The following letter was sent by Mr Tim P... from Ireland, who with his family, charterd S/Y Selini, a Bavaria 34, from Skiathos and spent 2 weeks exploring the Sporades islands. They witnessed an interesting experience whilst travelling up the eastern side of Alonissos, in light of the general atmosphere not long after the war in Iraq and some local feeling about US involvement in it.
Thank you for your kind note. Yes we are back -
it was all too short, but we are already thinking about next year!
Gerry (if only I'd known his name could be abbreviated
- I was struggling to pronounce Gerrassimos whenever we met!) was extremely
helpful and charming. His briefing was the most thorough I have ever experienced
and he did his best to ensure that all the little things were fixed before
we set off. The boat was fine; well-equipped and we experienced no problems.
The islands are very beautiful - green like the Ionian. It must rain a
lot in winter.
We did a very low mileage cruise. Steni Valla was
as far north as we got and I don't think we ever covered more than 10
miles at a go. Very lazy, I know. We didn't see any dolphins or seals.
I suppose we'll have to come back again and see a bit more.
The most exciting thing that happened to us was
in Skopelos harbour. We were moored alongside a charterboat with 6 Americans
on board - but they were flying a Canadian flag from the spreader! Keeping
a low profile post-Iraq! There was quite an amount of anti-American grafitti
on the harbour wall - in particular a 50 foot long slogan right opposite
our boats which read 'USA terrorist murderers' in 6 foot high spraycan
At around 0200 in the morning we were wakened by
noises on the pier and we looked out to see a small group with paint rollers,
painting out the graffiti with white paint. It was our American neighbours,
emboldened perhaps by a good meal and a few bottles of retsina. There
were many late-night strollers still about, and it wasn't long before
the police arrived to interrupt the cleansing. Much shouting and pushing
ensued, in Greek and English respectively, but communication was limited
and it seemed as if the Americans were destined for a night in the cells.
Then another car arrived with an interpreter, and a lady in a long nightgown.
Apparently she was the mayor or some similar official. She examined the
scene and then said to the Americans, "Finish painting the wall"!
There were loud cheers from the painters, but the police seemed genuinely
disappointed at being robbed of an arrest.
I think the Americans were very foolhardy, and very lucky. As we Irish
know, defying those with strongly expressed political views can be a dangerous
thing in your own country, never mind someone else's.
Thank you for all your help. I look forward to receiving
the book, and if you have any news of new boats for 2004 or anything else,
maybe you'd keep me on your email list.
County Dublin, Ireland, June 2003