to see a slideshow of Scott Croft’s
photos, and to find out about the safety
standards different cruise ships must
meet, see this story online at
LeFt to RIght:
Star Clipper underway. Scott and
April in Santorini.
A real greek salad
in Yithon, greece.
a hamlet that remained hidden from marauding pirates for centuries.
Today, it’s a ghost town of terraced hillsides, collapsed roofs, and overgrown paths surrounded by pine, cypress, chestnut, and agave cactus.
This was never an easy place to live, but grapes, olives (a community
olive press with massive stone wheels still turns in a dim basement),
and lavender paid the bills until Velo Grablje’s inhabitants became
victims of changing economies and many emigrated to the western
U.S. to make wine. You can thank Croatians for California Zinfandel!
Another magical highlight of our voyage was walking atop the historic rampart walls of old Dubrovnik, Croatia. On one side was a view
to the open, sparkling azure sea, on the opposite a vista of modern
urban life, all bustling within the preserved buildings of the ancient
walled city, its streets covered in limestone pavers polished smooth by
14 centuries of footsteps.
Into the WInd
On our fifth day, motorsailing from Kotor, Montenegro, we got some
real wind in our sails as we needled through the narrow fjord-like passage of Verige Strait. Star Clipper began to heel, and there’s something
to be said about the whir of wind howling through 30-plus miles of
rigging. Just 16 crew tended to her sails. On our voyage, the winds
were mostly calm, although a short Beaufort force- 8 gale near the end
of our cruise put us into Paros instead of Mykonos, Greece. This was
great because the less crowded substitute suited us, with its quaint
whitewashed buildings, charming cafes, stylish shops, and crescent
beach filled with locals.
On Santorini, April and I left the crowds behind, took the public
bus to Oia, had lunch in one of those postcard-perfect rooftop cafes
just a few feet from the precipice, high above the caldera that makes
up this volcanic chain of islands, and talked about how lucky we were
to live out our dream of seeing Greece from the deck of a boat. Later
that day, leaving Santorini under hazy late-day sunshine, all hands
were on deck. With passengers just feet away from the bridge, and
the boaters amongst us watching Captain Sergey’s every move, he
gave the commands and, once all sails were set, thanked the crew for
a job well done, then turned to us with a smile, saying in his native
Ukrainian accent, “The sails are not for decoration, yes?”