To collect the first passengers for our UK-bound trip, Animalcouriers took the ferry to the island of Lesvos, where we had a very interesting visit to the Museum of Industrial Olive Oil Production in Agia Paraskevi.
The museum was originally a cooperative oil mill set up in 1911, under communitarian principles, to help small olive oil producers. The olives were pressed and the oil handed back to the growers, who could then go to market and could compete with the big boys and get a fair price for their small amount of oil. The mill was eventually closed down in 1967 by a right-wing dictatorship who arrested and exiled the community leaders, and left the small producers unable to get their oil to market.
In the afternoon we made our way to Mytilini port to await our passengers. The winds were high as we watched the refugees, who’d made their way to the island on inflatable boats, try and hang on to their little tents pitched along the shoreline. It’s a sight that makes us very aware of the humanitarian crisis Europe (and the world) is facing.
Soon Rebecca arrived with five gorgeous dogs who are on their way to wonderful new homes in the UK. Their families are very excited and have been in regular contact with us. Rebecca and her volunteer colleagues at Lesvos animal friends look after and rehome many unwanted dogs and cats on Lesvos. They’ve teamed up with Wild at Heart to organise the rehoming of five dogs between them. Each dog is travelling on a separate Traces certificate as each is going to a separate address.
From the Lesvos team:
Billie is a mixed breed dog, who has been with the Lesvos rehoming group for a while. She’s on her way to Joanne in Sheffield.
Sammy is another mixed breed whose new home is the Brighton Rocks Restaurant and Bar in Brighton, with Jane and her family. En route, we’ll be teaching Sammy how to take orders and how to make a Brighton Rock Sundae!
Demetri is off to live with Jules and Kate in Northampton, who say: “We are very excited about getting Demetri finally ‘home’ It’s been a while since we saw him in Lesvos — hope he hasn’t grown too big!!!”
And from Wild at Heart:
Randall is going to Ali and her husband who, like all good owners, wanted to know how the journey works and are looking forward to seeing photos of Randall along the way.
Hector (to be renamed Ben) is on his way to Jonathan in Reigate, just a few miles from courier J, so maybe we’ll meet out walking!
You can see photos of Randall and Hector, and other lovely dogs looking for new homes, on the Wild at Heart adoption page — these two are at the foot of the page.
After a slight concern that we wouldn’t get kennels for the dogs on the ferry to the mainland, we were finally allowed on board and were allocated three big kennels. With Rebecca’s help, we got all the dogs organised and then we were ready for the off.
Christos negotiating with the freight department to get a good rate for our van on the ferry to Lesvos. We rely on Christos and Panos of Hellas Ferries to help with all our ferry needs between Italy and Greece, and around the Greek islands.
The former olive oil mill, now a beautifully restored working museum of oil production on Lesvos
Olives are roughly crushed in the mill, and the resulting pulp is sewn into sacks and taken to the press
The sacks of pulp are pressed…
…and the resulting oil drains into the settlement tanks, the sediment sinking to the bottom
The oil is then put through the centrifuge for final clarification
Storage facilities at the oil mill
Courier J heads into an interesting-looking shop — she came out bearing olive oil, Lesvos honey and olive oil soap
Refugees’ tents at Mytilini
Some of the boats they arrived in
Rebecca with Randall and Hector
Rebecca puts name tags on Billie and Demetri
Medallions to be attached to the dogs’ collars, said to ward off the evil eye
Our van driving up the gangplank
Courier M and Rebecca getting our charges settled in for the crossing, including topping up water bowls
Randall and Hector sharing a room
A cute look from Demetri