Tuesday, June 29, 2010


It is said that the major archaeological sites in the Greek Mediterranean: The Parthenon in Athens, Knossos Palace in Crete, Delphi in the mountains of near the gulf of Corinth and Delos on the Island of Delos. In the last 3 months, I have been so lucky to see them all.
We anchored in the island Renia, next to Delos and in the morning were able to sail the short distance to Delos and anchor there (restricted to only daytime anchorage).

As the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, the Greek island of Delos was a sacred site for the ancient Greeks, second in importance only to Delphi. At its height, the sacred island was covered in a variety of temples and sanctuaries dedicated to a variety of gods.Remains of a settlement found on top of Mt. Kinthos, a 370 feet climb, show that Delos was inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC.

Climbing the mountain of Kinthos containing other temples along the way . The top was a wonderful 360 degree view of the area and the many Greek islands. An obvious tradition was small monuments of rocks piled up forming hundreds of little towers on this mountain top. We each made one with the huge supply of rocks everywhere you turn.

In the Museum, the finds from the area were interesting. I might be getting tired of all the museums and history because all in all, the best part was the homemade orange juice in the cafe. It was awesome. Enough stuff from the past, I want to go to a disco.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Contest: What Cycladic Island is my latest bruise shaped like?

There is a prize. Leave your email address.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Art in Mykonos

Bay of Onus, Mykonos, Greece---There is a lot of Art going on in the Greek Islands. It’s in the air, the sea, the mountains and the sparkling white washed villas that dot the country side. Being in this atmosphere, if you have it in you, creativity will want to burst out from inside. I sense it in myself. I bought some watercolor paints and will see what they lead to.

In the last days, I’ve met some amazing artists as I’ve wandered in and out of shops in the maze of shops they call Mykonos Town. I’ve taken a bus there for the past 2 days. It’s a 20 minute ride to a town 6 minutes away due to going the long way around. But it’s a cheap fare and I get to see more of the island.

Different forms of art are all around: jewelry, pop art, sculpture, watercolor and oil paintings. But there is a different sense about the ones “original to Greece, original to this island”; it’s art for arts’ sake.

In one shop, I spoke with the artist after admiring her “Andy Warhol” style of her painting and art (all sizes of brightly painted “fun” paper papier-mâché pieces). She said “I wanted to create art that everyone can afford, that everyone gets to have at home.” Wow, how un-American I thought.

Oh yeah, I’m in Greece.

Not that there aren’t Greek capitalists and those with monetary goals doing art here, it’s just a different feel. Perhaps it is the beauty of the islands all around you. The 360 degrees of wonder that brings out beauty, imagination…art held inside you.

Note about photo: Artist in shop in Mykonos

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Le Femme

There is a special connection women have with women. The TV series Sex In the City showed one example of a pod of girl friends, their interaction and the importance each played on the others’ lives.

Being at sea now for 3 months with just male crew mates, this is one strong emotion that is unearthing itself; I MISS MY GIRLFRIENDS.
We all have an inner circle of female confidants and advisors that are from different stages of our past. I feel so blessed with the ones that are in my life, past and present. Time only adds depth to any relationship and although they expressed missing ME being absent from THEIR lives when I left, I never really considered how hard it would be on me. How could I, I was leaving for this grand adventure!

But just like moving from Kansas to Florida and thinking I would spend every lunch and all free time at The Beach, the reality of life kicks in and a routine emerges. This has started to happen on the boat now, leaving raw thoughts and emotions. And…I MISS MY GIRLFRIENDS.
They know. They each know who they are. And it was a wonderful thing when my sister stopped being just my sister and became my friend in our 20’s.  
Each adds a different perspective. There is my streetwise friend who knew more about life at 14 than I did at 40 I think! She has a knack for sizing up someone or a situation and as much as I may disagree, she most often turns out to be right. There is one who’s spirit of “nothing is impossible” has been the wind under my wings since college. The girls who are not afraid to be as silly as me whether its posing in high boots or learning a Britney Spears dance, yet they can add a depth of opinion and thought to season me when I need them most. The list goes on and on from Salsa and Chips, “you are loved and appreciated”, to my Sports Friend that finds a way to fit 3 athletic activities into one day and usually comes home bruised or bloody only laughing about the fun of it all. The depth of my high school girl friends and our circle is something that feels like my rock at times.
The captain’s wife and Mom to the kids is arriving in 4 days to join us for 5 weeks! As friends for over 20 years, I am anticipating her arrival with the fear that I will be competing for time with her over her first priority: the kids (who have not seen her for almost 6 months and are heart-sick missing her by now).

 No, women can not replace the wonders of men and sure,  I have some great guy-friends who are among my closest of friends. Of course I miss them but the “filling of my soul” is reserved for the women of my life.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Zorba the Greek

Crete, Greece---I read the famous book, Zorba the Greek. Like reading The Odyssey in Ithaca, it is ironic to buy and read this in Crete since the story took place there. Written in 1950's, I say it should be banned from book shelves for very different reasons than the author’s other work “The last Temptation of Christ” was banned by the Pope!

