It is eleven o’clock in the morning. The sun is already burning and my skin is reminding me of the places I failed to sunscreen efficiently yesterday. Reluctantly I pull my sleeve over my arm. No use in challenging the sun any further. I learned my lesson and unlike Icaros I try to be humble. I know not to challenge the burning god in the sky on these latitudes. I am sitting on the port side of the ship with one leg over the side looking down on the stern while Hoppet is splicing trough the waves of the Egean sea. It is so blue and clear it is almost unreal.
We set the sails at six this morning, right after Jonatan’s and my nightshift at the rudder ended. So our plan to catch some shuteye before breakfast failed miserably. But who can complain when we are doing five and a half knots with all sails up (this includes the topsails) and Leros is aproaching ever faster. It is impossible to feel sleepy.
News from Alar the first mate, tells us we are going to try something different. Intstead of lowering the sails safely in the open sea outside of Leros, we will try to navigate a small passage and take them down in a small bay. This means that once the operation gets going, everything will happen very fast.
Silently we glide through the passage, high mountains on each side. The feeling is majestic, but also tense. The wind can change direction and the big sails with their big booms can come flying any second. The deck is cleared of all blankets and clothes and the crew turns silent and focused. Ropes are checked and short commandos are the only thing breaking the thick silence. The god in the sky seems to be watching over us, because the heat suddenly feels allot more intense. It is time, the shore is approaching. First the topsails, we pull the ropes and they fold in like a dream. Then the frontsails. One down, no problem, two no problem, three no problem, four… nothing. It is stuck. A ring at the top has jammed against the wire and the sail will not come down. We pull, we look, we think about going up in the mast, we pull again. For a moment there are different opinions, even the captain leaves the rudder to come check what is going on. Hoppet keeps gliding into the small bay. Time is running out and we don’t have a plan.
Then suddenly, with four men pulling on the sail with all their strength the jam gives away and the sail comes gliding down the wire like a fireman on a pole. We keep going like nothing happened. When it’s time for the main sails I get a funny feeling of déja vu. This rope goes here, that one over there, keep your eyes at the top boom, at the same time, nice and easy, pull the skoot tight, ahoj! It is down and I instinctively move to the next.
And so the sails are down and we have a look around. Like a small bit of paradise. The water turns a lighter shade of blue, a beach, a small forest on the hill. Buildings that look uncharacteristically colorful in the greek landscape huddle up in one end. That’s where we’re heading. Like two arms the houses open up to us in a mild embrace, it is the port. We land, softly, as if parallelparking on the first try. Like a glove.
Welcome to Lakki!