2 clueless day skippers with Patience

‘Italia Qui Arriviamo ! ‘ ( Italy - Here we Come)

14 August 2019
Donna Smith
In order to cruise around Greek waters, as well as paying 'Cruising Tax', we have to carry an official Log called a 'Depka.' This has to be signed yearly by the Port Police or it is invalid. Ours is due to run out in March 2020, so before we headed off to Italy we needed to get it signed, as it will be out of date by the time we return. We decided to go to the Port Police Office in Preveza. The policeman thought we were odd but signed it anyway, saying 'Valid from today' with a look as if to say "Crazy English!"

It was August 5th before we had a weather window to cross the Ionian Sea to Italy. Our journey was 206 nautical miles from Preveza to Roccella Ionica and we expected to be able to sail most of it. We anticipated it would take us approximately 40 hours, that's 2 nights and 2 days. At 5.30 in the afternoon, all packed and stowed, we waved adios to Jim on Mucker and headed off over to the fuel dock in the new marina. We added 100 litres of fuel to the tanks, just in case.

It is a long time since we have done any overnight passages. Out of site of land, the un interrupted sunsets and sun rises on the horizon are stunning. They make you feel quite humble. This was true on this occasion, although this time we found the journey quite challenging. We did manage to sail for the first 100 miles, but the wind was stronger than forecast and the sea was much lumpier, confused and uncomfortable. At one point I felt like I was Jim Carey, playing Truman in the Truman Show, as the weather was relentless. I would not have been surprised to hear the rip of cloth as Patience sailed into the edge of the film set or the director shouted "Cut - it's a wrap !" Wishful thinking on my behalf perhaps? The slither of moon only lasted a few hours before plummeting down behind the horizon, leaving me in complete darkness until the full array of stars came out to hep light the way. Now that was pretty spectacular.

The sea took the following day to calm down so we rolled our way through the next 20 hours, under engine, again, not very comfortable. Needless to say I was not hostess with the mostest in the galley, making fresh bread every morning. Thank goodness we had prepared pasta meals, and brought fruit and other snacks, that required little effort to retrieve from the fridge or cupboard.

Finally we arrived at the entrance to the marina, pretty exhausted to be honest. A lovely Marinara greeted us with an Italian smile and helped us dock the boat against a wooden pontoon. Yes, not a gnarly concrete, 'I'll rip your boat to shreds if you get too close' quay, but a wooded pontoon that we could tie alongside - heaven.

The office staff were also super friendly. The marina itself was rather unique. It reminded me of a campsite, a campsite for boats instead of tents. The whole atmosphere was relaxed, as it had an abundance of shady woodland areas, where people were sat with a coffee, a beer or a book. There were 2 bars, again not overstated and a pizzeria, where they served foot long pizzas on tables that flooded out of the restaurant, down to the waters edge. There were all the usual's, a launderette, shop and club house for live aboard sailors. A short cycle away was the town and next to the marina was the start of a long sandy beach, where we watched the youngsters play volley ball, while older locals bathed, still wearing their sun hats. We considered just holding up here right through until next April, but it was too was expensive to stay in August and September as it is the height of Summer. Also, it didn't take us long to forget the challenging sail over and by the third day we had paid our deposit for October and left to sail the 175 nautical miles South to explore the islands of Malta.
Vessel Name: Patience
Vessel Make/Model: Moody376
Hailing Port: Haslar , Gosport , England
Crew: Ricky and Donna
About: 2023 Still clueless , but having fun !
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