Foiled escape bid
Sun 1 May 2011 15:28
We went down to the dock this afternoon and noticed a rusting hulk that appeared to be about to leave. It was a spilit second decision but we thought â maybe this is our chance. A hasty conversation in broken Russian with the shady character at the dockside revealed they were, indeed, leaving Odessa, destination was unclear but we decided to take the risk. They demanded money from us on entering but thankfully didnât ask too many questions. We squeezed in between other passengers, all obviously sharing our wish to escape this place, you could see it in their faces.
At first sprits were high with the relief of casting off and heading out to sea. People laughed, joked with eachother. Inevitably though, conditions soon got pretty bad. The sun was beating down and clearly nobody had come prepared for a sea voyage. The meagre supplies they had on board were running low, and the surly crew were demanding extortionate prices for each morsel.
A long, low object appeared in the water. I think it was a Russian sub. Maybe this put the frighteners on the crew, because at this point they turned the hulk around and headed back for port. The utter dejection and disappointment that we and the other refugees felt at this point was unbearable. But we were powerless. This time it wasnât meant to be. We were all made to get off and we trudged back towards the town, to face another day.
Iâve gone over it in my head several times since. Were we duped? Maybe they never intended to get us and all those others out of here.
We did get an ice cream though.