Friday, August 28, 2009

Greek Cave-Boating Part 3 - A Squeeze and a Song

Like many cave-boating locations, the Melissani Cave waterway isn’t very big – this one is around 160 meters long by 40 meters wide.
Nevertheless, they still call it a “lake”.
Several excavations have taken place in this unique location. Most of the artifacts unearthed, date back to the third and fourth centuries BC.
Artifacts found often point to the existence of a religious cult there that revolved around the Greek god “Pan”.
Statues of female “Nymphs” have also been found there, resulting in the cave also being called the “Cave of the Nymphs”.

A lone boatman approaches to pick up passengers.

This boatman was either holding a camera or lighting someone's cigarette, I'm not really sure which it was.

Melissani boats approach the dock with passengers to offload.

There’s an island to one side, which we had to squeeze our boat past to enter the covered portion of the cave.

The covered portion with it's small island overgrown with foliage.

Approaching the "squeeze" from under the covered area. Notice the rope attached to the wall so the boatman can pull his boat along.

As the boatman pulls the vessel through the "squeeze", everyone takes photos and video of the aperture...

...including me!

Other passengers in our boat learned that I was some sort of “gondolier” and asked me to sing. As I thought it over, and my kids pushed me to do so, it became clear that if I didn’t – the folks in the boat would think I was an awful dad.
Most of the passengers seemed to like the song, and more importantly, the boatman took notice and motioned for me to stand up and row.
Without hesitation, I jumped up and began to row.

photo by Elisa Mohr

This was a fairly wide boat, and the oars were so worn that they hardly had any paddle surface to speak of, but with no wind or current, they worked just fine.

Someone cried out “sing another song!”.
I couldn’t pass up the chance.

video by Elisa Mohr

And for a few minutes, I was an American tourist, rowing like a “Greek cave boatman” singing like a Venetian Gondolier, and truly,
Loving life.

Then I sat down, let the guy dock his own boat, and after the others had disembarked, I showed him my appreciation…with a handshake and a big fat tip!

Passengers disembark.

As I was headed back up through the tunnel, I turned around to get one more shot, and found that our boatman had once again parked his boat out in the middle of the lake.
All was quiet again.

1 comment:

Nereo said...

Great performance my friend!!
Congrats to the singer