On the cliffside, we are in the midst of the ochre and Indian yellow of a tiny Greek island. The brush and the olive trees add their greens to a landscape that shimmers in the sun. It is a place where the smell of wild thyme surrounds us in the daytime, and the sweet scent of night blooming jasmine flavours the air in the evening. 
      It is paradise, except that we are shore bound here. The Haiku was sold a couple of years ago and here we have no boat to sail. For now, I’m putting in my time watching, from the top of a cliff, and learning how to engage this part of the Aegean, where Ulysses passed on his way from Troy and fought the same wild winds. Eventually,I’ll have a boat here, but I can use a period of watching and learning before I test my fortune.
      The sloop is halfway across when it is hit by a wind that has suddenly shifted 45 degrees and is obviously intent on teaching this presumptuous sailor a lesson. With all lines and controls led aft, there is no on-deck scramble, but even from our distance, the cockpit looks as if mad dogs are wrestling in it. The sails flap, the boom bounces and swings lethally back and forth, and the sea has suddenly kicked up to make the mix that much more interesting.
      I only hope there is no one in the galley or the head.
      On the cliff where we stand, a few sheep make their way past us on their way down to somewhere else, and it is very calm and peaceful. Out on the sea, the boat struggles with what almost drowned Ulysses and is doing its best to add another to its roster. Just as the sails are reset and the boat is again cutting a straight line through the water, a spiralling wind whacks it on the beam, like a prizefighter’s attempt at a knockout punch. But the captain’s ready for this one, and just as the sails are about to take a shock, the boom and jib swing out at in tandem, letting the wind rush past as if the Captain were a bullfighter and the sails a cape. 

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5