sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : The Greek Island Odyssey

The Greek Island Odyssey

'House for sail in Kioni, Ithaca'    Maggie Joyce - Mariner Boating Holidays ©

In Mycenaean times the Ithacan ruler Odysseus was conscripted by chief honcho of the time Manelaus to fight the Trojan wars in Asia in revenge for the alleged abduction of his wife Helen by Paris, son of the Persian ruler Hector. At the end of the ten year siege of Troy he then took ten years to make it back to his home on the Ionian island of Ithaca - or was it Levkada as is asserted in some archeological schools? Either he needed a new travel agent or his yearnings for the pining Penelope had waned along the way.

Several hundred years later the fantasized version of his exploits turned up in the poems of Homer’s Iliad and today his name has become synonymous with journey in the English language. In 2008 a group of 29 Australians and a lone Canadian woman sailing five chartered Beneteau yachts covered half the journey of Odysseus, from Athens to Levkada, in two weeks, suggesting that Odysseus had in fact encountered some major distractions along the way.

Of course the modern journeymen and women had at least one major advantage; the trip had been shortened by some 200 nautical miles by a Frenchman who took a 1 million cubic metre slice out of the isthmus of Corinth to create the Corinth Canal. An engineering masterpiece at the end of the nineteenth century the canal today has limited commercial application given the size of most modern day cargo vessels but passage through the 75 metre high, 25 metre wide 3.2 nautical mile cut was a highlight at the beginning of the 2008 Odyssey.

Construction of the canal was first attempted by Nero during Roman times and he put 6,000 Jewish slaves to work for a brief period before Gaul attacks on Rome caused the premature termination of excavation in the limestone that comprises the isthmus.

The Roman emperor Octavian, or more to the point the slaves who dragged his ships on logs over the isthmus, would have much appreciated passage by water during his pursuit of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, who having deserted their defeated navy at the battle of Actium at the western end of the Gulf of Patras set sail around the southern end of the Peloponnese in search of sanctuary in Egypt. Octavian failed to 'head them off at the pass' but his pursuit was relentless and the rest is history.

The beautiful town of Galaxidi, jump off point for the short excursion to Delphi -  Maggie Joyce - Mariner?nid=49692 Boating Holidays ©  



First port of call after Corinth was Galaxhidi on the northern shore of the Gulf. Once a very busy trading port Galaxhidi today is a tranquil seaside village, which is largely unscathed by the ravages of mainstream tourism. Clean, friendly and with cobbled streets the town today greets visiting yachtsmen and a few land travellers. It also provides easy access to Delphi, a few kilometers inland and in the mountains that border the coast.

A clear blue September day provided perfect conditions for the half day excursion arranged by Mariner as an option on the Odyssey program. Delphi was a spiritual sanctuary in ancient Greek times and digital recreation of its splendor suggests that the engineers of the time were no slouches either. Located at the top of a sheer cliff on a precipitous mountainside the mere placement of 1 metre cube building blocks in the structures of Delphi defies imagination.

After an overnight stop at the tiny island of Trizonia another engineering marvel presented itself. The Rio-Anterrio bridge, a 2.88 kilometre cable stayed air-borne monster has its ends anchored to two different tectonic plates and its 4 huge pylons straddling a fault line between the two. The bridge connects mainland Greece with the Peloponnese from a domestic perspective but more importantly comprises an important component of a high speed road link between Brussels and Athens in the broader European scheme of things. The 25 Euro toll is indicative of what it cost to build this masterpiece.

Then into the Ionian Sea to the port of Sami on the island of Cephalonia, which provided the setting for Louis de Berniere’s famous novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the appalling Penelope Cruze movie of the same name. The size of the island suggested that an excursion by land might be the order of the day and Assos on the north western shore and nearby Mythos Beach quickly validated that assertion.

The spectacular limestone cliffs that ascend from a lime tinted turquoise sea prompted a previously unequaled frenzy of camera shutters. The tiny village of Assos, overlooked by a Venetian fortress, offered excellent waterfront dining following the giddying descent from the cliff top main road.

The Rion Antiroin Bridge -  Maggie Joyce - Mariner?nid=49692 Boating Holidays ©  



A return to the Delphinia Restaurant on the night of the lay day in Sami saw a local band of musicians whip the suitably imbibed diners into a frenzy of Greek dancing, which continued unabated from 9 until 1, when exhaustion finally prevailed. A great night with terrific exchange between the mix of nationalities and the Greek proprietor, who at the end declared the night the best of the summer, 'because Ozzies he make it good party'.

At this point of the rally only two of the scheduled three races had been conducted but both had seen 20 knots and more of a spirited westerly wind, rather than the benign 10 knot north-westerly breezes that supposedly prevail throughout the Ionian Sea. In fact the weather did not follow a settled pattern at all, which the locals told us was really un-seasonal. Now where have I heard that before?

