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Article: Tale of the Seas ( In Chapters)

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    Tale of the Seas ( In Chapters)

    5 Comments by Doc Vernon Published on 7th January 2020 03:56 AM
    WE THE SEAMEN, PROLOGUE
    Squalls, gales, cyclones and storms. These are the companions of seamen when traveling the seas in their seafaring ships, sailing across the oceans from port to port.
    Many a time, while caught in the midst of these fierce elements of nature, they pray that this, this one voyage, will not be their last. Many a time they wonder whether they will reach the next port.
    It is their destiny to live in awe of the supernatural forces of the sea, forces that move billions of tons of water, at times gently, at times mightily, many times shifting land and coastline in their wake.
    It is their destiny to withstand immeasurable fear every time a huge wave lifts the ship up high in the skies and keeps it dangling at great height. To hear the terrible creaking sounds of the ship while balancing in the air and count the seconds until the wave brings it back down on wide water.
    Calm seas never hone skilled seamen; so, no seaman regrets long voyages in seafaring ships, no islander regrets sailing his caique out on the open seas, facing fierce, white topped waves, reaching heights of three and four metres.
    When the immense waves on the ocean hide the sky, the sailors look through the big windows of the bridge and, with every striking wave, see the ship sinking under the water and then, when raised up on the wave’s crest, see it teetering at great heights.
    Behind sealed iron doors, some in the engine room and others on the bridge, they hold onto immovable parts of the ship, trying to balance against the rolling of the ship, or walk with legs akimbo to stay upright, leaning their body away from the listing of the ship. Nobody is able to sleep, they cannot close their eyes, and those who try, fall out of their bunks. They sit in the mess, on benches and chairs fixed to the floor, or stand, leaning on the bulkhead behind the portholes. Quiet, without talking, they look at the angry sea outside and wonder how many beauforts they can withstand. Fear takes shape on their faces when the ship is raised up, because, while hanging in the balance, at the crest of the wave, it may break in two; relief takes over every time the ship sits low on the base of the receding wave, and they have no fear when the water covers the whole ship because they know that its bulkheads protect it from sinking. And again, pensive and quiet in their own hidden, dark thoughts, they wait for the next wave.
    This life, the life lived by seamen, is a dangerous and unusual one, very different from that of land dwellers. It is governed by other rules, different ethics, it is a life that that has adjusted to the difficulties of isolation and hard work.
    They are never sorry about their profession, not even a little bit. They never regret their choice.
    They travel without pause, through the painful fear when the sea is rough and with nostalgia for those on land waiting for them, as if they are possessed by a morbid attraction. Some enlightened poets write in their poems that seamen have their souls pledged to the devil….
    Yet, I have travelled and withstood the many sufferings as a seaman, and, I say, no. They have not sold their souls, it is their love of the sea; she is difficult and unbearable, but those who fight her get used to her and fall in love, she becomes a habit and life itself. For she gives as many joys as dangers. Middle aged sailors cannot tolerate land, they prefer the loneliness of vast oceans and the music of gentle waves plashing, the howling of the winds when the weather becomes heavy and the sea swells.
    Young boys fresh at sea experience on board the inhumanity and rage of hardened seamen and, at port, in the embrace of prostitutes, they get to know the sweet hedonistic pleasures and the secrets and enjoyment of paid love.
    They contract tropical diseases and become covered by deadly sores, they learn about forbidden herbs and drunken love in port dives.
    For months and months, the sailors on tankers impatiently wait for the few hours they will dock, to run to the bars and surrender themselves to the delusion of drink and the embrace of women with red, painted lips that accentuate their sordid profession, who ask first for payment and then, gladly offer their false love.
    A seaman’s life is hard, but it is also sweet. It is a longing and a love for the sea. And, as the song goes,
    Captains and so many others,
    boatswains, sailors, engineers
    each has his longings
    this is how we are, we, the seamen.


