Saturday, October 26, 2013

Strange ship and its surprising cargo

Last Sunday was another beautiful, warm day thanks to lovely hot southerly winds. Looking out from the terrace we spotted a very odd sight, a big ship in fairly close to shore, seemingly standing still. We are quite far from the shipping lanes and it is only occasionally we see the odd freighter far out at sea. What was this strange ship that from a distance almost looked like a ferry?

Just beyond the village we looked out to where the bay meets the sea and there was the mystery ship with huge mounds of hay on the deck. With the help of binoculars we made out the name, Youzasif. Back home we checked on and discovered that Youzasif was a livestock carrier, which explained the hay. The ship came from Sete, further up the coast in France but before it left there it did the same thing going back and forth hardly moving. This was quite disturbing given the fact that the ship was carrying livestock. A quick look at the ship's website showed how hundreds of goats, sheep, cattle or even camels might be crammed into pens on the ship. We found it it disgusting although it is apparently a normal means of transporting livestock around the Mediterranean.

Finally, the ship moved on at a slow pace down the coast and then picked up speed. It passed the Balearic Islands, Sardinia and sailed through the Straits of Messina between Calabria in Italy and Sicily to an unknown destination. Just think of those animals on that hot boat for at least a week.

With all this excitement over, the village returned to its tranquil state. Visitors are still arriving to spend some time enjoying the warm weather. In fact we have had a few other people joining us swimming at the beach this week. We aren't the only crazy people here. The water has been warm and as we enjoy ourselves we do feel lucky that we are still swimming at the end of October.

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