The Ionian magazine July 2014
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Transcript of The Ionian magazine July 2014
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Travel, yachting and lifestyle
magazine for the Ionian Islands
and adjacent mainland Greece.
Vol. 5, Issue 3 July 2014
Publisher and Editor
We make every effort to ensure
the accuracy of each issue.
However, we cannot be held
liable for any errors or
omissions. The contributors'
opinions are their own.
Printed in Greece.
The longest day of the year has come and gone and we're in the
middle of summer.
After spending a season or two in the Ionian, many of us dream
of settling down for good in this lovely area of Greece. Maddie
Grigg and her husband decided on a one year sabbatical just to see what that would
be like and Maddie writes about their experience in A Year in Corfu. In fact they've
enjoyed their year so much the've signed up for a repeat!
We also have an update with dolphin sighting reports from Joan Gonzalvo of the
Ionian Dolphin Project.
Our cover photo this month is by Joan Gonzalvo / Tethys Research Institute.
Bottlenose dolphin leaping out of the water.
_/)* Barbara Molin
Summer is here
Hello there, sailors!The first Amvrakikos Gulf Sailing Race will take place onJuly 19 20. The 50mile race starts from the port ofVONITSA, runs down to AMFILOCHIA, and then back toVONITSA. This is a great way to see all of the beautifulsites of the Amvrakikos Gulf and our home town ofVonitsa. Sign up before July 15!For more info call us at:
69477 04503 or 69091 58646Organized by Remezzo Yacht Club and Jetoil Pantazis
Well, were back from our big fat Greek gap year and it s
been an adventure and a half.
So much of an adventure, in fact, weve signed up for
You may remember reading about me in The Ionian
Magazine last year. My husband decided to take early
retirement and asked if I, ten years his junior, fancied
packing in the day job and flitting off to Corfu for twelve
Well, I would have been a fool to say no, wouldn t I? I knew
the island and the area well, having been a frequent visitor
over the previous decade. And back in 2006, we bought a
yacht in a partnership with Odysseus Sailing Holidays, with
which weve explored the Ionian with great joy. It was on
one of these trips that the year away idea flitted into our
heads and carried on fluttering like a moth just out of reach
until we did something about it.
So we let our cottage in the UK and headed for Corfu, where
we had found a lovely house to rent in a village just inland
from Paleokastritsa. The property needed work done to it,
inside and out, and we struck a deal with the agent which
meant a reduced rent in exchange for decorating the interior
and taming the jungle of the garden.
We quickly settled into village life, which was not so
different from our own village back in Dorset, with a
primary school just down the road, a central plateia with a
church, community hall, kafenion, three tavernas, a
telephone kiosk and a commemorative water feature.
From the outset, the two of us were determined to immerse
ourselves in all Greek life had to offer. And, when the
tourists went home in the autumn, so our year began. Our
garden became a hive of activity after years of neglect.
Great, overgrown oleander, as tall as a three-storey house,
came tumbling down, sad-looking palm trees sprang back
into shape after rotting lower fronds were sawn off and
You are doing a good job there, our friend, Kiki, at the
kafenion, told us. The house and garden is coming alive
The kafenion became our local and, throughout the winter
evenings, we would sit in the corner, watching the noisy card
games and soaking in the atmosphere of this male domain.
At first I felt like Medea the barbarian, confined to the
A Year in Corfu
margins, but was assured by Kiki it was perfectly all right for
me to be there. I would sit and make notes about my
surroundings, about what was going on. But they might as
well have been talking in Martian, my Greek was so limited.
On Sundays we would creep into church via the back door,
to marvel at the magic of the Greek Orthodox service and the
congregation, who were both devout and casual at the same
time. There would be children
running up and down the aisle
and people wandering in and out
after lighting a candle, saying a
few prayers and then going out
for a fag and coffee. The
relationship the villagers had with
their church, their priest and their
religion was, for an agnostic like
me, absolutely fascinating.
On weekdays, we would work in
the house and garden, with
several hours set aside for me to
write, and then at weekends we
would explore the island and
wander up into the village for a
meal at one of the three tavernas.
We had decided early on that we needed to support all three
although we quickly established a favourite for leisurely
Sunday lunches of delicious pork and potatoes from the
By the early spring, we had been accepted. Our Greek was
no better but we were part of the village.
