Greek Urn?


Catching wind in the Aegean

ebook published April 2014
8 Chapters 2 Maps 90 Pages


A red line had been crossed. Military preparations were in hand. In the waters around southern Cyprus, a Royal Navy attack submarine armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles was reputedly moving towards its launch point. On the island itself, the defences of British sovereign bases were being bolstered with Typhoon fighter aircraft. The coast of Syria lay only 100 nautical miles to the east of Dhekelia near Famagusta and not much further away from Akrotiri just outside Limassol. A Russian-made missile fired in retaliation could easily reach either of them and begin World War Three. In fact, a Russian-made missile only had to travel 300 nautical miles to hit where my yacht was berthed at Kemer in southern Turkey. It could be that the Eastern Mediterranean might soon be aflame.

Turkey was unsettled, too. The stern gaze of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk which looked down from the wall of every office and school room in the country or – cast in stone in public spaces – shepherded or exhorted his people towards a modern secular state was being slowly side lined.

In 2013, neighbouring Greece existed as a country that was essentially bankrupt and trying to come to terms with an economy twenty per cent smaller than it was in 2008. One in four businesses had closed, unemployment was sixty percent for young people and pensions had halved for their parents. Two massive bail-outs by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank were swallowed up with little result other than hardship: the country’s debts in 2009 amounted to just over 300 billion euros and, in 2012, were still just over 300 billion euros. Greece was going nowhere – except as a claimant for another loan.

Somehow, September 2013 did not seem the best of times to set off on a sailing trip through the Eastern Mediterranean and into the Aegean.

Synopsis of ‘What’s a Greek Urn?’

A book about a summers sailing cruise along the south coast of Turkey and into the Aegean – politics, people, places and a touch of cabin fever. The red line/ the Eastern Mediterranean and Syria, Turkey and Greece/ the ‘three fingers’ and the Third World War/ the Kemer Community/ hot nights, steaming lights, a rubber elbow and tales of Happy Hour/ coasting along Lycia/ Obama’s speech and the perfumes of Finike/ the Seven Heads/ the darkest hour/ Marmaris at night/ the good news/ leaving Turkey/ no friends in Simi/ tale of a gunboat/ anchor and hope in Datça/ Kos and the Greek economy/ a look behind Goody’s/ the Hippocratic plane tree/ squeezed-in at Samos/ the Golden Dawn/ ‘by no means the feeblest of the Greek sages’/ the Pythagorean view/ Icarus and Kusadasi Korfezi/ the squatters of Chios/ dining with traffic/ a change in the weather/ Efstratios and Mrs Pryce on Greekonomics/ Mitiline’s port bureacracy/ crew concerns/ meltemi and Mikonos/ a change of plan/ high winds in Chios/ a car to Nea Moni/ the Massacre/ the Lion Tomb of Knidos/ Mehlika’s story/ a near miss off a late 14th century BC ship/ the velvet paw and Taslik Bu/ the last supper/ the storm.