    THE VAST SEA
    And God said on the Third day “Let the waters under the sky be gathered into one place so that the dry land may appear. And He called the dry land Earth, and the water Sea”.
    And the sea He created was unexplored, unsurmountable, unpredictable, yet beautiful, unparalleled and incomparable.
    He gave her the power to change and transform herself, and she possesses that power until today. God made her depths and morphology change shape with every current and quake, assume different formations, form valleys and ravines, some, densely covered in vegetation and others barren landscapes eternally covered by salty water, their bottomless depths at times impenetrable by sunlight.
    Life first spawned and evolved within her salty waters. The well documented knowledge of scientists could not contradict the theological treaties that explained this genesis. All agree however, that the sea is the cradle of life.
    Her world is full of plant life that varies depending on the latitude. How sea plants and gigantic kelp grew and evolved is still unknown to scientists. Myriads of life forms, from microscopic and invisible organisms to huge fish and strange fairy tale dragons live within her.
    When the vapours in the atmosphere liquified, they created myriads of tons of water which fell to the Earth and created lakes and seas.
    Small seas and large seas, open seas and closed seas, pelagoes and oceans.
    Seas that are rough and grey, seas that are blue and calm.
    The Mediterranean Sea lapped upon the whole south western side of my small village. Usually, the sea was rough as the area was exposed to south western winds, mainly the western wind known in the Mediterranean as “Pounendes”. Whenever there was bad weather over the Greek seas, Pounendes savagely brought it to our area, and Paphos was always in its wake. Pounendes brought with him raging seas that pounded the shore from the Akamas peninsula to Petra to Romiou, and even further.
    My small village was in the middle. The shores, whether summer or winter, were beaten by the sea, always covered by the vapours of the terrifying waves that crashed on the jagged indestructible rocks that stood on the beach and arrested their force.
    The strong currents agitated the water and formed maelstroms that pushed and shifted the water with great force. Coupled with the huge waves, they formed a formidable force, a major threat, and made the sea of Chloraka very dangerous. As a child, I remember that many lost their lives at sea, mainly people who defied her or did not take her seriously.
    So, the seas in Chloraka are rough and, despite being a small village with few inhabitants, it had the misfortune of losing many lives during the scorching summer days when people took a dip to cool off. The elders but also the younger generation say that never did a year pass without drownings.
    This is where I was born many years ago, in this beautifully savage place, yet I longingly remember those difficult and hard times when, through a miserable and very poor existence, I was raised and became a man.
    I remember when we had no food, not even our daily bread. I was thin and skeletal, but I never cried or complained, despite the hardships of my poor existence.
    I was comforted by the vast and amazingly beautiful view of the sea and I would sit and lose myself in my musings. The roar and groan of the sea reached the windows of the small shack where I lived and penetrated the wooden shutters, filling my young heart with fear. As I grew however, I became used to this fear and the howling sea winds became necessary, almost like a tender lullaby. These same winds at times roared in anger and yet, at other times, they calmly and serenely caressed the waves that softly crashed on the shores.
    During life’s great school of childhood, I would stand on the rocky shore and stare for countless hours at the vastness of the water. My mind would go through a thousand thoughts, but I could not comprehend the great mysteries of the sea, hidden in plain sight on her surface and her depths. I was ecstatic while looking at her, majestically spread before me, and, in the distance, I would see her coupling with the sky and forming the circular shape of the Earth. And I, a poor boy not yet educated, could not understand all these mysteries. I thought I could see the edge, the point where the world came to an end…
