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The Zeno Project

I make haste to send the latest communication from Laura Zola who, as you will
gather from her letter is now visiting the French Templar ports:
Roses on the west coast of Portugal

Dear Niven,
Thank you for your kind words, your letter are always a great pleasure for me and a real encouragement for the project.
Stella is feeling better and with her, myself. She had all her analysis and test last Thursday. The diagnoses the veterinary give me, was very depressing. He believed that Stella have a liver cancer or, at the best a very nasty cirrhosis. Difficult for her to go over the crisis and start again to eat by her self. Despite of the doctor forecast, Stella start again eating and after more then 10 days starvation, the bigger problem is to make her stopping eating, she has an insatiable appetite, but she look quit happy and more lively. I really hope that the veterinary made a mistake; in France we will have some new blood test and see what the result will give.
I did try to send you a message before leaving Gibraltar, but the Cyber-office was close for holiday and has not been possible to make the connection with my computer. Every one of your letters is so positive and such a good morale support that I regret not to be able to be in contact more often.
We are sailing now since the night of the 30th of April with favourable southeasterly wind and we are making good progress: 400 miles from Gibraltar in just 80 hours. 7 Roses and all her crew are happy to find again the big Ocean and the clear horizon. Finally with the wind in our favour, the morale is high and the enthusiasm for this interesting voyage, always well alive.
We are considering making a short call in Nazarè (80 miles north of Lisbon), here is the area of Tomar, one of the bigger Templar centre in Portugal. On this part of the coast it was the harbour of Serra d’El Rei that it is believed to be the harbour where the Templar ships, escaping from the Mediterranean France, found a refuge. In our day the coastline have been transformed by eight centuries of sea work and many of the old shelter do not exist any more, but the records are well kept in the old chart.   The stop in Nazarè will only be few hours, probably too short to have any relevant information, but may be, long enough to breath the atmosphere of another part of history connected to our Voyage. I hope from there to be able to send you this message with my deep thanks for your presence and moral support.

Kindest regards


                           7 Roses, 35 miles south of Cape Finisterre, 07/05/2000

Dear Niven,

Nazarè, a very interesting small village, but it was not there any facility for sending e-mail message, I hope to be luckier at the next port.
The weather is keeping in our side and a part from lot of rain, the sailing condition are perfect. The big worrying cape a head of us and than the Biscay, where, Neptune permitting we should enter tomorrow morning. We will probably stop at La Coruna for fuel and food and than La Rochelle, other 380 miles toward north-est.  Calling in La Rochelle, will make our route toward the U.K., 280 miles longer, but this town represent a very important link on the general picture of the Templar history and fleet. There we have a meeting at the museum and interesting contact organised by the French followers from Corsica and the south of France.  From the same follower every so often we received some information, (new for us) on the subject of Templar, Zeno and Venetian traces. The last interesting one, concern a fleet of 8 ships built by the Venetian for the Knight Templar at the start of the persecution in 1307. A part of the fleet was delivered around this time, but a second delivery happens many years later, when the ships were sailed by Venetian crew some where in the Northern Europe. Could there be a connection with Nicolò Zeno Voyage to Orkney so many years later?  The same reference, mention that a request for the building of a fleet, was made to the Genoese (by the knight Templar), at the start of   XIV Th centuries, but the Genoese refused to cooperate.
We should find a copy of those documents in La Rochelle, where my friend said she would send it.
I feel embarrassed to mention the small finding we are coming across in our voyage, your knowledge on the subject is so much greater that what is for us a discovery, is for you a well familiar ground, but I think you are one of the best persons to understand our enthusiasm.
From the Italian side, the interest is still awake, not only with the article I write, but as well with the following of other national paper (il Giornale and Il Tempo) that regularly contact me to write an update on the voyage.  For what concern the contact in Orkney and Kath Gourlay, I never received any news from her. I phone her from Italy and I write to her two letters, but I never received any answer. She is a very nice girl and I am looking for to see her in Orkney.
D’Elayne and Richard are often in contact, always with the heighten fervour that it is as well a bolster of my morale

The time of my night watch is coming on and the wind is calling me out.

Thank you again,