LAST TWO DAYS…

Day 8

I almost didn’t write that heading in case I tempted fate! However the weather gods still love me! Its sooo calm and beautiful this morning.

Turns out it was the owner who abused us last night. The captain arrived this morning and calmed him down. He was a nice guy and we sorted the problem with a handshake containing €250! That should cover getting the tiny gel coat scratch fixed!

We’ve had a beautiful trip to Kefalonia today. What a stunning little port town. Its my first time here and I heartily recommend it. We tottered ashore for a drink and to check out restaurants. Then Paul RTB’d for a nap while I explored and did a spot of shopping!

We should make Athens tomorrow via the Corinth Canal. Flights home are booked for Friday. Paul shouted is dinner out which was nice too. Supplies are limited now!

DAY 9 – Kefalonia to Athens

We’ve had really perfect conditions today. The only wind has been up the chuff, so booted us along at 21 knots.

We’re through the Corinth Canal, always a groovy experience and on the home straight. We’re actually at a marina called Lavrion tonight. It’s quite a bit East of Athens city proper, but much closer to the airport. So about 2hrs to run.

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It’s been a good way to end the season. I’ve always liked doing the transits, so a delivery was the perfect finish for me! Thanks for the ride, Lucky Wave 😊🤘👋

LAST VOYAGE 2019 Continues

Monday 23rd September–Day 6

Yesterday was Mum’s birthday! Managed to ring her while the cell coverage was OK! We’ve actually got really good 4G WiFi on this ship, so it seldom drops right out. Can be a bit patchy way out to sea. Don’t ask me how it works. It just does! That’s all I need to know.Yesterday

was from Gaeta to Vibo. The log shows we did 170.4nm and took us 10hrs and 20 minutes. We averaged around 19.5 knots, but you have to remember the times include entry and exits from ports.We were blessed by the weather Gods again and fingers crossed that holds today, at least till late morning.

Today we go to Crotone, via the infamous Messina Straights. Anyone who has read Greek Mythology will be familiar with this place. Great books, and the whirlpools are every bit as incredible as depicted. Beware, indeed. Hooray for big diesel engines!It’s a similar distance to yesterday so another long day. I don’t mind them really. We do two hour tricks, resting in between, and in my case, doing food prep! But it’s nice scenery, peaceful, if you discount two big Mann engines roaring, and I get to read! In the congested areas we’ll both be on watch, like yesterday going between the islands around the Bay of a Naples (autocorrect wanted to put ‘nipples’ there!).

Vibo is a nice little port, a bit of a backwater and charming, everyone very friendly. The bar closed early though and we missed out by the time we’d washed down etc. So the liver had a rest last night. We refuelled on arrival so we could get away early today. Note to other boaties, the fuel dock is really high so set your fenders well up on the straking rail. And the marina fingers are low! But you’ll be stern to so that’s no issue! And the Italian water fittings are generally the really small screw on ones, not the male to male fittings like in France.

It’s just on 1000 and I’m on watch! I came in just as we entered the Straight of Messina, so Paul duel watched the first hour with me. There wasn’t much traffic today and the sea state is smooth, though some SSE fetch, exiting the Straight. The only thing to really look out for is fishing buoys! Those buggers are everywhere and hard to spot!

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For the land lubbers reading this, fetch is a swell that has been generated in another area and travelled to your location. It can make for quite uncomfortable sea conditions if mixed with a localised weather pattern. So, for example, later today the forecast is for 20 knot SW winds. If we’re still in this, it’ll be a bit rugged, making for a rather confused sea! I think we’ll be out of it though.The only blip on my horizon right now is the MY Quantum Blue, info courtesy of the AIS system! She’s 5nm away and going at 17 knots! CPA (closest point of approach) 0.32nm! Gotta love these navigation systems… makes a NavO’s life so easy.I particularly remember this ship as she was on a buoy near us when I was on Moonbeam last year, for about a week, in Villefranche. Fouche and I had a day worker sign on our starboard side and took the tender out looking for work! Quantum Blue crew were real fun to chat to and cool about us begging to come on board!

I came round on our waypoint not long ago, an easterly heading, so the sea running is almost on our beam. Lucky Wave is not liking it, wallowing like a pig in mud, and the waves barely touching the upper limits of a “slight ” sea (0.5 to 1.3m). The wind is starting to veer and pick up though, as predicted. Still, it’s only 2.5nm till the next waypoint and we will be heading NNE so should be more comfortable with a stern sea.

