October 5, 2012
A Trip on the Aqua Spirit
Splash!! The sound of the waves lapping up against the shore rings in my ears as we wait for the boat to come. The port is crowded with people, some of them talking about the weather, hoping the boat ride will be good. I look up, as a boat emerges from the distance. It is probably our boat, the Aqua Spirit, but I am not sure. As the ship comes closer, I realize that it is not our boat, but a familiar one. I had seen it before, it was the Artemis. I had travelled on that boat to another island two years ago. It anchored in the port of our island almost every night. It treaded forward, the waves rocking it from side to side, up and down.
Another boat emerges from the distant haze, and I’m sure that it is our boat. It was definitely our boat, but it was making a sharp turn and going far to the right of the port. There was very little chance that it was only passing by and going to a different island. Then, it made another sharp turn to the left, and started heading straight for the port. Relief flooded over me, I was worried for a second that our boat was passing by to another island. A few minutes later, the boat is backing in to the dock, the port police and shipmen throwing, and catching the ropes to tie the boat up. Passengers, cars and trucks start piling out of the ship, as other cars wait to go in. We see a truck with a cow in it, with his leg stuck. I feel sorry for the cow, going on a ship in this weather. I glance back at the truck; the cow’s leg isn’t stuck anymore. The Port Authority are shouting, “Prosehete to skalopati!” which translates to “Watch your step!” in Greek, because the edge of the parking garage door was moving up and down. I look up and realize that we are ready to board the ship. I hope for a good ride and step into the boat.
The creaking of the garage door makes me shiver as we slowly approach the door. The waves make the boat lurch back and forth, and the roar of the cars and trucks makes my ears ring. We step through the small doorway, and into a stairwell leading to the rest of the boat. We climb up the stairs, grasping onto the railing for support. We pass through Business Class, and scramble to an open table in Economy Class. It is the WORST Economy Class that I’ve seen; ugly wallpapered walls, 7-foot high, striped, mirrored ceilings; decade-old tables and outdated chairs; foggy, scratched-up, horrible quality windows; and smaller than a classroom. It was pure UGLY. A sudden lurch startled me and made me cling on to both sides of the table. We were starting to move. My mom and I were in complete silence for the first few minutes. The boat slowly trudged forward, like feet trying to move through mud.
It terrorized me. All I could do was grasp the sides of the table and hope for the best. It felt as if the boat was frail, unable to withstand the violent sea. I stared out the scratched up windows, freaking out as one second the sky was visible, the next, only the sea. My mom and I started getting motion sick, and I hoped it was going to get better, for it was only the first few minutes. I was bored out of my mind. I know only boring people get bored, but THIS was an exception. I didn’t know what to do. My mom suggested that I read a book, but I denied that offer. She said she was going to try to go to sleep, so I tried as well. After five minutes I gave up, and started listening to other people’s conversations.
“Mama! Voitha me! Tha pnigoume! Tha vouliaxi to karavi!” (Mom! Help me! We’re going to drown! The boat’s going to sink!) “Uuhh”. The woman next to me sighs as she turns of her phone. “Dhen boro allo! Afto einai trela! (I’ve had enough! I can’t take it anymore! This is crazy!) she complained. Her four companions chuckle, and one says, “Eimouna sto Aiolos Kenteris me DHEKA buffor!” (I was on the highspeed Aeolos Kenteris with TEN buffers! This is nothing!) The group of four sitting with her laugh and she has a look of horror on her face.
“I’m going to go outside, and see if nicer out there.” my mom states. “Ok. See ya in a sec.” My mom slowly walks towards the stairs, grasping onto things for balance. I sit, looking out the windows, waiting to see what my mom will say when she comes back. The spray from the waves shoots past the window, and for a second, I see a rainbow. I hear the door open, and I see my mom come down, looking kind of…wet. “I got soaked!” I touch part of her dress, and find it completely wet. “No kidding.” “It’s extremely crazy out there!” An idea suddenly popped into my head. “I’m going to call Dad, and tell him about this ride.” He and I used to laugh at this boat when we saw it rocking like a twig in the violent sea. Now, he would be laughing at me. I remembered that I had checked the weather for the way there, not the way back. I tried to call him, but there was no signal. The laughs would have to wait until we got home, if we got home.
“I’m going outside to see what it’s like.” I say. “Ok, be careful.” I push the door with all my might, just barely getting it open. Drops of spray suddenly pelt my body, and my hair starts whipping in the breeze. A dad, and two kids are standing on the deck, right next to the door. I grab onto a pole for support, so I don’t fall over. All of the sudden, I hear “PROSEHE! (WATCH OUT!)” A hand reaches out and grabs me, as a wave slams the side of the ship, soaking me, and the others on the deck. I look, and realize that the Dad of the two children had grabbed me to make sure the waves didn’t toss me around. I was soaking wet and getting cold, so I decided I would retreat back inside.
I quickly stepped over the threshold, and scrambled down the stairs. I turned the corner, and saw two Greek men trying to sleep without their shirts, on the floor; an Asian woman sleeping in her chair, leaning against the wall; two disgruntled, seasick-looking Australians; and two Indian women sound asleep with their shoes off. I took a seat, as a worker from the boat entered the room, going around and handing everyone a barf bag if they wanted one. Apparently, my mom had gone back to trying to sleep, so I grabbed a bag for both of us. Once the worker gave me the bags, my mom opened her eyes. As time started passing by, I started reading a book, and then, after about fifteen minutes passed, I stopped. “Are we getting close to Paros?” I asked my Mom. Paros is the island that the boat stopped at on its way to Syros. It couldn’t take that much longer, I mean, really now, Paros is next to Naxos. A booming voice frightened me. “Se liga lepta tha ftasoume sto limani tis Parou. Oloi h epivates me proorismo ti Paro na etimazonte yia tin apovivasi tous. Sas efharistoume pou taxideuete me tin NEL lines. Efhomaste na se dhoume sindoma.” Then a heavy accented voice of English said, “In a few minutes we will arrive at the port of Paros. Everyone with the destination of Paros should get ready to disembark. Thank you for travelling with NEL Lines. We hope to see again you soon.”
Well, I guess that settles it”, my mom replies. Yup!” I say in an upbeat voice. At least we’re almost halfway there, I thought. “I’m going to be right back.” I say. “Where are you going?” My mom asks. “I’m going to see if it’s better upstairs, on the deck. Be right back.” I wait a minute, and then I scramble toward the door heading outside. I skid to a stop when I reach the door, and yank it open. I struggle to get it open, but I manage, and slip through. I was on the left side of the ship. I got my sense of direction, and saw the stairs I needed to go up. I walk briskly over to the stairs, and start climbing them, holding onto the handrail for support. I step up, onto the deck, and see a spread out area with benches. My ears adjust to the rumbling noise of the smokestack, and I scan the area. I saw the waves, slamming the side of the ship. It was crazy how the ship could withstand all that water hitting it’s side. I saw Paros, we were just entering the port. There were two ships in the port; a tanker, and the NEL Lines cargo ship, Mykonos. I walked back down the stairs, and to the door. I went inside, and gave my mom a thumbs-up. She got the cue, and started getting her stuff back together. I did the same, and we both headed outside, as the Aqua Spirit blasted its horn.
My mom and I chose two different benches, and set our stuff down. I grabbed the camera, and went to the stern of the ship to take pictures of Paros, and the ships in the port. I remembered coming to Paros two years ago, with the Artemis. Our ship was anchored side by side with the Mykonos, the bobbing of the two ships synchronized. There was no action near the Mykonos; all the action was near our boat. Lots of people started pouring out of the ship, and there was a big mass of people waiting to get onboard. Then I remembered the cow, and wondered if it was getting off here. I look down, and see the truck with the cow in it pull away from the boat. At least the cow was getting off here, and not continuing the ride in the vicious sea. A few more cars poured out, and then the crowd of people waiting to get in the ship started moving toward the boat. Most of the people that were waiting got on the boat. I wondered where they all went, since the ship was so small, and I saw only a couple come up here. The last of the people stepped out of sight, and I got ready to move.
I focused on the workers on the deck below us, telling people on that deck to come up to this deck. I saw the port police throw a really thick rope in the water, and a small, thin rope up to the workers. The workers caught the thin rope and hoisted it into that area. When they got to the end of the thin rope, they started pulling up the thick rope tied to it. Once they finished, I saw the parking garage door rise up, until it stopped and made a loud “bang!” The engines of the boat were turned on, I heard a “chick, chick, chick, chick” sound of the anchor being raised, and we started moving forward. The boat picked up pace and headed away from Paros, and out of the port. I went back to my bench, and sat down. “What to do?” I wondered. I got my book out and read for a while.
After some time, I closed my book, and went to the right side of the ship to explore. I walked a few meters on the right side, and reached the end. “Not much to explore.” I thought. A wave hit the side, and cooled me off instantly. It was weird to think that at the beginning of this ride I was terrified and getting seasick, but now I was fine. I guess I had gotten used to it. I stayed in that spot for a few minutes, enjoying when the waves got me wet. I went back to the stern, past some kids playing, and looked back at Paros. It was getting farther away by the second, and I was surprised how far away we’d gotten. Time does fly when you’re having fun. I went back to the right side of the ship again, and watched the prow cut through the water. I realized that when the prow comes down on a big wave, that’s what makes all the spray come up the sides of the ship. More spray came, and my hair whipped in the gentle breeze. I was having fun, after all.
I looked forward, and I saw Syros. It was growing bigger by the minute, it seemed that it was about 30 minutes away. I couldn’t wait to tell my grandma, Bob (her friend), Pappou Leo (my grandpa), and my dad all about this experience. I smiled as I thought about all the fun we had in Naxos, renting bikes for the day, and making a friend, Vassilis, at the hotel. It was very relaxing, getting spray in my face and immersing myself deep into my thoughts. I compared sitting inside and getting seasick to standing out here, feeling the breeze, and getting sprayed. It was pretty obvious what won. I went to my mom’s bench, and got the camera to take photos of the huge waves. This time, I went to the left side of the boat. There were some women sitting down against the wall, and a few people leaning over the railing looking at the sea. The sun was setting, and it was a beautiful sight. I took some photos at the perfect time when the waves were really high up, and two videos for my dad. He would be laughing and amazed that the waves were so high up on the side of the ship. Luckily, the camera only got a few drops of water on it. I went back and sat down, and reviewed the pictures, and videos.
Syros was really getting close; we were close to Aspronisi (White Island). The ship passed next to Aspronisi, and the port of Syros started coming into view, with a few familiar boats docked there. Now the ship was passing next to Stroggilo (Round Island), and Didimi (Twin Island). I took a few zoomed in photos of the light house on Didimi, and some photos of Stroggilo. We kept going straight toward my grandma’s house, and I looked for someone on the balcony. We weren’t turning for the port, it was strange, but then the boat made a sharp left turn, narrowly missing the jetty. The Aqua Jewel was in the port, along with a cargo ship in the Neorion Shipyard. The Aqua Spirit slowly turned around, as we made our way downstairs. I snapped a picture of the seating area inside for my dad, so he could see how ugly it was. We passed through business class, and started down the stairs. The ride was pretty fun, I thought. We did make it, after all. We stepped down the last stair, and into the musty smelling garage. We made our way to the door, careful not to get run over by cars or trucks. We stepped out of the garage and took in the sight. We had loads of fun in Naxos, but Syros was the island we loved the most. It was our home in Greece. We had already (and will) have more fun in Syros than we had on any other island. We were delighted to be back.
I am six weeks into school, after coming back from Greece.
I’ll tell you about my summer.
We went to Greece, and stopped in New Jersey (to see my cousin) and Philly to see you guys. Total, we spent a week there. There, I went to a water party at Myers, a mini-golf party, and I got a chance to see all of my friends. I had so much fun with you guys (thanks!) and it couldn’t’ve been much better.
Then we went to Greece, and spent 8 weeks there. We went to three different islands, saw lots of family and friends, and did many more things.
Then, from Greece, we flew to Venice, Frankfurt, D.C, and Charlotte to get home. We didn’t have a choice, so we had to go to all of those places. We had a 14 hour layover in Venice, and rode through the canals, went to the port, and did many other things. We then slowly made our way home through those four airports. We had 8 flights going there and back!
More news to come!
Hello! Recently I went on a field trip to a farm called Crowe’s Nest Farm. It was a really cool farm with many animals and a cool hayride. A really nice place if you like farms and animals.
For more info about Crowe’s Nest Farm, go to http://www.crowesnestfarm.org/
Below are some pictures of my favorite animals there.
When my friend David visited, we went to a great exhibit at the Witliff Collections in the Alkek Library at Texas State University. It was an exhibit about Rick Riordan with a scavenger hunt, manuscripts, foreign editions of his books, and many more items from his series’ donated by him. It was a great exhibit, and a must-go for big fans of his. Below are photos from the exhibit, and a picture of The Red Pyramid Graphic Novel’s cover.