Thunderbolt(s) and lightning, very very frightening - 19th September 2014
The cat and the
moon rainbow, Ormos Varko.
"Where were you when The Storm hit?" That's what we were asked several times when we returned to Vathy recently. Since you asked, we were at anchor in Kapali, but more on that story later...
We have been working hard on our latest website commission recently and yesterday it finally 'went live'. We're very pleased with it and, more importantly, so are our clients. See what you think here: www.villaoctavius.com If you're a sailor you may be interested in the video on the About Us page.
We are increasingly being asked to produce websites, so we thought it's about time we had one of our own, and here it is: www.ionianwebworks.com
As well as working we've had a few nights at anchor, and also nearly a week in Vathy where we sat out a few days of bad weather. This gave us the opportunity to crack on with work, and also to meet up with friends Samir & Lesley, who were here on a flotilla holiday. Sadly we met up only the once during their time in the Ionian, due to our work commitments and their changing schedule, but it was good to catch up. It was also good to catch up with some fellow Odyseas Marina berth holders, returning from the UK for a few weeks of autumnal sailing.
Anyway back to The Storm. There had been no mention of rain or thunderstorms on any of the forecasts we had seen and, having spent three days on the Neilson pontoon in Nidri working on our latest website commission, last Thursday we were eager to spend some relaxing time at anchor. This we did for an hour or so and then thunder started rumbling and the skies all around turned dark within about 10 minutes. For the next 2 hours we endured the most extreme thunderstorm we have experienced so far - very heavy rain for a short while, very loud thunder and the most spectacular (read frightening with some 16 metres of aluminium extrusion sticking up into the sky) lightning we've ever seen. Oh and 40 knot gusts. We were confident our anchor was holding, and there were only four other yachts nearby, all downwind of us. Unfortunately one of them had only recently arrived and anchored with lines ashore, inside our swinging circle. As it happened, the strong gusts were blowing us away from it and, despite the thunderstorm, the wind stayed in a fairly consistent direction. Nevertheless, we had the engine running for nearly two hours in case we had to make a hasty exit - the idea being that once a diesel engine with a mechanical fuel pump and little in the way of fancy electronics is running, it will continue doing so even if the worst should happen in a thunderstorm, whereas it might not start if it wasn't previously running.
We held station and, after a couple of hours when things began to calm down, we did re-anchor further out. After another hour, all was tranquil, although lightning continued for some time. We had an uncomfortable, cold and somewhat alarming couple of hours, but nothing worse than that. Elsewhere on Meganisi, people had a far worse time - dragging anchors, bouncing pontoons, power cuts and we've been told even a Mayday was called from Port Atheni. And the Neilson pontoon we'd left just a few hours previously, for all its liveaboard usefulness, is not somewhere we'd choose to be in a storm. We've since heard it reported that someone who has been in the Ionian for decades said that The Storm was the worst they've ever seen, so all in all we were pretty lucky.
By way of complete contrast, the following day at anchor was as tranquil and peaceful as imaginable and at about 1800, a large RIB with three 'staff' aboard came into the anchorage and started securing shore lines to a rocky outcrop. We surmised that 'something big' was going to arrive shortly to anchor for the night, likely a superyacht of the thousands of diesel horsepower variety. Then we saw her - or rather two masts indicating the imminent arrival of a schooner - towering above the headland at the entrance to Kapali before she rounded the corner to reveal her stunning lines - see what you think:
Athos is the most stunning modern yacht we've ever seen and at 203 ft LOA, Pipit's masttop was roughly level with her radome! You can read all about her at www.yachtathos.com. I now know what I want for Christmas - a FIB - have a look at the second (Greenland) video on the video page. I've even stayed at Disko Bay in Greenland (when I flew there on a Concorde, but that's another story), so I really should have popped across and introduced myself, as they didn't seem to know who I was...
Anyway, it got even better - at about 2200 music started, not too loud but loud enough for us to hear. Our kind of music too, so on an idyllic, calm, warm evening, we sat in our cockpit listening to their tunes until 0300! We did have coffee and 'brandy Lefkas', but only to keep the cold out - oh no, I've already written that it was warm...
We spent a further similar day at anchor before returning once more to Vathy to continue working. We have stayed longer than intended as we were going to meet up with a friend of Ann's on another flotilla on Monday, but their route was rescheduled to avoid the Ionian Regatta in Sivota today, so we hope to meet up for a Mythos or two later today.
Now that we've cleared our desks we hope to go a little further afield, perhaps to one or two of the 'hot spots' now it's a little less busy - weather permitting...
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