September 30, 2012
Saying Good Bye

September 15, 2012
Reflections on Our 27 Year Circumnavigation

September 01, 2012
Sea of Cortez Sailing

August 15, 2012
Back to the Sea of Cortez

August 01, 2012
After Circumnavigation: What to Take, What to Leave Behind

July 15, 2012
Mexican Booby Trap

July 01, 2012
Tackling the Tehuantepec

June 14, 2012
Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico

June 01, 2012
Sailing northern Costa Rica and Nicargua

May 15, 2012
Costa Rican Cruising

May 01, 2012
New Found Friends in Golfito, Costa Rica

April 15, 2012
It’s a Jungle Out There

April 01, 2012
Hunting and Gathering in Panama

March 15, 2012
Money.... Money.... Money

March 01, 2012
Feel Free Transits the Panama Canal

February 15, 2012
Transiting the Panama Canal

February 01, 2012
Feel Free is Back in the Pacific

January 15, 2012
Charter Skipper for a Week

January 01, 2012
Confessions of a Charter Cat Chef

December 15, 2011
Away to the Andamans Part 2

December 01, 2011

November 15, 2011
Sailing in a Freshwater Paradise

November 01, 2011
To Barf or not to Barf, that is the question

October 14, 2011
Remarkable Cruisers

October 03, 2011
The Sea of Cortez, Another World

September 15, 2011
Panama Canal Here We Come

September 01, 2011
Sailing for Humanity

August 15, 2011
A Hard Lesson on the Hard and Reflections on Boat Work

August 01, 2011
Here Come the Lion Fish

July 15, 2011
The Joy of Books

July 01, 2011
The Sailors of San Blas

June 15, 2011
The Good Life in Kuna Yala

June 01, 2011
The Dirt Dweller in Paradise

May 15, 2011
People of the San Blas, Then and Now

May 01, 2011
Cruising in Kuna Yala

April 15, 2011
Near Disaster in the San Blas

April 01, 2011
At Last in the San Blas

March 15, 2011
Chilling Out in Cholon

March 01, 2011
Ah, Cartagena!

February 15, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 2

February 01, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 1

January 14, 2011
Aruban Interlude

December 30, 2010
Hunkering Down for a Hurricane

December 15, 2010
A Day in the Life - Our Passage to Aruba

December 01, 2010
Stuck in Curacao

November 15, 2010
Stormy Night Sailing

November 01, 2010
Sailing In The Sticks

October 15, 2010
Safety, Security and Circumnavigating with some tips on how to stay safe

October 04, 2010
Feel Free Transits The Suez Canal

September 15, 2010
Red Sea Sailing

September 01, 2010
FEEL FREEs Voyage Into the Red Sea

August 15, 2010
And just a little further, to Curacao

August 01, 2010
Bonaire Diving

July 15, 2010
Then To Bonaire

July 01, 2010
Cruising Remote Venezuelan Isles

June 15, 2010
Cruising St. Vincent

June 01, 2010
Right Place, Right Time

May 15, 2010
The Spice Isle

May 01, 2010
To the Grenadines

April 15, 2010
We Be In Barbados Mon

April 01, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part II

March 15, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part 1

March 01, 2010
Provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing

February 15, 2010
Atlantic Crossing Preparations

February 01, 2010
Cruising the Canary Islands

January 15, 2010
Out Of Africa

January 01, 2010
Come With Me To The High Atlas Mountains.............

