Wednesday May 6
After yesterday’s gusting winds, this morning is a complete contrast. Glossy clear waters, warm sun and a gentle rocking in the residual swell. The skies are clear and the snow glistens on the mountain tops. Sometime this morning Temptress will go alongside to pick up the fuel we have ordered, tonight we are invited to a BBQ; no not on the shore sadly we are still not permitted to land. Silver Tern finally arrived yesterday evening, tired and cold after a long hard journey to windward in a catamaran. So pleased to finally reach Europe the crew cheered as they passed us. So the BBQ is onboard them.
Meanwhile with the wind down we can manoeuvre the gennie along the side deck to the cockpit to machine stitch a patch on either side of the tear. It’s a puncture wound caused by a split pin securing the rigging. Usually these are taped to prevent such damage to sails and crew but the waves washing over the deck during the trip north washed away much of the sun and sand damaged tape allowing pointy ends to poke through.
The weather over the next few days is predominately northerlies meaning the south coast of Crete is fairly well protected with flattish seas, though we can expect gusts to accelerate through the mountain gaps. From Sunday onward a southerly builds for a few days before the northerly returns. This three or four day cycle seems from our reading, fairly normal for this time of year.
For those of us living on a cruising boat away from our home port the pandemic’s effects are far from over. Once lockdowns in countries are lifted it’s likely yacht crews will still be at the mercy of closed international borders. There is potential for those in harbour to be stuck in their host countries for many more months than they may wish and for those who haven’t been permitted to enter a country, the continuing uncertainty of being exposed to weather, breakdown or illness unable to be sure of even basic assistance.
For Kevin and I, the inability to top up a dwindling supply of basic spares, the stress of hunting for fuel & food in the Red Sea, one of the most hostile cruising grounds in the world, followed by the inability having reached ‘safer’ waters, to actually be permitted into secure harbour safe from the weather combined with the longer term issues of maintaining Temptress in a seaworthy state has had a huge impact on the crew’s mental well being. I have always dismissed stress and worry as belonging to others, now it’s physical effects are part of my /our daily lives – poor sleep, indigestion and the rest.
Not exactly the final leg of our circumnavigation that we envisaged a year ago when we departed Singapore. So now we are thinking of finding somewhere to lift the boat if it’s possible and then restart in a year. Or in a more radical thought, basing the boat in Greek waters for a few years and flying out to her.
Our most immediate challenge is how to preserve the glut of tomatoes and cucumbers we have been so generously given. Two jars of refrigerator pickles will make a mere scratch on the surface of the cucumbers! We can possibly reduce some tomatoes to a ‘passata’ or similar to go in a litre sized lock’n lock. After all our food shortages of the recent past, we are extremely chuffed to have such a wonderful abundance.