Before the tiled blocks of red and marble beige, Roman stripes, crumbled into the sea like Lancashire cheese, there was some arch, the crown of the ancient shipyard. Now you can swim up to the graffitied slabs and half-sunk steps.
But on the village side, the ruin is half in half out of the bright Aegean. We strain over the glass bottom boat, petrol reeking in the pristine blue. “Don’t stand on someone else’s beach towel!” Anchors are forbidden so we chug as slow as the cruiser can allow. Passing over the ruin we cluster over the imperfect portholes. “Look for the poetries on the sea bed,” the guide says. And yes, through the bubbles on the glass and the misted murk, we glimpse that submerged elderly surface: vessel wrecks, urn handles and the bellycurves of pots left to weed, forbidden from touch for millennia. The rubbish of rubbled homes. Happens that the Romans didn’t have plastic bags, only elegant pots, poetries that survived a sinking shuddering quake, a catastophe that left the isle half toppled into the sea. They never returned.