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Orchids for Aphrodite: Aegean Odyssey [Hardcover]

Ursula Haselden
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 14.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Seashell; First Edition edition (25 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955629101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955629105
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 891,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Two live-aboards, Ursula raised in rural Derbyshire, who had never been on a boat before, and Bob an experienced sailor, together restore a classic wooden yacht to explore the Aegean world, probing the coasts, islands and anchorages of Greece and Turkey only accessible by small boat. Soon they are joined by a kitten fished from the waves. As he matures into their indomitable Ship's Cat, he adds a great dollop of humour, almost stealing the show.First sighted as a forlorn, snow-covered hull on a lop-sided cradle, the venerable Cappelle provides three years of Aegean adventure on the cusp of the new millennium and the explosion of tourism. The crew makes "KEEP LIFE SIMPLE" their watchword. Frequently suffering from sleep and fresh water deprivation, they learn the art of feast and famine as they set out at dawn, occasionally encountering hostile seas, for a fresh horizon. They endear themselves to the natives and find themselves embraced as foreign outcasts, for nobody with two pennies to rub together would live aboard winter and summer in these waters. But this is the way to explore the fascinating world of the Aegean.

This delightful account of the real Greece will not fail to enthral.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Do-It-Yourself Aegean Odyssey 12 Sep 2009
Anyone who has ever felt even the smallest smidgeon of wanderlust will enjoy setting out on this adventure of a lifetime alongside the two main characters of this book. No romanticised tale this - the author, Ursula, provides a realistic account of life on board a small wooden yacht as she and her partner, Bob, make their way around the coasts and islands of Greece and Turkey. With her poetic turn of phrase, she describes enchanting scenery, momentous storms and great kindnesses from friends and strangers. The tale is also peppered with a succession of eccentrics, keenly observed and depicted with humour. A late addition to the crew, Wacky, the ship's kitten who turns cat during the voyage, is a ray of mischievous sunshine.
Absorbing, colourful and historically informative, this book offers a real insight into the tough but rewarding world that is their do-it-yourself Aegean odyssey.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreams Come True 24 July 2009
This is a book for dreamers,because it proves dreams can come true. When Ursula and Bob dream of owning a boat and cruising the warm, sunny waters of the Aegean Sea, they almost founder at the first hurdle.The old wooden boat they have bought in Greece is virtually uninhabitable when they arrive in the depth of winter, but with a 'can-do' outlook, guts and determination, they set about doing it up, eventually realising their dream to live permanently aboard and sail around the islands.
Novice sailor Ursula, with a keen interest in all things Greek, absorbs the language and culture, the history and mythology, adding a new dimension to the tale.
An accomplished wordsmith, Haselden creates images of the harbours and anchorages they visit, and their exploration of the hinterland, as well as details of the Greek and Turkish ways of life with more intimacy than the average tourist could ever hope to encounter, as, with increasingly confident Greek, she endears herself to the locals, fellow boaters and the reader, too.
It is not all plain sailing,sunshine and calm seas.The pair encounter everything the weather can throw at them - storm force winds, mountainous seas, rain, hail and snow! This is about real life sailing, not an idealised view.
I recommend this book to those who love boats and the sea, travel, Greece and Turkey, cats, and anyone with a sense of adventure, but most of all to those who dare to dream.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sunny sailing days and starlit nights 27 July 2009
The Shepherd with Joyce Kerslake, Rhosneigr, Anglesey

I love the Greek Islands, Turkey and sailing - not necessarily in that order - and this book satisfies on all counts. To anyone who has sailed or visited this lovely part of the Mediterranean Sea, the descriptions are evocative and nostalgic. To anyone who has not yet been there, they will certainly provoke a strong desire to go.

The sailing life of a `live aboard' is also well portrayed `warts and all.' There are lovely sunny sailing days and starlit nights in favourable winds and calm seas, and also the excitement and anticipation of arriving at a new island or harbour. But there is also the discomfort and occasional sheer terror of gales and rough seas. I read this book straight through with great enjoyment and will also enjoy dipping into it frequently in the future. I recommend it as a `must have' book for anyone planning to sail around - or just visit this part of the world, or indeed just as a most enjoyable armchair read."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Elaine Simpson-long TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I have had this book a little while and read it during the winter. I would look out the window and see snow, blizzards and ice while I read about Ursula (who had never been on a boat before) and Bob, an experienced sailor and how they restored a classic wooden yacht and set off to explore those islands and coasts that were only accessible by boat. There is a map of their wanderings and I just sat reading these names out loud: Amorgos, Kalinos, Kithera, Santorini, Anafi, Ios and so on. These words just drop off the tongue and sound so alluring as does the Route of Cappelle, The gulf of Themal and the Straits of Karpothos.

Our two intrepid travellers did not just sail through turquoise seas in serene weather, they had their fair share of storms as well:

"We beat in Force 5, pointing as closely as we might. The sea roughened, time dragged cruelly. Weary of Cappelle's head butting I longed for the wind to go down with the sun. Bob vomited and I lurched into the cabin to pull on oil skins. From baying like a pack of hounds,the wind, developing an edge, began to hone the nerves like a razor"

Whether they realised it or not, It was clear they needed an extra crew member on board and one day they unexpectedly met somebody determined to join their yacht:

"Between the sea shuffled boulders at my feet, in the approximate position of the Colossus's right foot, the bedraggled head of a black and white kitten appeared, its body rocked by wavelets...I 100_2352 grabbed it by its scruff and dropped it into my shopping bag, filthy and tar streaked it screeched louder.....
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