Heading west

It’s been quite some time since I’ve made a blog post and now I have so much to say I’m not sure where to start.We had the best summer imagineable, the highlight being Elizabeth and Alex’s wedding. It was such a wonderful event and I wish we could do it all again. I’m glad we have Sydney and Jesse’s wedding to look forward to next summer. After that, well….maybe Tim and I will renew our vows or something to keep the party rolling!

A Miller family reunion was dovetailed on to the wedding on Cape Cod, then back to Boulder for two weeks before heading to Croatia where we had more family joining us for a wonderful week of goofing around.

After Shannon, Chris, Jeff and Yolanda left, I was hit with a heavy dose of reality. Now we have projects to complete and an ocean to cross. I wasn’t feeling enthused for about 10 days, but am back on the team now.

We also have been hit with a lot of weather issues. We got stuck at an anchorage in Mljet for a few days and couldn’t even leave the boat. I guess we could have, but would have been worried about Agility with lots of boats dragging around the anchorage and the rain and wind weren’t calling us to go ride around in the dinghy if we didn’t have to. Fortunately, we spent the time stowing things away (paddleobards, etc), tightened the back stays, made some stew, etc, etc. It was particularly fortunate because when we did decide to venture out, we got hit with a 65 knot gale. It was scary. We got the boat turned around, but when I tried to steer for awhile I could barely handle it. That bothered me, seeing all of the rocks and land that we could blow into bothered me, and heading back to the anchorage was irritating too due to an obnoxious guy on a powerboat. We had spent two nights in the anchorage near Polace and were near a decent sized nice power yacht that was atypically captained by a couple. Normally, there would have been some crew on a boat that size. The couple appeared to feel uncomfortable and were a real pain in the ass. The first afternoon when the weather was okay, every time a boat would come in, the guy would get out in his dinghy and circle it during the entire anchoring process. That would be followed by yelling that they were too close, zooming back to his boat, yelling at his wife, standing on the side of his boat continuing to yell, then blasting his horn and shining his spotlights once twilight hit. When we retuned to the anchorage, I had to laugh because lots of boats were seeking shelter from the gale, but there was a huge empty swath of space around the power boat. More boats continued to come in and the guy graduates to yelling at everyone on the radio along with blasting the horn and gesturing wildly on his deck. I wanted to sneak out at night and spray paint an upside down anchor (stands for no anchoring) on his hull, but we had no spray paint, it was quite rough, and Tim wasn’t on board with the project.

So finally we get out of there, spent another lovely day and night in Dubrovnik, got fuel the next day and headed for Montenegro. We had a berth booked at a fancy marina, had some work lined up to be done, and planned to rent a car, explore, provision, send laundry out, and do some fine dining. We arrived about 5:00 pm and were feeling quite good about everything, but they decided they didn’t like our paperwork and wouldn’t let us in! It’s a shock to be turned away. Here we are, on a boat, somewhat low on provisions, had been dealing with weather issues, and now had to take off at night. We decided we might as well get to Italy so we left on a 3 night passage. It ended up being perfectly fine, we both like canned green beans, the weather wasn’t optimal for sailing, but we had filled our tanks and it least it wasn’t bad weather only very calm. I can handle calm.

I slept through the Strait of Messini except for a quick look around. There was a strong current and going through at night probably wasn’t optimal, but Captain Tim prevailed and when I took over the night watch I was greeted with dolphin splashing, fireworks on shore, and a shooting star. We’ve been here (Aeonian Islands) less than a week, but it’s been a great stay. Tons of wonderful produce is available, we had several wonderful meals out, good walks, an island scooter adventure in Lipari, and hiked up a volcano yesterday in Vulcano. We had to leave the Vulcano anchorage before the winds hit yesterday so took off mid afternoon after a quick swim and headed to Tindari, one of the oldest natural harbors in the Med, to ride out the blow. Incidentally, sixteen years ago we met a wonderful family from CA on the beach here who we sailed with to Mallorca.

All was going fine for the 18 mile jaunt until Tim spotted a water spout on our starboard side. We immediately started the engine, took down the sails, some other canvas we had up, checked everything inside and outside the boat to be sure all was secure, retrieved rain jackets and safety harnesses, and maintained a constant look out. The spout dissipated, we continued on, but about 20 minutes later another one formed on our port side that was much closer. We steered away from it and were relieved when it dissipated. We were surrounded by weather systems and were concerned about more spouts developing, but made it to the harbor fine and are currently sitting here in the wind preparing to leave tomorrow for Spain. The forecast looks good and we want to continue heading west whenever we get the opportunity. We’d like to be out of the Med earlier than later. The recent weather hasn’t been a lot of fun and getting to the Canaries with time to spare allowing us to wait for a good weather window for our Atlantic crossing seems prudent.

Today I’ll make some food for the passage, clean, and who knows? I need to start on the stainless, but it isn’t very inspiring for hanging outside right now. May be a movie day!

4 thoughts on “Heading west

  1. Dot

    thanks for the update, Jer! What an adventure……and to think I picture you sitting lazily on the front of the boat (is that the bow??) enjoying a beverage and reading a scintillating book!

  2. Tom Metz

    I thought it was exciting here, with the hurricanes, the ugly local and national politics, the Buffs and Broncos winning, and the engrossing 10 part Ken Burns “Vietnam” series. But it is a calm and glassy sea compared to your real life daily challenges.
    Great post! It brings us back from ordinary.

%d bloggers like this: