2006-2008. We travel with the "Selino". A small, silent ship. It gives you the impression that you are being ferried to isolation, to punishment. The passengers are always few: the locals, those that were chosen by the island and the "others", those that chose the island.
In Karave, the port, you see people who you might not see again until the next ship. The "Selino" carries everything, from letters, supplies, bricks and wood to livestock. In the winter, when the weather permits, it runs only twice per week. It's during this season that you feel under your skin the distance that separates the island from continental Greece, measured not only in nautical miles but in time: not in hours, but in days or even weeks, waiting for the ship, your only contact with the rest of the world.
What keeps people at the ends?
The southernmost island of Europe has 55 permanent inhabitants and 17 churches. There are four public servants: the priest, the teacher, the doctor and the policeman. Its monuments are the abandoned houses, the ruins. This is a place to "hide" and think, to search for "meaning" or to ask the question.
I reach the abandoned village of Ambelos searching for the oldest man on the island, Artemis Damorakis. In the evening we eat at Gogo's, the only tavern that is open in the winter in Kastri. I spent two Christmas Eves and a Clean Monday here. I also came during the summer. But "then things are different".
Gavdos is a place that makes you look into the distance, to the horizon, with an intense awareness of the end and the beginning. Of borders. I remember my Russian friends: "Cultures change, dwelling collapse, but the stones out of which they were built remain intact...".