K is for Kaiki

ABC Wednesday

K is a wonderful letter for anyone who lives in Crete. In Greek the word for Crete is Kphth (pronounced Kriti). There are so many places that begin with the Greek letter Kappa or K that it is unbelievable. But for me one of the most memorable things about Crete, and of course the rest of Greece, is the kaiki. The kaiki is a small boat made of wood that is used in the Ionian, the Aegean and Cretan seas mostly for fishing, but of course today they can be used for trips or whatever.

Here is a photograph of the small fishing port in Rethymno and you can see all the kaikis waiting for the hour when the best fishing begins.

The Old Port of Rethymno Crete

The Old Port of Rethymno Crete

But kaikis are all over the island, wherever there is a port. Large ones and small ones. Some go out every day just to get a catch that will satisfy the taverna owners, others land a catch that will end up in a market such as Iraklion or Hania. Some places on the south coast of Crete have very small harbours. Here is a photograph that I took in the south of Hania province in a tiny village called Frangokastello.

Kaiki by the castle of Frangokastello

Kaiki by the castle of Frangokastello

Frangokastello means Frankish Castle, actually built by the Venetian occupiers of Crete from the 13th to the 17th century when the entire island of Crete was renamed Candia for the period. This castle was built to deal with the south western Cretans, the Sfakians, who never accepted the rule of anyone other than themselves. Yet here in Frangokastello, set by the sea a long way from the high mountain bases of the Sfakians, the Venetians found themselves ignored. The Sfakians continued their turbulent behaviour conveniently bypassing the castle with it’s small troop of Venetian soldiers. It must have been a nice place to spend your time, even in those days.

Who owns the kaiki in the photograph? It is the splendid taverna, right here on the sea front of this exquisite beach.

Advertisements