The story of Irini Katsotourhis, the lovely lady who lives alone on an island with a total area of just 4.5 square kilometers, moves and causes immense admiration. Mrs. Rini who lives in Kinaros, between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, is the only resident of the islet and certainly does not want to move. After all, she was born there at a time when the island was still inhabited, before it’s small population deserted it. Years ago, Irini, her husband and her son effortlessly made the decision to return from faraway Australia and live in Kinaros, their favorite spot on Earth.
On the Sunday morning, 18th of October, we started our journey with an inflatable boat from Syros, made a stop in Donoussa and arrived in Kinaros. As we docked, next to the long and narrow bay that looks like a fjord, Mrs. Rini ran to greet us with a big smile. All seven members of the All For Blue team had our negative COVID 19 tests in hand, to ensure that the mission would be done with absolute safety.
Tassos Roussos, our captain, has a personal relationship with Mrs. Rini and this is not the first time we visit her in Kinaros. After the death of her husband, she lives with her only companions, her animals and some passers-by, while her son comes and goes due to work. We gave her food and other supplies for her household, as well as medicines and injections for her little goats who are suffering from an illness. As a matter of fact, Mrs. Rini led us to the sheepfold to introduce us to her animals, by their names.
After the warm welcome, we quickly dived into the waters of the island and cleaned its seabed. In fact, we separated into two groups, one to clean the trash from the beach, left behind by some “careless” visitors and the other group focused on the trash in the sea. The fame of the proud and loyal Lady, after all, has crossed the borders of the country and there are many visitors, even from abroad, who have approached Mrs Rini to hear her beautiful story. Besides the unannounced visitors, Mrs Rini was recently filled with joy as her daughter and grandchildren paid her a visit.
The seabed of Kinaros does not differ from the seabed of busy islands that we have visited many times for clean ups. We removed many items, such as damaged fishing nets, pots, spoons, towels, machine parts, mobile chargers, eggs with their packaging and many cans.
That Sunday was truly unforgettable for all of us. Our team was composed by Captain Tassos, the divers Vangelis and Katerina, Marianna who contributed to the beach cleanup, Markos who took beautiful pictures but also the journalist Margarita Pournara from “Kathimerini” together with the photographer Nikos Kokkas who accompanied us to capture every moment of our mission.
Until the next visitors come, Mrs Rini, “the Lady of Kinaros”, will continue guarding alone the Thermopylae (hot springs) in the Aegean …