Kokkinos Vrachos (Red Rock)

“Kokkinos Vrachos” is an historic site in the Athens suburb of Voula. Many residents used to congregate there for swimming during the summer months.

During the decade from 1950 to 1960 there was a restaurant there called Fatouros. When the restaurant changed hands it was renamed Green Tortoise. A few years later it changed ownership once more and was called Monte Carlo. Then a second story was added with a few rooms and it became a small restaurant/hotel. Today it is known as Bo.

In 1956 the Nautical Club of Voula (of which our father was the vice-president at the time), based in a small harbor nearby, gave a reception at the Monte Carlo for Savvas Georgiou, a legendary nautical figure in Greece.

Savvas Georgiou was the first Greek to cross the Atlantic in a sailboat. His crossing took place in 1956 with the engineless 7.5 m 1(24 ft) boat Hara. He was accompanied by his wife, Sue. He arrived in Tourkolimano (now Mikrolimano) in Piraeus.

I was fortunate enough to have met him, and I have always admired him.

You can find more information in:
•Life Magazine (Cover)
•Life Magazine (pg 71)

The trip of Hara (in Greek) 
Sailing History (in Greek) 
Savas Georgiou (in Greek) 

A recent photo of Kokkinos Vrachos.
The reddish rocks that suggested its name are clearly visible.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)

 

 

Another view of Kokkinos Vrachos.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)

 

In addition to the adult residents of Voula who congregated at the Kokkinos Vrachos, there was a group, like a gang, of youngsters.

We belonged to this group. We remained at the Kokkinos Vrachos from early morning until sunset. Our main activities were swimming, pushing each other into the sea, teasing the older kids, and doing all sorts of mischief. Very high on the list of our activities was the collection of ammunition from the bottom of the sea that had been dumped there by the Germans after their occupation of Greece and by various armed groups during the civil war which followed the occupation.

We used to spend many hours snorkeling to find ammunition. From the shells we removed the explosive material, which looked like thin macaroni. Finally, after collecting a sufficient amount of the explosive stuff, we exploded it. Of course, there was a competition as to who would collect the most ammunition and who would make the largest and most impressive explosion. It was in this environment that the raft made its appearance. As you can imagine, the gang was very impressed, and my stock, as well as Byron’s, rose to the sky.

At Kokkinos Vrachos our father had constructed a small breakwater for his small boat. He used this boat to go to his larger boat, Samiopoula, that was anchored further offshore. 
 

The breakwater that my father built in Kokkinos Vrachos as it is today.
Here we moored our raft for her first night…

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)