After a restful night in Erikoussa, we had received our negative Covid test results so we slipped our lines and left the harbour at 8am. We could see that there was still quite a bit of swell so raised our sails before leaving the protection of the harbour and headed out to sea.
It was a ‘lively’ sail but not too uncomfortable (we were rocking and rolling!). We had a good force 6 wind from the northwest, allowing us to steer a southwesterly course, and we were speeding along at 7 knots.
It was difficult to take straight pictures as we were very much ‘on the lean’ with the toe rail dipping in the water at times!
These conditions continued until 4pm when the wind and swell disappeared and the sea was dead flat calm! Unfortunately this meant that we had to put the engine on.
We had a visitor on board in the afternoon as a little bird landed on the deck, not surprised that it needed a rest as we were about 35 miles away from land! We put some seeds and water out and it was partying on board with us until late evening.
The sun went down and the full moon rose keeping the sky bright all night
We planned to keep watch through the night with 3 hour shifts, allowing us each to have 3 hours rest in between. As this was our first overnight passage for 10 years it was quite tough getting into the routine, however it went to plan for most of the night.
It was a fairly uneventful night, we were motoring along in a flat sea with a bright clear sky, there were lots of stars out, and only a few other boats, mainly cargo ships, to watch out for, but other than that we were on our own with a cup of coffee, chocolate biscuits and podcasts for company
By 4am the wind started to pick up again and we raised the sails, (we always make sure that we are both on deck to make changes to the sails at night, so this took us out of our watch routine for a while). The wind was now coming from the southwest, just the direction we wanted to go so we had to steer slightly off course, but it was good to be sailing again having had the engine running for the past 12 hours. The wind gradually increased to force 5 by sunrise and we were back up to 6 knots.
The best time of day is watching the sunrise.
By the afternoon we were approximately 25nm from our destination when the wind disappeared again, so the sails came down, the engine went on, and we motored the rest of the way.
We arrived at Roccella Ionica at 5pm (according to our watches, however it was actually 4pm Italian time) where we moored in Porto delle Grazie Marina. A total of 195nm and 33 hours underway!
The marina was not very pretty, but surrounded by 10ft concrete walls, it was very protected and safe. It had one small pizza bar but unfortunately they had shut down their ovens for the winter, however they were still serving drinks, after having a long hot shower, we couldn’t resist one (or two) drinks to celebrate a successful passage.
We planned to only stay for 1 day and then head to Sicily, but there were strong winds and big waves forecast so we ended up staying for 3 days. This gave us plenty of time to catch up on sleep and give the boat a good wash.