Dick and Irene Craig
Sat 27 Sep 2008 07:15

The storm which had been threatened all week didn’t happen as forecast, thank goodness. There had been much preparation of boats on Friday as we awaited the onslaught to arrive on Saturday but other than rain during the night and the morning, the anti-cyclone moved further away from us and although the barometer dropped like a stone, we didn’t get the southerly wind, for which I was mightily relieved.

The wind still blew ferociously from the north but we were protected by the breakwater and there was also no fetch. However, the waves were breaking on the breakwater behind us, sending spray 20+ feet into the air. Had the wind swung round to the south as predicted, we had little protection. There is a long fetch from the other side of the harbour but worse, a huge tripper boat moored up right next to us and could have been a real problem if the wind had blown from the south.

Although the weather was fine on Sunday, the tripper boat didn’t go out, remaining in the harbour with the crew undertaking maintenance. This covered our boat in black dust and when I cleaned it off, there were so many tiny rust spots that I don’t think that I will be able to remove them without professional help. Not that I don’t have the polish and the rust removal spray but the sheer size of the job is too much for me to deal with.

We went to the dive centre on Sunday for the continuation of my diving instruction thus completing the dives and training in confined water. Dick was also able to plug our laptop into the network at the dive centre, enabling us to keep in touch and to receive the latest weather forecast. It just hasn’t been possible to get WiFi from the boat.

The weather has definitely changed now and we have started to use a duvet cover on the bed, though it is not yet cold enough to also use a duvet.

Every day since our arrival, the man on the quayside, with the tanker full of mineral water, asks if we need water. Everyday we decline, as our tanks still contain sufficient water for our needs.

On Tuesday, I did 2 open water dives from the boat, rolling into the water backwards, protecting my mask and regulator. Dick accompanied me and the instructor, to give me moral support. This is not my favourite activity.

I had to show that I had mastered a number of new skills, essential for safety under the sea. We explored a bit, saw lots of little fish as well as a few big ones and an octopus. We swam around huge boulders and right up to a reef which stretched from the sea bed to within half a metre of the surface.

The first dive was for 29minutes and was close to the shore of Zakinthos. The second dive was for 35 minutes near a small island in the bay.

While the dive boat took us to the second dive location, we passed some caves on this small island. Inside one of the bigger caves was a wooden rowing boat, occupied by 4 chaps wearing white, peaked captain hats. One chap was sitting with his back to the stern and was wearing a bra, reminiscent of the pointed Madonna style bra which I always associate with her song “Just like a Virgin”. At the bow end, 2 of the fellows were just sitting. Amidships, a chap was standing with his back towards us, wearing a pair of pants which had a large round aperture circling his exposed deriere. It could have been a revue from a gay bar. Lots of “Ooh la la” and similar expressions from the other people in the dive boat as we continued to the next dive site.

On Wednesday I arrive at the centre early to do the written examination and to undertake 2 more dives which will complete the course. I passed the exam but the wind and sea forecast was unacceptable for the dive boat to be permitted by the coastguard, to take us out. It didn’t go out Thursday either. Neither did the “round the island” tripper boat. When the tripper boat returned late afternoon on Wednesday, in the pouring rain, extreme precautions took place, of a similar nature to those which had been utilised last Friday. A big blow was obviously expected. We were pleased however, that the tripper boat did moor further away from us on this occasion and that maintenance, of the kind which causes rust particles to jump ship, did not take place while the boat remained idle.

We were also grateful that although there was an electrical storm during the night, the wind was nowhere near as strong as might have been anticipated.

I am getting a bit blasé using the bread maker and finding myself unexpectedly, on the boat on Thursday, used it to make some fruit loaf. Next, I will have to experiment with using it to make cakes. The main problem with this is that having made it, one has to eat it and it is all in addition to our normal diet. Even if I freeze these tempting morsels, they are still there waiting to be consumed.

Friday morning the sun was shining, the clouds had disappeared, the barometer was still climbing and it was much warmer. I was very pleased that the weather had improved. It doesn’t take long to get cold, even wearing a wet-suit, when under the water and the sun is essential to warm up the body while resting between dives.

I finally made it and was awarded my PADI certificate. Now I need lots of experience so that I really know how to dive, not just know how to utilize the appropriate skills.

Dick didn’t accompany me on the last 2 dives but joined another group of divers who all had various stages of experience. Unfortunately, his first dive of the day was not successful as one of the party of 4, with whom he was diving, had problems while underwater and the dive was aborted after only 10 minutes. His last dive with a different group of 5 people, was much better.

Today we will leave Zakinthos town and make our way to the other end of the island. Before we leave here we must get to the internet café and then replenish some provisions, not knowing when we will next be able to do either.


Below:- Irene reaching for ladder to get out of water after last dive of course. Tripper boat toooo close to us.