Chapter Forty March 1
- April 30, 2008
If you’re tired of
witnessing the work, we’re certainly tired of doing the work. But the good news
is it is finished. We’re ready for fun. The last stage was the annual haul-out
when the underwater parts of Seraphim get their turn. This is also the time
when we give the exterior teak its annual refurbishing. While “on the hard,”
John received (unsolicited) advice about everything he was doing from his new
best friend, Ali. Ali instructed John on the better way to do whatever job was
at hand. Further, he informed Sharon that the reason John didn’t get a whole
lot of work done every day was because he talked too much. Now this was not a
huge revelation to Sharon but it was certainly the pot calling the kettle black;
who was interrupting whom? Ten days on the hard and the jobs were complete,
despite Ali and some occasional rain (rain is not conducive to painting).
One last comment before we
close the work report: the repair to the teak eyebrow on the starboard side
required a bit of ingenuity to clamp the repaired section in place as the glue
set. Leonardo would have marveled at John’s clever engineering feat, don’t you
Speaking of fun, a few of
our yacthie friends converted an unused storefront into an art studio this past
winter, and then exhibited their work in the marina’s art gallery. The Opening
Gala was attended by local dignitaries and the press, so we dressed for the
We have new-found friends
who don’t happen to be sailors. Ruthe and Sharon have become fast friends and
we recently had the wonderful experience of meeting the whole family. They
picked us up early morning for a jaunt out to their favorite breakfast spot. It
was twenty miles out into the country. We sat down under the trees for a
traditional Turkish breakfast which included hot, home-made peasant bread, eggs,
gozleme (spiced ground beef wrapped in a pita), olives, feta, dried apricots,
tomatoes and cucumbers. We ate for hours while the children played in the
gardens and in the little stream running through the restaurant. It was a real
treat. But the greatest gift was meeting Ruthe’s husband and learning more about
the Turkish way of life. Şener is a gem of a guy. After stuffing our bellies we
were taken to the sea where we looked out onto “Cleopatra’s Island,” supposedly
the place where she honeymooned with Marc Antony. The day was one we won’t
forget, and the Ege family will be friends forever.
Now the real fun begins.
Work is finished and it is time to relax. It is still a bit early to go sailing
(it gets cold at night, and the rains still come occasionally). So we launched
the season with a week’s trip to Crete. We had hoped to get there last year, but
other plans got in the way, so this year we made it a priority. We flew instead
of sailed. A good way to get into the swing of things, we thought. We stayed in
Hania, on the northwest coast. Hania is considered the prettiest town on the
island; we would heartily agree. It was wonderful being back in Greece,
overindulging in our favorite foods, the sights and the people.
Crete is much larger than we
imagined, and it was impossible to see the whole of it in one week, so we
confined ourselves to the western end. Spectacular mountain ranges are dotted
with caves and sliced by dramatic gorges. Cretans are proud and hospitable
people who maintain their customs and culture. We drove through traditional
mountain villages and agricultural settlements. Shepherds still tend their
The “Must Do” stop here is a
visit to Knossos. The palace of Knossos was destroyed in 1450 B.C., apparently
by the earthquake and tsunami associated with the destruction of Santorini, just
60 miles away. Was this the seat of legendary King Minos? Were all the kings
named “Minos?” And is that how we come to call this “civilization” by the name
“Minoan?” All is speculation, as very little is known for certain. But what is
known is fascinating. And quite beautiful. The artwork has a clear Egyptian
presence, and the technology is impressive. (Did we mention that the queen’s
chambers feature a flushing toilet?) Also here is the “First Road in Europe,”
which connected the palace at Knossos with that of the prince, a kilometer away.
After touring the site, we
visited the Archaeological Museum to see the “real stuff” they had found.
Fortunately for us, the museum is under renovation and most of the 38+ rooms are
closed. Why is that “fortunate?” It is because the most important pieces have
been assembled and are displayed in two rooms. So we were able to see the “key”
bits of the collection in less than two hours! Now that’s Fortunate!
Sharon’s favorite parts in
these things are always the fashions. (Surprise!) The frescos featured some
dazzling fashions. The richness of the colors was phenomenal.
We took a leisurely drive to
see the 16th century monastery of Arkadiou. It was here that Crete’s
“Battle of the Alamo” took place in 1866. The gardens, renovations and
atmosphere were intriguing. The traditional silver icons in the orthodox chapel
were particularly interesting, but mostly because the 90-something curator oozed
such pride and enthusiasm. She had countless stories to tell. All in Greek, of
One monk in particular
caught our eye. We think he posed for some of Michelangelo’s frescoes in the
Now that we’re truly on
vacation we’re doing lots of things we haven’t done in a while. Sleeping in.
Lazying around. Dreaming about our summer cruising. Even watching cruisers pass
us by while gazing over the cliffs of Santorini.
Santorini is all about the
views. What do you think?
We spent the week soaking in
the beauty of Santorini. Morning walks along the edge of the caldera. Afternoon
strolls down cobbled walks. Evening jaunts to ice cream destinations. Sounding
Now it’s time to set sail.
The Turkish coast has hundreds of quiet isolated ports that we are about to
discover. More on that when we return.
Until then, happy summer.