Ithaca Greece - Winter 2005 - 2006. Greek Island Holidays in the Ionian. Ithaca Ithaki, the home of Ulysses and Homer
Winter on Ithaca 2005 - 2006
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Fri 20 Jan - Yesterday morning, the rest of the world disappeared from view. Below Left - Kefalonia...gone. Below Right - Mainland Greece...gone. The wind howled and the rain poured down. Ithaki was under the thick cover of cloud until mid afternoon, when the skies finally began to break open the black weather terrorizing the island.
Views onto the Kefalonia Strait
Click on photograph above to enlarge
click on photo to enlarge. Piso Aetos
Click on photograph above to enlarge
By 4pm, the sky opens up to reveal a little sunshine in the skies over the island.
Outside the Piso Aetos cove the seas heave and crash against the rocks, but inside, all is calm. Fisherman throw in their lines to catch the fish harbouring in the stiller waters. Below - The Eptanisos Ferry comes into view.
click on photo to enlarge.  ithaca greece  
Click on photograph above to enlarge

Left - Omiros from Polyctor Tours in Vathy keeps an eye on things as he waits for the ferry to arrive from Cephalonia.

Right - Mitso (center) Kioni Taxi Driver passes the time as he and his friends wait for the Eptanisos Ferry, the Kefalonia ferry replacement while its having maintenance work done on it.

So goes the Piso Aetos wait.

Even during Winter, some interesting people emerge from the hull of the ferry. Yesterday Heinz Stucke, citizen of the world for over 43 years, included Ithaca, the isle of the Odyssey, in his travels. Heinz left his country of birth, Germany, at the age of 22 when he decided that his lifes' work would be to travel to every country and province in the world on a bicycle. He has only 16 more places to visit before he ends up in the Guinness book of Records for the worlds' most traveled man.
Above - Heinz Stucke - World traveler for 43 years. Since leaving his home in Germany at age 22, he has never returned
Heinz has cycled over 520,000 km and has been to 192 countries, 59 territories, associated states, autonomous regions and the Commonwealth. 43 years on the road on the same 25 kg 3 speed bike carrying around 40 - 50 kg of luggage. He is in the Guinness Book of Records 1995 - 1999 under the Epic journeys category, but is aiming for the most traveled individual on a bike in the world. From Ithaca he's planning to catch a ferry to Astakos to make his way to Corfu, then Italy and then to Paris for a convention of which he is guest speaker. Since his sponsor went bankrupt, he's been struggling to get the funds to continue, but goodwill and luck are seeing him through to the end of his lifelong dream which he has made into reality. Heinz has photographed and made postcards of all the places he has been and makes a bit of cash by selling them. He also earns money for his travels by speaking at trekkers conventions where he is asked to tell his stories.
Sat 21 Jan - You could be forgiven thinking these photos were snatched from a Summer batch, but this is what Ithaki looked like yesterday. All Day.
Left - A picturesque little church in the back lots of Vathy, amongst olive groves and the Council vehicle depot. The church is sure to have a name, but it's not written anywhere on the building.
By the time the clocks struck 1pm, there were locals with their coats off, basking in the brilliant sunshine. Above - Vathy Bay. Clear views to the mainland revealed that quite a bit of snow is now covering the mountains across the way. It was a great day yesterday and today, the Good news for Ithacans, north and south, is that the Vathy Cinema is opening its' doors again for the Winter. First cinematic session is tonight.
Mon 23 Jan - The day starts badly and just gets worse!!!

Snowed in and power out for nearly 5 days and not until 10.30 am today, did ithaca get some emergency power.


6pm Update - The army has ferried in 2 huge generators to power the islands of Cephalonia and Ithaca. We finally have electricity again. This is something that could have been done the moment DEH knew how drastic the situation in Cephalonia was, but having power after 5 days is better than waiting a month. Heads will roll over this episode and DEH will not be able to excuse its' way out of this catastrophe. The proposal at the Council meeting in Vathy last night was that the next DEH bill shouldn't be paid by anyone affected by this power cut. Cephalonia seems to be agreeing with this proposal also. It's believed that Cephalonitis are also wanting to sue DEH
Last night every TV channel got down and dirty to sensational the bad weather heading for Greece. Antarctic footage was even used to get that fear stirring. Council workers declared they were ready for the emergency. New trucks, salt for the roads, all ready to go with the first snowflake that may inflict bitter cold on Ellada. "Siberia is coming! Siberia is coming!" They exclaim...but it's only staying until Thursday. Phew! I'm relieved. Pearls of advice were given to drivers eg. Have a bottle of cognac in the car to keep the driver warm. Aah, don't we all feel much safer now.
Left - Getting a present is always a thrill isn't it?? Well, maybe not all the time. Dimitris Danis now has something to cover up his cake and fruit. Luckily crochet chickens /ducks /swans, don't carry the bird virus. Guess with the encroaching cold, this cosy could double as a hat. "Now don't get too cocky Dimitri"
Fri 27th jan - if you've heard anything good about ithaca and its' power failure, you've been told lies. The situation here is desperate and we are left without means of heating, water and all the necessities. No information or explaination of why we are without electricity for 5 days until yesterday at the town meeting. There has to be a solution. Some of Cephalonia is lit up like a christmas tree and only now, for an hour, do we have emergency power. My fingers are frozen so forgive the typos. DEH has alot to answer for. Ithaca is last on any list when it comes to electricity and telephone. AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE. People are asking where is the Mayor??? where is a generator for the community??? Lefki was snowed in and if not for a local with bulldozer, the road would have been closed for 3 days. DEH kept us all in the dark. No information!!!!! There are people freezing here. You can count on more to come on this issue when the power is back on, when that will be, no one knows, could be a month, could be Sunday. 18 or so pylons blew down or snapped. Great job DEH. What the #$@%$#@ are we paying for here??????????? This is worse than 3rd world.

