Sunday, 2 December 2007

The final straw

Sunday 11 November 2007
Got up at 7am as neither of us could sleep. Absolutely shell shocked and exhausted. Spinning, numb head and nerves shot to pieces. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day – it looked like the day before had never happened until you looked at the bashed up backside of Monty B – boo hoo.

We wanted to get back to the safety of Tranquil Bay. So at midday, we set off towards Lefkas. Just was we cleared the harbour entrance, the engine lost revs and a few seconds later it cut out. We were worryingly close to the rocks that the lighthouse warns of so I pulled out the headsail and took us back into the harbour while Tim bled the fuel system. It worked and we decided to continue.

It took three chocolate and coffee fuelled hours to cross the choppy expanse of sea between Cephalonia and Lefkas. An hour from Tranquil Bay and with 1 ½ hours of daylight left, we started to relax. How silly of us! Moments later, the engine lost revs then cut out again. There was next to no wind but I hoisted the mizzen and headsail and got us sailing, albeit very slowly. Tim got the engine going again, we motored for a few minutes then it died. And again. And again.

With the light and our energies fading fast, we cut our losses and made the most of the tiny bit of remaining wind by attempting to sail back. After narrowly avoiding a collision with the Meganisi ferry (terrible timing), we neared Nidri. The sun went down and with it went what little wind we had.

Okay – now what? Next plan - Tim got into Billy and pushed us along, with Billy’s tiny and temperamental 2hp engine. Amazingly it worked and achingly slowly we shunted our way towards a safe anchorage. It was completely black again – it is very difficult to see when it first gets dark – and there is little shore lighting at this time of year. After much procrastinating and “discussion”, we dropped anchor but with no wind, we were pushed along beam on (sideways) rather than backwards so the anchor wouldn’t set. A quick flash around with the torch revealed that we were heading towards rocks, oh joy. So we gritted our teeth, hauled anchor and Tim got back into Billy to push us back into position.

In the process of a fair bit of swearing (at each other by this point – tempers and nerves had just about had it), there was a sound of paddles and a Lancastrian voice came out of the gloom asking if we would like to raft up next to them (they were on Viola’s mooring buoy). Fifteen minutes later, we were safely attached to Tangaroa and were sharing beers with our saviours, Dave and Eileen from Bolton. What stars!

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