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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Any port in a storm

Over the VHF we hear that lots of our flotilla have had difficulty making Paxos and a change of plan has sent them all to Sivota which is about six miles from where we're heading. We make a quick calculation that we could also make this port putting an extra hour onto our proposed plan. By the time we're approaching Sivota it's getting dark and before we enter the calmer waters on the approach to Sivota we are night sailing. Now we've done this on the Clyde and down the Menia straights but with a qualified yachtmaster aboard, but here we are in foreign waters with just me and Jackie aboard. We check the chart which tells us there's a light house right on the point ahead. This is easy to spot, but the chart also has a red flashing light every five seconds near the harbour. So far we can't see that so we motor on towards the lighthouse until the lights of Sivota are away to our port side. Well is it Sivota as we still can't see a red flash every 5 seconds. Our lead skipper is on the VHF asking if we can see the red light in the port, but amongst all the street lights it's impossible to tell. Never the less we head towards the twinkling lights straining our eyes to pick out this illusive light. In the gloom we can barely see the shape of land, we check the pilot book and discover that there's a sea wall around the harbour and we're aimed straight for it, we turn quickly starboard and there in the distance is this red light. It's not flashing at all and there was nothing on the end of the sea wall to indicate that this also may be a hazard. Now within sight of the masts of our flotilla we cut the engine revs and glide slowly in the dark towards the red light that's next to where our leader wants me to dock. Just turn around now and come in stern first. WHAT! This is going to be rather tricky as I've never done this manoeuvre ever. He wants me to squeeze between two other yachts. Just point the tiller the way you want the boat to go, oh right and do the throttle at the same time, why not. Actually at this point some inappropriate air of confidence sprang out of nowhere and before you could say bobs your uncle, or some more appropriate nautical term we were throwing our lines to the crew on the dockside. After two hours of night sailing we were safely tied up and ready for a well earned G&T.
We didn't expect to be using our night sailing training here but so glad to have done it as we felt on top of the situation all of the time.

Ten yards from our boat is a bar and we order a series of G&Ts whilst we recant our adventure to Pat and Dave whilst we get nicely drunk before falling into our berths aboard Othina for a good nights sleep.