Poses on the decks of the KEFALLINIA during the early years of her career. Lighthouse: a spot to remember. [PT2]

The pure white vessel, named KEFALLINIA, was laid down for Strintzis Lines in 1965 being the company’s first new built. She was one of the many ships constructed in the broader zone of Perama, an area with significant shipbuilding activity from the early 60s till the mid 80s. During that time the Perama zone was – in today’s terms – a huge hub of start uppers. The vessels built there facilitated a great variety of domestic routes while dozens of the successful open type of ferry boats have been built by shipbuilders of the Perama.

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01. Posing on the open deck of KEFALLINIA.

The later in blue livery KEFALLINIA was a fit for purpose vessel. Her size (L: 82m, B: 11,1m), her capacity (600 passengers, 70 vehicles) and her speed (15 knots) despite limited compared to a contemporary vessels’, proved ideal for the routes she served. In the very beginning of her career she was connecting the city of Patras and the Ionian island of Cephalonia and until the mid 90s she was mainly active in the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea. In 1993 she was sold to Katopoliani N.E., renamed EXPRESS PAROS, and for the next five years she has been employed in the intercycladic connection. Sold to Tanzania in 1999 – since according to the Greek law by the time ferries should be retired at the age of 35 – her career as ZAHARA in Africa was short. In 2001 she was laid up in Dar – Es – Salaam. She has been spotted abandoned and aground in a poor state and, according to some sources, she must have been scrapped sometime in the mid 00s.

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02. On the wooden decks of the KEFALLINIA

The passengers of the photos definitely sail on the KEFALLINIA. Many of her structural and secondary elements are depicted clearly on the pictures, as the characteristic and purely mid century style oval bridge, the wooden decks and the wooden benches and the windows of the main saloon located forward. The passengers enjoy their journey in the bow of the KEFALLINIA among the maneuvering machinery, an area strictly forbidden today. It was easy for the passenger to reach that point, the only thing he/she had to do was to walk through the side corridors. In a way, the small KEFALLINIA had her own, very special, promenade deck.

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03. Many of the vessel’s structural and secondary elements are depicted clearly on the pictures found in the second hand book store.

Paradoxically, even by the end of her career in the Mediterranean, the bow of the vessel was still approachable. Taking into account this information we can be sure that the vessel was probably one of the very last in the Greek waters where the passenger could around walk her superstructure reaching the edge of the bow.

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04. Could it be the 1899 built lighthouse Oxia located on the Oxia Island?

Despite the fact that the identity of the mystery vessel has been reviled the lighthouse of the picture remains unidentified. Capturing the imagination of the travelers, the lighthouses are faithful companion during navigation and a symbol the maritime journey itself.  It’s probably the 1899 built lighthouse Oxia located on the Oxia Island of the Patras bay but we are not entirely sure. Can someone verify our hypothesis?


Jean-Claude Izzo

Within a few paragraphs Jean-Claude Izzo (1945-2000) not only analyzes his main character’s connection to the sea by being by the sea but, more importantly, he defines how his generation perceived the maritime travel. The maritime journey even in its shortest and most approachable form – by a wooden boat near the coast – constitutes for the writer a way out. The sea is assigned various uses and representations. It is a provider, a place to calm, settings that help you think while traveling by a ship – or even listening to relevant stories, a gangway.

Marseilles c. 1960 – L’ entree du Vieux Port et la Bassin de Joilette. Au premier plan le Monument aux Heros de la Mer. Editions “La Cigogne”. We have made every possible effort to find the copyright holder, but this has not been possible. If you can provide us with relevant information please do not hesitate to contact us. 

There’s nothing more pleasant, when you have nothing to do, than to have a snack in the morning and sit looking at the sea.

As a snack, Fonfon had made an anchovy purée, which he’d just taken out of the oven. I’d come back from fishing and was feeling happy. I’d caught a fine bass, four bream and a dozen mullet. The anchovy purée added to my happiness. I’ve been happy with simple things.

I opened a bottle of Saint-Cannat rosé. The quality of Provençal rosés was getting better every year. We drank, to our appetite. The wine, from the Commanderie de la Bargemone, was delicious. Beneath your tongue you could feel the warm sun on the low slopes of the Trevarese. Fonfon winked at me, and we started dipping slices of bread in the anchovy purée, seasoned with pepper and chopped garlic. My stomach was aroused at the first mouthful.
“God, that’s good!”
“You said it.”

I was all you could say. One more word would have been one word too many. We ate without talking. Gazing out over the surface of the sea. A beautiful autumn sea, dark blue, almost velvety. I never tired of it. I was constantly surprised by the attraction it had over me, the way it called me. I’d never been a sailor or a traveler. I’d had dreams, adolescent dreams, of sailing out there, beyond the horizon. But I’d never gone very far. Except once. To the Red Sea. A long time ago.

I was nearly forty-five, and like many people in Marseilles I liked stories of travel more than travel itself. I couldn’t see myself taking a plane to Mexico City, Saigon, or Buenos Aires. I belonged to a generation to which travel meant something very particular. Liners, freighters. Navigation. The rhythm of the sea. Ports. A gangway thrown on the quay, the intoxication of new smells, unknown faces.

I was content to take my boat, the Tremolino, with its pointed stern, out beyond Ile Maire and the Riou archipelago, and fish for a few hours, wrapped in the silence of the sea. I didn’t have anything else to do. Go fishing, when the mood took me. Or play belotebetween three and four. Or a game of pétanque with aperitifs as the stake.

Jean-Claude Izzo, Chourmo, New York: Europa Editions, 2006, trans. by Howard Curtis, pp. 23-24