Follow the waves and troughs of Susan and Andy on their voyage to Greece from England on their Nauticat 33 sailboat "Curly Sue".....

Friday, 23 September 2011

Seasons changing and disaster strikes !!!

Despite the fact that we were still enjoying beautiful weather Susan and I had detected a definite changing of the weather. Nights were cooler, not cold, but we would now have a sheet over us as opposed to nothing at all. Mornings were not hot initially, it would take longer for the sun to really warm things up. We were weather watching as usual and saw some big southerlies predicted on Poseidon and We were in Vliho to go the the Paliokatouna Palladium with Dave n Sue and Pete n Lyn ( and Pups the dog-well, more like a wolf really ). We dinghied ashore and walked up into the hills for a night of hilarity then 30 minutes walk back down again. Next day we visited the famous Vliho Yacht Club then visited John and Aiveen on Cool Runnings. They told us they had decided to put the boat up for sale. Their Peleponesse experiences had literally 'knocked the wind out of their sails' when they had to be rescued by the coastguards after their engine died in a F7. What a shame things hadn't worked out for them. With the big southerlies due soon we decided that Vliho was not the place to stay and picked Ormos Kapali on the north of Meganissi to hole up. It's north facing so hopefully the wind would over the top of us. We picked our spot, dropped 40 metres of chain on the bow anchor, then took two long lines ashore and tied them to trees. There was a Moody next to us but when the couple came back from shopping, I think, on seeing us, decided to move. " Lets go back to Vliho" I heard the lady say, so the lifted their anchor, slipped the long lines and left. We had a fantastic swim that afternoon and used our newly acquired suction grip on the side of the boat so I could hang on with one hand and clean below the water with the other. That evening the wind started to build so we decided to put a kedge anchor out. This is a secondary anchor that we put out at right angles to our port side and attached it to our bow cleat. This was to stop and wind whipping around the small headland on our port side pushing the port bow and putting the bow anchor under pressure. That night we went to bed at 10pm but were up at 01.15am. The lightening show was incredible, so bright that Susan had her sunglasses on. The thunder was deafening, The rain was hammering down and the wind was well cranked up, from the south, then north, then west, then south, yes it was like a vortex. An italian boat that was free swinging on anchor was pirouetting in the bay. We went back to bed at 4am. By 0800am things had calmed down a little but the rain was still chucking down. We spent the day reading, playing scrabble and dozing. We were sure it wasn't over yet. In the afternoon the wind started building again, swirling from all directions again.By late afternoon it was F6/F7 and the sea outside the bay was lively. A catamaran came up the bay frantically looking for shelter. They dropped two anchors but could not get them to bite into the seabed and ended up giving up and left. We noticed an increase in the water level in the bay and the barometer had dropped six points, sign of big winds. So we waited. But the really big winds didn't arrive. It blew to about 25kns and the thunder and lightening returned as it got dark with the reain still giving it what for, but we held fine. Morning came, and with it calm in the bay. We were going to go to Sivoat for another minor job to be done but wondered if it would be full of boats sheltering. The alternative was to pop into Vliho. I rang Simon in Sivota and asked him what the situation was. "Don't go into Vliho mate, its chaos. They got hit with a tornado last night, its carnage. At least one dead and dozens of boats wrecked". This hit us like a thunderbolt, we had friends in there, Cool Runnings, Huit Huit, Lillybelle and probably others. We got sorted and set off for Sivota feeling stunned by the news. En route a text from Rampage came through. HEARD OF STORM IN VLIHO, R U OK .  Blimey, the news had got to the Aegean already. We text back that we were fine and arrived at Sivota by midday. We rang John of Cool Runnings. " Are you OK mate". "What do you think" he replied " it got us good and proper ". What a kick in the teeth, they had just put the boat up for sale and it had been damaged in the storm, but at least they were OK, physically anyway. Their nerves must be in shreds. We were told that a video of the night was already on Youtube, it made very sombre viewing.
That evening we met Maggie n Bruce ( razzle Dazzle ). They had been in Vliho. Their boat had been knocked flat in the water and the main sail literally ripped off it. Maggie was nursing a badly bruised arm, shoulder and ribs. We went to Yannas for dinner and drank copious amounts of wine, then ouzo. What a good call the move to Meganissi was !!

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