The muses came calling and told me to set a murder mystery on the high seas. I could picture it: a sailing yacht, six university friends, turquoise waters, balmy nights, and a storm that brewed literally and figuratively. A classic six people get on the boat, only five get off deal.
I had a plot, characters, and location. What I didn't have was any technical knowledge. If my characters knew how to sail, there was only one thing for it... I needed to learn to sail. Luckily, Rob knows how to handle a yacht, so we booked a flotilla trip around the Ionian... in the middle of a global pandemic! But let's not worry about small details like that. After arriving in Corfu, we got acquainted with our boat. She was named Pindos, after the Pindos mountain range. The first thing I needed to get used to was sailing terminology. I thought I travelled to Greece to learn to sail, not to learn a new language. Bathrooms are called heads, bedrooms are cabins, the kitchen is the galley and don't get me started on the word rope. The wheel is the helm, the entrance is the companionway, and the doorframes are called *&%$£$! because try as you might, you will stub your toe, or bang your head on them at least once a day. I'm 5'5", imagine how 6'2" Rob felt. Terminology mastered, it was time to get under sail. Each day followed a similar routine, one I don't think I could get bored of. We would start with a briefing to find out where we were headed, what the conditions would be and if there were any hazards to be aware of. Next, we'd get shipshape, have a cup of tea and head off for our day's adventure. In the evenings, Rob and I would go for an explore before sitting down with a glass of white on the water's edge to watch the other boats come in and discuss my writing. We'd make notes on our surroundings including the sights, sounds and smells. I'd bombard him with technical questions about the weather and the engine, and we'd discuss the importance of waterways and naval strength in days gone by. After two weeks, I wouldn't call myself a sailor, but I have enough knowledge to plough on with the important task of actually sitting down to write. I realise how lucky I am to have been able to experience all of this during these strange times, and I pledge to do my best when it comes to describing this wonderful part of the world in my next novel.