ebook published October 2017
Geographically, four of these twelve short pieces of writing concern Italy, one Malta, one Greece, three Turkey, one North Cyprus, one Syria and one – since it describes a night spent offshore at a location equidistant from Egypt, Gaza, Israel and South Cyprus – took place in the middle of nowhere.
How things change! All these journeys occurred in a period of time amounting to less than ten years – from 2008 to 2017.
In that near decade, Syria, of course, has been the place that has changed the most. Only six months after PENGUIN II lay berthed at the Syrian port of Latakia, a civil war began (Sailing to Syria). Turkey, too, has become a less comfortable location than it was in 2012 (The God-King, Swallowing the Anchor) - rapidly moving from the westwards-looking country of its founder Kemal Ataturk to the authoritarian regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a leader whose paranoid politics now begin to share less and less in common with a liberal-democratic European Union (Bosphorus Passage). And Turkey’s client state of North Cyprus, operating outside international law and extradition treaties, since 1974 occupying half of a small island that would be better united (A Hard Night’s Day). Egypt, ever a stifling place of few opportunities for most of its people, has since 2008 remained a country where ‘baksheesh’ colours every encounter (Powerless near Gaza). Then there is Greece with its economic woes - struggling under the ‘Troika’ (Look behind Goody’s). Finally, in those ten years, an Italy that has found itself burdened with thousands of migrants landing at its ports (The ‘ghost ships’ of Pozzallo).
A yacht and its crew can move from one country to another with relative ease but the processes of entry and exit often reveal insights about the places visited that remain hidden from most modern ways of tourism: transit logs, tax offices, port police, gunboats, marine communications, naval exercises.
All at Sea – Mostly! offers an alternative perspective to the beaches and all-day breakfasts of some of the holiday hotspots around the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.
Bosphorus Passage - Istanbul, Turkey, September 2008
Powerless near Gaza – Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt, October 2009
Sailing to Syria – Latakia, Syria, September 2010
A Hard Night’s Day – Eastern Mediterranean, North Cyprus, April 2012
Swallowing the Anchor - Kemer ,Turkey, August 2012
The God-King - Eastern Mediterranean/Anatolia. Turkey, September 2012
Look behind Goody’s – Kos, Greece, September 2013
Tale of Two Tows – Sicily, Italy, October 2014
Seize the Day – Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol. Italy, August 2015
A Cross to Malta – Valletta, Malta, June 2016
The ‘ghost ships’ of Pozzallo – Sicily, Italy, September 2017
The Arm of Bronze – Calabria, Italy, September 2017