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An unusual sea crossing


I admit that I don't 'do' beach holidays very well. So when I was threatened by "another day by the pool" I decided that it would be great to take the new high speed catamaran service from Fetihye in Turkey to the isle of Rhodes in Greece. The trip promised an entertaining 90-minute trip between ports and a day spent exploring the massive fortifications of Rhodes castle, the seat of the fabled Knights of Malta or, to give them their correct title, Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta the world's oldest surviving order of chivalry.

Having paid for the ticket I headed on down to the port to board my vessel. This is where the unusual nature of my sea crossing started... You just just see the new high-speed catamaran - behind this blue and yellow 35-year-old Russian-built hydrofoil, whose smoke-belching distant relation I last boarded some 30 years ago for a trip between Tangiers and Gibraltar.

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Subsequently wanting to get a little more information about this ancient vessel, I found the source of the following picture and performance specification. It adds that the "Meteor" was "very popular transportation means in Black and Mediterranean Seas in several last decades". I have to add that neither of my two experiences of the "Meteor" class did either of 'my' vessels appear to have half as much power as the one shown in the photo below!

Meteor is the most popular and economical river-going hydrofoil ferry. Full-load displacement 54.3 tons, speed 35 knots, passengers 124, range 600 km

For such an old craft the interior of the hydrofoil was quite cheery, if somewhat weary, in that drop-down tables and seat backs dropped down at the slightest twitch!

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Encouragingly our Emergency Instructions were clearly displayed and apparently abandoning ship was not to be contemplated!

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On arrival in the lovely port of Rhodes, the walls of the fortress can be seen ringing the port and extending some 4 kms (2.5 miles) in total length. A magnificent place to visit that I hope to report on in due course.

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Our outbound  trip was pretty uneventful and took just the planned 90 minutes. The return, however, was made into the teeth of what seemed to be a light breeze which caused the old lady to buck and wallow quite alarmingly, forcing our brave Captain to throttle back to 'limp home' mode which added an extra half hour to our journey... Thank goodness for those funny green Turkish seasick pills that I purchased the previous day!


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One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."  Henry Miller

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