The Windy Way to the Windy Islands (or revisiting the Aeolian Islands)

June 7, 2013

Regular readers of this blog will know that the start to this “summer” has been, shall we say, a bit windier than normal. As a result, we’ve been reduced to doing a lot of hanging about waiting for the winds either to die away from gale force or, equally frustrating, to go round to a direction that will enable us to make some progress towards Greece. We do have a deadline, as Jinny will be looking for a hotel in Kephalonia if we aren’t there by 2 July…..

Anyhow, we left you in Carloforte where we met up with Lee and Joan, the crew of “Wishbone”. We wound up spending nearly a week in the harbour there, although we did manage to find a free berth on the town quay for most of it. I had a stinking cold (thank you Lily for giving it to Granny, who then gave it to me!) but we had a good time there, enhanced by the local tuna festival.

Finally, we spotted what looked like a window of about 3 days where the winds were from the west and not too strong (i.e. less than about 30 knots). So we left Carloforte a bit earlier than intended at about 10 am and headed south then east round the tip of Sardinia. This area is notorious for its winds and we found, as we had last year, the actual winds to be some what more than forecast. We had a cracking sail for the first 14 hours or so with the wind firmly on our port quarter. Much of the time we just used the genoa as its easier to manage and the mainsail tends to steal its wind.

Then, as usual, the wind died away and we resorted to motorsailing to keep up a reasonable speed. In fact, this worked so well we were doing in excess of 6 knots for much of the time. This speed, however, was not all good as it meant we were in danger of arriving at our destination in the dark: not a good idea when entering an unlit anchorage. So we slowed down and pottered along at about 3 knots for a while until our time of arrival was just in daylight hours.

We were both quite tired by this point, as the motion of the boat during the first half of the trip had taken it out of us a bit so we were delighted to sight Vulcano and our anchorage. We entered as the dawn was just bright enough for us to pick our way through all the boats anchored there and we dropped anchor closed to the shore. We then retired to bed and slept until midday. We did little more that day other than going ashore to have an ice cream in the late afternoon.

Today we have moved round to the eastern side of the island, as the wind is changing tonight. We’re doing a bit of maintenance and cleaning things up today but plan on climbing the volcano of Vulcano tomorrow to bag a couple of geocaches up there. After that, we aim to visit more of the islands in search of geocaches before we head on to Greece.

That’s it. No philosophy, or good advice to others thinking of taking up the lifestyle. We’re now too busy living it to bother…..

Oh, photos. Not quite figured out how to do this properly using the WordPress iPad app, so the ones below are:
J on watch during the crossing, not warm but well wrapped up! Hot chocolate is a life saver on long passages.
D in his new wooly hat. It should have been Jonno’s but it was stolen before delivery.
The remaining 2 photos are of the eastern anchorage on Vulcano where we are today.






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