Another idyllic evening, this time off a small Island in Greece. We had guests on board (Mother and Trish), who were preparing for their second night on board Hector. The sun goes down, the beers go down and we sit there and admire mother nature's fireworks display. To the east of us (somewhere over Albania) we watch a lightning storm. There was no thunder, so everyone assumed it was some distance away.
Well, what does assume mean...makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me". About the 9:30pm the wind suddenly picked up. Enough for me to turn on the engines and for Sarah to clear the decks, but no panic...at this point. The wind was coming straight into the bay from the Albanian coast (not forecasted). No protection at all and there were perhaps 20 - 30 yachts (including a couple of super yachts) in the bay...unfortunately most of the yachts were up wind from us. This will shortly become an issue.
The wind was picking up quickly and the rain started. It was bucketing down! At this point I made a mental note to myself...first squall...how exciting. We could hear some yelling from yachts in front of us, however it was difficult to see in the rain. To make matters worse, the sea had started to rise and sea water was now joining the rain to make visibility poor, very poor.
We knew things were going pear shaped when out of the darkness, rain and sea spray, a yacht appeared, facing the wrong way. There was a guy on the bow trying to do something to the anchor. With the bow bouncing up and down in the confused sea, it was now dangerous to be on the bow. I would have kept an eye on the drifting boat, however out of the darkness came a dinghy with two people frantically rowing (canoe style) to an unlit yacht on our starboard. I think that these guys got caught coming back from dinner!! That's how quickly things went wrong. I used my spotlight to assist the dinghy guys to locate the stern of their boat and clamber aboard.
Sarah and Asia kept an eye on our boat via the Lawrence GPS, which showed we were still holding or slightly going into the wind?? The madness of trying to understand a GPS in the dark. I can promise you, we were not moving forward! Mother and Trish did a great job making sure things were stowed. And both were very good at telling me that nearly every boat in the bay was heading our way.
The rain eventually stopped, which allowed us to see the mayhem in front of us. Yachts were sideways, super yachts were getting closer. A number of boats came close, but managed to lift their anchor and moved to deeper water. Sarah, Mother and Trish heroically clambered their way to the bow to lay fenders along the forward starboard quarter to protect Hector from a yacht that was heading our way.
We finally knew things were over, when mother declared that the boats in front of us had turned their red lights off and now the green lights were on, "so everything must be okay". Well those of you who know your nautical terms will be able to work out what actually happened, but let’s just say - she was right. The squall had passed!
We're an ordinary family of 5 dreaming, planning and now beginning our adventure around the Mediterranean (and further afield), having an awesome time! Look out for our boat and come and say hi.