Captain's Log, Stardate:

6/5/2001

Arrived Ormos Vromi, Greece

Greetings to All:

We had a bit of a hairy approach into Porto Vromi on the west coast of Zakinthos. Looking at the photo, you will fully appreciate the geography of this amazing place. They were predicting high winds (which never materialized) so we wanted to find a protected anchorage and Porto Vromi is just that. When we first dropped the anchor, it didn't hold so Olga lifted it up to so we could go elsewhere. In years past, I've always had trouble communicating with the bow person what with the din of the wind, growl of the anchor windlass, and chattering of the diesels . . . but not anymore! Teri had seen FRS (Family Radio Service) walkie-talkies with headsets at Sam's club and Mary sent them down via Olga. So I heard very clearly in my headset Olga saying, "Lee I have something". I said "what?" and she said very clearly, "a snake I think." No mistaking her words, loud and clear . . . but meaningless to me nonetheless. A quick visit to the bow revealed that the anchor had hooked a giant mooring line (about the same diameter as my leg) on the bottom. Running back to the helm, I tried to maneuver the boat so as to get the line unhooked but putting the engines in gear immediately stopped both of them! I guess it would have been obvious to someone with average intelligence that, if you hook a line in the middle, there are still two ends unaccounted for. There were only 5-8 kts of wind but rocks 20 yards on both sides! I was thinking about the normal solution in situations like this, simply diving on the prop and cutting away the offending line, but that was not an option since the doctor who put the tube in my ear told me going below the surface would mean certain infection in the ear with which I've already had so much trouble. Option 2 would be to launch the dinghy and control the boat's position with that? For how long, all night or until the approaching storm demolishes the big boat? Get out our second anchor? Yep, that's the best option.

Just then, a Greek named "Tassos" came out in his dinghy and began helping us remove the mooring line from the anchor. I thanked him but asked him to leave it there until we got the engines running (it was holding the boat in place for the moment). So, with the look bucket he brought with, we could see that this giant line was just wrapped twice around the prop. Hence, we were able to easily get it removed with the boat hook and the look bucket. Never even got wet. However, Olga was pretty rattled after that. That's why she wanted to stay so long in Vromi I think, six nights we were there. Of course, it was beautiful. Steep cliffs, clear water, songbirds 10 yards away on shore and a population totally unlike that famous western town the population of which always remained constant (because every time a baby was born, a man left town). Here, by contrast the population depended upon the time of day: From morning until dark, it was 5 plus tourists. After nine, the population dropped to zero. The taverna closed, the employees went home and all the tourists were gone . . . except us.

Anyway, after clearing the props, Tassos guided the bow of the boat to just the right spot to drop anchor and then took two lines ashore off our stern. After that, we were set for a hurricane! Alas, as I said, the storm never came so we wasted all that energy for nothing. Like the two guys walking away from the airliner just after landing, one saying to the other, "Well there goes another $10 worth of flight insurance down the drain."

Hope all is well with you and your family,

~~~~_/)Lee~~~~~~~~~~_/)_/)~_/)_/)~~_/)~~~~_/)