Journal - Napló

Happy Fox (Lebanon 6.)

Posted on September 23, 2011 at 8:20 AM

   We’ve been in Lebanon for almost 6 weeks now. We are waiting for answers from many sources so that we could decide what direction to take next.

   People are working on the ship called Boi Branco transporting living animals. Once they are done, the huge mass of iron will leave for South-America. They’ll give us a call if they need extra manpower. In case this happened, we’d ’work ourselves to’ the American continent and our self-educated Spanish lessons would be speeded up thanks to the progress based on the challenging situation. That’s the most solid way of acquiring a smattering (like a level) of a language. Our chances aren’t looking good since we lack any background with ships and the proper documents that in most cases are necessary for a job like this. Still, when the captain and the second officer heard that taking care of animals is not strange to us, they gave us a number and asked to call them in a few days or they will if necessary.

   Talal, whose office became our camp is planning a trip to Cyprus which we could be free to join. The most tempting part of this 1-2-day trip is the great traffic of the dock of Cyprus. What also attracted us was –though that would only be a few-day stay in Cyprus- the possibility of seeing what life of a tourist paradise is like not during the season. The departure has been rescheduled for two weeks because of obtaining some official papers.

   Even back in Istanbul we applied for the Irani visa. They promised it would take 15 days but we haven’t heard from them for one and a half month. We called the Embassy, the Irani authorithies in vain, no one could answer us and they asked for patience.


Days 95-96. Trip with the Happy Fox


   This Saturday we got on the yacht in order to sail out to the nearby islands to fish, swim, dive. Talal, his four children, four relatives and us. We wound out of the little, artificial bay and were out on the sea. We had lunch back near the shore, in about an hour we got to the islands where we dropped anchor and jumped into the water. A huge boat like this has the advantage that it functions as a perfect springboard. Everyone can jump from the height they like, from almost any point of the yacht.

   In the midst of our great merriment, the generator stopped. The Sun was just about to set and the ship became slowly covered in darkness. Together with the water movements getting stronger and stronger, the yach started to dance on the surface with bigger swings. Before long, all the kids got seasick so Talal decided that we should get back to the pier. We had to heave the heavy anchor with its 8-millimetre chain-loops manually. Then, apart from the flickering red and green lights on the two sides of the ship, merely with the help of the stars’ and the far Tripoli’s lights were we heading back (the engine started from a separate battery).


   In spite of the fact that we sailed through a system of nets which we –though I was standing in the prow with a flashlight and watching the water thoroughly- didn’t notice in time, we arrived at the pier safe and sound. We all slept on the yacht and the next day we’d head out again.

   Although we didn’t have a generator in good working order, at least we could manoeuvre at sunlight. We went to another group of islands and began to jump screaming-laughing again.


   Soon, a new yacht turned up and tried to cast anchor next to us. Their anchor-engine didn’t work either, and even though they could let the anchor go deep, they couldn’t made it get stuck. Two of us went over to help them manually pull the many metres long heavy chain back. With his little motor boat, the Zodiac, Talal pushed the ship now left, then right so that we could free the chain from among the rocks. Kenneth submerged and paved the way for the anchor, freed it from the prison of stones. After two hours of struggle, it seemed the chain was free again, the anchor got stuck and they managed to fix the chain on the board with an extra rope. Talal sent over to the company of the other ship a bottle of wine as a token of consolation and we got cold water (we didn’t have a working refrigerator) in exchange.


   Not long afterwards, Kenneth noticed that the rope of the Zodiac got stuck around our ship’s propeller. We took turns, submerged and cut the rope that became pretty knotty. Over the years, the sharp maritime growth settled on the bottom of the ship did test our body, but after like 90 minutes we succeeded in freeing the propeller. Eventually, the other yacht –with all its chain-trouble- made it back to the dock before we did. Kenneth and I with bloody hands, Talal with bloody back (he cleaned the propellers from the remnants of last day’s net), the 8 children under the influence of seasickness, but still… in great mood did we say goodbye to each other. The two of us stayed on the ship so that we could wash the board the following day, the others rushed home as they’d have to go to school that day.



translated by Ágoston Galambos

Categories: English, Lebanon, by Peter

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