    And, I was pleased to see the edge of the Earth.
    People say that a rough sea symbolises problems and worries. They also say that, if the waves reach inland, the local people will have days of happiness and prosperity. Both phenomena occurred on the beaches of Chloraka, therefore the circumstances prevailing were somewhere in the middle, no insurmountable despair, yet no happiness either. This was a dry terrain, void of soil and water, and the inhabitants toiled in manual labour as stone masons, builders and carpenters. These were the usual professions, and only a few parents were able to send their children for further education. Most just managed to complete elementary education, because, in those days, secondary education could only be obtained by paying tuition.
    I lived under these difficult circumstances and conditions until the age of eighteen. Those were adverse times, the whole population lived a difficult life and, for most, there was no work… The food was not enough to feed their children because the land was barren, practically all of it being bedrock. A rocky terrain, yet green with the evergreen pistacia bushes and sea squills, known locally as “schinies” and “arkoshilles”, growing among the dry rocks. Between them, cyclamen and wild irises known as “macherades” as well as many other kinds of beautiful wildflowers adorned God’s creation. It was a beautiful place and, despite the hardships I endured due to the poverty of the times, it remained embedded in my heart, forever loved.
    Children’s voices soon left our small house as my older siblings moved to other districts in search of a better future. The house itself was built at the end of the village, lonely and without amenities, without drinking water and without electricity. We drank water from a seven fathom deep well, and we drew it using a kind of pulley, always careful not to swallow any of the numerous leeches thriving in the well. When night fell, we went to bed early to save the kerosene that fueled the lamp, our one and only lamp. A lamp with a wick that just managed a gentle glow, so we had to do our homework early, before sundown.
    Our mother grew some vegetables and potatoes to feed us. After school, we would help her in the small field that was in the yard, pulling the weeds and hoeing the vegetable beds.
    At the beginning of every summer, when the terebinths ripened, we collected them and took them to the mill to have them ground in order to extract the oil. It was a bitter oil, it burned the top of our mouths and our innards, but we used it out of need because we could not afford to buy corn oil from the shop.
    We called it terebinth oil and it had a coarse taste we didn’t like, it tasted literally like poison. Now, however, after the passing of so many years, I nostalgically miss its taste.
    During the summer, a small truck drove down the narrow road outside our yard with its back door opened. Slowly and painstakingly, it rolled down the slope in first or second gear. All the children in the neighbourhood ran and climbed in the back, and it would take us all to the beach. The driver was a kind man with rheumatism and, every day, he would go to the beach to bury himself in the hot sand to relieve his pain. He allowed all of us to climb in his vehicle and he happily took us to the beach. All he asked was a little help. We would dig a hole and cover him in sand, up to his neck. As long as he tolerated the heat of the sand, we swam and splashed in the tranquil and blue waters of the sea of Chloraka.
    Before I learned how to swim, I would just go into the shallow waters and never dare venture into the deep. However, when one of us brought an inflated inner tyre tube, we would gleefully hang on to it and, as many of us as the thing could hold, we went out into the deep waters.
    From the deep, I could see another world. I saw the distant land differently, dry and yellow under the sun. I saw the scorching heat hover and fill the atmosphere with mist while I felt fresh bathing in the cool sea water.
    It never crossed my mind at the time that I would become a seaman, or, that I would love the sea as much as I love her now. As a child, I loved the sea and played with her, but now I love her as she has played with me, for, soon, fate would lead me to sail on the ships and experience her good, and her bad side.