Nevertheless an arm wrestle was developing between recently crowned Australian IRC Champion Peter Sorenson and Mark Hendry, who both sailed identical Beneteau 50 footers. Sorenson is a pretty competitive bloke and the step down from the glamour of the national championship to 'mickey mouse' passage racing in the Greek Islands did not dampen his competitive fervor.

The handicapping system developed by Mariner also brought total racing novice Robert Tardif and his similarly inexperienced crew into the picture and before the start of the last race only 1 point separated four of the five yachts in the fleet.

Back to the rally and on to Fiskardo at the northern end of Cephalonia, and the only town on the island not destroyed by the 1953 earthquake, which you can have described but which is still impossible to imagine. In some villages every single house was reduced to rubble and on Cephalonia the entire population was driven into the streets in terror as the quake shook the ground like jelly on a child’s dessert plate.

Fiskardo today has a busy tourism-driven waterfront where one of the great past times is the coming and going of the huge fleet of yachts that visit during their charters out of nearby Levkada. Reverse parking misadventures, knitted anchor chains and futile attempts at throwing tangled mooring lines made for great viewing while sipping a cappuccino in one of the many cafes. Not cheap mind you – 5 dollars for a coffee!


Fiscardo town and harbour, Cephalonia -  Maggie Joyce - Mariner?nid=49692 Boating Holidays ©  



Cephalonia’s neighbor Ithaka is the diamond of the Ionian Islands and Kioni is probably the diamond of Ithaka. With a dog-leg closing the harbour to the open sea Kioni is a perfect haven. The classic two story house on the right as you enter the harbour was for sale in September 2008 for a cool 1 million Euros. Built in 1896 it was owned by an English woman with a Hamilton surname who operated a fleet of barges on the Danube in Bulgaria and married her chief captain, a Greek from Ithaka. When he eventually brought her home to Kioni she built the mansion to specifications that easily survived the big earthquake.

An excursion to nearby Stavros brought us closer to the home of Odysseus but a sunny day and an appetite saw us lunching in the tranquil garden of the excellent Polythemos restaurant where we ordered and shared a range of excellent entrées accompanied by some equally excellent house wine. We then briefly contemplated the 7 kilometre walk back to Kioni before the school bus came along and we took the ride with the kids. The bus stopped at or near the house of each o




by Trevor Joyce

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=49692

10:32 PM Sat 11 Oct 2008 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on


Related News Stories:

05 Jul 2011  The Lycian Coast Yacht Rally - Turkey: 21 Sept - 06 Oct 2012
28 Jun 2011  The Italian Job – a Cruise in Company 29 June - 14 July 2012
27 Jun 2011  Croatia One Design Yacht Rally 2011 final days
22 Jun 2011  Tahiti Pearl Regatta 2012 teams up with Mariner Boating Holidays
16 Jun 2011  One Design Croatia Yacht Rally 2011 race one
15 Jun 2011  9th annual Croatia Beneteau One Design Yacht Rally 2012
07 Jun 2011  Caribbean Canter Yacht Rally: 19 February - 05 March 2012
02 Jun 2011  The Aegean Rally 18 May - 02 June 2012
29 May 2011  The Aegean Yacht Rally draws to a close with the last race on Marmaris
24 May 2011  The 8th Mariner Boating Aegean Yacht Rally
MORE STORIES ...

News - USA and the World

The Aloha Classic is the longest existing windsurfing wave event (together with Sylt in Germany). 2014 marks 30 years since the very first event and the 25th edition of the Aloha Classic. Let me rewind back to when I was a young journalist, following the evolution of windsurfing, back then windsurfing was called ‘the fastest growing sport’… ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica heads south by Amory Ross, Team Alvimedica
OBR Amory Ross reports on Team Alvimedica’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. It’s wild that after six days of sailing down the coast of South America we finally found ourselves pointed directly at Cape Town (going 16 knots) but all the routing indicates we’re not far enough to the south so down we go! ... [more]  

Little Traverse Yacht Club (Harbor Springs, Michigan) won the Yacht Club Challenge in the 106th Running of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. ... [more]  

Bidding is now open in the auction to join the Volvo Ocean Race as a part of Team Alvimedica and support heart charities around the world! Team Alvimedica supporters have the unique chance to bid on two experiences that will take place at each stopover throughout the race. ... [more]  

AWT Severne Starboard Aloha Classic 2014 - The day started early with a traditional Hawaiian blessing, welcoming everyone to the beach and setting the wheels in motion for a fantastic contest. As the ceremony continued the wind started to blow and straight after the skipper's meeting it was straight on with the pro men competition. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA coach Brad Jackson gives his thoughts on Leg 1. 'We very much understand what the girls are trying to do and who they are competing against and if they do things well they are right up there in the mix. ... [more]  

