Calm seas for Christmas

Calm seas for Christmas

It started to rain. Rummaging about in the lockers I found the large green canvas I generally use as a shade. Tonight it would serve; rather poorly as it turned out; as my water-resistant blanket.

Eileen motored on through the night. The only other vessel to be seen was the scheduled ferry passing well to the North on its way to the mainland in the wee hours of the morning.

By daybreak (Christmas day) the swell and wind had vanished and we made good progress (5kts ENE) on a smooth sea. The crew was feeling better so it was time to open presents. I am now the proud owner of a captains hat two sizes too large. Well at least there is room to grow.

By 3pm we had arrived at the new marina in Ostia the ancient port city of Rome. I’d tried my luck at some fishing on route, but true to form (I’d been trying to catch a fish all season) I came up empty handed. My fishing prowess has become the running joke with friends and family so my New Year’s resolution will be to reveal my currently latent fisherman’s skill.

Any and all tips greatly appreciated.

Ostia itself is not much to look at but there are good connections to Rome and the marina area is excellent (www.portoturisticodiroma.net), Transiting yachts: 13 Euro a night from October to March but 33 Euro in July and August.

Locals pack the boulevard on their nightly promenade and there are a multitude of restaurants and boutiques close at hand. Enough to keep Eva content as we sat out another round of bad weather just after New Years Eve.

The big night was spent in Rome and Eileen of Avoca served splendidly as our hotel for the remainder of our stay.

Christmas at sea

Opening gifts

Opening gifts

At 11:00 am (GMT) Eileen left Porto Rotondo for the last time. While the wind from the East had slackened a confused swell made for a very uncomfortable run.

Within a few hours, despite having taken a dose of Sturgeron, Eva was overcome by motion sickness and reluctantly retired below deck. Sleep appears to be the best remedy for her, something I evidently would not be getting much of during the crossing! I must grudgingly admit that I wasn’t feeling well either, but I seem to function adequately despite occasional spates of nausea.

Before dark a couple of porpoises gave me a great display in the fading light as they playfully leapt from the waves. I tried to encourage Eva to come witness the spectacle but she was in no condition to move and told me as much in no uncertain terms.

One last trip in 2007 with Eileen of Avoca

Ah, coffee

Ah, coffee

On Friday night (21st) and Saturday morning, I drove to Civitavecchia (1500km non-stop) to take the Tirennia ferry to Olbia leaving at 23:00.

This time I was in the company of my girlfriend Eva and she shared a little of the driving. I did not want to leave Eileen of Avoca in the water so long, but consistent poor weather prevented me from making the passage to Rome any earlier.

Whether or not the next forecast would show settled conditions was anyone’s guess but if necessary, I vowed to spend the whole holiday period sitting in my boat waiting for the appropriate weather window.

I’d probably have to find a new girlfriend after that, but as it turned out we were lucky. A check via the Internet on Saturday (www.eurometeo.com) indicated an imminent improvement in the weather, and despite the rain we would not have to contend with the 4 to 7 meter waves that had been a feature of previous weeks.

Hot coffee in hand I made plans for our imminent departure.