Saturday, 10 October 2015

Character Building?!

We arrived safely in Corfu Friday morning after our first two night passage.  It was wonderful to see the beautiful fort greeting us again.  Hard to believe it is nearly three months since we were last here and yet it feels like it was yesterday.  

It took us 48 hours from the time we pulled up the anchor in Lastovo, Croatia to Corfu, Greece.  We had a bit of a shaky start to the day.  As I started to pull up the anchor the control for the windlass (the lovely machine that pulls up the anchor for me) went on the fritz.  It completely died.  Grrrr!  Once we opened up the remote control we discovered it clearly was no longer waterproof and the circuit board inside was corroded.  Well good ol' Darryl to the rescue.  Honestly there is clearly nothing that boy can't do, who knew a Commerce degree and 15 years working in insurance would make him so handy.  He just happened to have a two-way switch on board, so he spliced the wires and used the switch to create a temporary controller for the windlass.  After an hour delay we were on our way.  

We needed to check out of Croatia and fuel up before we could leave.  We went from where we were anchored in Pasadur, around the island of Lastovo, to Ubli where the port police and fuel dock are located.  Sure enough the port police were not around and had to be called for us.  We were told it would be a 10 to 15 minute wait but it turned out to be more like an hour to hour and a half wait.  (Enough time for Ella and I to bake muffins.)  So from when we first attempted to pull up the anchor at 8am, to finally pulling the anchor at 9am, we did not officially leave Lastovo until 11:30am on Wednesday.  

Overall the two days went really smoothly.  Unfortunately winds were light on day two so we really did far more motoring than sailing.  We had a too close for comfort lightning storm heading into our first night but managed to not get hit, which seemed miraculous considering how close it was to us.  We had visits from dolphins on each day.  The second time was amazing as the four of us sat at the bow with a front row seat to the dolphins playing in our bow wave.  What an incredible experience.  As Ella said “this is WAY better than the Aquarium”. 

I wasn't going to bother trying to capture the dolphins in a picture as I knew it wouldn't happen, instead got the next best thing which was a picture of us enjoying the personal dolphin show.

We also had the odd experience of squid jumping onto our boat both nights.  I had no idea that squid jumped.  The morning after our first night we had two stow-a-ways, who did not fair well from jumping on deck.  The second night no squid were left behind, but they left massive amounts of ink spots all over our deck and down the side of the hull.  Any tips on removing squid ink from gelcoat because it is proving challenging to remove???

We wanted to use them as bait for fishing but we were too scared to have the fishing line in the water while the engines were on.  The last prop wrap was just too recent.
Then there is the night sky.  To have nearly no light pollution other than our instruments, and steaming and navigational lights, the stars are beyond incredible.  I will admit I am not one to really pay attention to the sky normally.  But to sit there during your night watch and see the expanse of stars, the milky way and even saw two shooting stars (although Ella corrected me saying they would be meteors, not shooting stars) were stunning.  It is really the best part of the night watches. 

By 8:30am on Friday morning we were heading into Corfu!  We headed to the same anchorage we used three months ago.  What a difference three months makes.  Clearly the charter boat season is nearing its end as last time we were here there were dozens of boats in the anchorage, this time there were only two of us.  However, apparently our ability to anchor has not improved in that three month period.  It took us FIVE tries to anchor the darn boat.  Our anchor does not like weeds and this anchorage has only random sandy spots.  With Ella at the bow desperately trying to spot the sandy spots for me to drop anchor it was a challenging hour to get the boat secured.  After two nights with limited sleep, Darryl and I were at this point less than patient with each other with each failed attempt.  But Ella persevered and found us a sandy spot we were finally able to get the anchor to stick.  Whew!

Land ho!!!  A welcome sight after 48 hours of sailing.
We knew the wind was going to pick up Friday evening but we made the decision to stick it out in the anchorage.  Well…it was the WRONG decision!  Darryl ended up sleeping in the cockpit as we were convinced the anchor would drag and we would end up on the rock wall very near us.  The swells all night were ridiculous.  Including at one point it rocked us so badly that basically everything sitting on shelves, table and counters hit the floor in one noisy cascade!!!  Needless to say Darryl and I had a third sleepless night in a row.  How is it that the girls sleep through it all?!!?

So this morning we made a hasty retreat and moved to a sheltered town quay.  It doesn't offer water or electricity but provides us with protection from very strong winds and swells!  We clearly should have come here yesterday but oh well, we are learning as we go here.  Of course, nothing seems to be easy and we had yet another "character building experience" as Darryl likes to call it (yes, I hate it when he says that!). 

At this town quay, we need to Med moor, which is really, really hard!!!  You have to figure out roughly two to three boat lengths from the dock to drop the anchor and back down on the dock as you lay your anchor chain.  You then stern tie to the dock and the idea is the anchor holds your bow steady.  Well this only works if the anchor actually sticks.  And of course you can't really figure out whether it has done the trick or not until your stern starts pounding against the dock.  So guess what, that is exactly what happened.  So we had to cast off from the dock, pull up the anchor and try it again.  Now you remember earlier how we had to create our own windlass remote, oh and that there are really strong winds and swells?!?!  Right, so the remote for the windlass craps out as I am trying to raise the anchor while Darryl is desperately trying to control the boat against winds gusting off our port side while in a confined space with a lovely rock breakwater off our starboard.  Great combination really.  

So we make the decision to venture out of the protection of the quay to try to sort out the windlass as I am stressed to the max trying to keep the boat off the rocks while Darryl yanks up the anchor by hand.  While out there the swells are ridiculous and our wind indicator records winds up to 33 knots.  It was lovely. Darryl sorts out the windlass.  Decision is made to return to the quay to try to Med moor yet again.  With an audience on the dock forming (which is always my favourite scenario), Darryl does a beautiful job of backing the boat into the spot we had left and I manage to get the anchor to actually stick.  Whew!  If character building involves copious amounts of cursing and yelling at each other, then I guess I will call that a win for character building.  

Now I just really, really need some sleep!!!

Pretty much sums up sailing for me!
 The Other Coast by Adrian Raeside
© Creators Syndicate, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.
October 13, 2013 from

1 comment:

  1. Your positive outlook on events is amazing. Keep the stories coming!