On his last hurrah before beginning a full-time job, my brother made a trip around the Mediterranean. I joined him and a four of his friends in the Greek Cyclades, where we sailed a 44-foot Jeanneau. Here Parker is, manning the helm.
One of Parker’s business school friends happens to be a licensed sailing captain. Russ adamantly refused to wear the skipper’s cap we bought him in Athens. Despite this handicap, he handled the boat with grace.
Drew also had significant sailing experience. As first mate, Drew relayed orders from Russ to the less nautically-inclined like myself.
Tommy served as the token Englishman on the trip. He claimed a measure of salt in his British blood and would give history lectures, with little or no provocation, on the various naval battles that saved Western civilization.
Shatford spoke in a way befitting of any sailor. As resident bartender, he quickly became an expert in making rocket fuel palatable. I have also never seen someone get so excited about snorkeling.
Token shot of the Parthenon. Photographing this structure in a way that isn’t totally cliche is damn near impossible.
Some temple on the Acropolis that is not the Parthenon.
Theatre of Dionysus at the Acropolis
Apparently, the Acropolis is situated near a spring, making the citadel there much greener than the desolate landscape surrounding the city of Athens.
Our craft: a 44-foot Jeaneau Sun Odyssey. Despite its given name, we suffered no mishaps involving the keel.
As the crew for the Achilles, we will responsible for all aspects of the craft’s handling: taking the sails in and out, mooring, anchoring, securing our landing craft, etc.
Our first night on the boat we made it to a natural harbor just as the sun dipped under an azure horizon. Above the harbor stood the temple for Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the seas. Let that cliche soak in for a little bit.
Second morning. With a long day ahead of us, Parker and Russ study the charts, plotting a course to to Finikas, on the island of Syros.
While Parker and Russ studied the charts, I made an offering to Poseidon.
With wind in our sails, we hit the seas.
Sailing towards Finikas. After a morning of low winds, we traveled under full sails to Syros.
The island of Syros.
Finikas, on the island of Syros. This sleepy fishing village arose early, as its fisherman tended their nets and repaired their boats.
Breakfast on the second morning. Shirts and shoes optional.
In Greece, dogs and cats wander the streets at will. All are collared and well-mannered; sometimes you would realize at the end of dinner a German shepherd had been asleep at your feet the entire meal.
Parker and Drew scan the horizon for landmarks. The rest of the crew is fast ready for Mykonos.
Drew is ready for Mykonos. Tommy looks less sure.
On Paradise Beach at Mykonos. We decided not to follow another boater’s advice to check out Super Paradise.
Sailing into the sunset, from Paradise, Mykonos, to Chora, Mykonos.
We belted out many a rendition of “Brown-eyed Girl” on this guitar.
Colorful boats in Mykonos harbor.
Windmills dating from the 16th century. Sails would be attached to the wooden scaffolding to catch the wind and thresh grain.
A view of a cruise shape in the sunset, taken from the perspective of a culvert in the roadway.
Having a sunset dinner on the boat.
Little Venice at midday. At this time of day, in the heat and bright sunshine, everyone was indoors, preparing for the evening.
One of many young street performers. This little boy had a desperate look in his eye as he halfheartedly played his accordion. I can only imagine the circumstances that drove him to play an accordion for spare change.
This street performer, however, had a look of practiced ease. He gave his bouzoki, a traditional Greek instrument related to the mandolin, a modern twist with its stereo hookup.
At the right time of day, the streets of Mykonos had wonderful color – the pale blue of the sky, the rich white of the walls, the green of the foliage, and the warm browns of the wood.
The narrow streets, far too narrow for automobiles, formed a tangled warren of shops and restaurants. Though disorienting, you need only walk downhill to reach the harbor and regain your bearings.
Bundling rope after hauling in the main sheet.
Using charts and a protractor to determine our course to Delos.
On the island of Delos. The Terrace of Lions, a monument dedicated to Apollo, who is said to have been born from the Sacred Lake on Delos.
View of the harbor from Mt. Kythnos.
Making the trek up Mt. Kythnos, a surprisingly rugged walk.
Ruins at Delos. This island formed the political, economic and religious center of ancient Greece.
Shirts optional. Cowboy hats not.
The harbor at Ermoupolis, on the island of Syros. Appropriately named for the Hermes, the divine messenger and god of commerce, today Ermoupolis forms the shipping center of the Cyclades.
Ermoupolis looks a little bit like how I imagine Gondor looking.
Sharing a drink and a smoke at a Greek bar.
Tommy – the life jacket served him well, and he survived the sailing trip.