Delos, The Island of Apollo, Greece
A volcanic explosion from the water's depths - and Delos was born into the heart of the Aegean. Or maybe it was that the waters subsided as one of the last geological phenomena of the area, and the island was finally revealed, and from 'adelos' became 'delos', which means 'having appeared'. That is when the sun’ s rays fell upon it with such strength that it was turned into the brightest point on the planet – a meteorological phenomenon, with the second brightest spot being in Alaska and the third somewhere in Hawaii. Even the Hindus think of Delos as holy as Benares. And it is from this that the wonderful myth of the birth of the Sun god – Apollo – was born, because it is a well-known fact that myth follows fact. This is where Light was born, which for Greek seafarers was the most precious thing of all.
But from where does the myth derive? First of all, the holiness of Delos is neither mysterious, nor is it lost in the passage of time. It was the Ionians (1100BC) who arrived in the Cyclades from eastern Attica, and they spread throughout the Eastern Aegean, founding colonies (Samos, Chios), before venturing further out to Asia Minor, which was named Ionia. They did this over time, by building the right ships, and from island to island they observed steady points in the distant horizon, but only in the light of day. They soon realised that at this central point of the Cyclades – Delos – the afternoon sun was brightest and more intensive. It was in this way that they created the anthropomorphic divinity of Apollo making him born on this island with a myth, the charm of which seduced Greeks.
As we got closer, the sun’ s rays fell upon the island in glorious radiance even though it was still very early. The low, naked hillocks had just started to turn golden.
Our friend, an experienced sailor, appeared to be piloting a plaything, so calm were the waters. We got closer and closer to the island, gazing at the seagulls that flew around us. No one was talking. There was no need. Each one of us was in his own world: that particular world of absolute freedom that sailing has offered since times ancient. Our seas are the gifts of the gods…
An excerpt from the book: GREECE, The Dance of the Seas