Travel changes your outlook on life
sailing changes your life.
SAILING AS USUAL
Pwyll waits, tethered to the dock in Lakki Harbor . . . .
. . . . the crew arrives tomorrow at noon, we will sail to
Archangelo, on to Aspronissi – Lipsi – Patmos. Will Eolos blow
softly across our sails, or
teach us a few lessons on respecting the gods of wind and sea?
It has been a very, very busy season on our little island of Leros and aboard Pwyll.
I will remember 2009 as a blur of activity...........
This summer was characterized by the continued work on our 100% sustainable home ( sustainable =ecological: those of us who have watched the ecology movement from it's inception don't normally use “sustainable”) and the work on the house was squeezed in between the trips on Pwyll .
FINISHING TOUCHES: THE LAST OF THE PLASTERING FOR NOW
Michael took care of a lot of the prep work on Pwyll this season so that I could be up at the house supervising, so both of us worked non-stop most of the summer, it was, hectic!
The winds tossed us about a bit this season -the very low winds seemed to always come – when we were working on the house and not sailing! You cannot live in a place which guarantees you wind...without occasionally having a bit too much of it. But, all of the trips went fine, I had a variety of nationalities on board this year – Spanish, Italian and American – next year will be the year of the Auzzies, I will have two groups from down-under!
The trip with an Italian family restored my faith that children can be raised properly. It has been awhile since I had a family trip and this family was “designed”to come on a trip like this. The two teenagers were in the water the minute we dropped anchor, they snorkeled for ages and brought up, yes, octopus - in their hands! (and released them) Long live parents who teach their children not to be afraid of LIVING!
Many of you know that I have now been on the sea and running charters for some 16 years, that also means, that I taken some...800 or so people sailing, hard to believe!
The trips at times do run together for me, but it takes little to jog my memory of even a trip back in 1994....so many good people, so much sharing and learning; there has never been a “bad” trip - I have only keel-hauled a handful....
I think that is a pretty good average!
What you, my crew, don't realize is that upon disembarkation you are anticipating the next part
of your trip or full of thoughts of returning home...then there is Pwyll and I;
Pwyll is empty, and I am missing yet another great group of sailors who have become friends.
Pwyll is left without her crew the day that a charter ends. Chartering is really a very “intense”job; there is a great deal of preparation involved for us before a trip and the last day is a whirlwind of last minute things to do; then the first day of the “introduction to life aboard” a couple of days of a fair amount of teaching and learning and adjusting to living in a boat, then the days when it all falls together; all aboard are busy with some activity – even if it is re-acquainting yourselves with the art of relaxing!
The last couple of days when inevitably, the crew is already preparing mentally for their departure I am still very much involved with keeping the trip going...I “live”the trip up to the second you step off the boat. When a trip ends, we have been together in Pwyll for usually 10 days, we have leaned to sail and exist in that small space together, in most cases, we have all learned a great deal about each other, have had some great common experiences learning what life a board a boat is all about.
I bring to the trips my life experience of living in different cultures and in different ways and I try to share all of what I have done, and what I have learned about living on the water with all my crews; this is a mission to bring people back to what is real in life, what is simple, what is a just coexistence with this fabulous earth of ours.
Many people are concerned these days with care-taking of this unique planet full of incredible gifts, and I am glad of it -and to do my part. I try to live in a respectful way towards the earth in many small ways, that I think do add up to making a difference. You can think of global warming however you wish, whether it is just another quirk of our planet and we will end up like the dinosaurs, or that we have really overdone it and need to rethink what we have come to take for granted in the western world. Whatever one does to make a difference helps, no matter what we think caused it or what the end product will be. I have “back-tracked” to a path more similar to that which my grandparents might have followed, albeit, with many more conveniences and not being forced to. I conserve in every way possible and I try to show how easy it is to do this aboard Pwyll. Doing without does not necessarily mean being inconvenienced; you can live more in harmony with everything around you doing without a lot of things that don't do our world any good. Living on the sea has taught me very important lessons of life, I am grateful to know how to be happy doing “without”, and happy to share this sort of existence with the crews of Pwyll.
After being on the water so many years, I am enjoying returning to the land; I have done more in the way of landscaping at the house than anything else,and this includes learning about one most magnificent plant, the olive tree.
