The Ionian June 2013 Volume 4. Issue 3 www.theionian.com COMPLIMENTARY/∆ΩΡΕΑΝ Please recycle: give to a friend or neighbour when finished.
Capturing the Fragrance of the Ionian Page 7
The Trehantiri: Keeping Tradition Alive
There She Blows! Page 12
New Spring, New Life! Page 6
The Art of Greek Cooking Page 5
Short History of Greek Wine Page 4
Interview With an Artist: Christos Stavrakas Page 6
From the Deck of Your Own Yacht Page 10 The Ionian 1 June 2013 www.theionian.com
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The Ionian Contact us: Website: Email: Founding Publisher: Publisher: Managing Editor: Advisory Board:
Beauty and the Good Life,
Justin Smith Barbara Molin Barbara Molin Yannis Dimopoulos Ryan Smith Ian Molesworth Lee Gillson, Barbara Molin Graphic Arts Barbara Molin Barbara Molin
It seems that the theme of this month’s issue is beauty and the good life. Our pages are full of flowers, birds, art, food, wine, dolphins, ancient fishing boats, and a story of the good old days. Earlier this spring, I was invited to visit the farm of Anke Ritter and Giorgos Papageorgiou and spent a lovely day helping to pick rose petals and fresh strawberries (yes, someCopy Editor: one has to do it). I was curious about the use of flower petals and Anke offered to write Layout: about it and so we have, Capturing the Fragrance of the Ionian on page 7. Printing: Barbara de Machula writes about one of our favourite subjects, food and Greek tradition Advertising: as it relates to cooking special meals, in The Art of Greek Cooking on page 5. So of Subscriptions: course for balance, we also had to have a Short History of Greek Wine on page 4. You can download The Ionian free as a We have a photo collage by our feature photographer whose lovely images have often PDF document from our website: graced our covers and calendar pages, New Spring, New Life! as well as Interview With www.theionian.com. an Artist: Christos Stavrakas, both by Lies van ‘t Net on page 6. The Ionian is published monthly You probably don’t know that many of the beautiful, wooden, fishing boats you see in approximately on the last day before each the local harbours or while sailing are being destroyed. Vasilis Lekkas and Venetia Gigi month. Publication is for informational have decided to restore theirs and write about the history of the ancient boat in The Trepurposes only. Although The Ionian has hantiri: Keeping Tradition Alive on page 8 in the hope that many more might be saved. made every effort to ensure the accuracy of Speaking of saving - if you sail in the Ionian, you probably have seen some dolphins or the information contained in this publication, the publisher cannot be held responsible for even whales - this area is one of the few remaining in the Mediterranean that still habours any errors or omissions it may contain. The a few of the beautiful mammals. The Ionian Dolphin Project’s mission is to protect them opinions expressed by the contributors are not and their environment and in There She Blows! by Joan Gonzalvo on page 12 you can necessarily held by the publisher. read how you can help. Published in Canada. And finally, more history of the good old days, this time about the early days of Ionian flotilla sailing in From the Cover Photo: Bottlenose dolphin mother and Deck of Your Own Yacht by Mike Jakeways on page 10. calf—photo copyright Tethys Research Institute. To purchase any of our photographs or to submit your own for a cover shot consideration email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy reading... ~~~_/) Barbara Molin
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ine has been produced in Greece since about
4500BC - a long time before anywhere else in Europe. In fact, some of the European root stock comes from ancient Greece. Wine culture has been known to the Minoans and the Mycenaeans where "the month of the new wine" was celebrated each year and drinking diluted wine was considered a sign of civilization. In Homeric mythology, wine was referred to as "Juice of the Gods," with Dionysus being the god of revelry and wine. Many of the local grapes in Greece are exclusive to the region or island and are similar or identical to varieties that were grown in ancient times. For example, Lemni贸 wine is recognized as the oldest one whose grapes are still in cultivation. Greek wine was widely known and appreciated in ancient times and exported throughout the Mediterranean basin, as amphorae with Greek styling and art have been found throughout the area. Along with olives and grain, grapes were an important crop vital to sustenance and community development and the ancient Greek calendar followed the course of the vintner's year. Retsina, the most popular modern Greek wine, has been made for at