and at minimum, have its' current head of operations, sacked. Ithaca is in agreement. How do 18 pylons snap or blow down? The winds only blew 8 force. Why was there no information given to us? Why did faults disconnect their phone line most of the days and get angry at us for ringing for information? Why did they say we'd have power in 3 hours each time we did get through, when they knew the problem wasn't fixable for at least a month? Why was electricity doled out in Cephalonia, but not a spark on Ithaca? Why was there such a communication break down? Why were there no generators to be found on the island? Why the long waiting lists for personal generators and gas heaters? Why was there no notice of emergency power turning on? Why? Why? Why? And just how obvious was it that Vathy got an hour of power last night just as Mega TV stepped off the ferry. It's a disgusting way to run a business for the service we so depend on. Meanwhile, Ithaca went back to the 50's before there was power on the island. We were all busy, chopping wood and making sure we were warm and getting fed. There was no banking or business, hundreds of thousands of euros lost, no bread baked, no mobile phones, due to not being able to recharge the batteries, old people freezing and hungry, those with a bit of cash bought up big on generators and gas heaters before supplies ran out the first morning of the 'power out'. The island was without water to shower or flush the toilets because most of ithacas water supply is pumped electrically. Back to bucketing water from the Well. It's been exhausting work trying to get through the days and keeping warm. Ithaca was black in despair, but the community pulled together and helped eachother out. DEH incompetence has financially devasted Cephalonia and Ithaca, and they have actually said, outload, that due to this circumstance they will need to charge us more (what? more than the already unreasonable rates for a primitive service?) to make up for the fixing of a problem they are responsible for. This big brother (lame excuse for a Power Co) better watch out, they've pissed off a community that bites back with sharper teeth than they could imagin. Before I give you all the pics I took before my battery to the camera ran out, I'm warming myself up a bit, (my generator is coming on tonights ferry, just a little late, but no doubt valuable for the next power out on the island) but stay tuned for White Ithaca and more on the Power Out. Please excuse any typos, when I tell you my fingers are frozen, I really mean it. Ah heat. What a luxury.

Sat 28 Jan 12.30pm - The electricity is off again. No one knows why or when it will be back. The baker from Vathy said midday. It's past midday, Evi from Stavros says, 'tonight'. Speculation in the streets predicts tomorrow. The information line is closed so DEH is not saying anything, AGAIN. I picked up my generator and a gas heater from the ferry at 3am this morning and have just now fired it up. Hope that my UPS does its' job because the fluctuations are extreme, not that that's anything new, our main power grid has massive fluctuations, thus the regular stream of burnt out appliances on the island. While driving to VAthy, the sparkling street lights over on Cephalonia were like a punch in the nose. 3 am and they have street lights. I think they could shut them off and give us a little electricity to get out of bed with some comfort and hot water to at least wash our faces. In times like this, one thing is very evident, the community here on Ithaca really helps eachother out. The owner of Mazourka let me, my partner and 2 friends into one of her apartments with a fire place. Unfotunately the wood was running out, but we were more comfortable in those first few days than many on the island. This situation is very bad for all that live on Ithaca, but it could have been much worse. The sun is shining and that gives a little heat. With rain, this predicament would really drive people over the edge. Most of the snow has now melted, except for a few piles along the road through Lefki. Roof tops are still dripping there from melting snow and ice. There are many helping hands on the island, but also off the island. Poppy and Nektarios from Rementzo in Frikes were quick to send us a generator and gas heater from Patra where they're taking a little break, once they knew we hadn't fled the island and were in need. wants to thank them and Ms Sikiotis for her accommodation at Mazourka. A fully electrical house is a severe disadvantage on Ithaca. For anyone building and planning to stay more than a few holiday weeks, I strongly recommend your house has an open fireplace and gas cooking. That your water well is higher than your house, so that water doesn't need to be pumped electricially, and a few hot water bottles wouldn't go astray. In my house we couldn 't run water let alone heat it or cook with it. We are all nearing our limits on Ithaca, but young families and the elderly are suffering quite a bit more. We can only hope that enough pressure on DEH will make them give us back some normality in our lives. Right now we are all in survival mode.

It's been a rough 5 days before the 7 days are up, we've been promised electricity, so here's hoping.
Left - Rien Post of Lefki cam sent in this photo of the start of the Ithaki nightmare. Lefki, usually the warmest village of Ithaca, was snowbound for over 3 days with the heaviest snow fall the island has seen in decades. If it wasn't for the power cut, it would have been a wonderful time on the island. A little winter fun, throwing snowballs, making snowmen, but alas, the pressure of survival took precedence. Ps - the generator is working well. I can safely say I'll be online with or without DEH (the electricity company) Most businesses on Ithaca are now doing the same. This is a financial disaster for Ithacan business and a physical strain on all the community. Anyone well connected, please keep the pressure on so that this gets fixed, We feel completely helpless here!!!
click here or on photograph left for more pics on snow, cold and no electricity on ithaca - 5 days and counting.
Sun 29 Jan - Yesterday the power came on around 4.30pm, but DEH has assured Cephalonia and Ithaca that by Monday both islands will have full power supplied by the generators brought in by the army, for the period it takes to fix the pylons which currently lay mangled in the hills of Cephalonia.
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