A gleaming island surrounded by a silky blue sea

The rain clouds finally departed yesterday morning, leaving us a gleaming island surrounded by a silky blue sea. The asphodels are opening, silvery shoots glinting on the rocky slopes above Pedi and the sheep that graze around the power station are so gorged they are grazing lying down.

We sailed over to Rhodes yesterday afternoon. Sail may not be quite the right word as there was not a breath of wind and our ancient Perkins did a sterling job of pushing 36 feet of barnacles and weed through the empty waters between Symi and Rhodes. In the four hours the journey took us we saw one yacht motoring through the Sesklia Strait, the Dodecanese Pride bustling north and the distant silhouette of a tanker heading into Rhodes. The only ship in Rhodes harbour was a Blue Star ferry. My intention was to catch the Proteus back to Symi, leaving Nicholas to supervise the haul out and take care of the boat. Naturally, in the midst of a major shipping strike I was anxious not to miss the only ferry known to be running, leaving poultry and pets unfed for an indeterminate period of time (living the dream is by no means stress-free!). We arrived in Rhodes with just ten minutes to spare, only to find that the Proteus was delayed returning from Kastellorizon and I still had half an hour to catch my breath before sailing the reciprocal course. The commercial harbour was clogged with long-haul trucks stranded by the on-going ferry strikes and it took nearly an hour for the Proteus to load as many as possible on board to take them to Kos.

The ferry strike is causing huge problems around the country. There are believed to be some 2500 trucks stranded in various ports in Greece and Italy, many of them with perishable goods on board which are now deteriorating. Not surprisingly the truckers themselves are now threatening strike action. Some of the islands have run out of fuel and other essential supplies and a C-130 military plane came to the rescue to transport 35 stranded schoolchildren from Chios, where they had been on a school trip, home to Lesbos. Farmers in Crete, desperate to get their produce to market, stormed the prefecture building yesterday, demanding a solution, and there were clashes in Heraklion and Chania. Another knock-on effect is that all the planes are full and it is impossible to get onto internal flights.

Here on Symi the Aegli is on strike but the Proteus is running, as is the Dodecanese Pride. The competition between these two rivals for the Dodecanese route ensures that in this little corner of Greece it is ‘business as usual’.

Have a good week!


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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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