In the last two years I have learned to prune for fruit and prune for beauty and it is incredibly rewarding. The trees respond to the pruning quickly so you get fairly quick gratification – sometimes too much – we plan to “harvest”wood from the trees for keeping ourselves warm in the winter . . .
THE VIEW FROM THE FRONT PATIO
OVER LOOKING GOURNA BAY
I have now discovered how to preserve olives in about 4 different ways, learning from the Greeks, Italians, and of all cultures, the Australians – many recipes are to be found on line. The basic procedure involves water baths for a week and then brine usually for a few months. If any one has interest in this I would be happy to elaborate. At any rate, it is not all that complicated once you get the hang of it. And, just to set the record straight, there is no such thing as a “black olive” tree and a “green olive” tree...The olive starts out green then they turn purplish, then black...then they fall off of the tree, and eventually dry out and harden. You can pick them at any stage, once they are full size and they start to soften just slightly. There are, however, many varieties of olive trees and the olives can be anywhere from a minute ¼ inch in size on a “wild”olive tree to over an inch, like the Kalamata of Greece or the Cerignola of southern Italy. The Greeks on the island will tell you exactly when to pick them, and the guys helping us build the house shared a great recipe with me this year, one in which the olives are picked green and still quite hard and are ready in a week! You crack them with a stone, and put them in heavy brine, changing the water frequently. The olives prepared this way are very pungent and “spicy” in flavor – we liked the results on the batch that we tried.
After the pruning done two years ago, and last year, there were so many olives that I probably harvested a tenth of what was on the trees. I plan in the future to gather them for fuel as well, why let all that oil and the hard kernel of the olive go to waste? It is a hot-burning fuel. We may become industrious and also have some pressed for the oil, the man who sold the land to Michael came and harvested quite a lot after I was done picking what I could use.
From sailing...to olive harvesting; existing in this world of islands and sea means much more than raising the sails and taking off into the sunset, as you well know now having been aboard. Sailing here in the Dodecanese islands brings you into a bit of the old world culture of Greece, a bit of the new, as well as appreciating the raw elements of nature – usually at their best, but not always!
In the next few years the house will be finished, and we will slowly begin to live a bit further from the water, but not too far – about 150 meters (500 feet) up the hillside from Gourna Bay (you can Google map it, we are on the SW side of the bay, north of Lakki Harbor - I can give you the latitude and longitude if you like!).
God willing I will keep sailing for some time...No matter what, our new home is close enough to the sea to smell the salt breeze, we can watch the sun set over the vast blue of the Aegean sometimes seeing as far as 40 miles away in the direction of Athens, and the day we stop sailing, we will always be able to watch the boats as they cruise by the outer edge of the bay heading towards my favorite anchorages of Archangelo,
IN THE WATER, ARCHANGELO BAY
and on to Kazadia bay, Lipsi, for a pleasant overnight at anchor, among the
white stones Aspronissi, for some great snorkeling or north to the sacred
antiquities and ancient history of Patmos.
Not a bad way for a sailor to end up, overlooking the waters that we have sailed through so many times, watching the ships sail out to sea with the memories of 100's of sailors who braved the waves aboard Pwyll. But don't worry, Pwyll and I have a few more seasons in us, we can take our time finishing “Fathom Tor”. . . that comfortable rocking chair on the front porch will have to wait a little longer for us.
THAT IS LIFE ON LEROS...
(from definitions of nautical terms)
FATHOM : all that a man holds dear and can embrace in his arms.
from Middle English.
TOR : a high rocky place. . .rock outcrop formed by weathering,
usually found on or near the summit of a hill. A rocky peak or hill.
(Middle English, from Old English, Torr, probably of Celtic origin.)
A few nice shots from the September sailing trip this year to Turkey
morning, headed up the Dalayan to the ruins of the city of Caunos
the ruins at Caunos
Mesut, captaining his riverboat past the Lycian Tombs .Mesut and family
are doing fine, his oldest daughter will finish high school this year...
I remember her as an infant....oooooh how many years ago??
The trip up the Dalayan is just as
fascinating every single time I go...
and that is a few years worth of trips!