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Seashell Scotland

Orchids for Aphrodite



Once in harbour, Wacky, who had been a demanding little so-and-so all night, orientated himself by leaping on and off the quay. Gary, meanwhile spotted a giant octopus on the sea-bed between our boats and set about its capture. Surprisingly the junior Kraken, with an elephant’s hide and parrot beak, came up without a struggle. Plomarians, who gathered round, said we were not to touch it, for it was a Deep Sea Monster. Why had it been it so easy to catch? Was it sick? All the same the restaurateur asked to show it to his friends, leaving us to wonder if we had given away an epicurean delight.

When we rowed to a neighbouring bay to snorkel, I stayed in the dinghy in charge of the grapnel anchor. Swimming was abandoned when Gary observed from the scum that the bay was an emptying point for holding tanks: “Now we know why the Owl and the Pussycat’s boat was pee-green!” he commented. Afterwards, as a favour, Stephen busied himself with a set-square, designing templates to stencil Golden Prospect’s name on her stern. Under strict instructions to refrain from tampering with the masking tape until the following day, Gary crossed his heart, but only on a technicality, for, ever the enthusiast, at one minute past midnight he was seen peeling it away.

In the fearsome swell I dropped a tea-towel overboard. Stephen, leaning to retrieve it, overbalanced. Mel and I, each grabbing an ankle as he took a header, had to bust our guts to haul him back on board. For the gunboat anchored beside us, the whole incident was a comedy performance of the highest order. We expected a twenty-one gun salute. Even the seagulls waxed hysterical. From this moment Cappelle and the Greek Navy were buddies. No opportunity to barrack was missed. It was our turn to boo and cheer when the sailors were marshalled in line to dive from the ship’s stern.