    THE FIRST VOYAGE
    Even in childhood, I thought and carried myself as an adult. Many times, I wondered why grownups sometimes told me that when I grew up, I would mature. I never thought like a small boy and wondered whether, maybe, adults thought like children.
    My childhood and formative years were spent in poverty, and most days we had no food. I remember the cold winters without heat, the cold baths, even cooking over a woodfire because we had no gas.
    The only thing we bought from the shop was bread, and even that was on credit, and we paid it off with great difficulty.
    My childhood was indeed difficult and poor. I remember my sick mother on her deathbed, suffering and dying at a young age, never having the chance to grow old.
    As time passed, the memories remained indelible, but I gained inspiration and experience from everything I endured as a child. These were experiences that scarred me and helped me become patient and resilient, but, mainly, taught me to depend on myself. The hardships and lack of worldly goods caused by poverty during my childhood followed me forever, stayed with me for the rest of my life, and had a decisive effect on the formation of my character, my evolution as a person and, also, my conduct.
    I finished school, got an education, learned how to speak English, and decided to embark on the ships. I felt the world could not contain me, I felt I was surrounded by walls imprisoning and limiting my horizons. These walls however were too low to hold me back, so, one day, I climbed over them and fled far away. I broke the shackles of my surroundings, widened my stride and ventured to the ends of the Earth. I became a traveller, I became a seaman and sailed the sea, I saw and got to know cities and villages, new places and people, new values and traditions, other cultures and new things, true mysteries.
    I have vivid memories of the last months of my national service, I was serving at an outpost to the north of Polis. I would find work in the fields and earn a daily wage of five shillings. The bosses were hard men, I could not even stop to take a breath, and I worked very hard. The wage was low, but I didn’t mind, so long as I found work every few days. I religiously saved my five shillings, so, when I was discharged, I had saved three pounds. I managed to find work that paid twenty pounds a month at a warehouse. This, however, was very temporary. I was dismissed shortly after, and the job was given to a relative of the boss. I do remember that day very clearly though, because I counted the pounds I had earned and saved with such hard labour, and they were enough to buy a ticket on the ship “Knossos”.
    I boarded the ship and thus begun the big voyage…
    I stood at the stern and watched my country fade away. I found out that the ship I boarded was on its last voyage and was to be decommissioned. It was old, eaten up by the sea. All I hoped was that this voyage, away from my country, would not be my last, and I prayed that God would help me return one day, under better circumstances. With these worrying thoughts flooding my mind, I stood and bid farewell to my island until the land disappeared and all that remained was the infinite sea.
    Time passed, and dusk found me in the same place, leaning on the railings. My ticket was cheap, and I was going to stay awake on deck.
    I stood, and thoughts danced in my head. I was making plans and thinking of the unknown future ahead, and in my heart, I had one hope; that my future would be better than my miserable past.
    At dawn, the sunlight revealed the endless blue of the sea, fading in the distant horizon. I felt my eyes heavy, so I sat down, leaned on the bulkhead of the ship and fell asleep with the cool breeze of the sea sculpting my face.
    The splashing of the ship through the waves lulled me to sleep and I slept for quite a while, until the sun shone in my face and woke me. I lingered half asleep watching the passengers coming and going before me while, in the calm sea, dolphins swam and leaped in the water happily by the sides of the ship.
    I remained leaning on the railings watching the playful waves; I was not in a hurry, I had all of God’s time on my hands.
    The day passed, then nightfall took over, and again came the morning. I then heard happy voices shouting “land, land”. I lifted my head and saw the distant shores of Greece slowly approaching, and the port of Piraeus formed in the distance. I felt a chill pass through my body, in a while I would set foot on the sacred soil of the mother country, Hellas of the Hellenes, the land of spirituality and light.


