“Ionian Discoveries would like to welcome you on board one of the last few traditional working Kaiki’s in the area, Agia Kiriaki.”
Agia Kiriaki translates as Saint Sunday. She is one of the last few traditional working Kaiki’s in the area.
A Kaiki is simply a Greek working boat, like a fishing or transport boat. She takes her name from the Island of Levkas just to the north of Kefalonia.
Here in the early 1930’s archaeologists discovered a small cave on a peninsula of land outside the town of Nidri. In the back of the cave was a religious icon, a painting of a saint. This was Agia Kiriaki or Saint Sunday.
She was built in 1947 in the busy sea port of Patras on the mainland of Greece. Made wholly from wood, mostly Cypress she started her life as a cargo boat running endless trips around the Ionian Islands. She is a gaff rig boat with a powerful diesel engine. Now converted for our purpose she is also equipped to the latest European Safety Standards.
THE GREEK KAIKI
Caique – light boat used in the Mediterranean. From: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.
Kaiki or caique – the Greek (from Turkish word Kayik) name for a wooden fishing boat usually found among the waters of the Ionian or Aegean seas. From: Wikipedia.
People often find falling in love with these islands is easy. There is so much to love, the climate, the scenery and the people to name just a few. For many though a big draw is being out on the water and one of the nicest ways to travel is on a traditional boat, or Kaiki.
There are many types of Kaiki depending on the style they were built in. Each has their own grace and beauty and combined with a myriad of colours they seem to represent something quintessentially Greek. Hours can be whiled away strolling around the beautiful harbours watching these boats moving in and out or just admiring the gay colours which often blend with the Neo-Classical architecture of the surrounding port.
Kaikis were also known in past centuries as Trechandri, with a fast aesthetic hull, the Fortuga, generally a heavier transport boat, the Karavassi, with a concave bow and undercut stern, the Perama, with a straight and forward slanting bow and the Varkala, a single masted boat with a high counter stern. They can be cargo boats, fishing boats, and more recently tour boats. Many were originally used before the days of the big ferries to transport goods around the islands and to as far as Patras on the mainland.
These vessels were usually built in the nafpigia or shipyard from the local pine wood. The hull of the craft is constructed with sawn ribs and a timber keel and is covered with carvel planking, finished with the decking known as katastroma. The frame of the craft is often painted with orange primer to preserve and seal the timber. Corking is hammered between the planks which when in contact with water swells and in theory becomes water tight.