Tag Archives: Odysseus

Update #1: Adriatica 2011 – Mission accomplished, returning home

Some five weeks ago I departed from Murter, Croatia, to sail south to the inland sea of Levkada in Greece…

My sailing yacht Helena, a Beneteau Cyclades 39, is very easy to handle and performs well, including the Genaker, one of my trip gadgetsthe ultimate toy. Top speed we reached was 8.7 knots sailing downwind surfing from the waves, faster then the 7.8 knots we reached with the Genaker. I am speeding I think as she was never pushed to before.

The other gadgets are my BBQ – used well – and a Go Pro high definition wide angle video camera. Only my MacBook is not speeding as I wished due to the installation of a Croatian Internet Stick. So I do feel crippled this sailing trip and I cannot upload any of the video’s made.

After 5 weeks one of the lessons I have learned is that I am now an internet addict officially. So my the gadget for my next sailing trip will be  a high-speed satellite internet connection mounted to the boat :-)

Trip Summary

Since last Tuesday I am heading home, after having thrown my anchor at Ithaca, home of King Odysseus, the ultimate destination of my Odyssean Trail, so time for an update.

The Castle of Odysseus on Ithaka

The Castle of Odysseus on Ithaka

From tomorrow I will be heading back to Croatia. But I have learned from the classics and know never to rush things and unplease the Gods like Odysseus did. So I will sail via Puglia in Italy, enjoy the Italian food and maybe sacrifice some of it to the Gods before returning Helena to Croatia.

Croatia

Of the first 2 weeks in Croatia worth mentioning are the waterfalls of Skradin, Ancient Split with its palace of Diocletianus, Hvar still the Ibiza of the Adriatic and Stari Grad, the BBQ in a bay in Lastovo, brutely disturbed by a thunderstorm  (Lastovo was forbidden to enter until the end of the 1990’sand we anchored left to departed submarine bunkers and VHF monitor buildings), Sipan (I will retire there once), and Dubrovnik and Cavtat (Port of Entry) in Croatia.

Weather conditions where light the first week and brilliant the second week where we had 28 knots of wind between Hvar and Vis. Fantastic to sail so much wind just in your shorts. Of the 2,5 weeks in Croatia, only one day was with rain. We did get some anchor showers though

Montenegro

In Montenegro I have visited Kotor with it’s immense city walls from around 1500 and also Tivat, where a superyacht marina is being build currently. Nice to be provided with a personal naval assistant.

Perast and the islands “Gospa od Skrpjela” are impressive. Perast was in ancient times the maritime center of the Venetian Empire and the church on one of the islands served as votive center for seafarers.

I see Sveti Stefan as the highlight of the country. Similar to what celebreties of the 1950’s like Sophia Lorenz thought. It attractiveness declined after the death of Tito and the civil war of yugoslavia but now it is being restored to it’s previous glamour. The visit to Montenegro ended in Bar, where we left the country.

The weather was not in favour of us in Montengro, although always sunny and around 28 degrees, we had no wind for almost 1,5 weeks.

Greece

Corfu Town was the first city we touched in Greece. It was good to be in Greece but the bureaucratic system is something you don’t want to have to deal with. It took me 4 hours of waiting and formalities to enter the country with my Croatian ship. Later it took me about 2 hours to pay 88 eurocents of taxes in some obscure tax office.

After Corfu town, our destination was Ay Stefanou. A very tranquille bay to anchor and come to strength after the crossing from Montenegro (circa 175 nautical Miles, about 50% of the time 15 – 20 knots of wind from the back). Via Gaios on Paxoi (or Paxos) we arrived at Levkada itself.

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Last week it was my intention to have a more holiday oriented week with low profile sailing, just to digest the almost 800 nautical miles already sailed in the first 4 weeks. Finally time to do some decent snorkeling and firing up the BBQ. But also reached my destination: Ithaca.

After Ithaca and having visited the ruins of the castle of King Odysseus (one of the 3 possible locations on the island, not to mention other islands) we went to the Bay of Pandelimon where a Dolphin family was entertaining us during the evening and the next morning. It was the first time I have swum with dolphins.

Weather conditions in the last week was top, no wind in the mornings and around 14:00 the Gods switched on the wind and we got 20 knots of wind almost every day.

Once in a lifetime arrival in Venice

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After 3 weeks of sailing, I arrived in Venice yesterday!

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Found a place in the best harbour in the world on Isola San Georgio Maggiore. In the picture above just in the left corner.

If you would like to visit me, just go the center of Venice where you will find Piazza San Marco (with the campanile). Jump in the canal there, swim for about 100 metres and you are at my marina for the next four days.

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After the right celebration we had time to walk a round a little bit. What an amazing city! I hope to write more about my visit and the city later. Also because I found out that the Venetians used to claim that the city was founded by refugees from Troy… How is that for sailing the trails of Herodotus and Odysseus.

The coincidence is the Biennale di Venezia is this weekend in Venice. An international cultural festivals which is organized once every to years. So a lot of exhibitions and festivities this weekend. Found some kind of afterparty last night already with live jazz and free drinks (or it was just so crowded around the bar we couldn’t find a waiter to pay).

This afternoon we will join the international opening of the Biennale with all kind of artists, politicians, celebrities and the other so important people of the world.

Why you could ask? The answer is that the opening is next to the boat.

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Sailing from Frikes to Vathi

Frikes

Frikes, the nice cosy little city on Nisos Ithaca. Ithaca, for me an island I can’t compare to one else. The connection with Homer, Odyssey and all places found on the island mentioned in the saga. An island with so many mythical and historical associations, amazing!

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After our croissant and coffee at the local café, we had time to walk around for a quick impression. Frikes is nice place set at the bottom of a steep and wooded valley. The village is of comparatively recent origin as villages were not commonly built by the sea prior to the 18th and 19th centuries because of risk of pirate attacks (it was called Little Somalia at that time). In fact the name of the village may be derived from the pirate Frikon who used it as a base according to some local sources.

The village consists of several tavernas, it has a small supermarket and there a still some ruins of old windmills. These can be seen from the sea and are good landmarks. There is supply of water on the quay and for non-sailors there is a connection with Vassiliki through a ferry.

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One thing you have to know of the harbour of Frikes is that 2 – 4 times a day a giant swell passes by. This wave is caused by a large ferry which passes miles away. I saw this day several ships heavily damaged by the force of this wave.

The Route

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Next Challenge: Ulysses by James Joyce

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Bought some books today (and went to Thijssen directly after to grab a coffee). I went only to buy some books to learn a little bit of the Italian and Croatian language. Off course I bought far to many books. One of them Ulysses from James Joyce.

I thought if I do refer my site to the trails of Odysseus, I am almost obliged to read the contemporary version of Homers saga (sigh).

Besides James Joyce loved the Adriatic Sea and lived for years in Trieste.