    17 NOVEMBER, SAILING ON THE SHIP "SAN DENIS"
    I disembarked from the ship “Knossos” and stepped onto the soil of holy Greece, the beloved mother country, the eternal mother land of the world’s wise men and great heroes. The honoured mother of the brave. The land that birthed my ancestors. The country I learned to love and honour since I was a young child. The country I swore allegiance to while in the army and promised to shed my blood for if called to do so.
    These were my thoughts as I trembled with emotion and knelt to kiss the sacred ground.
    I was taught to think this way, these were the ideals I was brought up with, these were my great beliefs, beliefs that were implanted in my soul by my parents, my teachers and, the people in my village. During the life long journey I started at nineteen, I would discover that the Greece of Light had been turned into a country of darkness, and my beloved mother country had become a mother who cannibalised her children, had been bound hand and foot by traitors and individuals who did not love their country, vultures, lackeys of multinational companies and spineless weaklings worse than crows.
    I stood on the pier of the grand port. It was full of cranes unloading corn and wheat from bulk carriers tied at the dock, and I took a look around. I saw huge blocks of flats casting shadows over Piraeus with the morning sun trying to shine through the high-rise buildings.
    Having asked, I knew that the street opposite the docking area of the ship was called “Akti Miaouli”. Known as the “golden” area of Piraeus port, its history was written in gold and petrol. Thousands of shipping companies operated from within the tall buildings made of glass and concrete, offices drowning in luxury tat employed thousands. I should ask here. This is the place to find work on the ships. I was told after all, that it wouldn’t be difficult. I felt confident with what I had been told, otherwise, heaven only knew, I would be penniless, not knowing what to do, surrounded by strangers and in unknown territory.
    Whatever happens, I thought, I may be in a foreign country, but we have a common language, Greek, and I was determined to fight for my future as best as I could…
    As I stood trying to get my bearings by looking at the sun to figure out in which direction Athens and the Parthenon were, I heard a conversation in the Cypriot dialect nearby. It was a young man talking with a priest. He saw me standing alone and looking at him, he approached, we got acquainted.As it transpired, we were from neighbouring villages. He was a student from Kato Paphos called Andreas Papazosimas and he was studying Economics at Athens University. He had come to the port to collect a relative. He invited me for coffee at a coffee shop near Akti Miaouli. It was a place I knew about from Cyprus, frequented mainly by Cypriot seamen. After we talked for a while and got to know each other, Andreas proved to be a noble young man who suggested that, I need not hesitate to ask for his help whenever I have difficulties. This subsequently turned out to be very helpful and lifesaving because, finding work on the ships was not as I expected. When I started going from office to office looking for work, to my disappointment I realized that the seaman’s profession was facing quite a crisis. My legs ached from walking up and down stairs from block to block trying to find work. The whole day passed and, with the evening approaching, I had achieved nothing. I was hoping to find a job immediately because I was broke. I didn’t even have money for food, let alone a hotel.
    Despair started to take over. Things had been presented to me in a certain way, but in reality, they were quite different. In my desperation, I thanked God for helping me meet Andreas. Andreas was a comfort to my worries and I hoped that he would put me up; he was kind enough to offer help if needed. I called him from a telephone booth and was relieved to hear his voice reply on the other end. I explained my dire situation and he was immediately willing to help. He asked me to wait for him at the “Voskopoula” coffee shop and told me he would find me there in about an hour.
    He came, saw I was morose and upset, smiled widely and told me not to worry and that everything would turn out fine.
    We boarded the train and reached Omonoia Square. We walked for a distance until Syndagma Square and then took a bus towards Zografou, to his house. The house of my new friend Andreas Papazosimas.
    He put me up, fed me, took me for a tour. Had it not been for him, I don’t know what would have become of me. Every day I travelled to Piraeus looking for work but to no avail. After many days, I managed with difficulty to find work on a ship for a cheap wage, forty-five pounds sterling. It was a small ship of two and a half thousand tons called “San Dennis”, owned by the Frangistas company. It was the evening of Friday the 16th of November, when I signed my employment contract with the ship owning company. Afterwards, I took the train to return to Athens.
    Coming out of the underground station at Omonoia Square, I fell onto a large crowd shouting and demonstrating for freedom. Numerous students had gathered outside the Polytechnic, and the crowds grew and flooded the entirety of central Athens. With them, labourers were singing the words “pote tha kanei xasteria”, literally meaning “when will there be a starry night”, a revolutionary Greek song against the “Junta” regime governing Greece at the time.
    It was the beginning of the uprising of the Polytechnic, the uprising of the students, the youths and the whole Greek people against the Junta tyranny. The clashes with the police began that day, one day before Saturday, 17th of November. The big demonstration formed and started marching towards the Polytechnic. That was when the police attacked. Tanks appeared, and one knocked the gate of the Polytechnic down, breaching university asylum and taking over the Polytechnic. Shots were fired, and hand-to-hand combat ensued. The air was thick with teargas causing the crowds to flee.
    Trapped in a crowd of anonymous people rising up and fighting for Freedom, I found myself watching the brutality of the soldiers against the Greek people whose only demand was Democracy.
    Having only suffered the inhalation of teargas, I managed to escape the crowd firstly by running from wall to wall and then walking with a fast pace hiding in the shadows of the buildings.
    Having escaped the dangers of the revolution, I walked the long distance to Zografou. The next day, we found out from students that the police were firing indiscriminately at the anonymous demonstrators.


