***A clear sunny moment over Siracusas old town with the stunning cathedral centre stage, shame about the dreadful concrete wall left unfinished and without any purpose along the waterfront*** Mt Etna letting off some steam, one of the rare occasions we could see it from the anchorage in Siracusa*** Looks like more thunder storms on Sicily's horizon overSiracusas old town***
Do you remember the lovely photo at the end of the last blog update of Balvenie in glassy waters leaving Roccella Ionica with a stunning red sky at sunrise? The day started well enough, we followed Destiny out of the marina, and over the shallow sand bar - them at the ready to tow us off if we ran aground!!, there was no wind and only the slightest of a swell, thankfully we escaped without even a nudge.
Siracusa lies in a large bay, the town on the north east shores. We had anchored in the southern bite out of the southerly wind and chop but most of the boats were up on the northern shores so they could access town. After a few hours sleep we were feeling a little more lively and very pleased to have made it to Sicily. We decided to re-anchor as we had stayed a fair distance off shore as there are fish farms there that we could not see very well when we arrived in the dark. We motored up to the town anchorage where our friends were to see if it was a better option, there was quite a fetch across the bay and with strong southerlies forecast for another 24 hours we decided the southern bay was much more comfortable. We returned down there, tucked in as far as we could and settled in.
Of course we should have learnt by now that the weather forecast has no relevance to the weather we actually receive. Around 4pm the skies turned black, the wind starting building and within 10 minutes we had 35knots from the east. The southern part of the bay is totally exposed to the east, we were now on a lee shore in shallow water, close to the fish farms, with building seas, driving rain and a disconnected bow control for the electric anchor windlass. After sorting out hand signals so I could steer the boat, control the revs to drive towards the anchor in the strong winds and use the cockpit controls to lift the anchor (thats 3 things but I only have 2 hands) things went well for no more than a minute then guess what - it got worse!!! To add more confusion up came a crab pot with about 20 metres of line all very tightly twisted around the anchor chain. Lets just say it took us an hour to cut all the line off and retrieve our anchor, pitching all the time in the sharp seas coming in.
We finally joined the other yachts in the northern anchorage, the chop was less as the wind had backed but it was now bringing a swell in so we were all rolling. Confident that wasdefinitely the end of a bad 36 hours the bar was opened. Skipper poured a beer (the lastonboard) turned to give me my drink and we rolled, his glass flew across the bench top, hit the fiddle and catapulted across the salon. We did actually have some good luck as amazingly it didn't break, but we smelt like a brewery for a few days!!!
Maybe, just maybe, it's time to surrender to the elements and start thinking about tying up for winter!!