Friday, May 16, 2014

Day 131

I arrived at a small port on the southeastern end of Ikaria.  Pulling up I passed a small group of onlookers, no doubt shocked that anyone would be kayaking on that sea.
I took out and wandered up to one of the town's two restaurants.   A malnourished wobbly drunk became my first new best friend.  He introduced me to others and told them my story.
One of  my new friends would even be happy to host me for the night.   The friendly drunk went and got a chart from behind the bar.  He wanted me to see where I'd been.  Funny, he had the same chart I did.   It was even folded the same way I had folded mine for the day's crossing.   He followed me down to my boat and good naturedly promised me that it was the only thing he stole.
The next day I didn't want to paddle, and the forecast justified my hope.  My host brought me an enormous bag of fresh fava beans from his garden.  I briefly fried them in lots of oil, added salt and pepper, and enjoyed immensely.
A few years ago there was an article about Ikaria in the New York Times.   The island is home to the most centenarians in the world.   I didn’t meet any.  My friends for the day were the young crowd in the village - in their 80s.  And they did seem young.
The secret, they told me, was to take it easy, and goats.  One of the women invited me to her ranch.  I got to milk a goat and drink fresh milk.  According to the FDA I was 13 times more likely to get sick than if I'd boiled it.  I feel like live bacteria is probably nutritious and yummy.
I also got to enjoy fresh unsalted feta.  Life here on the island is good.  My hostess also showed me the cave that the they used to go make out in when they were young.  The youths today don't use it any more.
I wish I had room in my kayak to take a friendly goat with me.

Day 131:
Before I launched I retied my rudder system so that I could pull it in without a swim if it pops out again.
I paddled along the island's rocky shores and cliffs with a firm but not overpowering tailwind.
I explored a small cave and took pictures of large rocks that looked like people.  Streams flowed off the mountains over low cliffs into the sea.
I arrived at a small village with a port that roughly marked the day's midpoint.
The rock face on the west side of the port was smooth and gently curved with bulbous round stones protruding,  as if from a natural concrete, to create an alien landscape.   The other two sides of the port were high concrete piers.   The swell came from the open end, leaving the port unsuitable for a landing.  I saw no boats.  I headed farther in, around a hidden corner was a port within a port.  A few fishing boats floated gently on flat water next to a quiet stream and a tropical feeling bar.
I munched on cereal,  the last town had no whole grain bread or crackers, and rested.   The owner of the bar was working hard to get it ready for the coming season.  When he saw me he called out "Coffee?"
"I don't like coffee,  but I'm happy to come up and sit with you."
I did and we chatted.  He showed me his banana and fig trees.  I told him my story and he invited me to stay the night.   It was too early in the day to stop, so he called ahead and got me a free room in a hotel at my destination town Thurmos.
There I met his friends Nick, Emanuele, and Nick who warmly welcomed me and invited me to stay as long as I like. 
The next day, when the weather was bad, they practically bought out the bakery for me.  They also got me everything I needed to find and repair four of the leaks in my cockpit.

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="4624,4623,4622,4621,4620,4618,4617,4614,4611,4613,4607,4606,4604,4602,4605,4598,4597,4596,4595,4594,4588,4587,4582,4581,4580,4574,4572,4571,4570,4568,4565,4564"]

Nautical miles paddled: 17
Current location: 37.62267,26.305148