    On that day, I bid farewell to my friend and took the bus to Elefsina port where the cargo ship “San Dennis” was anchored. This ship would be my home for the best part of next year. It was a small ship and, when it sailed, I felt it would be fair game to every tempest and wave. As it rolled, it caused me to bring up all my innards. Yet, in hindsight, I realized that the hardship was all worthwhile, because it became clear to me that, being a traveler and seeing new countries, exotic places and peculiar things was to be quite a big thing.



    THE PROSTITUTE
    I was nineteen when I left my country and ventured out to foreign lands. I abandoned my tormented little motherland destined by God centuries ago to suffer the same history of enslavement and persecution, time and time again. I left a few months before the Junta’s coup d’état and the subsequent Turkish invasion sparing myself of the civil unrest and brutality of the invaders.
    I set off looking for a better destiny, a job and a daily living. My voyage with the ship “KNOSSOS” may have been calm sailing on tranquil waters, but there was a storm brewing in my heart, because it was the first time I was leaving for unknown and faraway places, such that I had only seen on geographical maps.
    With a thousand torturous thoughts unsettling my mind, I stood at the stern all day watching my island fall away, fade and disappear into the meeting point between the sea and the horizon.
    Night fell and day broke, and daylight found me on the side of the ship, leaning on the railings watching the distant shores of Rhodes approaching on the skyline. Gradually, the citadels of the walled city and the impressive medieval walls that defended the city during olden times started appearing. These were imposing defensive structures dating from the time of the Knights of St. John, and now a famous attraction of grandeur and beauty. The liner tied up alongside the long pier and the loudspeakers of the bridge informed us that we had a few hours to tour the city of Rhodes.
    The buildings of the central square next to the port were ancient with very few new structures among them and were combined in a way that created an amazing spectacle for the eyes and senses. Vendors with their wheelbarrows and tiny shops with merchandise aimed at tourists, small taverns built into the thick city walls, narrow ascending streets and steps that led to the battlements, all together these were an amalgamation that created the unique and famous Greek medieval tourist destination of Rhodes.
    I remember that date, it was around the twelfth of November 1973.
    The second time I visited Rhodes was a week later. The calendar showed that it was the 19thof November, a week after my first visit. I remember the date well because, on the 17th of November, I had signed a contract with the ship owning company Frangistas. The 17th of November 1973 was a day of monumental events. Events that commenced the countdown towards the fall of the Junta government in Greece following the uprising of the students and the storming of the Polytechnic. On that day, I was returning from Piraeus by train and, as I exited the underground station at Omonoia Square, I found myself among a crowd of demonstrators demanding freedom, while a whole army of policemen and soldiers accompanied by tanks were shooting at them with plastic bullets and teargas.
    The following day, I travelled by bus to Elefsina, where a ship was discharging its cargo. The ship was the “San Dennis” which carried lumber from the ports of Odessa and Novorossiysk to its scheduled destination of Greece.
    I presented myself to the captain who recruited me as ship’s crew, and then sent me to report to the first officer for assignment of my duties.
    We remained at Elefsina port for a few more hours to discharge the cargo, and then sailed for Nafplio and then Rhodes. We distributed cargo to both these destinations.
    We arrived early evening and, as soon as we tied, the cranes started unloading. It was eight o’ clock and I had just finished my eight to four o’ clock shift in the engine room. I went out onto the deck and saw the port and the town awash with lights; neon lights that turned night into day. Once more, I gazed at the medieval walls with their tall citadels and yet once again, their grandeur and mystery carried me back to old historical times.
    We needed a few hours for discharging the cargo and then we would sail to another island port of the Aegean. I knew I had a few hours to myself to meander around the city, but, as I was employed on the ship for just two days, I had no money. I decided to tour the medieval town with its surrounding walls and citadels on foot.
    I passed the port’s entrance and entered the town through a tall gateway in the walls. The town, from a planning and architectural point of view, was in the same condition as it was when it was built many centuries ago.
    Tourists walked up and down and, among them, so did I. I gazed at the shops’ windows, weighed down with ceramic souvenirs, perfect replicas of ancient Greek amphorae and other objects, as well as with tourist guides and magazines.
    To the side of a shop window, at the end of the building, I saw a woman standing. I watched her from afar as she stopped passersby to tell them something, but they just walked away from her. I stood for a while watching, because I noticed that she only spoke to men who walked alone. I suspected that she was a prostitute at work.
    She noticed me watching her and coyly walked towards me swinging her hips. She looked straight into my eyes, her eyes being the most beautiful dark eyes, outlined with black kohl in the shape of a fish, eyes so large and radiant, the likes of which I had never seen before, eyes that filled me with longing. She was slim and had a small body, but she was also rather old. I thought she must have been around fifty. Her face was raked by wrinkles and prematurely aged. I thought she might be younger, but the hardships of her profession had not allowed her to stay young and beautiful. Her clothes were not embellished and, apart from her eyes being heavily made-up, she was unkempt, unadorned and without much makeup. I would have never imagined her to be a “common woman” had I not seen her previous behaviour. She looked like an unfortunate woman, unremarkable and plain, a woman that would pass unnoticed in a crowd, unless someone noticed her amazingly beautiful eyes. Two sparkling beautiful eyes, exuding brightness and light.
    I thought to myself “I have no money to pay her” and, in any case, I did not feel drawn to her as a woman. She was two and a half times my age and somehow, I did not consider myself a suffer of any sort of Oedipus complex. In any case, soon we would be sailing to Russia where, as I was informed by one of the seamen, the women were abundant and really loved sailors.
    - Hello handsome, would you like some company?
    she asked, with an accent not unlike our accent in Cyprus.
    We started talking and I told her I was a novice sailor and had no money, that I had come from Cyprus penniless and that I was on the ship for just one and a half days. She gazed steadily into my eyes with those beautiful eyes of hers, sure in the knowledge of their beauty and power, and somehow convinced me that I wanted her. She told me she was a Cretan Turk and that she was an expert in love making. She said that she really wanted me, that her body longed for mine.


