We have a change of plans. With a view to the current global situation, we have decided that Turkey is off the sailing menu. We shall instead sail back across the Ionian Sea, visiting several more Greek Islands before getting on with our plan.
This is not a political statement. It is simply the Captain and I taking care of our personal safety during a time of war and uncertainty. We very much wanted to spend a month in Turkey but the fact is we don’t need to head closer to conflict when we have other, possibly safer options. So the decision is to ‘Go West’. Which really means in the next day or two, we will be leaving Lakki.
I pass a couple of war memorials when I walk into the village, which I do most days. One of these memorials is a tribute to those who lost their lives after the sinking of the British Navy destroyer, Intrepid, in 1943. The words that stand out most on the memorial state ‘War – Never Again’. Many of the people who work, live and have sailed here come from many European nations. Some are Russian, Polish, German, Ukrainian – others are from Malta, Italy, Spain and the like. It is a melting pot of people looking for a better life with the sea at the centre of their world. Irrespective, they speak a number of languages fluently, and they have articulated without exception, that they have an element of fear. If you’d like to understand more about how why the locals feel about the potential of war in their home, you can read my earlier post here, about the occupation of Leros during the second world war.
And ultimately, being far from home, it is not lost on me that poppies are the flower of the ANZACs. Poppies thrive across most of Europe, blooming in the cold seasons through into deep summer. They are hardy and cling on in interesting places, blooming wild in the dirty, dusty cracks of city sidewalks as well as making a show of scarlet across lush fields and valleys. The local roadside does yield some beautifully wild blooms. They may be weeds for all I know, but they flower prettily profusely none-the-less. And I wonder whether the bright yellow sunflowers that are the national flower of Ukraine will henceforth have a new poignant meaning, like the poppy has for Kiwis and our war fallen which symbolically traces its history back to Gallipolli.
And so, we will Go West. No Turkey for us on this lap.
The Pet Shop Boys ‘Go West is a mighty maverick type of ’90’s pop. A cover of what was originally a Village People’s song, with some new bridging material, and lyrics changes.
(Together) We will go our way
(Together) We will leave someday
(Together) Your hand in my hand
(Together) We will make our plans
(Together) We will fly so high
(Together) Tell all our friends goodbye
(Together) We will start life new
(Together) This is what we’ll do
You can listen here