The book, written in first person from the view of a Greek business man who is befriended by Zorba, an animated, raw, uncensored man who’s opinion of women is one where they (and there are many) exist for his enjoyment. Although he does have the treatment of women down to a correct science, there is a strong, superior male ego at play.

As I observed the areas in Greece where we have been, I am picking up a feel that women are to be looked at, catered to and honored, but they are not equal, and they are to keep in their rightful place. Many times, with the exception of boat yards and industrial areas, the paths leading through the old towns and the maze of homes and shops, it was always the women working and the men sitting around. Very old country.

Maybe it’s different on the Mainland or in Athens. On the Island Paros, a waiter from Athens named Evos buddyed up to me after about my fifth Gyro there! He started commenting on life in the Islands and “the villagers”. It was interesting that he separated himself from them calling himself “Athens boy, not like them”. I heard this similar attitude on other islands. It is prevalent and worrisome to some Greeks. “The youth leave and only come back to work the tourist season,” one shop keeper said to me. And as tourism is, and has, slowly replaced mining, farming and other island incomes, this seems logical.

I asked Evos if he liked Turkey (always an interesting reaction) and he wrinkled his nose and said with disgust, “I hate Turks.”

“Why?” I asked wanting more, “What did they do to YOU?”

“Nothing,” he answered, “but I think of my grandmother’s, grandmother’s, grandmother… and what she went through,” his voice trailing off. “It’s in my blood,” he said tapping the veins in his left wrist.

And the World turns. Century old prejudices are passed down. Women sweep the cobblestones. And Zorba, no words can say, so he dances.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Town of Agios Nikolaos, Island of Crete: Greece---On any map Crete seemed to me as a massive mystery in the Mediterranean. Almost an entity of itself, it's hard to think of as as a part of the “Greek Islands.” I was anxious to see it because of the mystery in my mind since I was young.

Up at 5am, we left Santorini by six, which was not easy since we ended up rafted between 2 boats in the Marina. The other boat owners had been warned and they were good sports about getting up to help us untie and slip away.

Thirteen hours later, we pulled into a marina the town of Agios Nikolaos, Crete.  The island is 155 miles long. Thankfully, we rented a car and I drove us to the Palace of Knossos, located towards the middle of the Island about 60 miles away. This gave me a good chance to view the inner island.

Knossos was the Minoan civilization that was said
to have disappeared due to the Santorini (Thera) Volcano and following earth quakes and tsunami  1700 BC. The uniqueness of this archaeological site is that it lay uncovered for thousands of years. In 1878 excavations started followed by Arthur Evans coming in 1900 who bought the land and decided to recreate some of the areas as his interpretation as they would have originally looked. It was controversial but after seeing many sights where you have to use your imagination 100% of the time, it was refreshing to see some areas clearly.

The town in Crete where we were docked, was again an area focused on the water. Wonderful traverna’s along a bay lined with colorful fishing boat. Amazing shopping that was a mix between tourist and high fashion city shops.

The Marina it self was the best I’ve visited on this trip so far. Showers with plenty of HOT WATER! This you see, is a luxury compared to the boat bathing that is salt water wash in the sea, followed by a sparse amount of fresh water from the sun shower up top.

Leaving Crete, we were about a mile out when the Captain noticed something was trailing us. A line? …but all our ropes were accounted for. Still, we had caught something and were dragging it behind us. So, by process of elimination; it can’t be the children and it can’t be the Captain, I was left to dive off the side with a knife in hand to cut us free. Now, most of my fantasies have the knife in my mouth diving in, but I quickly dropped everything, grabbed the knife and dove in. Lucky for me we were only moving at a couple knots and the motor had long been put in neutral due to the situation. I dove in and the world above me disappeared as the cool blue water engulfed me. My focus was only on the bottom of the boat. With another big breathe I swam under the boat and quickly saw that a loop leading to a mass of rope and fishing line had gotten wrapped around the zinc attached to our Rutter. Simply un-attaching the loop that caught us, we were free.

Passing up the ball of line to my boat mates, they found a few hooks I was glad I didn’t find and we were off. Leaving Crete behind us and heading towards Mykinos for our next chapter.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm Back (Santorini revisited)

When given the option, I always prefer to visit somewhere I have never been. The exception was Santorini.

Eight years ago I visited the island who’s ancient name is Thera. It is famous for the Volcano that erupted in 1450 BC, thought to have destroyed the Minoan outpost civilization and left a crescent shaped island with towns built on the tip top of the high 890 ft cliffs. What’s seen is a caldera with the remaining volcanic cone as a growing island in the middle. The view is miles in every direction of the deep blue Mediterranean Sea with islands in the distance, towns built into the top with their white hotels and houses accented in blue to form a maze of layers of typical Mediterranean architecture cascading down the cliff tops.

