It is about preserving the tradition, says Jannis Triandafillou, chairman of the retired seafarers' association in Litochoro. The few people around us know about our maritime tradition, and here in the village, too, they are slowly falling into oblivion. To prevent this, retired sailors have established a club.
Until far into the 20th century, Litochoro was home to many shipowners and sailors. When the steamships displaced the sail ships, this era ended.
The museum is located in the municipal administration building and has been open since 2004. The exhibits were either collected from the households of the former seafarers or donated.
Directly at the entrance awaits us the bronze stage of a sailor. According to Jannis, this is not a specific person but is dedicated to all sailors and their families of the place. Although the museum of merchant shipping is dedicated, the tour begins with the model of a torpedo boat, which in 1912 drove a Turkish war ship off the port of Thessaloniki.
The men who have not returned from the sea are devoted to a memorial plaque. It is noticeable that sometimes whole families fell victim to Poseidon's whims. Old pictures hang on the opposite wall. Some are almost 100 years old and show proud families in the shipyard who supervise the construction of their ship. Other pictures show sailors on board or in port. Unfortunately, the association does not know all the names of those who have been shown, and the reconstruction becomes more difficult every year.
Everywhere in the museum are showcases with impressive ship models. Many of these are original replicas of ships that were once home here. Others represent a cross-section of traditional Greek ships over the centuries. Striking is the exact processing. Unfortunately, the star of the major naval nation Greece has faded. Where in former times about 150,000 men found their livelihood, only about 40,000 people are now employed at sea. Only the captains and officers are Greeks, the team is mainly posed by Asians.
We continue to nautical equipment. Although displaced by modern technology such as GPS, the compass and the sextant is compulsory on board. The position of the ship with the sextant is still to be determined at least three times a week. And if the compass is missing or does not work correctly, there are high penalties. Furthermore a Chronometer and the astronomical almanac on board were able to determine the exact position of the ship.
The speed was determined with the log. It is a line with a propeller at one end, which turns in the water and due to the speed indicates the actual speed at a tachometer. If the log had been defective, the sailors knew to help nevertheless. With the help of the chronometer and a piece of wood the speed was calculated. As? Quite simply: at the bow, the wood was thrown into the water and it was stopped the time it took to pass the stern. Since the length of the ship is known, one could calculate its speed. The chronometer's accuracy was checked daily by the radio signal at 12 o'clock, and possible deviations were recorded in writing. The barometer or the barograph is also very important. Rapid changes in air pressure warn the crew of storms.
Another glass cabinet contains old logbooks. Jannis also has something to report on these. It is said that it was usual that the entries in the logbooks were only done by pencil. In the evening the captain then presented the logbook for review. And sometimes the events entered by fountain pens should not agree with the previous ones. There is even a second logbook. But this is probably just a sailor's thread. Past the inevitable blackboard with the sailor's knot, you go to the radio. Here Jannis is native. Of knots, he does not understand so much, but from the devices - because he has worked as a radio operator.
The showpiece of the museum is the complete reconstruction of a bridge. Machine telegraph, compass, radar, echo sounder - everything is available. Children can play here, only in front of the big steering wheel. When the little ones turn it quickly they can hurt themselves. And also a hand is quickly between the spokes. To the adult, Jannis patiently explains how to navigate by means of a sea chart, which effects the change of the magnetic field has on the compass And how that is corrected.
There is still much to report from the museum. E.g. What it has with the pistol, which is displayed next to the ropes or why the powerful Dreizack was on board. But it is best to get an impression personally. If you are lucky and there are few visitors present, you get a personal guide - also in English language.