Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Odyssey: Preview

Cover of 'The Ulysses Voyage: Sea Search for the Odyssey' by Tim Severin In a little over nine weeks, on April 23, Nan and I will begin the sailing adventure of a lifetime, a re-creation of The Odyssey, Homer's epic tale of Ulysses's journey from the Trojan War to his home in Ithaca, Greece. We will join John Kretschmer, with whom I sailed from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas in January 2007, and three other crew members, including Harry and Velinda from that same sailing trip, to sail John's boat Quetzal along the same route taken by author and explorer Tim Severin in his historic 1985 voyage in the replica Greek galley Argo. Mr. Severin documented the voyage in his 1987 book The Ulysses Voyage: Sea Search for the Odyssey, an excellent account filled with photographs, drawings and maps, which will serve as the guidebook for our own voyage.

The plan calls for us to rendez-vous in Athens, where John has kept Quetzal, a 47-foot Kaufman cutter, for the last few months getting her ready for the voyage. We will then sail across the Aegean Sea to the ruins of ancient Troy, on the northwest coast of Turkey, to begin our Odyssey. About two weeks later, we will arrive at Ithaca, a small island on Greece's west coast. Along the way, we will sail counter-clockwise around the Aegean, then south and east to the southern coast of Crete, and then back north and west to the west coast of Greece before returning to Athens, a round-trip voyage of almost a thousand nautical miles.

John has contracted with the Miami Herald and Cruising World to write articles about the trip, and he has graciously given me his permission to write an article for Latitudes & Attitudes magazine. I pitched the idea to Editor Sue a few months ago in an email message thanking her for publishing my water spout photo, and she was enthusiastic. In addition, the Travel Channel will have a film crew on board for much of the trip producing a documentary for broadcast on TV and elsewhere. It is all very exciting for both of us, and it offers me the opportunity to start a travel writing sideline.

Additional details will be posted here as they become available. And of course, I will have a laptop and a digital camera with me throughout the trip for posting updates as time and Internet access allow.

Correction 3/3/08: I received an email update from John Kretschmer. It turns out that our voyage will end in Corfu, an island off the west coast of Greece at its border with Albania. We will be flying back to Athens instead of sailing. This will knock about 250 nautical miles off the trip, making for a total of about 750 nautical miles.

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