to the shops and cafés.
Boats’ anchors are all atop one another. As we anchored, the boat opposite was shouting and pointing to their anchor while the dockmaster, just kept waving us in yelling, “It’s a small harbor. It happens!” Sure enough while we were out jogging the next morning, the boat across left, and pulled up our anchor- all the way up. Like hooked anchors and two big free swinging boats. Yachting adventures mostly happen at the docks!
June 3-4, 2016
Our son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Emma wanted to hike up to the active caldera of the volcano at Nysiros, and we played along though we had no such desire, initially, having smelled enough sulfur to last a lifetime. We tried to anchor but couldn’t find calm water that was close to the departure point for the walk. The marina in Mandraki is about 10.5 feet deep near the wall, and with a bit of weather predicted, we went on to Kos. Amante draws over 8.5 feet and two feet isn’t enough comfort zone with a potential swell. We anchored on the west end of Kos in a large bay I could have lingered in for a few weeks. We took a day trip boat from Kardamaina, a cute town with beaches, day trip boats and lots of holiday hotels and bars. Sit feels strange to get off our own boat onto a day trip boat, the very thing we spend lots of time trying to avoid.
The day trip price included a bus trip up the mountain for the caldera hike and back, but we chose one way to walk back down the mountain. So glad Matt and Emma found this!
The volcano is currently inactive (whatever that means with smoking fuleroles), but the top still smokes with fumeroles and sulpurous mud pots and hot springs. This may be one of the most green, floral islands in the Dodecanese- at least of those I’ve seen. The volcanic soil is very fertile. Terraces of olive, fig and almond trees flanked the path down to the town of Madraki. It was beautiful, even with the occasional whiff of sulfur, and the back-of-the-mind thought that we could break through the crust and be boiled alive in a hot spring.
The town of Mandraki is one of the prettier seaside villages I have seen, where the entire town seems committed to a common aesthetic. Pebble mosaics, whitewashed houses and ample bougainvillea make this town not only beautiful, but show communal attention and design.
We had lunch literally “over the water” with the occasional wave splashing up. Emma learned the Greek cat trick- a cat will visit briefly when you sit down, so you still remember him when you have food to share. She was claimed by this one.