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Date: 17 Apr 2009 08:39:15
Title: Peace in Iraklion


35:20.59N 25:08.19E

12.00 17th April

Passage to Hania

Well, another night spent at anchor in the lagoon close to Spinalonga,
idyllic one might think. We laid out quite a lot of anchor, expecting it to
be a breezy night, and attached a snubber to the chain - for the non sailing
folk, this is a hook attached to a line that is hooked onto the anchor chain
in order to take the strain off the winch. The wind after we'd gone to bed,
increased quite significantly with gusts whistling and roaring across the
deck. In our bunks the sky and horizon shot by as we were spun by the wind
and you could hear the strain on the anchor. Deep in the night it began to
rain heavily and this was accompanied by a good number of increasing strong
blasts of wind until there was a loud and reverberating bang. A quick
diagnosis by Peter G was that the snubber had gone and we needed to get up
on deck to inspect the damage. By the time we had dressed, thankfully the
rain had stopped, but the wind still howled. The snubber line had snapped
but very fortunately the hook was still on the chain and with a bit of
effort we were able to recover it and replace the line. Back in bed still
the wind gusted in, but each time accompanied by a new sound, of the new
snubber line stretching and squeaking. I'm sure sleep did return in fits and
starts but it wasn't a peaceful night.

In the morning, we monitored the wind and obtained some updated weather
files (thank goodness for mobile phone internet connectivity) and were
thinking about our plan A. This had been to wait at anchor until early
afternoon, during which time we could prepare a one pot dinner, then set off
on an overnight passage to Hania. The wind and anchor would not let us have
our way and once we'd confirmed that it was dragging we were up and off
almost immediately. Getting out of the lagoon and around a headland was the
hardest part (you may recall we have done this headland earlier in the week
when the changing wind made it prudent to return). This time a determination
to move on and slightly more favourable conditions and we crept around the
corner. A frustrating day of motoring, great sailing wind but almost on the
nose so of little value to us. The sea was also lively with swell from the
last 24 hours' wind, so we rock and rolled our way through the day.

The good thing about our plan B was that it had very little detail other
than we're going now. As a result, rather than sailing through the night we
chose to stop at the island's capital, Iraklion, where we tied to a pontoon,
had a sensible dinner the wandered off in search of fresh bread and, very
briefly, see the sights. A peaceful, windless night followed, but I wouldn't
want you to think everything was easy. Iraklion has a very large port and
harbour with cargo areas, a cruise terminal and the yacht berths. All this
is contained within a huge harbour wall, in a straight line, parallel to the
shore for a mile. Entering a commercial harbour is always something to be
done with care and as we did so Peter was helming and the crew on look-out.
What took most of our attention was the rowing, with a pair and a coxless
four along with their coach in a dinghy. What very sharply grabbed our
attention from this tranquil scene was a ship leaving port just as we were
approaching its bow. A quick course change for us, as close to the sea wall
as we could go, the rowing pair and dinghy doing the same as the ship
motored directly at our port beam. I don't need to describe the single,
long, low note from the ship's horn to let us know he was coming through!!!
Interesting moments as we slipped past each other, a motor tug pushing the
side of the ship to get it to turn away from the sea wall. Now for those of
you who at this stage are starting to worry, and I perhaps have my mum in
mind, as Peter often says, 'these things have a habit or resolving
themselves'. He could see us, we could see and hear him, the rowers could go
to hell, he had some business to get on with and everything turned out fine.
Why worry, be happy!

Skipper here -up at first light and slipped out quietly, the sun rising as
the sail was rising still inside the harbour - a dark red ball appearing on
the horizon. The wind is now in the south,we even managed to sail for a
while but now it is back to motor sailing in calm seas along the coast
westwards to Hania. We hope to be there before sunset.

Quiz time - Question 1. There is a picture of the propeller under the
heading "Haul out in Turkey". How was the state of it referred to in the
diary?

You can keep your answers for now and send them all at once or write now. We
like to get messages!


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