As I was saying, we took the Eurostar Ro-Ro ferry from Palermo to
Tunis. A few hours of journey at sea stayed ahead of us before reaching
the African continent.
Happy to have found out that the ship-crew was Romanian we embarked on
a spot-exploration of our own, starting with the ship. To our genuine
curiosity was added the fact that many of the nine members of the
Romanian scientific team had an engineering background.
We dared to climb on the topmost deck. This one had the access to the
public restricted since here were located the radars. But who could
escape the temptation of taking pictures from such a vantage point?
Anyway, we were quickly removed from the top deck by the horn of the
siren which blew our hearing away.
We then demurely took the deckchairs on the Sun Deck, as it was called,
though the sun was nowhere in sight. In fact, rain was going to hit us.
If you never made a trip at sea, or are not a fan of the documentary
television channels, than telling you that we entered a nine-degree
storm will not mean anything.
But if I tell you about the ship bending sideways at 35 degrees, and
jumping up and down over five meters into the air, that would bring it
closer? The 10-meter waves washed the windows of the dining-room
located at the sixth floor, while the passengers could not keep the
bags up their mouths and were throwing up right on the floors.
"This is a good day", told us Gabriel, the electrical engineer, while
Nae, the cook, explains: "Sometimes there are some one thousand
Tunisians who sleep laid down on the floor. Some of them smoke, and if
you ask them to get out in the open, they make a scene, asking to
politely enforce the rules they are breaking."
Did you ketch up your breath? Well, then, itâs time to brave the
account of the storm once again.
For hours we could not stand up. We could not properly use the toilet.
The chair glided around on the floor, with me and my 80 kilos sitting
At times we really floated, with all reigns of gravitation suspended,
and left, right, up and down did not make any sense anymore.
All we needed would have been to revisit the story of the Titanic,
seeing it on the shipsâ television network.
At about five in the afternoon, after almost seven hours of sailing
through the storm, the crew washed the windows with sweet water.
"This means the storm is over," said Razvan Popescu-Mirceni, the head
of our Punia 2006 expedition.
But ahead of us laid Cape Bon, showing other ominous signs of rain,
which in the end turned out to be a weak storm easy for us to stand,
after braving the first one.
And so, we made it over the Mediterranean Sea.
Africa, here we are!
Translated by Anca Paduraru