It’s not often that a rumour will entice us to venture into the megopolis of Hydra port to verify the authenticity of a rhubarb, but this was one that needed a firsthand ‘eye-report’. This month Kamini village gossip had it that Hydra was defying maritime and governmental authorities by blockading the harbour to all incoming major sea traffic including our only lifeline to the mainland, the hydrofoils.
Sick of being held over a financial barrel over its transport system to the Big Olive by a single ‘greedy’ shipping monopoly, the citizens of our island decided to take matters into their own hands. With no large ferry to the Rock, Hydriotes have been forced to use the only daily transport into Piraeus, which is not only expensive but baggage prohibitive, being that the hydrofoils limit the amount of goods one may carry.
On the 13th and 14th of November ropes, and a string of ciaques blocked the entrance to the port, physically preventing boats from entering. But, in typical Hydra fashion, instead of the protest turning into a naval confrontation, it turned into a party, despite the inconvenience. Blaring music, the odd megaphone speech, and a general festive atmosphere prevailed.
My wife, Jennifer, who rarely leaves the Rock, had gone into Athens to see a friend off and show her the sights, was marooned for three days. Alternatives, such as hiring and taxi and then acquired a blockade-busting Hydra water taxi into Kamini was just too expensive and impractical to justify the trip.
The blockade attracted national media and brought the island’s plight to the attention of a flawed and unjust commuting system.
The major point of the grip was to highlight the fact the hydrofoils servicing the island are way too old, over 35 years, prone to breaking down, and below normal safety standards. Being that it coincided with one of the Rock’s major holidays, St. Konstentine our patron saint, even the Senior Orthodox Beards were forced to come a couple of days early to commemorate the event.
As yet there is no clear outcome to this naval action, but as soon as there is some sort of resolution we will post the result. Whilst it is not our policy to delve into local politics, one rhubarb which did get loud in the local taverna, was that an almost ex-mayor (no names obviously) turned up with some of his PASOK cronies and tried to steal the limelight, and pissed off many residents in the process. And it was said, hijacked the real cause for our self imposed blockade by turning it into a self motivated political agenda
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