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Roger Green came up with a classic to describe the Rock’s permanent inmates when the summer swarms drive local denizens into hiding. Now into its third decade, the resident bard’s traditional Pirofani opening poem was spot on. We shall be blissfully Inka ...
Inkaminicado!
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Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window) { "@con ...
A Lovely Tribute to Kamini's Tassia
A Lovely Tribute to Kamini’s Tassia
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Who wants to go for a walk? Unanimous yes. Quandary in the port: left to Vichos, right to Hydra town, or a dip in the harbor. Happy Spring all. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in ne ...
Kamini April Fool?
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Romantic August Kamini Sunset Romantic August Kamini Sunset
  But the flip side of our photographic flags a fluttering in the breeze is that with temperatures in the mid 30,s  hot wind can cause deadly wildfires. (As poor Greece has already experienced recently)Please be extra vigilant and always carry water on walks, ...
Romantic August Kamini Sunset
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Hydra Revisited Hydra Revisited
Honoured to be included. Latest Hydra Book Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to email a link to a friend ( ...
Hydra Revisited
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Okay who’s next ??? Okay who’s next ???
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Okay who's next ???
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We have heard rumblings about August “Baby Beach” being a tad crowded. Try China for fun bathing then. Surfs Up Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in n ...
Not Kamini's Baby Beach
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Godzilla snail caught crossing our terrace. Scary nightlife to be avoided in our valley. The height of the season and it’s all happening in our quite village. Even the Paparazzi couldn’t catch these guys. Rare dangerous night stalking leopard toad. Share ...
Mid Summer Kamini night Wild Life
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Kamini’s Kodylenia Restaurant – 1985 Kamini’s Kodylenia Restaurant – 1985
We took this from Mavro Maties taverna, (the large yellow and red landmark structure in Kamini harbour), closed some decades now. Could not imagine the changes to come in our little village. Always tranquil, beautiful and has remained unspoiled over the years despit ...
Kamini's Kodylenia Restaurant - 1985
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Credit photo Brian Sidaway Or should we say builds a stage. An attractive addition to our valley, creative masons expanded the stone rain channel to include an outdoor theatre. Very nicely done, we don’t know who or what is going to be starring in our new amph ...
Kamini Takes Centre Stage
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Nautical Greek Tragedy: The Rest of the Story

Silly Season 2010

18th-century engraving of Hydra Harbor
Port of Hydra, crowded since time immemorial.

Perhaps because we have lived here too long, or maybe because we just know the island and locals too well, intelligence concerning last week’s tragic nautical event involving the sinking of a passenger ferry, crushed by a monstrous cruise yacht in the main port of Hydra, was greeted with a grain of sea salt in our village.

Freedom II approaching Hydra Harbor
Freedom II heading into Hydra Harbor.

Within minutes of the drama’s unfolding in the big city, the tom-toms (these days, text messages) had informed us of the excitement occurring in the island’s main harbour. Before we sound too sceptical or cynical in our reporting “the rest of the story,” the Comet wishes to add, had anyone been hurt or made to suffer financial ruin, in no way would we take a lighthearted approach to the story. On the contrary, our sources have revealed that all’s well that end’s well.*

The cruise yacht Bilmar
Cruise yacht Bilmar.

Highlights from the initial murmurrings suggested that passengers’ lives were in danger, some near-drownings had been witnessed, and one of the island’s largest mainland transportation boats, the Freedom II, was sinking amidst scenes of pandemonium. Indeed, crew of the offending craft—a huge, privately owned luxury cruise yacht named the Bilmar—were nonchalantly ignoring the plight they had caused, and a poor Hydra family was about to be destitute, probably left to starve, their dreams sinking before their eyes, while fat-cat guests aboard the floating palace sipped exotic cocktails, pretended not to notice the panic on the harbour quay.

Hydra's crowded port.
Various and sundry ships crowded into the Port on an average summer day.

Happily, the on-land reality and postcatastrophe facts are a little more in line with what we expected at the outset. Let’s be quite straightforward: given the amount of sea tonnage in shipping terms, as well as the number of yachts, passenger ferries, hydrofoils, catamarans, fishing boats, cargo boats—in fact just about every type of floating vehicle with the possible exception of aircraft carriers—frequenting the little port, it is in fact surprising to most, and a tribute to the seafarers, that so few accidents occur in the high-season confines of Hydra harbour.


Two boats aiming for the narrow harbor outlet.

As with any excessively busy intersection, the odd fender bender is ultimately inevitable. In this case perhaps the harbour master should have discouraged the Bilmar from entering the harbor, especially as the sea was choppy due to wind on the July 16. Apparently the cruiser, in trying to manoeuvre back out, drifted against the Freedom water bus, puncturing the hull in two places just below the waterline.

Eighteenth-century engraving of Hydra Harbor with boats navigating in and out
Ships have been navigating that passage, generally without incident, for centuries.

Indeed, instant rescue operations erupted the moment the incident occurred. Savvy Hydriot sailors rallied to the floundering boat’s aid and managed to save the Freedom II from going under with the ingenious use of floating barrels and help of a local building crane. With hindsight, some locals even suggested that as the insurance and instant offer of remuneration from the yacht owner himself were going to cover all damages; they should have let the boat sink. As it is, Freedom II is in the repair shop and expected to be up and running in a couple of weeks, complete with refurbished engines and equipment.

Engraving of rescue operations.
Many lives were saved.

The only rumour still afloat surrounding the incident is the possible reposting of a certain harbour chief, perhaps to a very small and distant port. This said because he had not behaved, at the time of the accident, in a courteous manner. A pistol was nearly unholstered during a postcollision argument with a local captain. This, of course, is also only hearsay, but like all rhubarbs on the island, where there is smoke on the water, there quite possibly a sinking ciaqui.

Freedom I, still in operation in the interim while Freedom II is repaired* We spoke to the Zogos family on July 20, who assured us that they are doing well. Freedom II is in drydock for repairs and will be up and running again in a few weeks. Meanwhile, it’s business as usual, with Freedom I still running a full schedule. For schedule info, see the Hydra Lines website (for contact info, click “Επικοινωνία“) or call 6947325263

<<–Comments–>>

A very well written story. The problem of the skipper of Bilmar losing control of his vessel, even briefly, shows how critical these maneuverings can be in such a small harbour as Hydra.

The skippers that regularly have to use this overcrowded harbour have all, at some point, “lost it” … ( myself included) … with a mistimed cross wind or a fouled anchor, etc .

Part of the problem lies in the fact that Hydra is a “free harbour.” It is not a marina with preset moorings or any reserved spaces. “First come, first served” is the rule of Hydra—with a little advice from Pandelis (oopp!! oopp!! 🙂 ).

Maybe it is time to put a few new rules in place. A limit to the size of “private” vessels attempting to moor inside the harbour wall would be a start. These LLVs (large luxury vessels) have the equipment and crew to safely moor on the “outer” wall … or heaven forbid … anchor outside Kamini Harbour.

The reason this does not happen is touched on in the lead article: it is damn hard on the owner’s lady friends to hobble around to the water front gold shops from the outer molos in their stiletto heals … and those same heals are murder on the tender dinghy .

With respect ,
Capt. Saronic RYA ret.

Jennifer
Jennifer first arrived on the Rock at the age of 10, after her father, Michael, bought a house above Hydra’s port. While she lived in Virginia year-round with her mother, Jeanne, and stepfather, Steve, she visited Hydra with her father every summer for a month, in her younger years tripping along the port chasing kitties, then later tripping home from Cavos to make her curfew (father had threatened to call the “police” if she was even a minute late).

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