Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A three hour tour

Yes, the boat was gone, and the only person on board was about as far from a sailor as you could get. She was a Turkish sunbather, waiting for her friend to finish diving. All I could think of was how much I would be freaking out if I was in her situation.

There was much cursing and worrying, and we all began swimming to shore against the choppy waves. The boat driver had also been diving, but he had realized the problem much sooner than we had, hurried to shore and banged on house doors until someone leant him a phone. Now on the beach, the driver and the Good Samaritan watched through binoculars as two people: a diver and the Turkish girl's friend tried to swim out after the boat. It was probably half a mile from the shore, drifting farther and farther out of the bay.

After much insistent Greek over the phone, the boat driver finally got through to our instructor's partner who was back at the dive shop with another boat. Moments later, the other dive boat came racing across the water to the stranded boat, James Bond-style. The local watched through his binoculars and reported that the swimming divers had made it, and that the sunbather was being put into the rescue boat.

I didn't get to hear the sunbather's side of the story because she had to hurry off to dinner with her boss, but everything ended well. It turned out that though the anchor had been secured, the line to the boat had not been. The boat had meters and meters of line to let out and as we dived, it merrily did. It was a windy day and the boat picked up more and more speed as it floated, still anchored to the same rock. At some point, the boat pulled the anchor away from under the rock where it was wedged and then a bit later on, the anchor caught on something that it couldn't get loose from. The strength of the boat now moving at speed pulled the entire mooring mechanism out from the boat. Needless to say, the boat driver was a little upset. He said various words that I won't describe here.

In the end, the dive instructor took Neil and me out for dinner in an obscure Greek taverna, I think to apologize for us having to swim for shore.

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