National Geographic : 1972 Aug
very slowly on her heel and walked past us. Thanks to Giorgio and his friend Nick, we had a delightful stay at Telenda. Nick? "I am not Nick," he said. "I am Gus. I was a puddler in a steel mill in Gary, Indiana." Gus introduced us to an old fisherman re pairing a net-a bobbin behind one ear, an other stuck in the hair, the third in the right hand, big toe holding the net taut. "A mender of nets wears no shoes or socks," said Gus a bit redundantly. "Nylon?" I asked the old man. "Nailon," he replied. "I see you have learned some Greek," Gus said to me. Book of Revelation Written on Patmos Again outwitting the meltemi with an early start, we paid a quick call on Leros, scene of fierce fighting in World War II, then ran on to Patmos. From afar we saw the island's trade mark, the great fortified Monastery of St. John high on a hilltop. As we tacked for the harbor entrance, I noticed a cottony cloud just under a mountain peak. "Let's get the sail off fast," I said. "That cloud probably signals a strong meltemi." Sure enough, just as our anchor hit the bot tom minutes later, a wall of wind struck us, laying the ship far down. Patmos is a place of importance to the Christian world. To this isle St. John the Di vine was banished during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian. Here he wrote the Revelation, last book of the New Testament. According to local tradition, God spoke to him in a grotto, halfway down the hill from the monastery, now a place of pilgrimage. We found a young monk there studying. He point ed to three cracks in the ceiling. "Through them God spoke to John," he said. "And here," he indicated a place on the floor, "the good saint rested his head." Founded by St. Christodoulos, the monas tery dates from the 11th century and houses, along with priceless icons and other trea sures of Byzantine art, one of the world's great collections of Christian documents. A pleasant young monk showed us through its library; he said it contained some 3,000 precious books, of which nearly a thousand are handwritten manuscripts dating from the sixth to the nineteenth century. With special pride he pointed to one. Beating octopuses-"the Bone less Ones," as the ancient poet Hesiod called them-youngsters at Kalimnos tenderize the meat. Like boxes stacked one atop the other, houses climb a rocky slope. Pounding sponges, workers ex pel animal tissue and soften the fibers, then trim the harvest for export. Aegean sponge beds are nearly played out, and Kalimnos fishermen sail to the North Afri can coast for their haul. Many of the island men bear the price of their trade: arms and legs ren dered limp and useless by the bends-a malady caused by too quick an ascent from the depths.