December 15, 2009
Two Years Of Mediterranean Sailing

December 01, 2009
Moving On To Morocco

November 18, 2009
Leaving The Med

November 13, 2009
Reaching The Rock Of Gibraltar Milestone

October 15, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del Sol

October 01, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del High-rise

September 15, 2009
Sailing The Spanish Isles

September 01, 2009
At Sea Or On The Hook, These Recipes Travel Well

August 15, 2009
An Interlude At Menorca

August 01, 2009
A Pleasant Passage To Menorca

July 15, 2009
The Agony And Ecstasy Of The Tunisian Coast

July 01, 2009
Tripping Around Tunisia

June 15, 2009
Tales From North Africa

June 01, 2009
Dont Freak If Your Fridge Fails

May 15, 2009
Into Africa

May 01, 2009
Meandering Around Malta, Then Off To Tunisia

April 15, 2009
Low-Tech DIY Ideas For The New Economy

April 01, 2009
The Med Set A Few Cruiser Profiles

March 15, 2009
That Sinking Feeling

March 01, 2009
Thailand to Oman: Three Passages, Three Ports

February 15, 2009
Doing Hard Time in Malta

February 01, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 2

January 15, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 1

January 02, 2009
So Many Islands, So Little Time

December 15, 2008
Cruising With The Bear

December 01, 2008
Versatile Vinegar, The Boaters Friend

November 15, 2008
What I Did In This Summer -- Dock Masters In paradise

November 01, 2008
Over The Top Of Oz

October 16, 2008
The Tumultuous Tasman

October 01, 2008
Sweet Memories Of The Splendid Surins

September 15, 2008
And Then We Were In Malta

September 01, 2008
Feel Frees Siracusan Story

August 15, 2008
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

August 01, 2008
All Tied Up In The Ionians

July 15, 2008
A Greek Odyssey Our Journey to Ithaca

July 01, 2008
Anatomy of a Near Catastrophe

June 15, 2008
Good-bye Turkey, Hello Greece

June 01, 2008
More Winter Cruising in Turkey

May 15, 2008
Winter Cruising in Turkey

April 15, 2008
Talking Turkey: Marmaris Marina Living

April 15, 2008
The Joy Of The Side Trip

April 01, 2008
Return to Marmaris, And The Budget

March 15, 2008
Passing Time And Dodging The Meltemi

March 01, 2008
Home Sweet Home

February 15, 2008
A Little Working, A Little Cruising

February 01, 2008
Working Our Way Around The World

January 15, 2008
Welcome Aboard Feel Free

January 01, 2008
Liz Tosonis and Tom Morkins Feel Free

January 01, 2008
About Tom Morkin and Liz Tosoni

January 01, 2008
About Feel Free

January 01, 2008
Voyage Itinerary

July 15, 2008
A Greek Odyssey Our Journey to Ithaca

By Liz Tosoni

Paros Island, Greece
38 22N, 20 42E

The Odyssey, written by Homer around 1000 B.C., describes the Greek warrior Odysseus’ long journey home to Ithaca after his attack on Troy on the west coast of present-day Turkey. It wasn’t a cheery journey; in fact, it was about delays and obstructions and messy deaths. The captain disliked the grey sea and fickle winds, the toil of shipboard life, the distances, the inconveniences, the dangers. The crew was complaining and fearful.

Our Greek Odyssey was regaled with some glorious sunrises

Luckily, our own Greek Odyssey aboard Feel Free wasn’t quite so bad! It was however, defined by gales and squalls, thunderstorms and lightning, cold weather, pelting rain, a few flat calm no-wind days, some glorious sunrises and a few exhilarating sails. We got gale warning after gale warning (34-40 knots of wind) from the soft-spoken Greek woman on the weather channel, and we came to believe that it was just part of life in this part of the world. We got so frustrated that sometimes I wanted to scream at her: Enough of your gale warnings! How about some good news?

Every evening we studied the charts and Pilot carefully to determine which was the next closest “hidey hole.” We hunkered down for two or three days in some places, under the lugubrious grey sky, waiting for the next break in the weather, making use of the time by exploring on shore whenever possible. We couldn’t help but laugh when, upon arrival at one port with winds howling, some young guys keen to help us with our lines and newly arrived from the Ukraine to do a 10 day sail on a charter boat, gave us a weather tip: “Of course as you know, the wind always dies at 7 p.m.”

Every evening we studied the charts and Pilot carefully to determine which was the next closest “hidey hole” where we could anchor or tie up safely

Thankfully, once we got past the eastern and central parts of the Aegean, into the Saronic and eastern Peloponnesus, things started to calm down a bit and become more livable. The Aegean Sea divides Europe from Asia and in ancient days, without modern navigational equipment, merchants moved eastward, island to island, between the two continents, making use of the predictable and consistent north winds in the summer months, and then returned in the spring or fall with the light northerlies or southerlies. We could well understand that because of the fierce winter winds in the Aegean some ancient states actually forbade traders to cross the sea during winter months.

Because the scores of isles are scattered haphazardly throughout the Aegean Sea, the next one is always just a day sail away and depending on the wind direction, you can choose one that allows comfortable sailing. Since the last missive from Paros island, we stopped at a few more -- Siros, Kithnos and Poros -- each with its own charms. We were disappointed to miss many of the “must sees” like Santorini, Mykonos, and Delos, but such is life for sailors with a schedule.

We hunkered down for two or three days
in some places, under grey skies

We needed to make a choice about our route once we got to the western Aegean- sail around the south end of the Peloponnesus peninsula, or head northwest and through the Corinth Canal. Although the canal is costly considering its short length, we chose it as it would allow us to enjoy the lovely anchorages and harbors in the Gulfs of Corinth and Patras, plus, we figured by going further north, we’d have a better slant on the wind and the distance would be shorter once we made our way across the Ionian Sea to Italy and then Malta, our haulout destination for the season.

Arriving on the Peloponnesus coast was like arriving in another country. Gone was the barren, dry, scrubby, rocky landscape. Instead we found mountains, some of them snow capped, greenery as far as the eye could see, and terraced hillsides. On shore, flowering trees and wildflowers smothered the countryside, stunning crimson poppies and bright cheerful daisies accented the scenery.

We left Feel Free safely tied up in the marina in the town of Itea and took bus trips to see some of the sights

The Corinth Canal, which divides mainland Greece from the Peloponnesus (and effectively makes it an island), is an engineering marvel. Amazingly, in ancient times, ships were dragged across the isthmus on a paved road. Various Greek and Roman rulers tried to work out schemes to pierce the isthmus for a canal, and Nero actually used 6,000 Jews to start digging but didn’t even get to the rock before being diverted.

