Anchoring night vigil in Petalas Bay

We knew there was bad weather further north near Corfu and we could get more wind than usual that evening and we did!

It was okay as we ate our tuna and pasta on board and had our regular game of Texas Hold’em poker. Then all to bed by 2330 but the wind was really blowing by now and all I could do was listen to the noises of water splashing, ropes creaking and the boat turning from side to side on it’s anchor. Paul was fairly relaxed as usual.

Sailing in Greece 2011

About midnight we heard the first shouts and whistles – we were out with our torches immediately to see what was happening. Including Tom who hadn’t got to sleep either unlike Harry and Joe who were oblivious to the whole drama! Thankfully it was not us moving but a smaller yacht was dragging her anchor and in danger of hitting other boats. Others were trying to wake them up as they had no idea. A couple of men went out in their dinghy (very brave in rough water) to bang on their boat and that roused them. Not before Paul grabbed our foghorn and hooted that at them too as they were getting quite close to our bow. They quickly got sorted and motored off to re-anchor themselves.

Paul decided to set our anchor drag alarm to go off if we moved too much and we tried to settle down again. I, however, felt very unsettled and wanted to stay on deck and keep watch. The wind was twisting us about a lot so it was quite hard to gauge our distance from all the other boats anchored around us, but with the help of the nearly full moon I had it all sussed after an hour and snuggled down in the cockpit in my jumper (first wearing) and sheet wrapped around my legs. The wind sometimes dropped for a few minutes but always came back just when I thought I might be able to go back to bed. It was eerie in the dark, the sea like black oil swirling in all directions as the wind gusted. But I didn’t feel lonely. I just knew I needed to be on deck to feel in control of the situation (not that I could control the weather!)

At 2am the anchor drag alarm went off and I leapt up in a panic but all the boats positions looked familiar so I reset it and relaxed. It went off 5 more times and Paul decided to reset it’s boundaries further out to stop it beeping unnecessarily. But by now the adrenaline was going again so I was back to my look-out. I think I dozed a little before that beeping was off again to keep me on my toes!

By 4am the wind had dropped a lot and I did return to bed but just couldn’t sleep as every other night I’d been using my ear plugs to drown out strange noises, such as splashing, creaks, kids screaming, goats bleating but couldn’t wear them tonight as I may not have heard the alarm!

So up again at 5am just as the wind came howling back into the bay. But up on deck I was completely disorientated – where were the boats I was so familiar with? I could not see properly – was I wearing Paul’s glasses instead of mine? The problem was the moon – it had disappeared! I woke Paul up just as the anchor alarm went off again! Between us we realised the wind was now blowing from a different direction so the boat had turned 90 degrees along with all the others which explained the change in locations. Phew! Panic over – I stayed up until dawn broke about 6am- how much better it all looked in daylight. At last I could put my earplugs in and slept ’til 10am!

One thought on “Anchoring night vigil in Petalas Bay”

  1. What a nightmare – you will need a holiday to get over this! Just try to stay in safe places from now on! We will be thinking of you.

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