They know how to operate boats around here.

These vast ferries come perfectly in to land every time, hauling people and cars around the perfect calm of these Ionian waters at this time of year. They swing their backs round so close to the cars by the road. Watching the process can feel like jeopardy, but you can feel the experience of the skippers. A touch of wind, yes, but the Mediterranean is contained and it largely knows how to behave itself.

Moored just near me as I write is the Alessandro 1, a huge and shockingly beautiful sailing yacht out of Split. 48 grand a week if you want to charter the damn thing. I was pratting around taking photographs of my shadow before realising that the current squad of lucky rich folk were on board watching me.

“Lovely boat,” I told them. I have to be honest though, I was trying to work out how the sails work while I took those photos. Do they just run it off the motor? Do the sails unfurl automatically like the screen in a primary school, or does the crew have to run them up? How many crew members do you get for that 48k? It’s rigged. It must be possible to run it cleanly. But I bet there’s a great big engine too, and I bet they get lazy because of it. I reckon right now the sails are stowed and they only come out for show while they run the thing off diesel for the summer season.

I love the age of sail travel though. No surprises, with my matrilineal bloodline plugging down through grandpa Os de las Casas, (promoted from midshipman to lieutenant commander and covered in medals), his grandfather Napoleon’s biographer Emmanuel de las cases and his great great I dunno how many times great grandfather Saint Bartholomew de las casas. (I literally went on line just now for an easy link about the family and found somebody who has done some research) That’s Emanuel… Don’t get tangled up in Bartholomew being connected to Columbus. He was morally almost totally different. There’s a lot of sea in this family past though, and a lot of biography. “You have the sea in your blood,” I was always told. I do. And life writing. I have that flowing down. The others just did it for profit while I’m not quite sure why I do it.

If I could take a year off for anything, it would be to crew a tall ship around the world and connect with those boaty wanderers in my bloodline – never settling, learning and accommodating, sailing the world’s waters… I’d bring my accordion… But… But ..

There’s only so much time every turn we take at this life nonsense. I’ve got my acting to think about this time round and I sense that it’s as important as the wide angle discovery thing. But maybe the sea can be a part of it somehow. Can I blend the two? I remember being desperate to be considered when the Globe went to every country in the world with Hamlet, but back then my agent was actually a literal fish. Roll on the casting director wondering how they’ll ever be able to find an actor willing to live and work on a tall ship in South America for two years…

Right now, I’m looking at restful days. I arrived here a day earlier than intended, so now I can stop. I’ll do my laundry. I’ll do some admin. I’ll plug in to this slightly larger island next to Ithaki where I spent a week in the off season and wrote daily – a precursor to this blogmess. You can find aspects of it here, from when my blog was more sporadic and hosted elsewhere . The hosting was free too… Unlike WordPress. Maybe I made a mistake coming here. But here I am. I might read over those scribbles.

Soon Lou will show up and we will not have to do anything and it’ll be wonderful. Meanwhile I’m gonna have an ouzo and look at boats.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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