On the downhill run

Not many more posts to come now, as we approach the last stage of our trip.

We’ve spent some time exploring the southern Aegean islands on our way to Turkey. Many people have heard of the legendary ampitheatre with the perfect acoustics where a coin dropped or a piece of paper being russled on the stage can be heard up in the top row. This ampitheatre at Epidhavros, which seats 14,000, was known in ancient times not as a theatre but as a place of healing. The site dates from the 4thC BC and is associated with Asklepios, the god of healing, his symbol of the snake entwined around a staff still used by the medical profession today. We witnessed the acoustics first hand. Apparently the angle of incline, approx 26.5:1, provides the optimum angle for soundwaves to reach the top row without any reduction in strength. Goodness only knows how they figured this out two thousand years ago!

We next visited the brown, dry, sun-scorched  islands of the Cyclades. It’s not surprising that agriculture has given way to tourism as it must be hard to try and scratch a living out of these barren lumps of rock. The harbours are lined with caiques, the local fishing boats, whilst the island capital is usually positioned on top of one of the hills, apparently a defensive location from marauding pirates in times gone by. From a distance it looks like the brown hills have been dusted with icing-sugar. You could be forgiven for thinking the only two man-made colours here are blue and white, the colours of the Greek flag. The villages are typically made up of white cubed buildings, with blue trim and of course the ubiquitous blue domes of the many, many churches. The laneways are often decorated with painted motifs of flowers, fish or boats and donkeys are still used to cart in anything from beer to building materials to where the cars simply can’t go. Harbourside, freshly caught octopus can be found drying in the sun.

You know you’re in a windy place when you see modern wind farms dotted everywhere, together with the remains of old windmills scattered along the island ridges. Whilst we were waiting for the meltemi to blow through we left the boat in Paros and headed down to Santorini. We were amazed by just how spectacular it is. The cliffs, dotted with boxy, white towns, soar some 300 metres above the submerged caldera. As you’re approaching the harbour it’s awesome to think that you’re sailing across the middle of a dormant volcano. Further across in the Dodcanese we hired a dune buggy in Kos to explore around the island (they drive them on the road there!), so that was a bit of fun. Simi, famous for it’s sponge-fishing (which apparently is now conducted in a sustainable way) is a quaint little place.

We are now turning our minds to where we will leave Loki for the winter and are looking at various options in Turkey. It was great to catch up with Brownie & Trish in Marmaris and enjoy the conviviality of the marina and the likeminded yachties there. Today we sailed down from Marmaris to Fethiye, a bit of a blast with gusts up to 38 knots along the way. Thankfully we were heading in the right direction!

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