Archive Monthly Archives: February 2022

ABOVE expectations..


2021 MED Land destinations were Peloponnese and Crete. Ivana Petan, Ida Glušič, Matej Michalec and BB were the team.

MEDLand 2021 Ivana, Maček, bb first days to the first Greek island

Maćek produced 5 WGO films about the trip and Storytelling encounters on the Peloponnese, all on MED Land >WGO 

BB did two main stories, and one together with Ida (yet to be published).

Ivana did report of her geomantic encounters with the beings of the places we stopped (yet to be published).

Ida was making WGO films, and she made the first one, a film with Dimitris Therianos, even before we meet, while waiting for us to pick her up! AND a special film for the main story about Zlatka from Crete (yet to be published).

The last MED Land trip in 2021, from Pylos (Peloponnese) to Stari Grad (Hvar island in the Adriatic) was above expectations.

We decided to postpone “the sailing back from Crete“ to our home port to the end of July, when all planed stories were done, but we still had a 1000 km long sailing trip to reach our home port on the island of Hvar in the Adriatic. We wanted to have additional time for this long trip and focus on yet another theme.

The theme I was longing for on our long trip back to our home port in the Adriatic was to observe, experience and communicate with elements, like waves, streams, winds ...

I could not get the promised crew till the 1st of October and left 16 days later than planned. I met our new crew member Iva here for the first time, when I picked her up with the car on the way to Split. From there, we continued by ferries to Ancona and Patras, and from there on by buses and taxis to the boat. Iva has never before on a sailing boat before, but she is a person strongly connected to nature, especially to Iceland, where she lives now.

There was over 80 NM from Peloponnese to Zakynthos island (main port Zante)  – and since I had to fix some things on the boat, we started late and it was already dark when we arrived at the main port of Zakynthos island.

VIDEO - Iva has never been on a sailing boat before! But in a few hours, she already confidently took over the rudder :-))

 


Jana Prepeluh, an artist from Slovenija, was the second team member, with her last sailing experience on Nalu, when we did our first research trip to Greece for the MED Land project in September 2016! Jana was waiting for us on Zakynthos and spent some time with the Therianos familly.

It was a full moon day when the weather started to turn unstable, windy, rainy, stormy, forecast for several days to come! Uh-oh, what to do? I missed the super stable sunny and warm weather. I knew very well that if the weather changes around full moon, it means it will stay unstable ... And indeed it was.

After two, three hours of sleep in the port of Zante, a strong noise of the boat hitting the pier woke me up! It was a serious situation because of the very strong wind and big waves in the port. Luckily, I found some big plastic drums on the road and tied them between the boat and the pier. Next thing was to find a better place. In two hours, I found a better place, but in the meantime, the wind picked up much more! It was impossible for Iva and me to push Nalu away from the pier. At that very moment, early in the morning, young strong men appeared on the pier and helped us to do the maneuver! The wind became even stronger, and we had to stay in Zante for two more days and hope for a one-day gap with less wind, just enough to reach Ithaca. Jana joined us in Zante, but because the boat was moving so much, she got sea sick already in the port … Not many would be willing to go out sea sick, but Jana, as strong as she is, did it. And all the way for the next four days, she did everything to be positive and overcome sea-sickness . 

..two more days in Zante..in a safest part of the port..

Marketplace in Zante

Late in the night, in strong rain and wind, we reached Vathy, the main port of Ithaca. The port was empty, but a man approached us, greeting us: ”I remember you! Yes, here you can tie the boat, and electricity and water are free – a leftover of previous boat, take it, and welcome!“ On Ithaca, we had a one-day stop to meet with Leila again (MED Land story).

She always inspires me! What she did and how she lives now on her farm, full of experiments, will be in the upcoming update of her story.

