Sicily to Greece


Sailing to Greece

On Wednesday morning we were up at 5am to set off for Greece. The air smelt of sulphur (Etna was erupting) but there was not a breath of wind. We dawdled about for a while delaying our start, checking and checking again the wind forecasts. It looked fairly light, 10kts and from the west so from astern for the direction we were travelling. Not great for Emerald but it was forecast to increase into Thursday and Friday.

We decided to go off and motored out into a sloppy swell from the north. After a couple of hours the wind increased enough for us to be able to sail, though that only lasted 3 hours. Story of the trip really, sails up, sails down; unfortunately more down than we liked.

Hazy Etna

Hazy Etna

Etna could be seen on and off through the haze until sunset when we were 65nm miles out. We could just see a plume of blackness spreading out from the volcano’s crest as the suns fading rays lit it from below.

Green Flash

We reckon we saw the green flash, like a little tiny green flame from a Zippo lighter briefly sparking up at the instant the sun dipped below the horizon on Wednesday evening. Pretty much all we saw of interest, the nights were very dark with just a sliver of crescent moon rising a few hours before dawn and very little shipping. Colin spotted Greece a few hours after sunrise on Friday which helped ease the feeling of there being nothing else out there on the big blue.

Hello Greece

Hello Greece

We seemed to have around a knot of current with us at times which helped with boat speed. The hull wasn’t badly covered in gunk but there were a few barnacle patches that probably added a bit of drag so any current with us was a bonus. We never really experienced a current against, just a lack of it being with us at times. Odd.

As we neared the islands the wind went right round onto the nose and all we wanted was to be in and anchored somewhere by then, so plugged on under power until the wind dropped off as we rounded the south of Lefkada. The water was a beautiful deep blue and the scenery stunning; I’d not expected it to be so mountainous and green.

Chilli Two Ways

The nights were a little chilly and damp, I even needed my woolly hat the second night. We ate a preprepared chilli and curry each evening which helped add some warmth as the sun set. I’d made a huge batch of tuna and veg cous cous which saw me through every day for lunch and stopped me snacking it was so filling, Colin doesn’t eat much at sea (whereas I’m usually constantly hungry) so just had a sandwich using a ‘live forever’ sliced brown loaf (best before date July so not much preservatives in that then!).

Our usual 3 hour watch pattern worked well starting at 10pm each night, during the day we didn’t keep to a fixed pattern just letting each other nap when needed. I slept much better the second night having got into the routine better.

I took my precautionary 2 Stugeron before bed on Tuesday, then one about lunchtime the next day. I was doing OK without feeling queasy until Thursday when the wind and seas picked up; another pill set me right.

Date: 13th to 15th May

Distance travelled: 283nm (70nm sailed)

Weather: sunny, dry and warm during the day, dry and cooler at night. Wind mainly F3 to F4 from the west, occasionally dropping and increasing. During the journey it backed to the south east and then to the east.

Current location: Vlicho Bay, Lefkada, Greece 38 41.5’N 20 42.31’E

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