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My last newsletter told the story of our getting kicked out of Greece and sent back to Turkey - without our boat. Thankfully, our exile from the EU ended on October 18 when the Greeks allowed us back into their country. Yippee! After packing our bags and loading the pups into the doggie travel bags, we were able to hop a couple of ferries to get from Bodrum to Kos and then on to island of Kalymnos. We’d like to think Möbius missed us.
We were only allowed back because our new engine had arrived from Gardner Marine Diesel in England, and Wayne had to get it installed, tested and ready to go by November 2nd, the last day we would be allowed in the EU. There wasn’t much I could do to help him, so I continued my work on our navigation, weather routing, and provisioning for our upcoming sprint towards Gibraltar. In addition, I enjoyed getting my steps in and going on bike rides around Kalymnos.
One place I had really been wanting to visit was the island of Telendos which you can see on the left side of Kalymnos on the map above. I left Pothia on my e-bike up and rode up over the hills and down the switchbacks to the village of Myrties. From there, a tiny little ferry crosses over to Telendos every 30 minutes
The view above is on Telendos looking back at Kalymnos. You can see how quick the ferry ride is - the distance is swimmable. There were a few restaurants and a couple of tiny hotels on the island.
Some of the homes were so cute, they looked like they might be Airbnb places. It was already late in the season, so there weren’t many people on the island, but the water certainly was inviting. And there were many interesting benches that I needed to try out.
Every day when I returned from my walks, I could tell that Wayne was making very fast progress with the new engine. I may not be much of a mechanic, but I can recognize a pretty engine.
During the four months Möbius had been docked on that commercial wharf in Kalymnos, we had had several visitors on the boat. Due to the heat of summer, we usually left the door open at night. I began noticing dusty little footprints on the wood tops of the galley cupboards. Then one evening I caught a rather bold visitor who was ready to come in before we had even finished dinner.
Of course our “guard dogs” were totally useless, and our feline guests did nothing to stop us from getting a brief visit from mice. Fortunately, the mice were not the brightest, and three nights of peanut butter in traps took care of that problem.
As our departure date neared, I discovered that Friday, October 28 was going to be a big holiday, and we hoped to leave on Saturday or Sunday, so we would have to plan the final fruit and veg shopping and clearance out accordingly. I didn’t realize what a big deal Ohi Day is in Greece, but I was soon to learn. I suppose you could say it’s like their Fourth of July.
The holiday commemorates the day in 1940 when Mussolini’s representative brought an ultimatum to the Greek Prime Minister demanding Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified "strategic locations." The Prime Misiter allegedly answered with one word- όχι - which is Greek for NO! Thus began Greek’s participation in World War II, and though many parts of Greece, like Kalymnos were eventually under Italian occupation, the spirit of the Resistance remained strong. Ohi Day is a holiday with military parades, children in costumes, and a celebration of the culture that refused to bend under the force of the Italians.
Of course, I had to go to town to check out the crowds and the parade. For a small island with a total population of about 30,000 people, it seemed like the whole island was in the main town of Pothia, and at least half of them were in the parade.
The parade went on for hours, starting with little kids, then teens, then adults in local costumes, then fishermen, then various branches of the military. A local marching band played (with players aged 6 to 60), and while they may not always have been in tune, it was all so delightful and authentic. I’ve put together a couple of minutes of video to give you a feel for it. Enjoy!
On my bike ride back to the boat, I threaded my way through the crowds most of whom were carrying Greek flags. In the harbor, every boat was flying the flag. One fisherman was even getting his flag up on his covered boat.
What a way it was to spend one of our last days on the island, but there we were wanting to leave, and the entire place shut down for the holiday weekend. Finally, on Monday, Halloween, we were able to fire up the new engine and start our journey west across the Mediterranean. More on that to come.
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