Wednesday, 26 November 2008

We've lost our anchor dragging virginity!

We nearly lost the boat on Friday night. We spent 4 hours - 1am till 5am - standing on the road in Muo, in the pissing down rain, near freezing temperatures, on our way home from a night out, watching Monty B at anchor being absolutely battered by one of the most horrendous storms I've ever seen.

She was heeling so much at times that she looked like she'd go over. The water was white with gusts of wind nearing force 9. Just terrible. We stood and watched, aghast, unable to do anything as there was no way we could reach her in the tender. At some point, our mate Dan turned up on his way home from Kotor so we spent some of the time sheltering in the car, just watching, waiting, worrying, praying for it to stop.

Then the worst happened and she dragged her anchor, moving along the shore and getting closer to it with every gust. No idea how long for, time stood still, I was hysterical, crying and yelling, there was nothing we could do. I had to drag Tim away from the tender with all my strength, screaming at each other, as he wanted to go out to her but would have been killed. We dragged about 200 metres in all and ended up 10 metres from shore. Just as I was contemplating swimming, but realised I couldn't get on board anyway, and began planning what we would do when she grounded, plus ringing everyone boaty that we knew to come and help us, the wind suddenly dropped - it was like someone flicked a switch. We ran to the tender, jumped in (she was filled up like a kid's paddling pool), the outboard wouldn't work (how typical!), Tim desperately yanking on the ripcord whilst I held onto Dan's hand as hard as I could to stop us being whisked out into the bay. We gave up trying and just paddled like crazy to the boat, got the engine on, took an hour to haul anchor as the voltage on our battery was well down then reanchored just as the sky was showing signs of light. Moments later, the wind veered 180 degrees and started howling from the other direction. It was about 1 degree c, we were soaked to the skin from spending 4 hours in driving rain (me in a mini dress and boots) and frozen to the core.

Spent the next few hours under damp blankets, dropping in and out of sleep. The wind dropped around 9am so we went home to save our poor dogs who' d been in for 14 hours alone and hadn't even pissed anywhere. They are so good! We got changed, checked the forecast, it was shit, so we took the dogs to Jason's then back on the boat until darkness fell and the wind dropped. Then home to a pizza and bed by 9pm. Exhausted. Yesterday, we moved the boat onto the quay in Kotor, she is now trussed up like a turkey and hopefully, safe. Money is no longer an issue - we have to keep her safe.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Hauling a boat here is like pulling teeth (at the moment, I'd recommend doing neither in Montenegro)

This is the great moody view of the mountains from our apartment, on those rare stormy days.

We still haven't got the boat out of water. We are paralysed by having to rely on locals to help and our own need to keep costs within budget. We've decided that if it isn't sorted by the weekend (at least an agreed plan with a boatyard) then we are just going to have to go to Tivat and pay stupid money.

We spent the night on the boat last night as the winds were so strong - a big Bura blow was building up when we got back from work and we were worried. As always, we were solid as a rock and didn't budge an inch but the sleepless night kinda focuses the mind! Despite the cold, the wind, the awful noise (I tried to sleep in the saloon in my sleeping bag as the slamming in our cabin left it impossible to sleep - it's a bit like a ferry slamming into the boat every few minutes which, strangely enough, makes you jump out of your skin even though you know it is just the waves and it's okay), it was still good to be back on board.

But I'm zonked. Had next to no sleep at all - though Tim a bigger zombie than me and is making no sense today whatsover which is partly why I elected to go home and walk the dogs instead of work with him earlier! Back to looking pale, tired and old - wow, it's only taken one night! I was looking so much better too - so much more alive and bright from having sooo many good night's sleep in my new bed. It was good to be with Monty B and there was no way we could have relaxed back at the apartment - living on land is nowhere near as interesting or stimulating - which are the things I really need to keep me perky. We just need to get our bed extended on board then living aboard for at least 9 months of year would be a pleasure!

Check out the temperatures here for later this week - brrrrrrrr! Looks like winter is finally making an appearance.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Driving home for christmas - or not as the case may be

"We want a lift to the UK too!"

As I look at the staggeringly beautiful view from where I sit at my desk in the apartment, I wonder why I want to go home. But I do - only for a few weeks, I emphasise - but I need to see my friends. It will have been 18 months since we left the UK, come christmas, and it has come to the point that I feel a strong need to see the people I love.

One of my very best friends has a child that I have never seen, two others now have three children, the youngest of whom I don't even know. Another pair now have a little girl who was only a baby when we left. I must be getting old; but seeing my friends' children grow up has become important to me.

Plus, there are several others who I care about dearly and miss - I want to spend some valuable time with them.

Tim hasn't seen any of his family since we left and is unlikely to unless we return to the UK. Time is ticking.

But, our lift home at christmas has fallen through so we are now unable to get back. We have to do it by road because of the dogs but my car won't make it back there and it's a long way for a single driver anyway. Plus the costs, unless split, make no sense. there anyone driving from the Balkans to the UK for christmas that would like to lift share?? We could even get ourselves to Italy if needs be. If so, please email me or ring 00382 67859309. HELP!!!