A sea voyage present challenges that are unchanged in time.
Yet, to sail as ancient mariners did 2600 years ago is a very different experience.
Of course, unlike them, that could only trust their pilot’s knowledge and the gods, we all have maps, compass, cellular phones, and have a rather exact idea of where we are and where are we going to. Coast Guard and rescue services are at hand in case of emergency, and even if we can’t control weather, we can plan our journey according to scientific forecasts, and do not need to resort to sacrifices to appease hostile deities (though sometimes we can be tempted to try…).
But modern people, used to live on modern yachts at sea with little difference from their daily life, can hardly imagine how such an experience can be .
It was probably very similar on the celebrated tall ships of the “Golden Age of Sailing”, now decorating posh living rooms, hanging on walls in prints or drawings showing them on full sail.
On full sail, but from afar, lest life conditions of crews be smelled from leeward.
Our voyage on “Kybele”, a bireme replica built and sailed by Professor Osman Erkurt, of “360° Research Group” of Urla (Izmir) in Turkey, was part of an Experimental Archaeology program.
Sailing in an open ship, crossing the Marmara sea from Istanbul to Foça, the ancient Phocea, is not like a cruise on a yacht. Even a mildly rough sea can be dangerous, fresh water is a luxurious good, no shower or toilet, hard work just to stay afloat and going, and living for days, not to say months, in a crowded environment, with no privacy, can be a tough, though exciting experience.
But it’s also a unique chance for a photographer, in spite of the stress for the equipment.
The whole Experimental Archaeology concept is based on such experiences, and “Kybele”‘s story, as told here, will go on, with or without photographers aboard.