La Greca Blog
We have always been in a love relationship the sea and I.
The crystal clear turquoise waters of the Aegean, the reflection of sun rays spreading a glittering veil on the surface of the sea, and the invigorating scent of freedom while on a boat have always engaged me in a flirt with the waves and the aquatic world. As a child and teenager, every single summer I breathed in the Greek sea air and swam with hundreds of fish below me. My eyes were filled with colors and light. I felt blessed, intrigued and addicted to the familiar smell of sunscreen, the beauty of the mainland and the islands, as I visited the hundreds of peaceful and inviting gulfs all along the Greek coastline.
“Swimming is not my cup of tea. If you end up in the sea, it means you have done something wrong!” our skipper exclaimed last Sunday in his usual amusing sense of humor, causing the crew to burst into smiles and loud laughter. “If you fall in these waters” he continued “it is doubtful that you can make it to the shore. The currents are too powerful.” But, despite the different approach of Steven Vermeire, president of the Belgian Dragon Association and skillful Belgian top contender, sailing on a dragon boat in the North Sea was a revelation to cherish for a very long time.
Busily tying knots, tidying up bunches of entangled ropes to ensure safety on board a maximum four-person sailboat, opening and securing sails, helming and learning to sail high or low under Steven’s instructions, filled a three-hour initiation journey from Nieuwpoort to Oostende and back.
Taming the sea and the wind, respecting, understanding and using the elements of nature can be mystifying and liberating at the same time. Soon fear was gone with the wind in the course of the trip and even I felt comfortable enough to sit at the edge of the dragon or even stand up to gaze at the skyline of the buildings, while we were approaching the port. As my addiction to the world of Poseidon grew to another level after this small adventure, I now take pride in my work bruises and my new facial freckles – the prize a Mediterranean girl should pay for underestimating the strong Belgian sun on an unforgettable summer afternoon.
In July and August 2015:
Discover and buy the limited edition
of the Belgian Dragon Association sail bags
created with their own real sails by 727 Sailbags on
Marianna Lagakou - Van Zandweghe