After our fry last night, we had another beer, and decided the anchor watch schedule. Dan took the first at nine o’clock, mine was three hours later. The boat was still being pushed around by the westerly. Torch lights still moved about onshore. I dropped into my bunk. Sleep came quickly. As did waking up bang on midnight. And so it came to be that I crept on deck with my knife out. We all have knives, us mariners. The badge of honour. I’ve a four inch…
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Well, what a day April Fool’s day was. After banging our way through the military area, happily without a hint of submarines, I slept a little and got up five nautical miles from the Corinth canal. Captain briefs us as to how we’re going to moor and we carry it off just about successfully, the slightest crunch from the boat as one of the lines gets pulled a bit tight. We’d passed a tanker that we recognised from the Straits of Kithira, many moons ago, it seems. I should have taken the name…
Oh what am fool am I. hehe A tired fool, me. So tired. Again. Up at 0300 for watch. Woke up automatically fifteen minutes before we were passing south of the shipping lane out of Athens. Ships everywhere. Skipper was up, pointed out a vessel on the port bow gradually closing in with their starboard light showing. We slowed to let it pass, Mark went below. I checked the plotter and looked again to see the port light of this ship. It had turned. Revs up to two thousand and let the big fella pass behind us. No…
0740 Local sunrise over the hill. Dan cooks a fry, wind’s dropped, we head towards Corinth today.
0810 Up anchor, course 290° to waypoint at 36°51’55” 025°37’15” From Nicos Amorgos with Nicos Honousa to the north, towards Nicos Naxos through the gap between Nicos Skhoinousa to the south and Nicos Koufonisos to the north. Greek islands, for sure.
We left the bay we found shelter in through the big exit, rather than taking the small entrance we’d shuffled over yesterday. A deep breath, we only had two…Read more
And so ends the ballad of Adam and Eve, we just have the simple task of delivering a different boat from here to Vounaki in Greece. It’s a short run compared to our marathon crossing from France. An epic journey, by all accounts. Many deliveries go to Croatia or directly to Vounaki, making ours one of the longest you can do in the Mediterranean, and it’s rare to get another job that brings you in the direction of home. Normally, we’d now be looking for flights out of here. And here, what to say…
0537 GMT+2 (We think. Has daylight saving come in yet? What time is it at home? What time zone are we in? Really, we’re clueless)
Speed 5.2 knots, course 85°T
The first glimpse I have of Turkey is the lighthouse at Dalisa Yasak. With the height of it we can see it from a great distance, even allowing for the curvature of the earth. As we pass the reassuring flash of Nicos Sesklio’s unwavering beacon to those on the sea, the Rhodes channel opens up to us. Rhodes and mainland Turkey…Read more
Dan woke me slightly early, eight miles east of the islands. A red ruby crimson sun rose over the northern headland. As red as the blood in my veins. So beautiful, but I can’t help thinking of the bang this place must have made when it blew up so so long ago. A tsunami wiped out the Minoan civilisation on the islands south of here. Buildings cling to the hilltops, roads zig zag their way up from the small access points along the shoreline. There’s no harbour here. Plans exist to build a marina but…
36°23’216N 023 01’538E
Now and again the plotter, our GPS navigation system, loses it’s satellite signal. It announces this with a few beep beep beeps and describes itself as “not following”. This can also be said for us, Eve’s trusty crew. Not following. Just now and again, when the head goes slightly awry. We play Lisa Hannigan for the umpteenth time and come back to our senses.
Heading due east towards Santorini through the Straits of Kithira at 5.8 knots. No wind, only 0.8knots registering…
ETA Pylos 8h39
On watch since 0300. So tired. Ate duck last night. Lovely, with baked spuds and honey. Nearly puked it all over the side at the start of my watch but I managed to hold it. I need the nutrition. Grand now, but so tired. I wonder if Pete is thinking of bypassing Pilos altogether but they seem to be holding relative to our position. Pete knows this port from before, Mark hasn’t been there. The Captain isn’t sure we should stop here. Last night he was thinking of…
Where that first night of our voyage the sea had a quiet menace to it, the wilder sea of the Ionian is pure fierce energy. Dangerous, terrifying and also wonderful. Perfect wind for experienced sailors but chaotic for us others. No time to contemplate, no time to think. We’ve had it too easy. The endless hours on calm waters have been no preparation for this. The waves look big, but are they only so because they are the biggest we have seen yet? They come from starboard along with a healthy twenty knot…Read more
The engine changes revs and I bolt out of my bunk and dress quickly for I know we are at the straits of Messina. The lads laugh as I climb out of the saloon as Mark had told Dan “This’ll get him up.” We’re tuned to the boat now, able to notice differences where as before only the skipper would. Sicily is starboard, the Calabrian coast ahead, we approach the entrance to Messina. Two huge pylons that used to carry the power lines that supplied the whole of Sicily announce the entrance. A very large modern…Read more
Boat Captains tend to go the same way. Different reasons for different boats. Shipping lanes rule in straits and gulfs, on approach to large ports, passing around capes, headlands etc. Small vessels, such as us, should cross these lanes at ninety degrees or as close as possible to. On the open sea it’s a bit looser. The big ships have radar and AIS, a ship identification system. We have our eyes and our attention span. If on a collision course with a ship, it’s always best to change course, Or slow down…Read more
The Tyrrhenian Sea. The most interesting thing about it is it’s name, according to Mark. “Nothing ever happens here.” It’s 10.20am, I’ve been up since 3am. Squeaking helm wheel is a nightmare in the cabin, keeps interrupting my dreams. Night before last I dreamt of Electric Picnic crossed with Royal Ascot. Friends were with me but when they turned my way to speak, all I could hear as their mouths moved was the squeak of the wheel. Comically cartoonish. The wheel stays quiet during the warmth of the day…Read more
Course is 112°T speed 5.6kt
No wind, calm sea. Did first watch last night from a bit after 8pm until midnight. Damp and cold but wearing everything I own so all good. Not as fearful as the night before. A very playful dolphin cheered me up as I was still feeling a bit sick. A couple of shooting stars to the south heading westwards also good for the morale. The steering wheel, squeaking with the damp, led to fucked up dreams but I slept well. Up again at 6am for watch but as we…
“Morning gorgeous! How you doing!” in a thick Kerry brogue shocked me out of my dreams. Dan later told me he’d been thinking for a while about how exactly he was going to wake me. 6am. It’s my watch.
12 noon. Vessel position 42°00′.600N 6°29.260E
No wind. Motoring now, not sailing. Last night we’d a wind of eleven to twelve stern on, big rollers from behind scaring the life out of me. Nightwatch is terrifying. Someone described it as 40% fear, 40% terror, and 20% enjoyment in there somewhere but it’s…Read more
At sea. This is special. Left Canet just before dawn. I’m writing this just after sunset. We glimpsed a bottle nose dolphin soon into the journey. Hours later we were joined by a common dolphin who surfed our bow wave. Briefly there were two of them. Now, twelve hours since leaving dockside, we are at 42° 24′.765N, 04°31’413E. The wind is 10.3 knots from the starboard quarter. We’re doing 5.3kt. The lads are having a cuppa after a dinner of rabbit stew. Rabbit stew, at sea. Mark reckons the crew will be…Read more