The next port was Gaios on the island of Paxos, and the already normal procedure was to tie the boat in heavy rain and strong wind. The early morning ritual was to get some diesel, which happened in15 minutes ... ”Welcome, you are here again!”, with a big smile from the diesel truck that drives through the port to fill up boats. We had to take of as soon as possible, since we had another long trip to reach Othonoi island – the last Greek island before Otranto, the passage between Albania and Italy, and AGAIN with only one-day gap of less winds on the route to reach the destination.

North of Othonoi, we had to wait again, but it was a must-stop anyway to meet Yiannis Katehis (MED Land story) , who also  became a harbor master, apart from being the vice president of three islands. He is a hyperactive activist and a never-ending inspiration for me. My brother, I could say ... He spent with us one wonderful day, in his studio, with his mother serving us the best pasta and with long, great conversations that we had in a coffee shop. The update will tell more! 

Yiannis' success on Othonie is finally a proper ferry line every day ...

... AND fresh SPRING water for the whole island. More in the update >>>  

In the port, there was a single Italian sailor on a much bigger boat than Nalu, also waiting for the right time to cross Otranto towards Italy. I decided to take of early, very early in the morning, when the winds started to go down. And Jana was not ready to go with me this time. She stayed on Othoni for another couple of hours to join the Italian sailor, who decided to do a much shorter route to Italy, which was not convenient for us considering the forecast for the following days. This was the best solution!  After 22 hours on the sea with big waves and also rain during the last hours, Iva was still in a positive, relaxed mood. And finally. the port of Brindisi! I was sure it was going to be calm inside, but it was NOT.

We arrived to Brindisi in the night and tried to moor in two places - but still to much movement up and down. Morning came soon, and I walked to all marinas in the port to get a place.

Naval Balsamo was definitely the best bet: very kind family business, also boat-building and repairing site, all that you need was here for a fair flat price! 

Here, I discovered that the engine cooling system is leaking water! I took off the part that was leaking, and since they could not weld copper here in marina, they took me immediately by car to the car cooling system mechanic. In a good half an hour, I was back and the job was done! 

BEST pizza place. Strict COVID regulations in pizza restaurants brought us to this family shop with TOP pizza and all that we needed for food. After two visits, we were already "friends" and we got extras like pasta, vegies etc. as a gift.

As always, I talked to other people in the port who we also waiting for the wind to go down. And that is how I met Tomaž, who was on an even smaller boat  - a wooden sailing boat from Sweden - waiting to cross the Adriatic. “Good, we sail together than“ - and that is what we did, two Slovenes with two funky sailing boats, the only wooden boats in the port. We started the next evening, a 33-hour trip to reach the Korčula island. When we came out from the port, there were still big waves and NE wind - a difficult direction for our route, but we knew that sooner or later the wind will go down :-)) Still in the night, when I could already use autopilot since the sea calmed down, I found out that the autopilot was not working any more. ”Tomaž, Tomaž, Tomaž“, was my call on Channel 9, and I asked him to sail in front of us, so we could follow his lights. The trip over the open sea in a tandem was really much easier :-)) . **We crossed the deepest part of the Adriatic, and observing water, waves, light, clouds here was very inspiring for me. One of  the inspirations was that the see, as well as rivers, are (in many cases) the places where the primeval earth forces can be very dynamic, more dynamic than on solid land.

All in all, the trip was intensive, but also very inspiring . The key for this experience was that Iva, who NEVER EVER did a sailing trip before, was completely “in” all the time, happy, relaxed and reliable to do anything that was needed, including taking over the rudder under the sails for many hours. She was happy being on this trip, so I could be in tune with what was going on and relaxed, even when I was wet, cold and tired. In this way, the true wave that was taking us over was being at the right place at the right time and meet “good” heartful people who were really helpful and touched my heart deeply. The landing on Korčula was a welcome story for as again: the marina stuff did not charge us, and the police and custom registration process upon arrival to Croatia was very relaxed.

