After my first week of school, I joined my family on the island of Tinos to celebrate my aunt’s nameday. Bad blogger that I am, I was an idiot and forgot my camera battery. I had the camera, just left the battery charging. Whoops. The ferry ride was beautiful, and I spent a lot of it being very frustrated with myself before I decided to take advantage of the situation and use it to write – something I don’t do enough of. So, here are my reflections from the ferry boat. Don’t judge too harshly – there were enough people on the boat giving me weird looks for hanging over the back, staring into the sunset and scribbling into a little black book.
Just off Euboea – the sky here is marred by what I can only guess is smoke. From my spot on the back of the boat, it catches my eye and seems to wrap all the way around, with whisps of an ugly greyish brown obscuring my view off the other side of the boat too.
I’ve never seen a forest fire, but I find as I write this that it’s far more moving – and devastating – that I thought.
Beyond the ugly cloud, contrasting so starkly with the idyllic scene from the first part of the journey. I can actually see the smoke billowing, moving and consuming. The passengers around me are also strangely transfixed. Most people aren’t saying anything, just watching – many, ironically, smoking at the same time.
We move under the cloud and slowly it begins to fade into the sunset. Still, the island is almost entirely obscured, although it is unclear if it’s the smoke of just the mystery and shadow of the sea, which hides some things and reveals others.
By now, the sunset is stunning – not in a conventional way, with dramatic cloud patterns, etc., but striking in its simplicity. The sun is just a gigantic orb, in the middle of the sky. It takes up most of the scene on the horizon, marred only by the silhouette of a tanker moving slowly across the foreground.
The wind has picked up, and someone has untangled the flag, which is now waving freely and creating a beautiful scene, illuminated from behind by the dipping sun. By now the sun has become completely unbearable, and yet I cannot look away, like some kind of rather silly Icarus. Every time I raise my eyes, its bigger, brighter and more dramatic. The smoke trail, which seems to stretch from horizon to horizon, appears to be turning purple and is becoming bizarrely beautiful. Everything is now a shade of purple – the sea, which now truly looks wine dark, the islands, shadowy masses of rock, are a deep indigo framed by pink. The sun itself remains gigantic, although the scene around it continues to transform.
The sea is different now too – the waves are wider, deeper and more serious – as though the water has aged now that the day has ended. Rather than beating against the side of the boat in constant small efforts, these waves simply take us with them, gently rolling from side to side. The sun is now a shocking pink – huge and vibrant, surrounded by its purple smoke ring.
We’re escaping the cloud now, and although the sun is setting, the sky is closer to its blue/white unidentifiable incandescence. It won’t last long now, as the sun slips beyond a rocky horizon I can’t take my eyes away, as its progress is so clearly visible – 45 seconds.. and only a sliver left.
And with that, gone.
For the first time, the foamy line stretching out behind us into obscurity finally begins a soft curve. The clear, sharp and very close mass of Andros appears on the left – a stark contrast to the hazy silhouette of Euboea behind it. The ferry men start to appear, the waves we are producing diminish, and so begins perhaps my favourite part of the ferry journey. With clanking of machinery and metal, the ramp/gang plank begins unfolding itself, and those who aren’t getting off jostle to get a good view. The island appears on both sides as we back into the port, the far side lit from behind by the waning violent sunset. The water churns and transforms from a solid and deep blue to a frothy, foamy turquoise.