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least 2000 years and is the first appellation protected designation of origin of wine. Its resin flavour originally comes from the practice of using pine resin to seal the amphorae to prevent spoilage which infused the wine with this unique aroma. The traditional grape for Retsina is Savatiano with others sometime blended in. Modern Retsina is made in a similar way as white or ros茅 wine, except that now small pieces of Aleppo Pine resin are added to the must during fermentation and only removed before bottling. Retsina is considered an ideal wine accompaniment to such strong-tasting food as tzatziki, smoked pork with mustard, tarama and salted fried fish. Yammas! To learn more about Greek wines, book a wine tasting evening at: Ta Kalamia (No Menu), Main street,Nidri, Lefkada Island Tel: 26450 92983
The Art of Greek Cooking By Barbara de Machula
You need a nice Greek to point them out to you, and there are several kinds, but once you get to know them they are a tasty and healthy delight, and as a bonus, they come for free! It is wise not to pick the ones that grow beside a busy road; they would be smoked as well, but not the kind of smoke you would like. So if you see the ladies (usually) dressed in dark clothes, bending over in a field, they are probably picking xorta for the evening dinner. It appeared that my back garden is full of weed, and that annoyed me, until I found out it was tasty xorta waiting to be picked and used in a delicious meal. It just needs good cooking with a bit of salt, like spinach. Then you let the water seep out, the dryer the better. Being a good woman, and with a man
My mother was Dutch, and she taught me how to smoke eels, a traditional Dutch here really is nothing more important skill. She came from a family of smokers to a Greek than the food that comes out of in the north of Holland, her surname is the kitchen. Food is one of the main "Smoke", so it goes very deep in my enjoyable things in life, especially Greek genes. She told me the stories about the food made with local ingredients. Being a old fishermen when the south sea was still foreigner in Greece, this is one of the open and eels were abundant. easiest adaptations I had to make, to enjoy Nowadays they made a dam, closing a and experiment with Greek ingredients, part of the sea and eels are rare. My loved and sometimes it turns out just great. one made a smoking oven and because You may be familiar with traditional eels are quite easy to get in Greece, we Greek dishes like pasticio and moussaka. frequently smoke eels which the Greeks These dishes are made in the oven by Greek women. The men also cook, but usually they are the "Masters Of Meat," indeed a manly thing. The women start with their preparations in the morning, and the goal is to have the oven dish ready by noon. The man, coming home from hard labour, will find the dish ready and waiting for him to pick
immediately. It will still be warm, but not too hot because immediate attack is essential. Every housewife has her own secret ingredients and the recipes vary. They even say that marriages are arranged and cancelled, depending on the skills of the bride to make a nice oven dish for the groom. Mothers will instruct their daughters from early age on, but every woman gives the dish her own twist, also depending on locally available ingredients and herbs.
who works as hard as the Greeks, I found it appropriate to serve my man a dish from the oven, also to establish my position in the household and to make it easy for him to appreciate my existence. So I bought the frozen filo-dough roll, that makes the fluttery cracking pastry, and tossed that in a baking tin, put the boiled and drained xorta in, on top of that lumps of feta cheese and parmesan flakes, and 5 don't really understand. They put lemon on beaten eggs to soak everything. I closed the dough, put tin foil on top because I top of everything, and smoked eels don't have a bad oven that heats with the grill, like that. and waited for an hour. The pie that came The habit of putting lemon on meat and out was incredible! fish is originally a way to keep things My loved one came home filthy and fresh, very much needed in these warmer tired, attacked the pie and made grunting climates but our smoked eels don't last noises of delight. I felt proud like a Greek long enough to get bad. Smoked eel is bride that passed the test. divine on toast as meze, but the Greek I will let you know when we have the variation with the pickled "gavros" is not wedding.! less indeed! The little snacks that are served with your drinks in the taverna sometimes are culinary gems, and a taverna with good meze may even get more clients. This winter I discovered the vegetables that grow in the wild, called "Xorta" (say khoortah). June 2013 www.theionian.com The Ionian 5
New Spring, New Life! By Lies van 't Net A pair of swallows built their nest at the entrance to the toilet building in a boat yard in Aktio. It's hard work for the parents to feed the five hungry mouths. Whoever shouts the most, gets the first bite! It reminds one of boat owners — sometimes we also have to shout a little to get our boats ready for spring.