We did miss 16 essential days of good weather, but I would not change it after ALL! I had to be really open to observe, experience and communicate with elements such as waves, streams, winds, in conditions that where pulling me to survival mode! Exactly opposite to where I wanted to be ... And what happened was that I reached this blissful in-tune moments, to be first of all in experience mode and be inspired, like in the middle of the Adriatic, above the deepest part of this big bay, in a very deep way. If you feel blessed at the end, then EVERYTHING had meaning ... That is how the life should be ... Ready for next passage.

It took another night and day to reach the island of Šćedro - a small island along Hvar island. Nobody could expect that this small island under its "bigger brother" could be an entire world of its own! I keep coming back to understand more about these two close, and yet so different individuals-islands. “Yes, it is like this,” I heard a whisper, “because these two islands grew up long ago in different evolution times, when dragons were the most active.” Which one is older? “It does not matter, all is also now.”

Šćedro island

Šćedro island

And the last challenge on this trip awaited us on the way back, already in Split, where I have parked the car, a borrowed car :-)), and found out that a whole exhaustion system was stolen! And also the car battery was completely empty, because I left the lights on :-)) It was already the middle of the day, and even though I had battery cables to connect to cars from people that wanted to help, it didn't work. BUT, very quickly, situation started to go in a different direction. The nearby housekeeper of the Naval Museum is a mechanic who had special cables. He managed to start the engine and even take me to a very kind car exhaust mechanic at the outskirts of Split. Of course, there was no way to get the original exhaust system, so he made a new on in just 3 hours :-)) . Meanwhile, Iva was in the port waiting with my luggage, including the money that I needed. Mechanic was far from the port, and luckily a taxi stopped ... "We are the cheapest in town! Take a sweet from me to calm down ... “ were his first words, and quickly we found out that we have common friends since he was from Sarajevo. Like Ibrahim Spahić. The exhaust system was repaired just in time, since I was in a rush to return to Slovenia because my computer was also broken, and a repair specialist was on his way. I reached him in time! I had to leave the computer with him since its motherboard was broken, but Primož lent me one with my disk inside, so I was able to work without any delay for the next few weeks :-))

Why do I write all this?

This time, it all started in Ancona on the way to Greece by ferry with Iva. We had time almost all day, and I went "for a walk" alone and with an open heart. The first encounter was with a refugee from Sri Lanka, and when I sat on the bench next to him to eat, I offered him some food. I saw him as a person in trouble. He refused to take any food, and in short conversation he convinced me that he is not in a bad situation at all! He sees opportunities, knowing where and how to go to continue his life, and he is also in contact with his family!

I went on towards my destination, an old big palm tree in the middle of the town ... A friend. I could not find her ... I circled persistently around the area. Finally, I came to the "no tree any more" place, just a tree stump! WHY? Last time, it looked heathy, strong, biggest among many in the park, which were still there. For me, this palm tree was playing an important role as a pilar of vital connections and interactions blessing and interacting with Ancona. I stayed there for a while, and slowly, the palm tree appeared to be still there! Still existing on a nonphysical level, but actively present ... Still living. This is beyond imagination, but to grasp some of this, I had to open my heart very much, and this kept me going. Focused, peaceful observation, as well as acceptance of the adventures that come my way, being aware that I am doing my best, gave me a very special experience that I love to share with you, straight into the universe. THANK YOU ALL!

Ancona >>>

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Released by MED Land project, photos by BB, film by : Ida Glušič;  voice, words : ZlatkaFerlez

Posted by bojanb
a few months ago

Zlatka from Crete

Zlatka grew up in Slovenia, but "I was hitchhiking from Chania to Kissamos. It was 1985 or 1986. So somebody stopped, and it was him." After 35 years, many of which alone, she is still an olive grower and producer of very high quality olive oil. She takes care of 800 trees and a small farm around her house.

"You don't need a lot of machines and you don't need a lot of olive trees. You don't need to go for quantity, but rather for quality. Then, you have to find the market and sell it. There are a lot of olive trees here, a lot of oil, and it is sold very cheaply. People can not deal with life. It's a shame!"

IdIda has been involved in the project since  Zakynthos island, the entire 2022 journey. After completing her undergraduate studies at the university, she decided to improve her storytelling skills, especially through video. She took her challenges in the MedLand project very thoroughly and seriously.

