Volcanoes, strikes etc

On this page: Weather events | Greece | Turkey

Nature sometimes makes the earth shake or explode, and civil unrest happens.  You can mitigate these to some extent, but much of the fear is from a lack of understanding.

Volcanoes, Earthquakes & Hurricanes

I’m sure everyone knows about the Icelandic volcano, and there’s not much you can do about things like that.  But did you know that the main sailing area in Turkey has numerous earthquakes each year? Fortunately the vast majority are so small as to be virtually unnoticeable – in the several years I worked there I only felt one (ironically, just as a new member of staff was complaining to me that she still hadn’t got her sea legs and found the supermarket shelves were swaying whenever she went shopping)!

Useless at parking? Hurrricanes provide a great excuse!

Useless at parking? Hurrricanes provide a great excuse!

So the risk you are taking is extremely small – the larger Turkish quakes tend to occur more on the east side of the country and in any event, most deaths are caused by falling buildings which you are unlikely to suffer on a yacht.

A greater risk were it not so easily avoided would be getting caught up in a hurricane in the Caribbean.  The official hurricane season is from June to November but according to the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteological Office, 96% of major hurricanes occur between August and October.  And as hurricanes don’t hit every island on the way through, you could go then and still not be affected. But then why take the risk with your holiday – there’s plenty of sailing in the Med at that time of year.

Civil Unrest – Greece

Frankly, a bit of civil unrest can work wonders for your holidays as the less informed shy away for no good reason, which can push prices down and leaves bit more space for the rest of us!  And a war can clear an area for ages after it’s finished – I went out to Croatia 8 years after the war ended and well educated friends questioned my wisdom in going to a “war zone”, such is the power of the news media!

Most concern at present focuses on Greece.  As I write this on the first day of 2012, there are still protestors in Syntagma Square, Athens, and strikes do still happen from time to time.

Another day of strikes and riots in Greece!

Another day of strikes and riots in Greece!

The protests have been going on since spring 2010. Check Wikipedia and it will tell you there is “widespread social unrest”.  But I bet the vast majority of tourists over the last two summers haven’t noticed it.

Unless you’re passing through the larger city centres, or chose to air forthright pro austerity views with your Athens taxi driver (assuming he understands you), the most likely impact is if you’re unlucky enough to travel on one of the very few days the airports or ferries have been affected by strike action. The rest of the time you’ll be sailing away from the large towns and cities and even there you’d be lucky to find a riot if you went looking for one.

The other concern of course is the Euro. Should the worst happen and the Drachma returns to replace the Euro the impact, if any, is likely to be beneficial to the traveller. Yacht suppliers who take payment in Euros will almost certainly prefer to continue rather than switch to Drachma. And free of the ties to a Europe wide currency, prices of local goods in shops and restaurants may well fall.

Greece is beautiful, the sailing is superb and thel risk you might be delayed getting there, or leaving, is very small.  The risk of losing out financially would seem to be even lower.

Civil Unrest – Turkey

As you may well have seen on the news, there have been demonstration in some of the larger cities, notably Istanbul, which have at times been curtailed fairly forcibly by the authorities.

Those familiar with Turkey will also realise this is a long way from the cruising areas, and it’s a big country! The UK government’s current travel advice (June 14th 2013) is to avoid demonstrations but I think you’d have trouble finding any in the places you’re going to visit.

So I wouldn’t have any hesitation taking a sailing trip there (if only I had the time)! You will be assured of a warm welcome as always in Turkey, and the particularly good news is that some of the less informed have been deterred, so there are some great deals on offer.