    I understood that she was just saying these things to convince me, and I was surprised when I realised that I really wanted her and that, being an older woman and a professional, she could teach me a lot about sex.


    I was nineteen and inexperienced with women. I had lived all my life in the countryside, in a society where people could have sex only after they became engaged or visited one of the few brothels. Both were impossible for me because I was poor and penniless. So, I made do by pleasuring myself, but every time, I wondered how much stronger the pleasure and enjoyment would be when making love with a woman. I always had great expectations about my first sexual encounter, and now that a woman had approached me for the first time in my life, though a prostitute, I was upset because I had no money to pay her.


    She had a sweet demeanour, spoke with a childlike innocence and, even though she was talking about sex and pleasure, carnal love and delights that were for sale, she did not look like the usual street walkers or red-light hookers with the hardened attitude, vulgar appearance and conduct. She had a gentle appearance and a sad face and, as she stared at me with her huge eyes, she made me feel as though she was a saint.


    I told her she did not look like a prostitute and I detected a degree of satisfaction in her face. She didn’t answer and continued to lure me. She said I could borrow money from my colleagues, that I could ask for an advance payment from the captain, that I could even pay her in kind. I thought she seemed quite knowledgeable of seamen and knew a lot about them and their way of life. This was natural, I concluded, if she plied her trade in the port. Evidently, she learned a lot from the sailors.


    One thing led to another and she convinced me that, instead of payment, I could give her two cartons of KENT cigarettes. These were expensive luxury cigarettes of the time, with a light blend, favoured by aristocratic women or those who pretended to be such.


    Since she gave me the impression that she knew everything, I asked her whether I was allowed to take her on board the ship, to my cabin. She answered that of course I could, Rhodes was a free transit island.


    My cabin was on the second deck, next to the funnel. It was roomy and comfortable and had portholes on both sides, even though I always kept them closed because soot and smoke from the funnel sometimes blew inside the cabin. I worked in the engine room in the bowels of the ship and rested at its highest point, just below the bridge. The rest of the crew’s cabins were on the inside of the ship. To reach mine, I had to go out onto the deck and climb a metal ladder situated on the edge of the deck. When the sea was rough, the waves crashed over it and, when the ship rolled, one had to be very careful when climbing up. It was so dangerous, that I could not go there to sleep when it was raining or when the sea was rough and had to wait for the rain or the storm to subside. Those were the reasons why they gave such a roomy cabin to me, a novice, and not to an older seaman or even an officer.


    We climbed on the deck and I led her to my cabin. We crossed from one side of the ship to the other without meeting any crew members and, in the twilight, I helped her up the ladder. We got inside and, without wasting time, she began to strip.


    She removed her shoes and her dress and stood in her slip. It was see-through, and I could see her underwear, silky, dainty and pretty. Leaning forward to remove her nylon stockings that rested high on her thighs, she looked at me encouragingly, as I stood there awkwardly without moving, watching her. She straightened and came close to me. She stood in front of me and, gently touching her body onto mine, started unbuttoning my shirt, slowly and seductively.


    When she felt I was aroused by her touch, she coyly asked me to give her the cigarettes we had agreed upon.