Interview With an Artist: Christos Stavrakas By Lies van ‘t Net
Christos Stavrakas has been painting
between Aktio and Lefkas. He now paints only for friends and many of his paintings hang at Pano’s Taverna in Aktio. The one with the boy behind him in the photo above is one of his favourites. He painted the scene from an old photo of the harbour in Lefkada portraying life in Greece many years ago.
for over 35 years. He used to photograph scenes that interested him with his old Minolta camera and then painted from these prints. To find inspiration for his photos and paintings, he has travelled throughout Greece and like many of us has been awed Lies van ‘t Net is from Holland and sails in by the romantic sunsets on the Greek the Ionian with her husband on their yacht islands. Jonas. Mr. Stavrakas is now retired and lives in Agios Nicolaos, a small village on the road 6 The Ionian www.theionian.com June 2013
Capturing the Fragrance of the Ionian By Anke Ritter behind a beautiful fragrance. hile writing these lines, I am sitting There are many different ways of capturing the scent of fragrant flowers in my little room with the windows wide like roses and orange blossoms. open. Waves of fresh, spring air, filled The two easiest and by far most with the heavenly scent of orange delicious ways to enjoy the scent long after the time of flowering is to infuse the flowers in either vinegar or sugar. Rose vinegar is easy to make and will turn every simple salad into a special treat. Here is how it is done: You will, of course, need fragrant roses and a good quality white wine vinegar. Pick roses in the morning and only those that have opened that day to get the most fragrant ones. They have of course, to be free from any chemicals, so roses from a flower shop are not suitable and besides they lack the scent. But many people in Greece have fragrant roses growing in their front yards!
Let it stand to mature for up to six weeks. The petals can be changed and replaced with new ones every now and then. Once it is ready, it will have obtained a gorgeous pink colour. Strain the vinegar from the petals into a nice bottle and enjoy! A good way to preserve the fragrance of orange blossoms is to make orange blossom sugar. Simply pick some unsprayed, newly opened Seville orange blossoms (any oranges will do but the Seville ones are the most fragrant) and place them in a jar with some sugar. A little goes a long way. Start with 10 petals for about one cup of sugar. Let it sit to infuse for two days and then discard the petals. If you are happy with the flavour, keep your sugar in a sealed jar or replace the petals with new ones for a stronger flavour. You can do the same with lemon or bergamot blossoms. Use the sugar to flavour teas and drinks, sprinkle it over a piece of cake or fresh strawberries or use it to add a very special flavour to fruit salads. With these two simple but delicious treats you can enjoy the fragrance of spring all year round, and if you make more than you can use, they make great gifts!
blossoms from the Seville orange tree right outside my window enter the house, creating a luxurious atmosphere in our otherwise modest home. This morning, my five year old son and I set out to the field where our precious roses are growing. We returned with baskets full of highly fragrant freshly picked rose and orange blossoms. Back home we carefully plucked the petals of the blossoms, while enjoying the magnificent scent every moment of our work. Later on, I made various preparations with those lovely flower petals. Some I infused in brandy and vodka to create delicious liqueurs. Some we spread out on a thin layer of coconut butter to simulate the ancient technique of Enfleurage to Pluck the petals from the flowers and capture the fragrance of the flowers. The discard the stems and base of the flower . butter can later be used for preparing The quantity of petals you are homemade cosmetics or used directly as going to use depends on how cream to moisturise the skin, leaving strongly flavoured you want your rose vinegar to be. I use at least 5 - 6 handfuls of petals for 1 litre of white wine vinegar and I change the petals Anke Ritter is a horticulturist, regularly for as long as I can get jewellery maker and a creative fresh roses, but this is not person. She lives close to necessary. nature with her husband Fill a clean jar with the rose George and son Lambros petals and over them pour the trying to be self sufficient on vinegar. Press the petals down their organic farm near Arta. lightly until the vinegar covers www.orangeblossomfarmgreece.blogspot.com the petals and stir occasionally. June 2013 www.theionian.com The Ionian 7
