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A + 21 : Epilogue

Time to say goodbye to the Carpe Diem V and its crew who sailed with us from Corfu to Rhodes. They were all excellent and proofed their mettle during the stormy Meltemi days in the second week.

Carpe Diem V - already booked for 2018 from Göcek to Jaffa

As planned we sailed along the old Venetian Trade Routes and found every thirty miles or so a Venetian colony, a church with a bell tower that looked like the Campanile on the San Marcus Square and a mighty fortress

The Corfu Citadel and town - 3 times besieged by large Ottoman Armies but never taken

We also noticed that we were the only travellers on this route. There was nobody else. No merchant ship, no war galley, not even other sail boats. We sailed on a maritime highway that is completely forgotten today. What remained of many once important ports were ruins. The solidly built fortress may still be standing but the commercial activity and the people had disappeared.

In a few places, it was replaced by a tiny local market - but they are a shadow of their former glory. Entire towns were just left to decay. Even military might could not save them.

The old market place in Rhodes which lives today from tourism only.

From 1453 to 1798, the time the Venetian and Ottoman Empires co-existed, they went to war seven times. Whilst these wars must have been long for the participants and the people who suffered from the hostilities, they make up only 8% of the 345 years these Empires. During most of the time they co-existed peacefully and complemented each other even so there was not much love between them. Eventually, both of them succumbed to a seismic shift of trading patterns from the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Their products like coffee, tea, cotton or sugar could be supplied cheaper and faster from other sources. It is a perfect reminder that nothing is constant in business and that every day starts with a P&L of zero. Jobs and businesses survive only as long as there is demand and as long as they can compete. Sometimes I feel this lesson is lost in Europe. What happens when demand disappears we could see this summer.

Next year we are going to sail from Göcek in Turkey - just north of Rhodes - to Jaffa in Israel. Whilst Venetian and Genovese vessels sailed along these routes, they were already used by Phoenician and Greek Merchants in the Bronze Age. Am looking forward to the discoveries we make next year.

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