The Ionian magazine July 2014

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Yachting, travel and lifestyle magazine for the Ionian area of Greece

Transcript of The Ionian magazine July 2014



































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  • The Ionian

    Travel, yachting and lifestyle

    magazine for the Ionian Islands

    and adjacent mainland Greece.

    Vol. 5, Issue 3 July 2014

    Publisher and Editor

    Barbara Molin

    Advisory Board

    Yannis Dimopoulos

    Justin Smith


    Ryan Smith


    [email protected]

    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.

    Happy reading...

    _/)* 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

    another year.

    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

    shining helmets.

    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

    web site.

    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

    email and

    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


    avoid causing them

    stress by disrupting

    their natural behaviours.

    Joan Gonzalvo is the

    IDP Project Manager.