Want to see 40 great sailing champions in action in stunning Nassau in the Bahamas? The Star Sailors League, an emerging international circuit, is offering the chance to win a four-day holiday for two people with accommodation at the luxury Atlantis resort and water park. ... [more]  

The seventh edition of the St Barth Cata Cup is set to be thrilling. Sixty teams will go head to head aboard the last generation of F18 boats: Hobbie Wild Cat, Nacra Infusion MKII, Cirrus R, Phantom and C2. It is a high-speed, tactical, technical and spectacular discipline! ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - After 19 days of Leg one, the leaders are still within sight of each other, something we don’t think we’ve ever seen at such a stage between Alicante and Cape Town. It’s the ultimate inshore race, staged hundreds of miles offshore. Abu Dhabi, Team Brunel and Team Vestas Wind are locked against each other with Dongfeng Race Team just 17NM further adrift. ... [more]  

The Taiwan 2014 Kitesurfing Open & Green Tourism Miaoli proved to be an interesting event for the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) to get involved with at the Longfong Fish Harbour beach front in Jhunan. As the KTA had been wanting for some time to bring an event to the renowned high wind shores of Taiwan, which is famous for its windy conditions 300 days a year. ... [more]  

Best possible conditions are expected when 2014 World Championships in ISAF-class Kona One is about to start in Islamorada, Florida on Saturday, November 1. A total of 115 sailors from five continents will line up making it the largest Kona event ever. The outcome is very open with a number of high-profiled sailors with multiple international championship wins in different windsurfing classes. ... [more]  

2015 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships - The dates for the 2015 U.S. Youth Championships, hosted by Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass., have been changed to July 6-10 from the traditional second week in August ... [more]  

'It is no less important to the Commodore as air or water,' said Staff Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club Chuck Nichols. The Lipton Cup is arguably one of the most iconic regattas in the sailing community. This three-day regatta is an invitation-only event where the best sailors from around the country compete to represent their yacht clubs. ... [more]  

Year in and year out, the U.S. Disabled Championships is one of the most fascinating sailing events in the world. A strong collection of the top sailors in the country are in Galveston, Texas preparing for this week’s three-day championship, which begins Thursday, October 30 and concludes Saturday, November 1. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas back-slams both race leaders *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The Chris Nicholson skippered Team Vestas Wind, has made a big gain in the last 12 hours in the Volvo Ocean Race, and is now positioned between the two lead boats. The Danish flagged entry had been positioned to the west of the leaders, who were in the fringe of the St Helena High. ... [more]  

Last night all the American Windsurfing Tour riders, and some of the top PWA sailors, enjoyed a fantastic opening party and registration for the Aloha Classic at Adventure Sports Maui. Food, drinks, photos and lots of chat was the order of the evening, and this morning all with gather again at 9am for the official opening blessing. ... [more]  

Many know Bill Erkelens as a former rigger, team manager for the Maxi Sayonara and subsequently Campaign manager for Oracle Racing during the IACC efforts and a really good sailor with a solid Rolodex of connections in the yacht racing world. When the opportunity to manage a Volvo team arose, Bill did not hesitate, and in late 2013, the Bay Area Native accepted the roles as COO for Team Alvimedica ... [more]  

Team Alvimedica OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. Even in the 'straight-line' sailing that has dominated the last portion of the race, the dynamic of our fleet position has been in a state of constant change. ... [more]  

Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 18 for the crew in the Volvo Ocean Race. We are fighting. We are determined. We are focused. Yes, today was not easy, but we did not allow ourselves to slow down-- we sailed with the conditions given and sailed at 100% performance. ... [more]  

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published its 2015 Anti-Doping Code on Wednesday (29 October), which will apply to all Member organisations, Paralympic Games and IPC recognised International Federations, from 1 January 2015. ... [more]  

Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston hopes to inspire greater French participation in ocean racing through his entry in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. 'France is a nation of sailors with excellent role models; legends in their own right,' said Sir Robin. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - The big news of yesterday was the introduction of an ice gate by Race Director Jack Lloyd. Designed to take away the temptation for the teams to dive deep south in the search for better pressure and a better angle to Cape Town. The Ice Gate is placed at 42 deg South between 20W and 10W, seen on the screenshot below. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Up until now the comment from the boats to the east has been that Team Vestas Wind had made a bad move by digging west. But now, with the high pressure to the east expanding, perhaps Wouter on the Danish boat has read the future a little better and has set his team up for a comeback. ... [more]  

Optimist World Championship 2014 - Six races were made last week and the fleet was divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each fleet has 70 sailors. This first part of this championship had light winds, lot of current and little waves but today it changed completely: The wind gauge marked 23 Knots on the race area, the waves were high and short. ... [more]  

