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 🍸🍾🎈🌎

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