polacre, brigantine or lateen rigging and later in the 20th century schooner or lugger. Trehantiri is an amazingly seaworthy boat, but regardless of the name, slower than the other Aegean boats. It was trusted like the donkey - a boat that you could always depend on. However, because of their lack of speed, they were often attacked by pirates. From 1821 they served to carry the Greek mail and later, became part of the navy of Hydra. After 1900 they were used both as spongeVenetia Gigi and Vasilis Lekkas fishing boats and for carrying passengers. Now, the Trehantiri are mainly used for fishing or recreation. In the past few years the European Union has subsidised the burning of small wooden fishing boats and since 1991 about 10,500 traditional, wooden vessels, mostly of the Trehantiri type, have been destroyed. Thus, the traditional Greek wooden ship faces the danger of dying out. One of the few remaining is the Agios sizes, varying form 6 to 40 meters in Sostis, a 45-foot long, wooden Trehantiri. length. For example, a large cargo hauling It was built in 1946 in Perama, Athens in he Trehantiri is a wooden boat that Trehantiri could carry up to 250 metric the shipyards of M. Psarros and it sailed in has been built in Greece from about the tons of freight. Most of them however, the Aegean until 1968 probably as a fishing 1700â€™s. Experts agree that it evolved from were used for fishing or passenger or commercial boat (the research for the Dalmatian Trabacoulo and was made transport and carried either a lateen or further evidence of its use during that specifically for the Aegean sea, the first sacoleva sail with the larger ones carrying period is still in progress). In 1968, it was ones probably having been built on Hydra bought by a fisherman in Island. The name comes from and was one of the since 1991, about 10,500 traditional, Kavala Byzantine Greek, "trohantiras" biggest fishing boats of that which means curved bow stem time, similar to the gri-gri wooden boats, mostly of the and signified "a fast ship that fishing boat which were Trehantiri type, have been destroyed. sailing the rich waters of the sails." According to G.D Kriezis, in 1658 several men, Dentes, Kriezis, Gkikas, Gkionis and others returned to Hydra after having been captured for some time by pirates. Two of them, who had learned shipbuilding on Crete, built the first Trehantiri. The shipbuilding technique that they utilized was particularly complicated and as a result, the boats could only be built by specially trained craftsmen. The Trehantiri is significantly wide compared to its length (length to width ratio being 3:1) and has a prow and stern that is made curved like the hull. The shape makes the boat very suitable for sailing. Shipwrecks have never been recorded and one of its major advantages is that it can sail no matter the weather conditions. For this reason, no alterations to the hull shape have been needed since the 17th century. The most important change that occurred, however, happened in the 1920s when sails were traded in for diesel engine. The Trehantiri comes in all shapes and
The Trehantiri: Keeping Tradition Alive
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Thracean Sea. In 1979 it changed hands again, and was used for fishing and trading in the Northern Aegean. Then in 1992, a new owner, a lover of the sea and of the Greek naval art, decided to undertake the expensive reconstruction by rebuilding the cabin, the skylight and the deck. In 2001 its engine and ribs were replaced by new ones. That is when the Agios Sostis began its career as a tourist boat in the Kavala and Thassos region. Finally, in 2009, Vasilis Lekkas and Venetia Gigi decided to buy Agios Sostis
shipyard used to tell us, â€œThe wood is alive and if you care for it, it will last forever.â€? And so, each winter, with persistence and love, we try to keep alive an important and integral part of Greek naval tradition, not in the shipyards but on beaches, and in the local boat yards. And each summer, we offer the visitors the experience of travelling aboard the Agios Sostis, with open horizons. and formed an Eco-cruising company. Until mid 2010, the boat stayed in Limenaria, Thassos area where it was repaired by an experienced marine carpenter, Thodoros Charitopoylos in one of the 10 remaining shipyards in Greece, that still construct wooden boats. After many hours of hard work by the owners, friends and experts, the Agios Sostis sailed again. In July 2010, Agios Sostis bid farewell to the Aegean and headed towards Preveza and the Ionian Sea, where it now enjoys carefree hours of sailing in turquoise waters and offering its passengers a view of the beautiful surrounding landscape. Thodoros, the old carpenter from the Thassos
Translation and editing by Marianna Tsatsou.
