shipwrecked sailors

The afternoon that I arrived on Goree, there were two navy gunboats moored at the dock with about a hundred officers-in-training who had come to the Island for a day-trip. One of the gunboats had gone a little too close to the beach and was stuck. Three hours of general chaos and excitement ensued as the trainees stood helpless and somewhat embarrassed on the pier.

First they tied a rope between the two gunboats and tried to pull it off. Smoke billowed out of both boats as their engines strained.

Everyone seemed to be shouting orders and instructions and waving their arms. No one could hear anyone.

The locals got into the act and started heaving on the rope to help. It didn't take long for the rope to snap and recoil along the pier sending everyone scrambling for safety.

More trouble as one of the broken ropes gets caught around the propeller of the beached boat. They send down a diver (one of the locals). It just can't get any worse!

The ferry to the mainland couldn't dock whilst all this was happening so the pier was backlogged with stranded visitors and villagers elbowing for the best view.

One of the local restauranteurs tries to reason with the general, but no one really seems to be in charge. He just lifts his arms in despair and dissappears inside the cabin.

Suddenly cheers erupt from the crowd as a young man appears at the end of the beach with scuba gear. Apparently he's the best diver and a local -- he's here to save the day. Clearly the village has someone to root for and the sense of competition warms up. The jubilant crowd screams their support as he jumps in.

There's frustration all around. The navy has no clue what to do. Smoke continues to billow from engine rooms as the futile effort to pull the boat out continues. The rope's still stuck around the prop.

Finally, with a new rope brought over from the Island and about four hours later, the ship is back at the pier. The entire village cheers, and rather sheepishly the officers climb aboard their boat. Nothing so exciting had happened in ages!