There are two types of people in the world

ak0There are two types of people in the world; those who scream and those who Deniz Kurtdon’t!

Not scientific, of course, an observation of my own… In my words then: there are those panic by screaming when faced with a terrifying situation or there are those surprisingly keep calm. I am one of the non-screamers. This doesn’t mean I don’t worry, get anxious or be afraid even in the middle of a disaster however I do not panic.

It was right in the middle of the Adriatic when the boat’s engine stopped! It was around 1AM but would make no difference if it was 9 PM and at sea, a night is a “night”. After the sun goes down and if there is no full moon, utter darkness absorbs you until the sun rises again. That is why you can clearly see the stars as there is no other light source. And the stars don’t help at all while trying to see your friend less than half a meter away.

I was in my cabin. Normally I don’t even get up because I know very well that we have an experienced crew made up of people who have crossed an ocean ten times the least and have experience to come up with a solution, no matter what we face. The instant the engine stopped I understood this was an extraordinary situation as it had been quite some time since we left the Greece’s Corinth Canal and entered the Adriatic. I was aware the voyage would take 24 hours and it was too early to reach the shores of Italy. It meant we were in the middle of the Ionian Sea. A point of no return to Greece and no going for Italy!

I jumped out of my bed. Others had also come outside. Why we stopped I asked? We don’t know yet they replied! The most unsympathetic answer ever. They are sailors, I am not. My stance in a situation like this resembles passengers on a plane. You know the plane is in turbulence and shakes violently but you can’t tell whether it is crashing or keeping it or can’t even ask because the flight attendants with redundant smile on their face assure you that everything is OK and you just need to sit. This doesn’t satisfy you and you start carefully analysing the faces of all flight attendants walking on the aisle to see if there is worry underneath those smiles. This is how I felt as the captain was humming a tune despite being rocked by huge waves. Since we departed after checking out the weather forecasts, and there were no storms but waves were large as if it was raining. Huge waves of the open sea were rocking us more after the engine stopped. Right…Left… Right… Left… Even though the boat was a modern Wally, all I could hear were the squeaks coming from everywhere as if we were on a 19th century galiot. My mind, since childhood imagining every aspect of my life like a scene from a movie, had connected to “Master and Commander” in which Russell Crowe played the lead, anyway…

They finally understood the problem and begun fixing the engine. Having a non-panicking nature means immediately planning for solutions. Despite obtaining necessary training before engaging in these things and owning pages of certificates, my mind, distrustful to every condition, experience and person, was already checking out the locations of the life vests and what I should do in any situation while I sat there silently. Still, I was thinking to myself: “Come on! What can go wrong, mighty sailors…” when the captain stopped his humming to say “unplug all the cables from the outlets or we explode” that made me jump instantaneously! He, on the other hand, continued his humming. Their calm meant everything was supposed to be alright but oh, how I was thinking differently at that time. I mean since they were being calmer than me, it seemed quite clear that all was OK however every indication was to the contrary.

After struggling in the midst of the night for almost an hour, they decided a fix was not possible and we continued our way by setting our huge sails. The wind and navigation was controlled, mileage to the nearest port was calculated and we changed our destination as the port of Crotone in Italy hours later.

Conclusion: Yes, sea takes no prisoners. To be on sea, you have to be one of those non-screaming girls!