The present canal was started by the French in 1882 and finished by the Greeks 11 years later. It’s as if a giant came and sliced the limestone with a knife; it’s 3.2 miles long, 81 feet wide and 250 feet above sea level at the highest point. There are two hydraulic bridges crossing the canal near each end and three bridges, a railway bridge and two road bridges cross it. For us, despite the 198 Euro fee, which was about $300, (it cost less to go through the 80-mile Suez Canal) it was a thrill to pass through this man-made wonder -- another milestone as we inch our way across the seas.

Chart of the Corinth Canal (in French), which divides mainland
Greece from Peloponnesus and effectively makes it an island

It also lifted our spirits to be in the Gulf of Corinth. Weather improved, blue skies appeared, seas were flat, towns were lovely, people friendly. Marinas were free. This is the case all over Greece. The infrastructure is there and you are free to tie up but there is no water or electricity and no management. A strange phenomenon but perfect for us. We left Feel Free in the marina in the town of Itea and took bus trips to see some of the sights.

Delphi was just half an hour away. The bus took us through a sea of olive trees, possibly the finest grove in all of Greece, then climbed the precipitous hills, through hairpin turns to the modern touristy village of Delphi overhanging a gorge. From there it was a 10 minute walk to the stupendous setting. The ancients chose the site well (“location, location, location!”) amidst ravines, rocky bluffs and sheer cliffs on the side of Mount Parnassus, calling it the navel of the earth.

It lifted our spirits to be in the Gulf of Corinth

People flocked there from all over Greece, bearing lavish gifts in the hopes of receiving answers from the oracles to their questions relating to the fate of a war, journey, marriage or business enterprise. Regrettably, Tom, despite his persistent pestering of the site attendants, failed to get any weather or stock tips.

And of course we couldn’t sail through Greece without visiting the Acropolis (“city on the hill”) and so we did. As it turned out, the day we went happened to fall on our 20th anniversary. Again we were blown away by the grandeur of the monuments of old and the incredible power of politics and religion that inspired them. The famous Parthenon (439 B.C.) was originally dedicated to the goddess Athena, protector of the city. Later, in Christian times, it became a church to the Virgin Mary, and later yet was converted to a mosque by the Turks. In 1687, serving as a powder magazine, it was shelled by the Venetians.

Tom at the Treasury building at Delphi

We sailed in flat seas to lovely little Trizonia Island on a sunny April morning with light winds from the south that strengthened from the west upon our arrival. Along the way, our view from the cockpit was of the distant snow-capped peaks, and closer to the shores of the Gulf, lush, green hills punctuated by the distinctive, darker green elongated fir trees of the region, like giant exclamation marks on the land. There is a small marina (again, not managed) in the tiny fishing hamlet with a surprising number of boats, some left unattended, others wintering over with crew aboard.

Water was available so we spent a day filling tanks, doing laundry, scrubbing decks. Poseidon’s Taverna had a wifi connection so in the evening we relaxed with a glass of ouzo and some calamari while catching up on email and, of course, checking weather sites.

Laundry day aboard Feel Free, anchored at Trizonia Island

With 12 to 15 knots of northeast wind we had comfortable sailing under the Andirrion Bridge and then on to our next stop, Misalonghi, via a narrow channel in a marsh, and stick houses on either side. A young student we met told us that there’s an old story every Greek knows: When God made the world, he gave everything a country could possibly need or want to Greece, because one day he plans to retire there. We were beginning to see what he meant as days got longer, temperatures increased and winds abated.

Another body of water was put in Feel Free’s wake as she departed Misalonghi and entered the Ionian Sea, chugging along on a grey listless day, with a glassy sea and barometer high. Ithaca appeared out of the haze like a mirage, then as a smudge on the horizon. Finally, there was the reality of the island and the wide, welcoming harbor of Vathi opened up.

Ithaca’s wide, welcoming harbor, Vathi, seen from a trail on shore

After safely coming alongside yet another freely available concrete quay, we chatted with French neighbors Serge and Caroline, a retired couple on the vessel Hiva Oa. We learned that they have spent the last 25 years off and on, cruising the Med, and have decided to spend the rest of their lives in Greece. “Each island is so different from the next,” Caroline said. “You must spend at least one year exploring each one.” We considered ourselves fortunate to have these “residents” share their local and extensive knowledge about Greek culture and the nearby ancient Homeric trails.

And then, how fitting it was to go below, tidy up, and come across the poem Ithaca by Constantine P. Cavafy (1911) which had been given to us in Thailand years earlier by friends Mike and Marguerite Welch. Their boat happens to be called Ithaca.

It was a thrill to pass through this man made wonder --
the Corinth Canal -- another milestone as we inch our way across the seas

"When you start on your journey to Ithaca, then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit







Flowering trees, wildflowers, and crimson poppies
covered the countryside

You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.

Then pray that the road is long,
that the summer mornings are many,
that you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!





Delphi, where ancients chose the site well amidst
ravines, rocky bluffs, and sheer cliffs on the side of Mount Parnassos,
and called it the navel of the earth

Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother- of- pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes as you can;
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.










The famous Parthenon, built in 439 B.C.,
still stands over Athens.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Here at the Acropolis, we were overwhelmed by the grandeur of the monuments
and the incredible power of politics and religion that inspired them.