Thanks to the digital age, we take thousands of pictures each year. We cannot imagine cruising the Med with a camera that has film, which requires developing. It would simply be cost prohibiting to snap the number of photos that we do, not to mention the challenge of finding some place on remote islands, in tiny villages, to develop the film, then scan the photos in order to post them on this blog. But as long as we have space on the memory card and a charged battery, we can click, click, click, to our hearts content. And click we do. There are situations, however, when we don't even think to take pictures, as was the case during our arrival in Italy.
We began with an early morning departure from Othonio Island in Greece. After carefully raising the anchor from the rocky minefield that we inadvertently dropped into the night before, we headed to the Adriatic Sea with the destination of Otranto Italy. Sloppy seas and wind on the nose made the first part of the journey somewhat uncomfortable, but at least the sun was shining. We busied ourselves with boat chores and books to pass the time. With just two hours to go, we called Otranto for a berth, only to be told that there was no room at the inn. We knew anchoring would be problematic in the small harbor, so after a quick look at the weather, we decided to push on to Brindisi. What's another nine hours?
Brindisi is a large commercial port on the east coast of Italy. We wanted to tour some of the surrounding region of Puglia and this would give us a good base for land travel. About five miles from the harbor, we noticed a rather ominous dark cloud and questioned if it might rain. But the weather forecast had just shown clouds, no rain. So we ignored the black mass in front of us and focused on the two enormous freighters approaching, along with one ginormous tanker leaving, the harbor. There were pilot boats and tugboats and little fishing boats everywhere. It was a frenetic environment, to say the least. But there seemed little concern for the weather; everyone was just going about the business at hand. In the distance we noticed a sailboat, its sails in shreds, and we wondered. Moments later, the wind began to come up and we soon had 40 knots with waves crashing over the bow. Then, there was thunder, and lightening so close to Berkeley East we had goose bumps. And ultimately, there was the classic torrential downpour. BE was in need of a good wash but this was not how we wanted to get her cleaned. While we planned evasive maneuvers for the freighters, and dodged the tiny fishing boats that were finally racing for cover, we decided what pieces of electronics to put in the microwave in case BE's mast was struck by lightening. The choices of radios, GPS and computers were obvious, but cameras went in as well. No thoughts of taking photos even crossed our minds.
Once inside the harbor, we breathed a sigh of relief and decided to move away from the cargo ships and wait for the storm to pass before attempting to dock. Brindisi's harbor has multiple docks on the outside for big ships, so we went through the cut where we would be out of the way, only to be followed by a 600-foot freighter. Where were they going? As we got inside, we noticed that there were areas where the freighter could possibly dock, both to the right and to the left. So we stopped and waited to see which way the massive beast would turn, only to realize that it wasn't turning at all, it was anchoring, right there, nearly on top of BE. Yikes! Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, we stood our ground and held our breath. As we were contemplating what to do, and feeling like sitting ducks, we noticed a man run down from a cafe to the dock, through the rain and lightening, to take a picture of Berkeley East and her much larger new friend. Perhaps he was an insurance agent who thought he could help by documenting the impending disaster. We still never imagined getting the cameras from the microwave, or taking our attention off the steel monster for one second.
With catastrophe avoided, we cruised slowly past the long dock looking for a good space to recover from our ordeal. We were still planning to wait for the storm to end before docking, when we heard a whistle and, that all too familiar, friendly Italian word, Bongiorno! We looked through the downpour and saw the dock master standing in the rain, waving us in. Setting up Berkeley East to dock is complicated enough, but getting fenders and lines ready with lightening in sight is on our list of "never do things." But there was another boat coming in behind us, so it was now or never. And as we trudged around BE's slick deck we wondered what we were doing, but we never pondered taking pictures.
During all of the chaos, all of the potential disasters, all of the questionable decisions, we never once thought to pull out the cell phone, or camera. We also didn't say: "hey let's make a video!" We were simply too busy dealing with the crisis at hand to even entertain the notion of recording memories, let alone turning our attention away from the immediate situation. Too bad, as the entire event would have made for an exciting video that would likely have gone viral if posted on the Internet. We marvel at people who have the ability to stop and record such stressful moments.
Once safely at the dock, with the rain and clouds gone, we did finally think to take a picture, just the one. We're very happy to be back in Italy. Ciao!