We arrived at Patras expecting find a ferry waiting for us. It’s true that we were cutting it a bit fine, but it’s not unusual for Greek ferries to be pushing passengers onboard more or less as the gangway is rising. On this occasion, however, we reached the ticket office half-an-hour before the published departure time to find the ferry had already left… So we were forced to take the next waiting ferry, and found ourselves on a nearly empty boat.
Rocky took his walks on a deck that seemed to be about the size of a football pitch. For a dog who’s used to walking on Greek beaches, he’s doing extraordinarily well on this very sharp learning curve.
The journey was, shall we say, eventful. Perhaps taking advantage of the nearly empty state of the boat, the captain ordered an evacuation drill at what was, for at least one member of the Animalcouriers team, an unsociably early hour of the morning. It ended up being quite a low-key affair, with all the passengers sitting around at muster stations, drinking coffee and watching the crew man lifeboats and sort out lifejackets.
A bit later on, one of our regular visits to the van to walk the dogs and check on the cats was interrupted by the discovery of suspected ‘illegals’ on the deck. “Oh dear,” we thought, “Perhaps the dogs are having a bit of a bark.” But no — illegal passengers had been discovered hiding in a lorry.
As we were travelling on an Italian boat, the captain made the decision that this was a Greek problem. So the boat slowed to a steady crawl for as long as it took a Greek police boat to come out and collect the suspected illegals and return them to Greece.
Such an eventful trip for us all!