|Enki at anchor (furthest out) in Aliki, on Thasos|
That would be to forget that human beings are every bit as unreliable as machines. They too break down unexpectedly after hours of faultless running. They too need to be pulled apart, cleaned and put back together again.
|Alex works on - and fixes - the Tohatsu 5 hp outboard|
|At Aliki, on Thasos, an entire headland of marble was quarried away before Jesus was born|
|How they hoisted Thasos marble onto ships in the old days|
|The rounded stone is what remains of an ancient hoist|
But after all the energy we expended to get north, we cleared out of Thasos after only three days, bound for the monastic coastline underneath Mt Athos and the Sinthonia peninsula beyond that.
|Mt Athos, seen from the anchorage in Aliki|
|Monasteries (above and below) on east side of Athos peninsula|
|We ducked into this bay to shelter from a squall on the way up to Thasos port|
|Approach to cape below Mt Athos|
|Marble sculpture in Thasos museum|
I walked up the hill above Thasos port very early in the morning, leaving Alex to sleep. He needed his sleep, as much as I needed to walk. From the theatre, which is being restored, I walked on to the medieval fortress (another one built over ancient ruins by the Genovese), and looked out to the island of Samothrace in the east, and to the north, to the mountains of Thrace. Below me was Enki, and Alex, in the "new" harbour, one of the many unfinished projects which we have seen in each place we go.
|Thasos port - Enki is parked just behind the red ferry|
|Hot dirty work in the sanctuary of Athena|
|Ancient steps leading down to Thasos town from the acropolis|
|Gate of Silene - or so I think|
Our story on Thasos, our blow-out, was a follow-on from other stories, the same kinds of stories people have been telling to and about each other for millenia - of my impatient nature, sharp tongue and weak grasp of sequential thinking, of Alex's stern, broad shoulders on which falls the full weight of practical problem-solving on the boat and of his back which stiffens at any suggestion of that weight being too much, of our not speaking Greek and of Greeks not understanding our expectations .... and more, all of which add up to a sense of not being in control. Of being vulnerable. All at sea.
|Pan in his shrine on the acropolis above Thasos port|
Pan is the god of...panic. Here he is, still set in stone as he's been for 2500 years, in an olive grove above Thasos. The point of doing what we're doing at this time of our life is to step beyond our known world, and in doing so, stave off stagnation, that curse of middle age. Don't panic.
There's a point - and at Thasos we reached such a point - when you understand that you've been torn and patched a few times too many, and that your emotional fabric doesn't have as much give as it once did. You don't want to put it under too much strain, you don't want it to tear. You don't want that at all. You've got to treat each other kindly, especially when you're at sea, and wait for the next plate of octopus, which will come.