Sunday 10 May
Amazingly it is ten days since we left the Suez Canal and five since Temptress arrived in Ierapetra. We made our farewells to Giannis, the port authority and Inge-Marie, thanking them for their kindness and assistance during our time at anchor. Then in company with Silver Tern weighed anchor (so well dug into the sand it had disappeared completely) at a very chilly seven in the morning to motor westwards. As we headed out the church bells began to ring for morning mass.
The mountains of Crete will be our companions on our starboard side for the next hundred odd miles before we turn northwest towards the Peloponnese. The scenery provide plenty to look at; tiers of greenhouses, grubby patches of snow in hollows near the peaks, occasional white painted buildings all bathed in the clear bright light of the early morning sun. By nine we were stripping off the layers.
We have received a very positive and welcoming response from the marina in Messolonghi but the manager needs to check with the port police so we still do not know whether we will be permitted to berth there. The 350 nm passage will take at least three days, maybe more so we are hoping everything will be worked out by the time we arrive. If nothing else we can anchor off inside the harbour. Our very long time sailing friends Pat and Tony will be there to assist if needed. We have been video chatting almost everyday since arriving in Ierapetra, it has been as if we were last sailing together yesterday not ten or more years ago!
By supper time Temptress had motored as far as Crete’s first corner where the coast turns an abrupt 90 degrees to head north for a few miles. We aimed from there to the western end of Crete some sixty nautical miles away, should reach there around dawn. Ahead lies a line of what can only be described as fog, above which snow covered peaks catch the last of the sun. We say farewell to Silver Tern. Their intention is to work their way north and west towards the Straits of Messina whilst the winds are favourable. Sicily is just under 500 miles away. In our last moments together we passed over one of Temptress’ old halyards so they have a spare as their last spare is now in use as a topping lift.
We motor on through the night, watches starting at 19:00 as per our usual routine at sea. The skipper took the first watch, adding layers of clothing to keep warm. Once the sun sets the air has quite a chill and everything becomes rather damp. Oilie bottoms, shoes and socks are necessary to keep you dry and cosy. Temptress potties along under engine at five knots, some three or four miles off the coast, Silver Tern not far behind. Both the crew are feeling more relaxed, enjoying the scenery as it passes.
Red lights atop the wind generators on the hills provide an intriguing, irregular light show. There are a few lights off to port on the island of Gavdos and pools of light to starboard, villages nestling along the shores of Crete. No moon yet tonight but the earlier cloud has cleared and the black sky is dotted with stars. By 23:00 we’ve thirty miles to the western tip of the island. With the current helping push us along we should be there before dawn.