It's Thursday May 23, 2013
Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.
August 22, 2002
Harry Mavromichalis brought his boat Caryatid to Oriental’s Town Dock in late June. It turned out that Oriental was one of his last ports of call as he put his plans for a trans-Atlantic crossing on hold for yet another year.
He had planned to cross the Atlantic to draw attention to the Elgin Marbles, marble carvings that a British Lord Elgin had removed from the Parthenon in Athens in the early 1800’s. They were put in a British Museum. Harry Mavromichalis, who was born in Athens 72 years ago, wants the British government to return them to Greece.
After decades of working in the oil fields in Western Canada, Marvomichalis decided to take his cause to sea and saw his 20 foot boat as a way to further the cause. He would sail the small, boomless boat across the Atlantic to the British territory in Gibraltar, and file a protest there. He named the boat Caryatid, after the marble columns made in the shape of women.
The sentimental link to the name is understandable, but living up to the name may have brought the boat – and owner – some unforeseen consequences. Caryatids after all, are stationary objects.
Being hard to move may be of benefit in keeping looters of Greek columns at bay but being hard to move is not a desirable characteristic for a boat. Unfortunately for Harry Mavromichalis, it is that very characteristic that Caryatid seems to have taken on. He has not been able to move her very far from this continent despite repeated tries.
This started becoming evident a few years ago, when Harry set out on his quest from the Pacific coast. He planned to sail past South America, around Cape Horn and then up the Atlantic toward Gibraltar.
Instead, he was thwarted 20 miles from his departure point when his engine died and Caryatid ended up near or on rocks. The Raleigh News and Observer reports that this happened twice, and that the Coast Guard came to the rescue both times.
Harry then decided to trailer his 20 foot double-ended boomless
boat to the East Coast. Last summer he set out from the Norfolk area and turned right, as his website puts it, "and there it was, the Atlantic." But he would not be there for long. Faint from the heat and with his engine failing, he turned back. Another attempt in the fall fell short.
This spring, he planned to leave via Beaufort, NC. On his way down the Intracostal Waterway, he docked in the town of Hobucken. Fortunately, a Coast Guard Station is based there. Unfortunately, their assistance was required. While Caryatid was at the dock, two large trawlers, one displacing more than 100 tons, collided. This sent the Caryatid underwater and then to a boatyard in Oriental. Harry, meanwhile, stayed at the Bayboro House B&B in Bayboro while the wood on Caryatid’s caprail and sides was replaced.
In June, Harry Mavromichalis and Caryatid headed out from Beaufort, with newly installed caprail and a supply of Power Bars on board – his website says he would subsist on them for what he calculated was a necessary 4,000 calories a day.
But few if any would be consumed.
Within a day or two he was dockside in Beaufort. Some who saw him on his return say Harry Mavromichalis told them his self steering equipment had failed. (And 3,000 miles to Gibraltar IS a long way to keep your hand on the tiller, Power Bars or not.) The Raleigh News and Observer meanwhile quoted him as saying his boat had started leaking. Whatever the cause, Harry Mavromichalis put his trip on hold and flew home to British Columbia on July 4th before we could catch up with him. There is the chance he will be in the area again next year, having another go at crossing the ocean ‘for the marbles’.
The Caryatid, with eyes painted on both sides of the bow and the logo “Crossing the Atlantic for the Athenian Marbles” now sits in Graham Byrne’s yard in Vandemere.