The backyard of and for Zlatka are inspiring nature points. Waking around, visiting places, valleys, trees, rocks, beaches is an essential part of her life. Zlatka also showed us around, and gave us the possibility to fall in love with Crete very quickly!

Be ready to act 

"I think Crete and Greece are regions that will suffer most from climate change. Hot waves can destroy everything, there can be too little or too much rain. Three years ago, it started to rain on the the first of January and stopped in April. In between, there were three floods. Bridges, properties lost, unbelievable."


"Everybody knows that climate is changing and that everything can be different, and it will be different. But nobody knows how, in which way, and when."

"The nature is so rich, the climate is so mild. It's nice to be here."

"I will continue with oil until I get too tired. Because I know I can retire in four, five years. So what I am going to do exactly, I don't know. How many olives will I keep, because they are still family olives. Not all trees are mine, they are also theirs. But we know which ones are theirs and which ones are mine. I'm only taking care of them. So one day, I can just give them their olives back and keep my own. Maybe, I don't know. I really don't know. This is hard work and it's a lot of work."

"I think my life is here, that I belong here. Not in Slovenia. For many reasons. I don't know, maybe nature, climate, social life, everything. I have friends in Ljubljana, many of them from our student days. I lived in Ljubljana nine years. I like to visit Ljubljana and Slovenia, but not to stay there. There is no particular reason. Just that my life is here. Everything, my soul. When I came here, I knew that it was for me."

Be ready to act 

"For a long time, there are people saying that Crete should be green. Organic. But there are different economic interests. There are all this olive sellers, who are Greeks but who became economical strong in this field. They are buying the oil from people very cheaply. First, they were selling oil by themselves. Now they just leave their oil in a factory. So the factory is selling and people get their money on their bank account. The problem is the market, how to get on the market. Because if big companies take the oil, how can you find your own way. The problem is also the disconnection between people, and the government is not offering any help.

There are some people who have a vision of a green Crete. It should be like that. There are a few small olive oil producers, or green houses, that have their own organic label, and their sales are good."

"There are so many changes happening because of climate change. And it all impacts olive growers and us. How to deal with these impacts? We need to be prepared for any change that can happen. We can not wait like we did in the past. But now, we need to be prepared to start watching what is going on: the winters, rain … everything is changing. Heat waves are more common, there are more hot days in summer and less cold days in winter. If there is not enough cold days in winter, olive trees can't bloom. They can not prepare themselves for olive growing. It happens throughout the Mediterranean due to climate change. The farmers need more advice from scientists. How to deal with climate change. How to cultivate soil."

"Crete is becoming more like Africa, warmer, with less water and more intensive rain. All this impacts olive growers. We need help and advice. We know that this change will be more intensive in Crete than in the north. Northern climate will become more hospitable for olives than our climate. There is a problem. People will start to grow olive trees in northern parts. Because they have colder winters needed by olive trees to bloom, and less hot or dry summers."

"The biggest problem is the way they cultivate olives here. They use a lot of pesticides … 

More and more people think that we need to protect the nature on which we depend. They try to find the way to produce in a more organic way. It is not easy here. As I mentioned, I have olives at nine places. Some places have nine trees, some maybe hundred, so you don't have an ecological environment to protect them. Its not easy because many don't want to cooperate."

An estimated 33 Mio olive trees live on Crete! And the number continues to grow. It is a monoculture!  Carob and Chestnut trees that saved them from hunger in WWII are now almost extinct.

What we need from science is that it shows us how to reduce the impact of climate change on olive growth. How to use water. They know about the weather. They know when the weather will change. They should advise us on when we should react so that we are not too late or too early.

We need to be ready all the time. Be ready to act. 

 

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Released by MED Land project 2021 June/ film Ida Glušič  editing:Ida Glušič, BB, photo: BB, voice : Zlatka

Posted by bojanb
a few months ago
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