Snow, cold and no electricity on Ithaca - Day 5 and counting

Monday 22nd January - ???? 2006

The roads to Anoghi and Exoghi were too dangerous to pass.  The community sat tight until the ice melted. Anoghi has snow almost every year, so that community had the backup for this wintry snow-in, but in Exoghi, the story was radically different.  The community is mostly aged and getting to them was problematic to say the least. With no radio or television, the streets became the centre for news reports. The freezing temperatures and the primitive lifestyle, enforced on Ithaca with the power failure, had the community nearing their limit of patience.  That wasn't a bad thing. Once people began to shout, the ball began to roll on getting some answers.

On day 2 of the power cut, the sun began to shine and Ithaca resembled a winter wonderland. More rumours and misinformation spread around the island in regards to the reason for the power failure.  Ithaca had expected the problem to be solved, but on this day, it was crystal clear that whatever the problem, it was serious.  Ithaca Council was first informed by DEH that there was a problem on the mainland which had half the Ionian without power, this wasn't a lie, but the problem that concerned us was the problem with the pylons on Cephalonia.  First report had 3 blown down by the wind, then 7, some snapped, some blown down, last count 17 or 18.

At the end of day 2, Ithacans driving north to south or south to north, noticed the flickering on lights on Cephalonia.  A good sign everyone thought.  DEH is fixing the problem and it shouldn't be long before Ithaca got its' share of the power through the grid.  WRONG. Ithaca side of Cephalonia sparkled all night and Ithaca was still in the dark.  Now complaints were reaching radio stations.  Makis from Stavros rang a radio station and informed them that no one had mentioned Ithacas' lack of power. DEH had left the island completely out of whatever equation it was solving. The Station tried to call the Mayor for a comment, but he couldnt be reached. This Maki as far as we know, started the ball rolling in the complaints department and then the rest of Greece began to take notice and more locals began to complain.

Those lucky enough to have a fireplace or wood oven in their kitchens, center their lives around the fire.

Vathy and all the other villages of Ithaki were closed for business.  Everyone suffering financial losses that will no doubt, ever be compensated for.  Many shops had no generators.  Food spoils and fresh food stops coming to the island because it can't be stored. The ramifications are wide-spreading.  One Vathy womans' only means of heating was to light a fire on her terrace, carry the embers inside to warm the house a little before taking them out again when her house filled with too much smoke. In Kioni a generator exploded into fire when the elelctricity came on without notice and surged back into the generator. Fires accidentally started with candles, and other accidents that luckily did not cause too much damage or injury. Sheer luck! Anywhere else in the world, reinforcements would be brought in to conquer the situation, but on Ithaca and Cephalonia, it seemed that there was no one to speak for the island  or to offer help to it.  When asked "there must be something we can do" locals turn and reply "this is Greece", an answer which implies, 'NO'. Of course there are means to get power to the island, like a generator, or an emergency line a couple of hours a day, and, and, and, but as usual it comes down to budgets and spreadsheets.

Above - Icicles on a Lefki roof

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Snow and sea make a stunning impression on Ithaca around the village of Lefki.