The first leg of our sailing trip was from Israel to the island of Simi, in Greece.  We expected a four day sail.

I’ll keep this to a brief outline.

Day one, we get our papers in order and processed through the immigration police in the Tel Aviv marina.  Have breakfast in Fortuna one last time and say goodbye to Roni and Leah and a few others.  We set off at 10:30.  We motor for a while, wee lots of jellyfish in the water, and a giant sea turtle chilling by a piece of driftwood. Put up sails and start tacking.  Felix “loses” his iced coffee overboard soon thereafter.  Things go on apace after, but then, while working on something in the bilge, i start to feel queasy.  Go up on deck and throw up.  Feel better – my first sea vomit!  

Zo sets up the fishing rod.  We get a strike and reel it almost all the way in, but lose it.  Boo.  After the excitement of this adrenaline rush, I have to hurl again.  Double boo.  I’m starting to think trip wasn’t such a good idea.  Later, we make dinner.  I can’t go down below to cook, but only chop veggies.  Then, while dinner is being made, we strike another fish.  This time we land him and pull him into the boat.  What ensues is a ridiculous fifteen minutes of trying to hold and kill the fish without losing it.  Zohar is stabbing the thing in its head.  We have a rope tied around its tail.  I finally take the knife, plunge it in and throw my weight on it to sever the spinal column.  The fish is dead.  Zohar carves it up like a champ.  Fresh nigiri!  We seriously cut meat right off the fish and ate it just like that.  That night’s dinner was tuna steaks with olive oil and lemon.  Very nice, but I didn’t have much of an appetite thanks to the seasickness.

We did two-person shifts of three hours each at night.  The first shift was from 10 p.m.  to 1 a.m.  and so on.  It wasn’t really so bad getting up and going back to sleep.  I was a little tired, but what can you expect.  One annoying thing is that the bilge pump goes off periodically and when it does, it makes this piercing alarm sound.  Every 30 minutes at least.  

Th night is beautiful and strange.  The light of all of Israel makes a false dawn behind us, yet above us the sky is so dark we can see the Milky Way.  It’s reflected on the water in wide swath.The water reflects lights incredibly well; flashes from distant airplanes are clear as a bell.  Ahead of us, the sky is lighter for some reason – there’s nothing out there.  They’re bioluminescent spots in our wake.  I see two shooting stars.  

After our shift Zo tells Andrew to wake her if we pass within 5- 7 nm of another ship.  Andrew doesn’t think this is necessary and thus begins the friction between the two of them.  The next day, Z tells me she wants off the boat sooner than Simi.  I can’t really see what the two sides of this argument are, but it causes a rift.

Day 2 – Partly cloudy, with winds out of NW.  Sea is calm and wind is only 7-9 kts.  We motor most of the day.  Reach Cyprus and start skirting around it.  It’s there to starboard all day and night.  Dinner is tuna a la Zohar w/ mashed potatoes.

I’ve put on the motion sickness wristbands and the seasickness went away.  I’m not sure if there’s causation there.  At night we are motoring right into the wind, slapping into the waves and not making any headway, really.  Finally it gets to the point where we can start sailing and make just as much progress, which is to say not too much.  

Day 3 Sail most of the day.  A few futile tacks as we try to go straight into the wind.  (I mean our course is NW and th wind is from there, we can’t sail right into it, of course)  Pass Cyprus and get out into the sea.  No one around at all.  Tuna and pasta for lunch.  (notice a theme in the food here?)  Im well enough to cook stir-fry for dinner.  Almost lose dinghy on a tack – it’s tied down in front of the mast and the jibsheet gets caught under it.  At 8:00 p.m. we finally get good wind and a nice tack of 356°.  We watched a movie, Andrew and I.  

Later that night I wished my peeps were around.  I was remembering driving in Will’s pickup truck in L.A., singing Holopaw together.  

Day 4- Early morning watch with Zo.  She’s grumpy with lack of sleep as is Andrew.  The wind is good, then picks up.  We reef the mainsail and the wind dies down again.  We undo the reef and the wind picks up again.  Eventually we have to switch to the motor until around 3 p.m. when we can sail again.  Day is quiet with hardly a boat or a plane around.  Andrew watches a movie by himself, Zohar, Felix and I read.  

That  night the wind really picks up.  It’s 25 knots out there.  We’re sailing through these big waves.  They’re not huge, but they’re big swells.  I was actually steering and it was kinda fun.  In bad weather it’s not good to use the autopilot because there can be high pressure on the rudder and hence the autopilot motor.  At this point Andrew and Zohar start discussing whether to go into a harbor close by.  We are near Turkey.  We are heading towards the coast and Andrew has us tack so that we can get a better angle on the harbor of Finike.  Zo thinks this is crazy.  Andrew just wants to think about our options some more and discuss them.  They have a big argument.  Zohar’s claiming that she is the skipper of the boat because her name is on the crew list as such.  Andrew says no; the agreed to be co-skippers.  It’s an ugly scene and frankly, it was all over nothing.  We eventually did use the motor as Zohar suggested to go into the harbor.  I wondered if her whole idea to go into a harbor was part of her plan to get off the boat ASAP.  

WE come into Finike, crossing the wide bay by motor.  We were using a 25 year old pilot book that described the place as a town quay where you can tie up.  We’re looking for the lights at the mouth of the harbor amidst the lights strewn along the coast.  The whole place seems a lot bigger than the small dusty town described in the pilot book.  Finally we see the lights.  There are many masts behind the breakwater and we worry that there’s no room.  Finally we get into the marina after the tense, slow crossing of this bay, and the place is huge.  It’s a very nice marina, not a town quay and it’s full of boats, nay, yachts.  Zohar refuses to help us moor.  A dude comes out in a little motorboat to help us in.  He guides us to a spot and gets the mooring line for us.  We all breathe a sigh of relief – it has been a long, tiring ordeal.  We all crash around 2:30 a.m. and sleep deeply.

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