the Degree Confluence Project


14.1 km (8.8 miles) S of Nisída Venétiko (Island), Vóreio Aigaío, Greece
Approx. altitude: 0 m (0 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 38°S 154°W

Accuracy: 17 m (55 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: GPS #3: Approaching Khíos Island #4: The islands of Ikaria and Samos seen from the confluence from North #5: Khíos Island seen from the confluence #6: a look to the West coast of Khíos #7: Óros Pelinaío, the highest elevation of Khíos #8: passing Cape Mestá #9: Viktor, our refrigeration engineer

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  38°N 26°E  

#1: Venétiko Island seen from the confluence

(visited by Captain Peter and Leon Leprozo)

19-Mar-2004 -- Two days ago we had completed loading of 150,000 cartons of oranges in the port of Alexandria (Egypt). These are 2,400 tons of oranges of the grade "Valencia 56" - not too sweet and tasty, but very suitable for the juice industry in Russia. The discharge port for this cargo is Novorossiysk on the Russian Black Sea coast.

This morning we were already in the Central Aegean Sea, and the first confluence at daylight was 38N 26E.

"Over Greece", so I learned in school in ancient history, "was arching a continuous blue sky an on its shores the Sea was surging ..." - and it seems to be true.

Approaching the confluence in excellent weather, leaving behind the islands of Ikaria and Samos we saw Khíos Island. To be precise, Khíos is not the very closest land to the confluence, but it is Nísos (Island) Venétiko, rather a tiny rock than an island.

Nísos Khíos is a rocky and mountainous island. Óros (Mountain) Pelinaío, near the N end of the island, is a conspicuous mountain 1297 m high with rugged precipitous cliffs and a bluff conical top. The hills of Khíos are mostly composed of red marble with white streaks. The island is renowned for its beauty and fertility, and it has numerous good springs. In 1881 it suffered a violent earthquake. The principal villages are mostly situated on the East side of the island, which is better protected from the often strong gale winds from North and NW. Continuing our trip towards North we passed Ákra (Cape) Mestá.

The capital of Khíos is named Khíos as well and has about 30,000 inhabitants. About the name of Khíos there are several theories:

According to the mythologic legend, the first settler and King of Khíos was Inopion, the son of Dionysos (the God of the wine) and Ariadne. Inopion came from Crete and has teached the local inhabitants in winegrowing. The name Khíos comes from "Khíoni", which was Inopion's daughter. Another theory is that the name Khíos comes from Híos, the son of Poseidon (the God of the Sea), as during his birth very much snow - in Greek "khióni" - was falling. According to the historian Isidoros "Khíos" comes from the Phoenicians and means "Mastix" in Syrian.

In ancient times the island had several names:

  • Pitiousa, - due to the many spruce trees growing there. "Pitis" means "spruce" in ancient Greek
  • Makris, - due to its shape. "makrós" means "long".
  • Aithalea - due to its old volcano
  • Ofioussa - as there were so many snakes. "Ofis" means "snake".

Archaeological assessments prove that the island is inhabited since 6000 B.C.! The Ionian colonization about 1000 B.C. was very important for the history of the island. Khíos-Town was one of the most important places in these times. But due to the many wars and earthquakes almost nothing remained from the old town. The people of Khíos got wealthy not only from the transport of goods with their ships, but also from the commerce with their own agricultural and industrial products. The Mastix-tree, growing only on Khíos, and the excellent wine were the sources of their wealth.

In the seventh century A.D. Khíos was a large town with more than 80,000 inhabitants. It belonged to the Alliance of Athens und until the Peloponnesian War the Khiots were the wealthiest of all Greeks. After the defeat of the Athenians in Sicily (during the Peloponnesian War) Khíos changed its mind and became an ally of Sparta. But a Spartanian tyrann was later ruling over Khíos, and this the Khiots did not appreciate. So they became again an ally of the of the Athenians. The economical crisis of Greece from the end of the seventh until the tenth century has affected Khíos as well. In 1346 Genoa took control of the island, and in 1566 the Turks became the new rulers.

Greece, known to the Greeks as Ellás, is a maritime country in SE Europe. From the end of the political independence of the city states of ancient Greece to the early years of the nineteenth century Greece was ruled successively by the Roman, Byzanthine and Ottoman Empires. The Greek War of Independence began in 1821 and continued until 1829 when, by the Treaty of Adrianople, Turkey finally recognized the independence of Greece. At that time the country comprised the Peloponnisós, Central Greece, the Kikhládes, and the Sporades Islands. The Greek vision, however, was to bring all Greeks of the declining Ottoman Empire into the new state. The realization of this idea took many years, and its pursuit created tensions between Greece and its neighbors, particularly Turkey, which have persisted to the present time.

Greek is the language of the country. The modern language contains many features of the classical Greek which has existed for 3000 years! In the nineteenth century a form of Greek known as "Katharévousa" was devised to purify the language ("katha" means "clean") and return it to a form nearer to that of the ancient dialect from which it developed. However, Katharévousa never became widely established and in 1978 it was abolished as a language of university instruction and government. The form of present day spoken Greek, which has become the language of modern literature, is termed "Demotikí" ("demos" means "people"), so the "people's language. As the much of the vocabulary and virtually the entire grammar of classical Greek are the basis of almost all European languages, Greeks are real language wizards. They pick up almost every foreign European language in a few months only and speak it with an amazing perfection. Greek is an extremely beautiful language. Een if one does not understand it, it is a pleasure to listen to it when spoken. The precise accentuation, the cleanliness of the vowels and its melody let it "smell" like an orange, compared with English, which in our Mediterranean ears rather smells like chewing gum.

Greece is a shipping nation of utmost importance. A quarter of all ships worldwide are owned by Greeks, although they are not always flying the Greek flag. Many Greek shipowners became famous. We have heard of Livanos, Niarkhos, and really everybody knows Aristoteles Onassis - the tanker tycoon and later husband of Jaqueline Kennedy.

A dear old well known crewmember is again with us. It is Viktor, our refrigeration engineer, which has been introduced in a visit almost two years ago. He joined in Gibraltar in February, and today he looks not too happy. The green (starboard) navigation light burned out overnight and so he has to fix it shortly after breakfast. The time from breakfast to noon is usually not a time for working, but for quiet and healthful digestion and contemplation about the probable feasibility of work to commence eventually in the afternoon (if time, weather and personal circumstances do allow).

Information about Khíos obtained partly from Nautical Publication Nr. 48, Mediterranean Pilot, Vol IV, "Aegean Sea", 11th ed. 2000, Hydrographer of the Navy, Taunton, England

 All pictures
#1: Venétiko Island seen from the confluence
#2: GPS
#3: Approaching Khíos Island
#4: The islands of Ikaria and Samos seen from the confluence from North
#5: Khíos Island seen from the confluence
#6: a look to the West coast of Khíos
#7: Óros Pelinaío, the highest elevation of Khíos
#8: passing Cape Mestá
#9: Viktor, our refrigeration engineer
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
In the sea, but with a view of Chios Island