An Anonymous Island

In the dramatic recorded history of the Aegean Sea, nothing of note happened on this island. There is no record of wars being fought here. It has not been written that this is where Cleopatra seduced Marc Antony. There are no ruins of Byzantine basilicas or tombs indicating that the island was once a place of pilgramage. It is just a rock rising from the floor of the sea that has given root to a single wind-bent olive tree. The island simply exists. That is what gives distinction to this understated place. In an increasingly complicated world there is solace in a place like this anonymous island.

My passage along the Turkish Mediterranean coastline aboard Flying Fish has been one of quiet introspection during this summer of COVID. I feel an increasing need to seek isolated anchorages, to find music in the sound of wind on the water, to fill my lungs with clean air. Like the solo tree, I am content to just quietly exist.

During most of my travels in the Eastern Mediterranean this summer, history was everywhere I looked. All around me was evidence of great empires that thrived and then crumbled. Armies raged. There were acts of heroism and treachery. Natural disasters buried entire civilizations. As I lay at anchor in the lee of this tiny anonymous island I wonder if there are parallels in the history of these ancients that apply to our modern world?

In the current environment of pandemic and politics it is a particularly vulnerable time for the United States of America. Like many others, I sense a coming storm. I will soon be forced to leave the sanctuary of Flying Fish for an undetermined period of time. COVID restrictions prevent me from sailing onward. Visa restrictions prevent me from staying aboard Flying Fish. I love my country but it is clear that when I return it will be to a divided America that is at a tipping point in its own history.

How does one prepare for the uncertainty exacerbated by a continuing viral epidemic, racial hatred, climate crisis, and a vicious political cycle? There is no easy answer. The ancients could not figure it out and their civilizations vanished. I will have to remind myself of the good in this world. I will remind myself that there are places that still exist without confrontation. I will think back to these days on an anonymous island where nothing happened.

For a closer view of the nature on the island click each thumbnail image above and scroll through the series. Photographs: © Jeffrey Cardenas

one-tree-pufferfish.sm_

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If you would like to follow the daily progress of Flying Fish into the Mediterranean, and onward, you can click this link: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Flyingfish

To see where Flying Fish has sailed since leaving Key West in 2017, click here: https://cruisersat.net/track/Flying%20Fish

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Text and Photography © Jeffrey Cardenas 2020

24 thoughts on “An Anonymous Island

    • Jean, thank you for your thoughts. I am hoping this will be just another delay in the journey around the world. I am currently in Turkey. My visa expires in two weeks. Greece remains closed to citizens with United States passports, as does other EU countries. Flying Fish will go into dry storage in Didim, Turkey until the state of the pandemic and the related politics change. I remain optimistic.

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  1. Alas in your sadness your community has gladness that you will be again amongst us. We will need all the strong hands and heads we can gather… looking forward to seeing you soon
    Dar

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  2. Jeffery, I so enjoy your posts. I am glad you were able to cast your shadow on an island where nothing happened. Can you share the coordinates? Sorry you are having to interrupt your sail again. I too fear danger for our country. The is so much hate and tension dividing friends and family. Maybe the worse time since the lead up to the Civil War. I pray that there is a peaceful transition of power and we can find common ground again. I will always remember this little island of hope. I will call it Cardenas. Safe travels my friend. Edd

    >

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    • Thank you so much Edd. I also pray for a rational acceptance (by both parties) of the results of this coming election.
      On a brighter note… the coordinates of this special little island are: 36° 47.883′ N 28° 0.880′ E. Unfortunately I cannot post a Google map in this comment response box but I’ll send on to you by PM.
      I appreciate your thoughts.

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  3. Jeff, such a moving passage! Many good thoughts and introspection. The photos are amazing! I feel like you captured the true essence of this island. Sweet thoughts and prayers to you Jeff! Prayers for a safe return.🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The photo of your shadow looks as if you’re caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Beautiful shot of a lone sailor searching for a way out. As you point out, America seems to be trapped between a rock and a hard place of its own making.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  5. Hey Jeff, will look forward to seeing you in Key West. Possibly getting your knee fixed. Have also had to come about and change course due to the virus. My assignments with Medicins Sans Frontieres in the Middle East have been put on indefinite hold for the same reasons your trip is postponed. Hoping things settle in a year. Will see.
    And yes, bring back your foul weather gear. Nov and Dec back here will be stormy and an existential crisis for this country. And I thought I saw the worst of fascist dictators while working in Syria and Africa.
    Safe travels.

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    • Hello Doc! I have returned to Key West and settled in under quarantine waiting for COVID testing later this week. I feel great. Your patients in the Middle East suffering from gunshot wounds are the ones who are paying the highest cost for the pandemic and politics. I’ll check in with you once I have a clean bill of health. I appreciate your comments, and thanks for taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves.

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