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essential documents and information. Did you know that the first flotilla skipper was a woman? And this is how Mike Cox, who surveyed the Ionian before By Mike Jakeways the first groups arrived, described Sivota in 1976. “Just along the coast is Sivota, which has total shelter and a magnificent setting. A very poor hamlet lies along the shore here consisting of no more than a dozen houses. They are as yet without electricity and seem to be just entering the twentieth century. A total feeling of calm and tranquillity prevails and for a Very first flotilla, getting ready to leave Spetsai in April 1974. Photo: YCA quiet night afloat it would be difficult to think of anywhere better. Ashore there is a small information. Everyone knew old so-and- cafe which has very limited stock, so in Corfu or what’s-his-name in Nidri however if any fish has been caught by the first sailed in the Ionian Islands 25 who had all the stories, but had lost their locals that day they will willingly cook it phone number. years ago, and have visited every year for you. A fresh water spring provides all The best contact turned out to be a chap I the village's drinking water and a drink since. A few years back I was talking to one of the taverna owners… I think it was bumped into who was running a pub on the from here is delicious after walking up the Isle of Wight who put me in touch with an valley behind Sivota to enjoy the view. To in Sivota, but maybe it was somewhere ex-engineer who was now a big noise in a discover an anchorage like Sivota must be else, about the buildings which were flotilla company, who could introduce me every cruising-man's dream.” starting to appear on the nearby hillside. The conversation led on to the I also had essential help “early days” when visiting yachts Certainly, I heard varying stories about how from Barrie Neilson, and when the first groups of yachts started whose Sailing Holidays were few, and how much things had changed. coming. It was pretty clear that there were company is the last of the At other times during my visit originals not now in the few facilities back then: “people waded that summer I raised some of the hands of a big corporation, same questions over different ashore from their dinghies, and we fed them and from a good many beer-glasses on different islands, people who responded to and began to wonder if it was too with whatever we could offer or could buy.” cards I left at tavernas and late to collect these early letters I wrote to sailing to Eric Richardson, who first had the idea memories. Certainly, I heard varying magazines. I called the book “From the of “cruising in company” in 1973 and stories about how and when the first Deck of Your Own Yacht,” taking the brought the first group of twelve 25-foot groups of yachts started coming. It was phrase from the advert in Yachts and Snapdragons the next year to the Saronic pretty clear that there were few facilities Yachting offering two weeks’ sailing, Gulf. back then: “people waded ashore from including flights, for £78 per person. Through Eric I gained access to some their dinghies, and we fed them with Many of my friends in the tavernas who whatever we could offer or could buy.”. In the more distant past, a single yachtsman who had sailed from the UK, with a smattering of Greek and the time and competence to maintain his own boat as he cruised, would sometimes show up. But just when things began to expand was not so clear. When did tavernas start to be able to cope with a dozen or more foreign customers all at the same time? When were quays built to handle yachts drawing four or six feet, and with additional space to that used by the local fishermen? And the services we depend on now: fuel, water, shorepower, engineers, sailmakers, chandlers: how did they arrive? Mourtos Town Quay in 1979. Photo credit: Sailing Holidays I began to put out feelers for any
From the Deck of Your Own Yacht
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had helped by relating their stories have helped again by selling copies, and it is available in local shops too...as well as on Amazon. The second part of the book deals specifically with the Ionian, with plenty of thenand-now photos. The F word. You will not fail to have noticed that the word “flotilla” is used in a previous paragraph, though I have edged around it in other sentences. In most harbours there are now more private boats than chartered ones, and a good many of the latter are sailing as bareboats. I now sail on a boat with a red duster on the stern, and I have had many conversations with people who complain about flotillas filling up the place. What is too easily forgotten is that the development of the Ionian we love today, a sailing environment with facilities ashore varying from marinas to fishing quays and
plenty of villages still with their own real character as Greek communities, was kickstarted by the flotilla companies. Before they showed the way, there was almost nowhere for yachts to moor, and noone ashore to maintain them. If you had the time, money and skill to sail here and back you could cruise to your heart’s content, but which of us is lucky enough to be able to do that? It can even be argued that without the yachts, there might have been the high-rise and disco-life style tourist development found in other regions. The whole private-boat spectrum: live-aboards, boats hauled out when their owners aren’t here, those owned by syndicates, as well as the individuallychartered boats, couldn’t have developed
here without the market which the flotillas showed to exist and the infrastructure which grew up around them. I first experienced this delightful place on a flotilla, as a dinghy-racer with just a little big-boat experience. The brilliant leadcrew helped us gain confidence and appreciate the place we were enjoying: without them we wouldn’t have been there nor would we have come back so often on our own. I’m happy to say this, and I’m pretty sure many of those who now find flotillas an inconvenience started out the same way. Hammond Innes, who cruised here in the ’60s, wrote in “Sea and Islands” about an Ionian very different to the one we know. And if you Google “Joan Gould Sailing the Wine-Dark Seas” you’ll find a truly fascinating account written by a middleaged woman from New York of the trials and pleasures of sailing in a 25-foot fibreglass sloop in 1981. Book cover photo by YCA (Yacht Cruising Association).
