So it was finally time to leave Greece behind, the remaining crew for the crossing was Sarah, Feijão, Zé Cassab, Andre Boaretto and myself. We could not have had a better team. Zé has 30+ years of sailing experience and Boaretto is a super fast learner eager to get some serious nautical miles behind his back. For all of us this was the largest passage of our lives and we were all in for the adventure.
This week we have already sailed more than 150 nautical miles and we have 320 nautical miles ahead of us. The plan is to make it in 3 days and 2 nights, and we want to make sure we do not arrive during the night in Sicily so that we can look for and find a safe harbour in Italy. So we left Pilos REALLY early and we saw the sun raising behind our back. What a great start of our journey.
Boaretto had found on the map some tiny islands (Nisis Strofades) around 30-40 nautical miles off of the Greek coast and we decided to stop by to check it out. Apparently the place has just one huge monastery and only one monk has been living in the island for years. We saw the building, dropped anchor (on top of some rocks) and went exploring the underwater world. The water was really clean and transparent so we could not help not to jump in the water. After the fun, on our way out, we noticed that the chain and the anchor were stuck around some rocks so we had to dive to get them loose. It was not big deal getting them free, but until then we were a bit anxious. You don’t really want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
The first day we did not sail much, but the following ones were great sailing all the way to Italy. We averaged more than 6 knots and we arrived in Italy before our estimated time.
Feijão was a true trooper, he really behaves during the crossings and this one was no different, what a great company to all of us. Talking about good company, to our surprise we found out in the middle of the trip that it was Zé Cassab’s birthday. Luckily we had champagne, Sarah was able to bake a last minute carrot cake and she also found some candles and balloons to throw a proper b-day party.
We are starting to enjoy these crossings more and more. The sunsets and sunrises are amazing and we can see so much more stars in the sky than we are used to, so many shooting stars… to finish up, again, a series of dolphins came to great us in Italy.
Now it is time to enjoy Sicily!