Fair Winds to a friend

Köln, a former Roman Colony. It once was a wonderful city, but 77 minutes of wretched bombing destroyed it almost totally in a woeful day of the last century. Cologne boasted the best roman aqueduct north of the Rhenus (the Italian river Reno near Bologna). The Romans were masters in moving water: Probably more skilled than us and certainly much more respectful.

I’m currently writing from aside a fast flowing Rhine. Right now I could sail it upstream since the wind is so strong.

I can’t wait to get back on Clodia, I miss it so much. Foggy mornings, cold, mist, scents from the river. I just finished reading a nice book, “Il respiro delle acque” (The breath of the waters”), telling the story of a great man who has done a lot for the rivers: Renzo Franzin. This book was a gift from Eriberto Eulisse from “Civiltà delle Acque” (“Civility of Waters”). We’ll catch up soon.

But, what am I doing here in Cologne? Working for water once again: I’m planning a new project with the help of a few friends. After arriving to Istanbul I’ll write more about it, we’re still at a very early stage.

I have to tell you very briefly about the World Water Forum in Marseille.

Here I’ve seen many white collars who love water just when it serves them to make money, opposed to some others who truly care and fight for water protection. The most pathetic thing was the Kyrgyzstan stand, promoting their glaciers and the dams that could be built to sell water and energy. Merchants. What about the animals, the ecosystems, the villages and the people living there? Pain and death for a bunch of money, enriching very few people. Blocking a river is a crime against everyone. The rivers must keep flowing: Try to lock one of your veins!

In Marseille I could see the good and the bad, I’ve seen plastic bottles as well as the city automatic water distributors. And a disgusting water-bar!

The merchants make water travel by truck or airplane, when it would be much easier to let it flow in river beds and in the underground.

Freedom is participation, as the Italian artist Gaber used to sing. Are they rather oriented to dictatorship and slavery? We have to talk.

The alternative forum FAME was a place where 2.000 “poor” were fighting against the 30.000 “rich” from the official forum.

However I could find very interesting people and ideas in the official forum too, such as Thibaux, who promotes a simple and effective solar desalinator, Mark from Smart Solutions, who reinvents simple ideas from the past to create pumps and other tools to save water, and B&B (Beate and Bo) from the European Environment Agency.

My week went by looking, asking and talking: Very busy days indeed.

Marseille is still in my heart for its port embraced by the houses. I wonder how wonderful this bay would have been when the Phoenicians first settled here.

I also gladly remember La Ciotat, the Odeon cinema (under restauration), the Lumiere brothers, the first movie ever screened (that wasn’t the famous train but the launch of a vessel, but we often forget boats).

I’ve met Butch Darlymple who’s got a beautiful shipyard where it’s docked Partridge, an auric cutter from 1885, who still sails like a witch. It was a true joy to see her.

After Marseille I went to Port de Pollença, Mallorca, to move Brancaleon to the other side of the bay. Brancaleon will sail toward the Adriatic and the Aegean seas with Antoni and Martha. It’s always on my heart but I have to sell her. If you’re interested please contact me.

Tomorrow I’ll leave to Budapest along with Anna and Leon, to get back aboard Clodia and Serena. This year I’ll try to keep on the river as much as possible even if, sometimes, people are eager to show me many interesting things and draw me away from the water.

In Hungary there’s something going on, something strong and hidden at the same time, at a political and social level. I doubt I’ll be able to understand much from my point of view, but I’ll try.

Today is April 25th: In Italy we celebrate freedom, one of the many possible freedoms.

My current base is in Venice, but I can’t live so well anymore. I wish to fight to free this city from careless tourism. It’s a very tough war, hard if not impossible to win. Recently it has taken place a demonstration against big cruise ships in Venice. Huge ships and little brains, those of cruising companies who don’t care about the nasty consequences their monsters cause to a very fragile environment like the Venice lagoon (as well as everywhere).

My dear friend Manfred (who shoot this picture) and his wife Caroline, with many others, have been reported for a procession of boats regularly announced but shamefully forbidden. It took place all the same: Civil disobedience and uncivil obedience opposed. The criminal and rude promoters and the unconscious passengers of these deadly ships should be stopped and informed about what they’re stealing to the present and future generations. My support goes to the “No Big Ships Committee”: I hope, one day, to have more time to join to their actions.

Gigantism kills our planet. The most beautiful, useful and enduring things can be done with little energy and lots of mind work.

I wish that tomorrow things could be better than today. However, the water that we pollute here won’t be cleaner downriver. The wise man doesn’t piss in the water that others will drink (a Herodotus quotation I think).

For every problem there’s a solution. I like a lot Antoni’s company logo.


I would like to say some words about a very important person for all of us. I had the occasion to spend days with him, including the Channel Crossing, some weeks in Venice where he came to work with his beloved bike.

A few days ago Earl Broad, who gave us a great time and hospitality in Whitstable, had a very bad accident with his bike. He is now fighting to be back to his normal life, and I would like to send him all my personal wishes for the “best come back” of the century. Earl “yes’n baby Yessa”!! We are all with you even when you are alone! You are important!

And now, let’s get back to Man on the River.

Be water my friends

P.S.: There’re still few days left to help Anna and Leon in their fundraising to support the filmmaking, by clicking on the banner on top right. If you can, please donate, otherwise be so kind to share the link. I wholeheartedly thank.

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