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Last year, in addition to dolphins, three encounters involving the “critically endangered” monk seal Monachus monachus were also shared with the IDP. Those of you coming across a monk seal are strongly encouraged to report it to MOm, The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal (http:// www.mom.gr). The success in this pioneer initiative in Greek Ionian waters could not have been possible without the collaboration of Sunsail, Sailing Holidays, Neilson, Sail Ionian and Island Sailing, who printed, laminated and distributed the IDP Cetacean Species Guide among their By Joan Gonzalvo clients to encourage them to collaborate, as ©Tethys Research Institute well as basic information on how to Be dolphin SMART. KG Medmarinas Management Group, monk seal Monachus monachus. Those owners of Marina Lefkas and Gouvia reporting a sighting to the IDP were ince 1991, the Ionian Dolphin Project diligently contacted via e-mail and given Marina, two of the largest in Greece, helped greatly to spread the word among additional information about the species (IDP) works to ensure the long-term their clients. Colleagues from WWFinvolved, the IDP and adequately viability of dolphin species living in Greece and THE IONIAN magazine have acknowledged for their collaboration. coastal waters of the eastern Ionian Sea. Nowadays the use of digital cameras, cell played a key role in helping the IDP to The coastal waters of Greece still harbour promote their research as well as their phones and other devices capable of a remarkable diversity of whales and recording easily several minutes of video, public awareness and education activities. dolphins compared to other parts of the These collaborations will continue in or to capture high quality digital images is Mediterranean. Yet, such richness is 2013. The IDP is currently working to widespread among all us. Using the IDP decreasing due to degradation of the involve more sailing flotilla companies on-line sighting form, videos and images marine environment. and other stakeholders with the aim of of your dolphin experiences can be easily Research and conservation activities increasing the participation of boaters in shared. PLEASE add them to your sighting conducted by Tethys Research Institute in reports whenever possible. This additional their sighting network. Those interested in the context of the IDP are identifying collaboration should contact the IDP information will be key to confirm the measures to slow-down, halt or reverse through www.ioniandolphinproject.org. such trends through sound science, as well species identity. In 2013 the best images/ video reported to the IDP will be shared as public awareness and education At the IDP we look forward to hearing through their Facebook page (https:// initiatives. from you. www.facebook.com/IonianDolphinProject) You can also help to protect these and adequately credited to the authors. magnificent creatures. If while sailing
There She Blows!
around the beautiful Ionian waters you come across dolphins or whales, please, share it with our friends of the IDP. In 2012 the IDP received more than 60 dolphin sighting reports. A BIG THANK YOU to those of you who collaborated to make it possible. The most frequently encountered species were common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus. A few sightings were also reported for short-beaked common dolphin Delphinus delphis and striped dolphins Stenella coeruleoalba. In addition, we were also informed of three encounters with the “critically endangered” 12 The Ionian www.theionian.com June 2013
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FOSTER AND PERMANENT HOMES NEEDED URGENTLY FOR STRAY DOGS, PLEASE CALL LEFKAS ANIMAL WELFARE SOCIETY (L.A.W.S.) IF YOU CAN HELP:
0030 697 851 0671
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