Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Odyssey: Route

Odyssey Route: Chart from The Ulysses Voyage In the earlier post The Odyssey: Preview, I outlined the route we would be sailing in general terms. Here is a map from Tim Severin's 1987 book, The Ulysses Voyage: Sea Search for the Odyssey, that shows it in detail. If you right-click on the image and choose "Open Link in New Window", you will be able to view the map in its full size while reading this post in a separate window.

Athens is not shown on the map but it is located at the shallow harbor immediately below the "H" in the caption that reads "Burial of Phrontis The Helmsman" near the center of the map. We will start the voyage near there, at the Alimos Marina in Kalamaki, about five miles south of the Acropolis. Capt. John Kretschmer will have his Kaufman 47 cutter-rigged sailboat, Quetzal, waiting there for us and the other crew members for our April 23 departure.

After rounding Cape Sounion and sailing through the Doro Channel, which is marked on the map with the caption "Several of Agamemnon's ships lost", we will continue northeast on an overnight passage to Turkey, landing in Ayvalik, on the mainland due east of the island of Lesbos. We will then sail north along Turkey's coast to the ruins of ancient Troy. At this point, our route should closely match the solid line on the map that depicts the route of Ulysses' squadron through the Aegean and Cretan Seas, until we reach the leg marked "Prolonged defensive drift". We will not be sailing to Africa to explore the Land of the Lotus Eaters. As Capt. John has said, "I am searching for the spirit of Odysseus as much as anything." So we will detour to the south coast of Crete, the large island between Greece and Africa, and pick up the route again there. We will explore the land of the Cyclops and then sail northwest to the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece, following it north into the Ionian Sea and on toward Ithaca, Ulysses' home. The voyage does not end there because Ulysses was unsuccessful in reaching Ithaca on his first attempt and was blown all the way to Circe's island of Aeaea, which we will also not be visiting. Instead we will explore the islands north of Ithaca, which figure into the Ionian Tales section of Homer's Odyssey, and finish the voyage at Corfu, the island below the "Phaeacia" caption on the map.

Captain John has installed a SPOT beacon on Quetzal which will relay our position every day to a service that sends out email notices with links to Google Maps. If you would like to receive those notices and follow our voyage as it happens, please send me a quick email message at johnlichty@bresnan.net and I will put you on the list. Thank you for sharing your interest.

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