    I was taken aback by this and felt my libido drop. My ego was hurt because I realised she did not come with me because she loved me or was into me, but because she was a hooker and her love was for sale, because we had agreed that I would give her two cartons of KENT cigarettes.


    I opened the drawer under my bunkbed and gave her the two cartons. She took them, turned around and placed them to one side. Then, she stretched her arms, crossed them, gripped her slip and pulled it off. She was now half naked in her underwear.


    My first time was a sweet novel experience, a pleasant sex act that ended successfully and without problems unlike most men’s first time where, according to sexologists, they tend to under deliver because of nervousness.


    We lay on our backs and I looked at the low ceiling while euphoria swept over me. She was a good teacher, and in her sweet way, she did not allow any fear or negativity affect me at this delicate moment of my first time. Pleased, I asked her whether she wanted a cigarette. She nodded, and I turned on my side reaching towards the nightstand for a packet. As I turned, I thought I caught a glimpse of movement in the twilight, outside the porthole.


    Taken aback and frazzled, I thought we were caught red-handed. I quickly pulled my trousers on and opened the door to catch the perverts peeping through other people’s windows.

    As I opened the door, the guilty peeping toms did not run away; to the contrary, they started cheering. Stunned, I listened to them teasing and congratulating me on the magnificent show I had just put on. Worried, I looked into my cabin to see whether my companion was upset and saw the woman with a cigarette hanging from her mouth, half covered by a sheet over her pelvis and thighs, her breasts hanging down loosely, without an ounce of shame on her face.
    Suppressing my own shame, I did what everybody else was doing, stoically allowing myself to be swept away by the same vulgarity of my colleagues. They had all gathered around, just shy of ten men. The ship was small, and so was the crew.
    Remembering the story after many years, I think to myself how lucky that poor old prostitute with the beautiful black eyes was that night. She took on all the crew that same night since, having watched the excellent show, they were all aroused and wanted to have sex with her.And, of course, she was paid for her service.





    To be Continued
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 7th January 2020 at 04:43 AM.
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  4. #2
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    Default Re: Tale of the Seas ( In Chapters)

    I notice that not many have read this Story that are in Chapters (Continuations)
    It is to me a very good Story,may be a bit long i know but then all good Stories are!
    I urge all to possibly spend a little time on these Chapters ,as i am sure you will enjoy once you get into them.
    I have found all of these most interesting,and will again sit and read them in a little time .
    Thanks
    Cheers

    https://www.merchant-navy.net/forum/...tinuation.html

    https://www.merchant-navy.net/forum/...tinuation.html

    https://www.merchant-navy.net/forum/...tinuation.html

    https://www.merchant-navy.net/forum/...tinuation.html
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 15th January 2020 at 07:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Tale of the Seas ( In Chapters)

    Those times on the wheel when trying to keep on course and watching the bow disappear under. Then how the ship would shudder as it shed of the sea. Also when correcting the course watching the bow go under then as it came up would swing towards the course and usually further than one wanted. Who remembers the rolling chocks we used to make for the bunks to stop us from rolling out it was surprising how affective they where.
    That's the way the mop flops.

    My thanks to Brian for this site.

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    Default Re: Tale of the Seas ( In Chapters)

    Hi Les.
    But before you got yourself wedged into you bunk you had to progress through this.
    Des

    Allyway filled with seas.jpg

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    Default Re: Tale of the Seas ( In Chapters)

    The last section regarding the Greek lady of ill repute.
    How many of us at one time or another went through a similar experience.
    Some of the most lovely looking ladies somehow over night lost all of their gloss.
    I think it was the dark nights that did it.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
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    Default Re: Tale of the Seas ( In Chapters)

    Quote Originally Posted by Des Taff Jenkins View Post
    Hi Les.
    But before you got yourself wedged into you bunk you had to progress through this.
    Des

    Allyway filled with seas.jpg
    That is why I always went for the top bunk mate. Looks like someone forgot to close the outside vent hey. Remember the chippy had to go outside because it was not closed and of course same as the picture LOL
    Last edited by Les Woodard; 17th January 2020 at 12:00 AM.
    That's the way the mop flops.

    My thanks to Brian for this site.

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