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Seashell Scotland

Orchids for Aphrodite


That evening fishermen ringed Volissos harbour, the waters outside too rough for handline fishing. Bob and Gary mounted the hill to view prospects. Here the skipper of a fishing boat assured them that by midnight the north wind would drop. If Chiots were so skilled in the laws of the sea that Christopher Columbus learnt the art of navigation from them, who were we to argue? To the keen interest of a patrolling battleship, we pulled away. Hauling in the anchor, the Captain let out a yell as a feather of fish hooks sank into his hand. Then, in falling over each other to raise sail, we knocked the anchor chain overboard. Once this was dragged in, Cappelle rolled drunkenly on a bed of hard lumps and holes as we executed a wide sweep to avoid charted shoals, a manoeuvre that had us all confused and argumentative. With the battleship hemming us in abeam as we veered off towards Lesbos, all four of us remained on watch, a pair of eyes to each corner of the compass. Frequent checks on the depth sounder and strict concentration had to be exercised to judge our distance from the rock-girt coastline. We revived our flagging energies with short-term hot-bunking spells, while Bob agonised over engine vibrations.

Dawn found us abeam the north end of Chios. When I looked back at the perfect proportions of Profitis Ilias (common name for a highest mountain), it reminded me so forcibly of the logo for Paramount Pictures I missed the ring of stars. We made mutual sighting with Golden Prospect as a cheerful Gary radioed, “Good Morning! Did you see the dolphins?” At times during the night Golden Prospect had made straight for the mountains, Gary relying on instruments to keep her off the rocks. At 09.00 hrs we sailed a glorious reach in sight of Plomari, a pyramidal prospect of coloured houses opening like a pop-up book as in a Mehmet Sonmez painting. Still the battleship gave escort.


Once in harbour, Wacky....