Easter Storm in Syracuse, Sicily.
Easter Storm in Syracuse, Sicily.Report Abuse
April 12: Easter Sunday
It is Easter morning, I am at anchor in the ancient harbor of Siracuse, Sicily, the wind has picked up over night and is increasing , ripples race across the water, you can see the wind, you can see its disturbed reflections on the water race madly in various directions. The ripples have grown and grouped together, pushing the water along until the harbor becomes a bay of whitecaps. You hear the wind it is louder and deeper howling along, now and again screaming thru the rigging. Thwamp! thwamp! thwamp! as a loose line snaps against the aluminum mast, like the rapid ringing of a cracked bell, an invisible mad drummer, thwamp! thwamp! thawmp!
The anchor line stretches out like a thin white tendon reaching into the sea to grasp the bottom, its fingers precariously clenching onto whatever grime, detris, mud, rot it could wrap its pointed steel fingers around.
The boat lurches from side to side exposing a quarter, Slap! Slap! As its exposed flank is belted by a series of waves, she rushes to the other side to avoid more punishment.
The sun is masked behind the clouds, afraid to look; the horizon is a dark band as rain squalls ripped thru the harbor. Squadrons of squalls belting horizontal rain, liquid BB’s splattering, pounding the boat like a pressure washer, whoooosh, bababababababababab! A Gatling gun spraying water bullets.
It is a dirty white outside the boat; the sea and horizon have melted into a liquid world of rain and saltwater. The sea a froth, the horizon blanketed by a belt of water, the sky a grey dirty thing, close, very close.
There is nothing to do but wait till it is over, wait in a plastic box, floating in a maelstrom, secured by a rope, a chain, and a pointed piece of steel. This is the time you miss your bed, your couch and the land beneath your feet. You sit and wait. You know that in a short while it will be dark and in your heart you know it will be worse.
Night takes away our vision so our other senses become heightened, we hear each slap, each bounce, we feel each rise and fall, the movement from side to side, but we cannot see it, we hear it, we feel it and it sickens me. Dread mixes with resignation, you have done everything you can to weather the storm, you have taken down and bagged the sail, you have two good anchors down and you have seen with your own eyes them strain under the offensive hand of the wind.
You have wrapped the rope line with a two foot section of garden hose and wrapped the hose in tape and nylon bands, to prevent it from chafing and becoming undone. The other line is all chain, it makes a clanking noise as it becomes taught and like towing a car, the boat is lurched forward now and again enough to make you unsteady. So you have done everything you can, you must wait for the conclusion.
Have a drink, smoke a cigarette, what difference does it make, the furies are outside stirring a cauldron, waiting for you. Your nerves are taut; you are tense, try to decompress. Find something to take your mind off the noise, the noise and the motion. Resignation, I play a movie on the laptop, I have another glass of wine. I later fall half asleep fully clothed, with flash light, inflatable life vest and handheld VHF all within reach. Clank! Thwamp! Clank! Clank! I am startled, adrenal rushes thru me I feel a fist tighten around my heart, what the fuck is that noise! Jump up, I grab the flash light, put on the vest, I am on deck, I stumble around in the darkness like a drunk as everything is in motion, it is as if I am underway, my greatest fear is welling up, to drag and run aground in a storm. I look for the anchor, the white line in the dim light of the flash light is tense and secure, she is holding, the boat is secured; she is still tethered to the mud below. Still the motion, waves running beneath the hulls, wet wind pelting my face, everything around me is in motion but the boat is not moving. I see on the starboard hull the aluminum parrasalle or boarding plank that had been tied to the stanchions rising and falling crashing on deck. The wind is lifting it! It is blowing; it is 4:00 AM.
I secure the aluminum plank, check the anchor one more time, it seems to vibrate with each swell as the tension pulls the line out of the water then back again, an endless tug of war. I go below and take off the wet jacket and lie in the salon again. My eyes are shut but my hearing is only accented, each sound is identified classified and filed. I fall asleep in surreal seascape; my dreams are anxious and convoluted.
Dawn came slowly, the sun slowly breaks the full hold of the night, greylight replaced the darkness, the wind seems to have quieted and there was the unspoken promise that the worst might be over.