Web Diary page 24th - 27th September 2007

Sun 7 Oct 2007 22:18
LADY LIV DIARY PAGE  24-27 SEPTEMBER 2007                           ROCCELLA IONICA (ITALY) POSITION  38:19.66N   16:26.03E
After delivering our three guests to the airport at stupid o'clock (5am) to catch their plane home (which they nearly missed, as we were standing in the wrong queue as the airport wasn't open!), we took a day out to sort the yacht out, try and find a laundry (which we did, in Laganas), provision up and fill up with fuel and water for our forthcoming long passage across the Ionian Sea to Italy.
25th September - THE CAPTAIN'S BIRTHDAY !!!!
After opening some cards and presents, we spent an enjoyable final leisurely morning in Zakynthos town.  M managed to find a two-person mini sized chocolate birthday cake, and Bob admired his new fishing rod and snazzy coloured lures ....   wonder if we'll catch anything with this one ?!!
Said goodbye to Zakynthos at lunchtime and headed more or less due west towards the foot of Italy.   Enjoyed a good few hours sailing in force 4-6 winds, and as we prepared for the first of our two nights sailing, we reefed down the sails and started the night watches - then the night from hell started !!
Just after midnight, the barometer fell dramatically and the wind increased steadily into the night - up to force 8, gusting 9.    We had not managed to sleep at all with the heavy seas buffeting the boat, and the wind howling around our ears - so were absolutely shattered by dawn.  Neither of us could rest, knowing that the other was struggling to keep going.  To make matters worse, our starboard navigation light stopped working, so a very basic back up green light was rigged up to the guard rail.   With daylight, we could see the height of the seas around us, and changed course north to try and run with the waves, as we were still taking quite a bashing !   There is something very unnerving about sitting in the cockpit and watching the waves well up from great troughs behind you, climbing high above the back of the boat and then lifting you up on the crest and surfing you forward - not all did that though, some broke into the cockpit, which was interesting...   By midday, the wind had dropped and the sea calmed a little, and we both tried to catch some rest.  As we went into the second night, we still hadn't rested properly, and both our appetites had gone so were weak from both tiredness and hunger !   Wind picked up later into the  night and we were able to sail for a while, but as Bob went below to rest, M noticed that all of the navigation lights had gone out !   Very dangerous with a lot of shipping around .. Muddled through the rest of the night, M managing to grab a couple of hours sleep, but woke to find Bob in the cockpit shouting instructions to put the sails away quickly, and put the GPS and the VHF into the oven, as we were surrounded by electrical storms!  Great .. at which point M lost it !  Just woken up, and now the Captain had sailed us into a cauldron of thunderstorms (actually, he didn't have anything to do with it, they were just there !!)  Quickly regaining composure, M had a word with the guy upstairs - Bob went down to grab some sleep, and suddenly - as if by magic the clouds parted along our course towards the Italian coast, the sky cleared, the wind came up to 15 knots, so M put the sails up, turned the engine off and sailed under a blue sky towards Roccella Ionica!   Divine intervention ??   What a surprise for Bob, when he woke up some hours later, and we were just off the coast at Roccella.  We manoevred the boat into the harbour, missing the sandbank, the hidden rock, and keeping our eye on the shipwreck on the beach in front of us, and were helped to moor in the marina by some helpful souls who looked shocked when they saw our zombie-like appearance and couldn't believe that we had just sailed through a force 9 from Greece !   Word went round the Marina very quickly - we went to bed - and slept, and slept !