It’s 1300 now and I’m over an hour into my break, if it can be called that, since I’ve made wraps for lunch and cleaned up, plus relieved Paul for a loo break. I can do a 2 hrs trick without needing relieving, but he has a woolworths bladder! Also I did a 3 hour trick on the last one because the captain slept through the watch change! Didn’t really mind. The conning chairs are super comfy and a good spot to be!

As I thought we left the fetch behind and just have the predicted SW behind us. It’s a nice ride, though you might think not, with the compass swinging through 10 degrees of helm and the speed surfing between 16 and 23 knots! I like it! We’ve probably got about 3hrs 20 mins left to go. In time to bunker, hopefully.

Here’s a laugh. Paul’s always admonishing me for tempting the Weather God’s wrath by complimenting the conditions! But this afternoon he commented the sea had calmed down and I swear the words barely left his mouth and the sea state worsened considerably! My theory is that they love my dulcet tones – after all, the Kiwi accent was voted sexiest in the world this year!

1530. I’m on watch for another 15 minutes which will take us to our second last waypoint.

Off now, so I can play with my phone again! I like the slow – mo mode for the wake!

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DAY 7 – Crotone to Gouvia, Corfu.

My alarm woke me this morning at 0600, a rare event (mainly coz I was awake from 0200 to 0400) and I couldn’t turn it off because my arm was dead! Thanks to the rock like battery cage I sleep in!

We got under way by 0645 and are now an hour and a half into my watch. The wind is backing (changing anticlockwise) and the sea is a bit confused at present. I reckon we’ve got another hour or two of these conditions before the predicted bad weather arrives. Fun times!It’s Paul’s watch now and I’m enjoying the wilder ride today. We had an interesting little crossing of wills with a big cargo ship just at change over. She was approaching us fine on our port bow, almost head on. Colregs (rule of the road) state that in a head on situation both ships shall alter to starboard and pass port to port. They also state that the ship which can see the port side of the other vessel is the give way vessel. In either of those interpretations, the cargo ship should have altered to starboard to give way to us. Given it was almost head on and the sea was moderate, I helped by going 15 degrees to stbd also. We both had AIS, so could see what each other was doing. With TCPA (time to closest point of approach) only 9 minutes away, she still hadn’t altered. I put another 5 degrees to stbd on. She still didn’t alter and I wasn’t happy with the CPA. Colregs also say that notwithstanding the previous rules, the stand on vessel still must take reasonable steps to prevent collision. Realising the cargo ship had zero intention of altering course as she should, I came 20 degrees to stbd to pass astern of her. It put us in horrible sea on our port bow but was the best option in the end. It’s no surprise really. A lot of these huge vessels think they can ignore Colregs and apply ‘might has right’, even with a ton of sea room to manoeuvre.

I really want to go outside and play with my slow-mo but it’s not safe out there! 😔.Guess I’ll have to do it from inside!

The rest of the trip was uneventful. The only challenge was putting Lucky Wave in the skinny berth we got here in windy conditions. I can’t talk to Paul on the radio, handle fenders and get lines on all at the same time. The mate on the neighbouring ship helped, bless him. But we still hit both other vessels. Hard not to. One captain was ok about it, the other a total A hole. I told him to take a fucking chill pill. Hasn’t he ever been in rough weather? Idiot. Talk about holier than thou!

Two more days! 😜 Then 🍸🍾🎈🌎

LAST VOYAGE THIS SEASON

Wednesday 18th September 2019

On Monday afternoon we were informed the boat is going to Athens for the Winter or until sold. Paul and I were a little dismayed at this last minute change of plan, as we’d packed up almost everything on board for winter storage. So we’re travelling light!

It should take us eight days (weather permitting as always) and we have an extra day in Rome, to get the fuel filters changed. Paul’s flying straight home to the UK after this transit. I’ve asked that I fly back to Nice via Venice, to see my cousin for a couple of days. I don’t know if they’ll do that for me or not, yet. I checked out the price and it was pretty cheap, so fingers crossed.

Ruth has been away with work, so I’ve left most of my gear with a French guy I’ve been hanging out with, Mehrez Saadouni. He’s Tunisian originally and a very sweet natured person. He only speaks French so it’s been good for me! I’m improving!

Matt is en route to Europe and I’m flying to Prague to have a week with him on October 7th. I can’t wait to see him. Seems so long!