Eight years ago I said if there was one place I wanted to return, it would be here. For eight years I had a photo of the Santorini view in my office and would often day dream of this place that is like no other. I knew someday I wanted to return.

Never did I think I would get to sail into it and view the entire Caldera and the magnificence of the Island’s beauty on a 44” sailboat that I joined in Italy! This just didn’t seem real or possible. I’m back!

And now I’m here and I feel nothing but sadness.

Santorini has changed. Gone is the charm of the quiet romance. Replaced is the Cruise Ship business. Six huge ships on the day we sailed through the Caldera to make our way to a marina on the other side of the island. Excited to show my shipmates the town of Fira at the top of the cliffs, we found only frustrated, sun burnt cruisers jammed in the narrow streets waiting for the cable car to bring them down to the ship tenders. Others dared the 500+ steps of the zig-zag sidewalk shared with donkeys to carry people up and down from sea level. Most had a frenzied look about them to see, shop, drink, eat, experience all in the “X amount of time” they had at this Port as warned on their daily Cruise News slipped under their door the night before.I guess it happens everywhere. I guess its called progress. I saw it happen in Key West between my first visit and now, leaving me with no ambition to return. Hilton Head had the same charm until over-development. Nothing lasts forever.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Antiparos and Dispotico: the beginning of an archaeological site

Antiparos, Greece---We are at an anchorage between an island call Antiparos and a tiny island called Dispotico. There is no town, only 2 tavernas. One taverna was nice enough to sell us some bread, cucumbers and feta cheese since we have been away from a village for so long.  But it is picture perfect beautiful here.We heard that there was a newly found archaeological site on the island Dispotico. So we took a hike and found the site. Work has just begun and although some of the area had a fence, they ask you only to not step on the walls of the site. It was like seeing the beginning of a discovery long before the tourist come. Overlooking the blue water, we had heard it was a temple to Apollo. I was mesmerized. Long after my boat mates left, I just stood and stared and imagined life a thousand years ago. Then simply walking around the OUTSIDE of the fence, I looked down to see broken pottery among the rocks just like we've been viewing in the museums. How badly I wanted to take it with me! But I just couldn't. It belonged there. I gathered up what I could see and hoped that one of the workers would find them and put them with the other finds.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Korfos, Salamis, Sounion, Kythnos, Antipatro

Hard Intranet signals have made it difficult to log in often. Summer is finally here and swimming at different anchorages has been great. So far, Kythnos had the best beach off the bay we anchored.

Here are a few sites along the way

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In the company of males.

Greek Islands---I have been living with 3 males, on a 44 foot boat, for the past 60+ days. I grew up with no brothers and have never been married. And with all this said, I now know for sure, they ARE from a different planet.

Granted, one is a kid, one a teenager and one a man. But even so, that gives me the full view of this species in several stages.

What’s funny: Amongst the younger of the species, there is a vast difference in what they consider funny. Body noises, scenes or lines from movies repeated up to 50 times in one sitting, me having the metal clip fall on my head, my shoe floating off OR the fact I have now hurt myself on the boat 86 times (and they are the ones counting). For these things, I see no humor. Even the older of the species only holds back due to a learned politeness that comes with age verses a natural tendency to laugh. Monte Python does have its funny moments but to have entire scenes memorized and act them out…repeatedly, is NEVER anything my female friends would consider doing.

What’s Clean: There are “Boat Clothes” divided into 2 categories; salty and non-salty. You get one set of each that can be worn until it is sniffed repeatedly and considered “smelly”. Until then, it’s fair game to wear the same thing for well over a week. Salty clothes are only used to go to the beach or get in the sea with. Actual stains or spots have absolutely nothing to do with this formula of needing to be cleaned. Then, there are “Shore Clothes.” These are clothing that other humans may see you in at a port or village. These can be boat cloths unless there are obvious rips. Wrinkles or the fact the t-shirt was first worn in 1985 and the logos have faded beyond recognition is completely irrelevant. Same smelly rules apply.

What’s Shopping: Among the male species on this trip, shopping is strictly a "seek, obtain and withdraw as fast as possible" act. There is no browsing, no looking around, and no window shopping. I found this out on our first road trip as I whimpered past several shoe shops seeing their unwillingness to let me go inside. To them, there is no pleasure in spending hours to see what is there, even if you are not looking for it or do not intend on buying it.

What’s Emotional: What I’m emotional about; flying across the aft cabin and the bruise to follow the size of an I-HOP pancake; Hitting my head on various boat ledges; nightmares; Missing people. What the Man-species is emotional about: motors not working; anything that breaks, the thought of high heels on his boat, children addicted to computer-anything; the wind.

We are different and I will go on and wear a different outfit each day on the boat, pick out one of my summer dresses to go ashore, laugh hysterically at my own jokes, cry over bruises or when I’m lonely, and in port, slip away by myself to window shop.