It’s said that in many ways we are all sons and daughters of ancient Greece.

But Awanui man Ken Ferguson has a more direct link to the Mediterranean country.

Ferguson has done his best to make contact with the Greek master mariner who put his business card in a bottle, date and place unknown, and threw it into the sea, but there’s a problem.

Ferguson found the bottle at the top end of Ninety Mile Beach, and picked it up purely so it wouldn’t end up smashed and cut someone’s feet. Then he noticed it had a business card inside it.

The card belonged to Captain John Karavolos, a name that obviously meant something to the woman who answered the phone when he called the number. But that was about as far as the conversation got.

The woman didn’t speak English, and Ferguson doesn’t speak Greek, so they didn’t make a lot of progress.

The name John Karavolos prompted gales of laughter from the woman, however, so she obviously knew who he was talking about.

Ferguson has subsequently received an email from Greece, in English, but would still be very pleased to hear from anyone who can speak Greek, and could act as an interpreter.

He can be contacted via text on 027 2844 722.

It wasn’t the first bottle with a message that he had found though.

He picked one up on the beach at Mitimiti when he was a boy, he said, after it was jettisoned by a sailor in the Great Australian Bight.

In more recent times he had found a piece of ambergris on Ninety Mile Beach, which he had exchanged with a dealer in Auckland for “a few bob”, but his Ninety Mile Beach yarns don’t stop there.

Some years ago, around 2012, he lost a fish torpedo, on Waitangi Day.

Two years later, again on Waitangi Day, he got a phone call from a bloke who had found it, battered and broken and heavily encrusted in barnacles, on a beach just north of Sydney.

Ferguson asked him if the light was still going, but didn’t ask if it had any fish attached.
Seahorse, he added, had been quite interested in having a look at it, if he could get it back to New Zealand, but that was going to cost $400, and he didn’t see the point.

The torpedo presumably ended up at the dump, given that even if it could have been repaired they were (and remain) illegal in Australia.

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