It’s been a good season. Our owners have been lovely to work for and it’s nice to be asked back next year. Paul and I have worked well together on the whole. There was an odd patch in the middle, I think with the crew change, as our new cook had a bit of an odd mind set. She seemed to think because she’s a school teacher, she’s way smarter than the rest of us, and we were beneath her somehow. I tried really hard to gel with her, helped her lots, took her out for dinner, picked up the slack when she was really crook with PMTs, and covered a whole day when she was too hung over to move! But it was a one way street and I kind of gave up in the end, was pleasant, did my job and made sure Paul was OK. He’s a kind hearted person and good to the crew, so didn’t deserve her contempt. Anyway, she’s gone, and it’s just the two of us doing this last trip. Rather nice.

So… DAY 1!

Antibes to Macinaggio – Exited Port Vauban at 1130 and set a course of 110 degrees at 19 knots. Wind force 3 and sea state Moderate initially, but an hour into the trip we found calm seas.

I took watch at 1230, for my 2 hour trick. Very little traffic. I did see a turtle! Second trick from 1630 and arrived around 1800. Perfect conditions for our first day. Had a couple of wee wines ashore before pies for dinner.

Macinaggio is a gorgeous port town at the top of Corsica. We’re probably as big as you can be in terms of berthing here. Most boats are sail and Lucky Wave dwarfs the ones here at the moment!

DAY 2 – 19.9.19

Macinaggio to Rome.

The weather forecast is not bad, in fact very good until about 4pm. We have to refuel so probably won’t get away till about 0930. NNE 0-10 knots, turning NNW 15-20 kn at 1600. Its about an 8 hour day so we’ll nearly be there, all going well, by the time the wind gets up.

I got up early to do some food prep. Its easier than at 20 knots!

We got away at 0915 having taken on 4500l diesel. So we’re now carrying 7 tons of fuel around. Poor Lucky Wave! Some big land generated cumulonimbus are piling up behind us but we should leave them behind.

I’ve decided there’s something about the fuel guys in this part of the world. Amy and I couldn’t help noticing on the way to Cyprus and back! Hot damn but they’re a good looking bunch! Window shopping, gals, is all! Paul and I agreed to not judge each other for enjoying the views!

I’m writing some of this as we go and some of it retrospectively, so forgive the changing tenses!

I took the watch at 1015, about an hour after departure. Paul said he was tired so I’m on for the next couple of hours. Got the sea to ourselves! Nothing on radar within a 4nm radius. La mer est très belle aujourd’hui 😊❤️

Treat of the first watch was dolphins. They really are special. The only other excitement (hardly) was giving way momentarily to a big container ship!More dolphins on Paul’s watch, just after I’d made our lunch (wraps)! They put on a really good display in our wake. Then I had the 1415 to 1615 watch.

About 1530 the forecast wind started to get up. The fetch was SSE and the wind ESE, so potentially not particularly comfortable! But it didn’t come to much so can’t complain. We arrived about 1700, berthed, washed the boat a bit and cooked dinner. Wrapped up now – 2000 – and I reckon we won’t be long out of bed!

DAY 3 in ROME

Really nice day. We both got up when we were ready. The guys who came to work on the boat arrived in good time and it was all done before lunch.

We could’ve pushed on to Gaeta but decided not to. I did some work for my YM, quite a lot, actually! Went for a walk and yarned to Matt in fb messenger. Paul and I popped out for a bevvie before dinner. Then he went off to watch a movie in bed and I did some food prep for the next couple of days. Its so much easier to do stern to, than at 20 knots! Finished about 8pm and Mehrez rang to catch up.

This port is really quite big with a serious ship yard, but the support services are almost non existent. The potential is huge but certainly not realised. There could be regatta sailing here, shops in the beautiful old buildings, restaurants, so much. But there’s nothing! Even the beach is nice!

Refueling in the morning, then 6 hours to Gaeta. Bon nuit 😊

DAY 4 – ROME to GAETA

We got away later than we’d hoped as the refueling dock didn’t open until 0930. Southern European work ethic in practice! So eventually got under way at 1105, having topped the tanks! Again blessed with a good run and fair weather. Made excellent time and arrived in Gaeta around 1630, in time to refuel again. The fuel dock guys told us to stay on their dock for the night, so that’s less effort!

We decided that since we have 3 big days ahead of us we’d go ashore for a meal. I wanted to explore a bit so we walked to the old town and back, before settling into a place Paul’s friend told him he must visit! It’s called Rendezvous and I’ve never been to a bar /restaurant that had every single available seat booked out! There was reserved labels everywhere! However we parked in one that said it wasn’t booked until 9pm, and no one seemed to mind. After a couple of wines, peanuts, Olives, pestachios and crisps, we decided we didn’t need dinner!

I came straight to bed and have had a chat with Mehrez. Sleep now! And I think I’ll post this. Its getting long!