I was 7 years old, holidaying on the island of Sifnos in the mid-1960s, when my father assembled and
then inflated our first boat in front of an absolutely astounded audience of locals.
They were astounded because what was previously neatly packed in a medium-sized suitcase was
now taking the shape of a boat! Even worse, once this “boat” was ready, it was thrown into the sea
and boarded by a family of four, who ventured out onto the open sea, before anyone could stop
them! Immediately fearing the worst, a messenger was dispatched, at maximum donkey speed
(few roads existed back then), to the local police station (approximately 3 hours away) to report the
possible loss of an entire family at sea. The situation wasn’t helped by our decision to visit and
disembark at the next village, rather than return to our original point of departure.
It was only when we returned to our village later that night that we discovered the panic we had
caused. Apart from the locals’ behaviour, which, by the way, remained unchanged for a number of
years, this was an experience that left a powerful imprint on me and determined my future life.
I am still sailing these waters now, with the same enthusiasm as I did back then. Of course, many things have changed: the boats are more sophisticated; people are more open-minded; and there are more roads and fewer donkeys.
But the exhilaration of sailing the endless blue of the sea and the rugged beauty of the natural landscape remain the same!