2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have finally given ground to Team Brunel after almost exactly a week at the head of the fleet but the new leaders’ thin advantage may well be very short-lived as the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 turned into a game of hunt-the-breeze. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Ice Gate laid in Southern Ocean on Leg 1 *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Volvo Ocean Race have specified an Ice Gate in the Southern Ocean of which all competitors must stay to the North, or pass on their starboard side. The gate has been set along the line of 42degrees South and runs for 10 degrees of longitude. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Reality for Team Vestas Wind by Brian Carlin, Team Vestas Wind
The Volvo Ocean Race is an event that you get to watch unfold as something real. What happens on these boats day-to-day, what’s sent, what’s written about, what’s photographed, what’s on video is REAL. When you wake at 3am, it’s dark, really dark. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team Alvimedica OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew’s progress. It’s beginning to feel a bit like Groundhog Day onboard! Our straight-line progress south continues without significant change and after 48 hours of port tack bliss we’re still free running in the South Equatorial Current at steady speeds in excess of 20 knots. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 17 for the team as they enter the Southern Ocean. Entering the Southern Ocean and racing to Cape Town is not as easy as sailing a straight line South. Currently, we are heading west in order to catch a Low pressure that spins out of the South. ... [more]  

Jim and Kristy Clark’s newly launched Comanche, a 100-foot supermaxi is aim for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart as her first major outing. The first video is of a training run from Newport, RI to Charleston, SC on Oct 24-26, 2014.The second video is of earlier trials off Newport. ... [more]  

La Torche only produced one day of wind over the nine days for the PWA Grand Slam, but the one day of competition was one to remember as La Torche produced some of the best conditions of the year, for the wave sailors, with 20-30 knot winds and powerful, peeling, clean waves, providing the perfect platform for the world’s most radical sailors to throw themselves skywards. ... [more]  

The 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Awards will be held in one week’s time at a glittering awards ceremony in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. After an exciting year of sailing across multiple disciplines of the sport, five male and three female nominees make up the 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year shortlist based on their achievements from 1 September 2013 to 21 September 2014. ... [more]  

Clipper Race - Is this the toughest job on the ocean? by Clipper Round The World Yacht Race
Recruitment is well underway for what could be the toughest job on the ocean: A Clipper Race skipper. We are currently searching for twelve highly skilled sailors for this challenging role and recently took the press out on the water for an insight into the tough three-day trial that all prospective skippers must undertake. ... [more]  

PIC Coastal Classic Roundup: Almost 30 minutes slashed off record
America's Cup: Artemis Racing signs seventh Olympic Gold medalist
Pieces in place for the 2015 GC32 Racing Tour
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Behind the numbers
Volvo Ocean Race: Front runners open gap for Cape Town *Feature
AWT - PWA Finale 2014: Severne Starboard Aloha Classic - One day to go
2014 International Masters Regatta - Augie Diaz takes the trophy
Volvo Ocean Race - Supreme sailing for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA, united by one
A big shift for Pumpkin Pursuit in Richmond
ISAF Annual Conference to take place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report: October 27, 1700 UTC
Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team to race RORC Transatlantic Race
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - The search for skippers is on
China Cup Int'l Regatta - Windier weather brings victory for Vanke
Argo Group Gold Cup - Stena Sailing Team wins in Bermuda
GC 32 Foiling Cat Argo sets Mount Gay Rum Around Jamestown Record
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report, October 27, 0630 UTC
2014 RS:X Youth Worlds - Going out with a bang! + Video
2015 Flying Dutchman World Championships - Winners will be Grinners!
RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup - Denmark’s Christian Spodsberg wins   
Argo Group Gold Cup 2014 - Berntsson joins sailing’s elite   
Sand Flies versus Foiling Moths - Moth World Championship 2015 *Feature   
2015 International 14 World Championship - Frasch leads German team   
Ian Williams and GAC Pindar set up an exciting AWMRT finale   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg one – South Atlantic tactics   
Volvo Ocean Race: Steady run to the finish at Cape Town   
18ft Skiffs: Club Championship - Race one   
2014 Optimist World Championship - Race started with a clear day   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Fernando de Noronha   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - The longest route   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Semi Final matches set for Sunday   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Light air drama in Bermuda   
Renaissance Re Jr Gold Cup - Searching for breeze on the race course   
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Radical wave tow-in on day 8   
Rolex Middle Sea Race - 35th edition one to remember + Video   
Volvo Ocean Race - How eight on Team SCA became Shellbacks   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica rounds Fernando de Neronha   
RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championship - All to play for on day 4   
Rolex Middle Sea Race - Prize giving ceremony in Valetta   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News





Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT