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(texte français: cliquez ici)   Rounding Cape Malea


Doing 5 or 6 knots like us a ship in Homer's time was entirely dependent on a wind change to succeed in rounding Cape Malea, the ancient Greeks' Horn.
Odysseus' nautical world
A cosmological interpretation
Sea routes and the epic text
The routes home
Rounding Cape Malea
6 Toward a New World
7 Mythological figures for stopovers
From the next World to this world
9 In Odysseus'wake. Arrival at Ithaka
10 Ithaka, Ormos Polis
Ithaka, the islet of Daskalio
12 Ithaka, Port Saint Andrew
13 At the Arethuse source
14 The periplus to Ithaka
15 Our friend Odysseus
The monastery of the helpful monks at the foot of Mount Malea where so
many shipwrecked people found refuge.
(Extract from the expedition log)
At sea, aboard Tzarambo, on September 25, 2000 :
"That day of late september at the beginning of the third millenary the meteorological conditions were favourable to Tzarambo and her crew. The closer we get to the cape the more the wind turned east, then south-east. We try to stay 3 or 4 miles off the cape, so the wind, if it holds, will enable us to round it without too much difficulty provided that we turn straight to the north-east at right time. The sky is getting clearer and clearer to the east, but in altitude the winds are in the north-west. Shall we have to face them soon since we have to take precisely that direction after we have doubled the cape ? An escort ship of the Greek Marine operating in the zone is proceeding in the same direction as us, but more off the coast : a further discreet reminder, like the lifeboat stationed in Monemvasia, that near Cape Malea - the Greeks' Horn - everything may happen, including the worst. There, indeed, like at Cape Horn, the wind bears along the coast up to the cape end, but beyond it one has to sail head wind along the opposite coast.
There it is at last, that far end of the mythical cape. High, sheer, bare, looking like a boar's head when seen from the east. Some see in it a baboon's head. Anybody in fact projects his phantasy onto this narrow long mountain such as it stands out against the sky. Moreover, its aspect changes quickly depending on whether it is seen from the south or from the west and north-west one or two miles farther.
As soon as we have passed the cape we meet, like Nestor, a fair wind. It turns continuously and enables us to get closer to the coast in order to better observe the shore. And soon appears in the sunset light one mile away from the cape end a small dazzlingly white chapel erected straight above a tiny cove. A path goes from the shore up to the sanctuary where another path leads to the neigbouring village at mid slope, two or three miles away. One can imagine that many shipwrecked sailors going that way succeeded in saving themselves and in gratitude to the sky powers donated some goods for the construction of a building dedicated to them."  next
    ,Jean Cuisenier, Le P„riple d'Ulysse, chap. XV, pp. 199-200.
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