Ferdinand Magellan and me (25)

Ferdinand Magellan

yacht Wathara finally salvagedHaving stripped the sails and boom off the boat there was little we could do until the earth dried out to enable the low loader to negotiate the track from Nishtun. We began to look around and saw signs of life in the desert. In a nearby salt-water lagoon flamingos stood one- legged all through the day waiting for fish. We followed the tracks of turtles and dug for eggs without success. There were said to be snakes, scorpions and rabbits here but we saw none. When the sun went down behind the stony hills the harsh light of day became a golden glow and coolness crept over the land. We were beginning to feel at home here.
Sigfus came and informed us that the low loader was probably not suitable for the job and there was a change of plan. What they were going to do now was bring down an excavator and dig a channel out to the sea. Next day a yellow machine like a giant crab began shifting tons of rock until Wathara perched on top of a cliff. A truck took the weight while the excavator dug the sand out from under her. We jiggled her bow and stern but she refused to budge. Then they rigged a sling around her keel and pulled it out from under her until she slid down the bank and into the water and sat there bobbing like a duck. I nearly wept for joy.
We motored around to the little harbour of Nishtun and tied up at the jetty. That night we were treated to a celebration. Everyone involved in the rescue was there. Champagne, whisky and Irish coffee appeared and there was a deal of head-shaking over our extraordinary luck or cunning in choosing this spot on which to wreck our boat.
Next day, a crane lifted Wathara out of the water, a hole in the keel was welded up, new anodes were fitted and Robin and I painted her bottom with anti-foul supplied by Dandar. She went back into the water almost as good as new, although with some underwater war wounds bearing testimony to her grit.
Gifts of food, wine and even clothes were showered upon us not only by the Dandar people but also their Arab employees and the crew of the monthly supply ship, which had now docked. We were ready to leave but decided to wait for the holiday weekend to take everyone out for a sail; little enough repayment for these wonderfully generous people.We caught two big fish and barbecued them that night.


Author: leonidas

Sailor from wayback with a Master's degree in Technology Management. Prefer classical music to rap and chicken curry to steak.

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