Close call

So, in the last blog I ended with us arriving in Gaeta. Because we were expecting bad weather we made a long jump up to Gaeta where we hoped to be sheltered. We arrived about an hour before sunset and had a calm night anchored outside the town marina, fairly sheltered from the north winds and with no swell.

The next day we had checked the weather and it was supposed to be calm until after lunch, then the wind would be southerly or south-east, but we hoped to be sheltered from the waves by some mussel farms and the other side of the bay. We spent the morning exploring the narrow alleys of old town Gaeta and also met up with Christine and Lasse again and had some lunch.

Right after lunch the wind started increasing and we hurried back to the boat, since the wind had turned it was now blowing against shore.

We had a thought about going around to the other side of Gaeta which is located on like a point of land, but we were afraid there was still too much swell from the north-east on that evening and decided to hold on and stay the night.

The wind increased during the evening and it really whipped up a big swell. We were nervous because the swell is more dangerous for the anchor holding than only wind is and because we weren’t sure if the anchor had re-set from the other direction of the wind the night before. The water was all but clear, so this time we didn’t dive to check it.

So we stayed awake, watching the anchor alarm and watching the other boats in the anchorage. And with a gust of increasing wind, we came loose and saw on the anchor alarm how we rapidly moved and didn’t reset. We were already very close to shore so we ran outside and started the engine. At the same time a large motor boat that was next to us had also come loose and was trying to regain control of the boat.

We got the anchor up, very scary because we were also bouncing 1,5-2 m at least up and down and then we tried to re-anchor twice. It was really hard to get the anchor to set, getting chain out fast enough before the wind caught a hold of the boat and also there were other boats anchored close by, not leaving much room for error. Then the waves bounced us too much with too much tension put on the chain and our windlass came loose! It’s not optimally mounted because there is no practical place to put it on our boat, so it’s on kind of a shelf in the anchor box. 

We realised it was just stupid to try and anchor again in that place and we set of against the wind and choppy seas. We did NOT have a good time! But in a little more than an hour we managed to get around to the other side of Gaeta and instantly we were almost completely sheltered from the wind and had totally flat seas! So we anchored there around four at night and got a few hours of sleep. We wanted to go climbing in an area very close by, so we got up rather early to do it. Needless to say, we didn’t climb very well and only had enough energy for a few easy routes. 

Anyway, the wind was going to turn again in the afternoon so we made our way back to the anchorage in Gaeta… It felt kind of weird going back again to where we had such a bad night, but this time we were fine 😊 

That afternoon we said goodbye to Christine and Lasse and then had a good night’s sleep before we left early the next morning.

We did a long sail, sailing two days and one night. Then we slept one night anchored outside Spiaggia Aqcua Dolce and left again for Elba the next morning. We only spent a few days around Elba because we wanted to get to Corsica as soon as possible. Elba was really beautiful though, what we had time to see. Clear water, friendly people, beautiful nature. A little more clean than the rest of Italy, at least from what we could tell. 

Our sail to Corsica was very calm, we could sail when we left Elba and just as we arrived closer to Corsica, but in between it was so calm that the water was completely transparent. We had a dolphin encounter that was truly amazing in that water, it looked as if they were swimming in the air right below us. Insane! The video is on Instagram, check it out if you’ve missed it!

More to come about Corsica and Sardinia in the next blog post!