We made it to Crete at last! We had another exhilarating day, having delayed our departure (planned for 6 a.m.!) because the morning looked so grim and there were F7-8 winds forecast for the 1st hour or two. In fact the start was remarkably tame and we had to motor for much of the 1st half of the 45 miles to Crete. Then things got more interesting, starting with a huge storm stretching across the horizon in front of us. Fortunately as we approached it split into two, and like the Israelites crossing the red sea, we had a clear run through the middle. It was still a little worrying though as lightening was flashing on both sides of us, in synchrony most times, with thunder following a second or so later. A little further on and we got the swell kicked up by this and the high winds to the south of us, so a roly sail with the boat crashing from side to side. Then the wind got up and we were blown into Sitia in gusts of F8 (39kt max) with the boat charging along at up to 8.4kts on seas that had by then become completely flat (the boat’s theoretical maximum speed).
After debating whether we should go all the way to Ay Nikolaos and arrive in the dying light and deciding it was too risky, we headed here to Sitia, the nearest port on Crete. Unfortunately it is fully exposed to the easterly storm we arrived in, and was completely full! After motoring around a bit we decided to go alongside a smaller yacht in the easiest spot in high winds. We tied up just in time for the next storm to hit, with torrential rain and F8 gusts blowing water in through closed portholes! It poured all evening with spectacular lightening for hour after hour, so we stayed aboard for another of Lindsay’s inspired suppers, conjured up from pretty depleted storecupboards. We felt a little guilty as the wind direction changed so we were crushing the poor little boat we had tied to alongside.