You are different from many other English people, one of
the men from the kafenion told us. You like to mix with the
Greeks, not the other English.
And it was true. We did. It was not that we were stand-offish
to other ex-pats, wed always be polite but one of the reasons
for spending a year in Greece was to experience the country
like a native. We were extremely fortunate in having a kind
and gregarious neighbour, inevitably called Spiros after the
islands patron saint, whose family adopted us and invited us
to share family events including
Easter and a wedding. Had we
not moved in next door to this
big bear of a man, it would have
been far more difficult for us to
fit into our new home.
The one thing I was not prepared
for was the homesickness I felt
for family, friends and the Dorset
landscape. At one point, it was in
danger of eating me up and
spoiling my year away. But with
twenty-eight visitors from home
during the summer, it was as if
the Westcountry was knocking
on my door and staying under my
roof. And I made a pact with
myself to live in the moment and not hanker after things in
the past or future.
Corfu is a wonderful island, green and lush, with a capital
that enchants everyone who visits it. Every time we went
into town we would hear pianos tinkling behind shutters,
voices in choral harmony bellowing out from a balcony or a
march past by a philharmonic band in full uniform and
And in the summer, there was a plethora of panegyri the
festivals marking the days of patron saints where we would
dance to joyous Greek music well into the small hours.
Holding hands and sidestepping our way around the twin
trees in the village plateia, my husband and I would look at
each other and think what a marvellous decision it was to
take a year out and experience something so completely
And when the time came to go home, we decided to rent the
house for another year. Corfu and the village in which we
lived was under our skin. Today, the language barrier is still
a problem but we are improving, albeit slowly. And we both
feel blessed at having found such a lovely village to call
Maddie Grigg writes a blog The World from My Window,
recounting tales from Corfu and Dorset.
You Can Help the Dolphins of the Ionian Sea
The coastal waters of Greece still harbour a remarkable
diversity of whales and dolphins compared to other parts of
the Mediterranean. Yet, such richness is decreasing due to
degradation of the marine environment.
Research and conservation activities conducted by the Ionian
Dolphin Project (IDP) of Tethys Research Institute, an
Italian NGO conducting internationally qualified scientific
research aimed at the conservation of whales and dolphins
since 1986, are identifying measures to slow-down, halt or
reverse such trends. Since April 2012 the IDP has a brand
new web site to increase the interest about the conservation
of cetaceans of the Ionian Sea, by encouraging residents,
charter/flotillas sailing holiday operators and visitors to the
area to report their sightings of cetaceans, through a user-
friendly online form.
Nowadays the use of digital cameras, cell phones and other
devices capable of recording easily several minutes of video,
or to capture high quality digital images is widespread
among boaters. Using our online sighting form, videos and
images can be sent to us to facilitate additional information
and to allow us to confirm the identification of the species
reported. It also includes essential information about the
cetacean species found in the Greek seas and identification
tips. A cetacean species guide can be downloaded from our
Between 2012-13 the IDP received 150+ sighting reports.
The success in this pioneer initiative in Greek Ionian waters
could not have been possible without the collaboration of
Sunsail, Neilson, Sail Ionian, Sailing Holidays, Island
Sailing, Seafarer, Kiriakoulis and Odysseus who printed,
laminated and distributed the IDP Cetacean Species Guide
among their clients to encourage them to collaborate. KG
medmarinas management group, owners of Marina Lefkas
and Gouvia Marina, two of the largest in Greece, are helping
greatly to spread the word among their clients. Sighting
reports received in year 2013 (see map) referred primarily to
common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus and short-
beaked common dolphin Delphinus delphis. A few sightings
were reported also on striped dolphins (Stenella
coeruleoalba) and Monk seal (Monachus monachus), and a
single sighting was also reported for Sperm whales (Physeter
macrocephalus). Everyone who reports a sighting to us is
diligently contacted via
acknowledged for their
The first whale and
dolphin sighting reports
of 2014 have started to
arrive already and we
hope to receive many
more in the upcoming
months. Do not forget
that YOU can also do
your share to help us
protect whales and
dolphins of the Ionian
Sea. When approaching
a group of dolphins
with your boat BE
DOLPHIN SMART to
avoid causing them
stress by disrupting
their natural behaviours.
Joan Gonzalvo is the
IDP Project Manager.