It was interesting to see Blue Lagoon coming to life after a pleasant night at anchor, grateful for the fans producing a welcome stream of cooling air during our slumbers.
First a boat arrived and took all the refuse away from the previous day. Then the catering vans started to park up on the headland and by 08.00, visitors began to arrive. By 09.00 the first of the bigger tripper boats was manoeuvring into position so we took that as our cue to lift the anchor and leave.
We motored out in little wind, past the anchored cruise ships and the Gozo town of Mgarr while we debated the weather forecast and the prospects for our 24 hour passage to the Italian island of Pantelleria. The crew were not impressed by the Pilot Book entry which stated “The buildings of the town, particularly a number of skyscrapers, are easily identified”. My Cruising Association app ‘Captains Mate’ also featured some pretty negative comments. So, instead of an attractive, off the beaten track ethnic pearl, it would appear to be thoroughly unattractive with a propensity to ‘rip off’ the hapless sailor (something I am familiar with in Italy) who is totally captive and committed after a long passage.
Our attention then turned to the possibility of a 40 hour passage direct to Tunisia, winning a day and allowing more time in Africa. I did point out that although we should have a reasonable sail during the second half of the passage, the first half was likely to be a bit ‘gutsy’. The new crew being hardened sailors by now, poo pooed my reservations and thought that a direct passage to Tunisia was a better idea… By midday, they had both applied scopoderm patches behind their ears and were refusing to go below.
It is quite a revelation to experience silence from Carl and I have to say that I quite like it, he was just not responding to the leg pulling and that is unknown. I resigned myself to doing the cooking for a while.
We heard a VHF exchange between a cargo ship and a Royal Navy Vessel reporting the position of a boat with an estimated 80 people on board not wearing any buoyancy aids. The Navy responded that they would mount a rescue mission and soon after reported that they had recovered all of the individuals and that they were being assessed by their medical team. I wonder what happens to these poor souls now?
Miraculously, the patches did their job and both Carl and wee Tom bounced back to do their watches through the night but as a precaution, I put my head down in the saloon so as to be on hand as required.
Since leaving Nice, I have experienced tides and currents that you would not expect in the Mediterranean. A 4 knot tide induced current in the Messina straight, a circulating current in the Adriatic (which opposed me on both sides) and on this passage, an adverse current of nearly a knot caused by the prevailing NW wind direction which changed into a slight favourable current towards the end of our passage with a back eddy behind the headland.
I have a concern as we approach the Tunisian coast in ‘Hejira’ that the officials might consider the naming some sort of blasphemy or insult (see ‘History’ on the home page) because of the Islamic connotations. I need to look out a copy of the Joni Mitchell CD by that name to help deflect any criticism.
Ahoy there, Shipmates! A lesson Captain Ahab has yet to learn is that sometimes less is more. Nick is definitely of the persuasion that four words, rather than one, obviously have greater resonance with his adoring public.
As you’ve already gleaned from Nick’s post, yesterday was a bit of a wright-off for his crew and, from where I was sprawled, precious little seemed to be happening. Ah, other than normal Hejira service returning with a bang: yes, the whole journey was completed under motor (this is a gross misrepresentation of the truth – ed.) with nothing more than the occasional jib to help us on our way. Phew. Furthermore, for all you commodities brokers out there, buy diesel stock as, if Nick has his way, the price can only rise.
So, today’s marine missive is consequently short & sweet – God bless the inventor of sea-sickness wonder-drug, Scopoderm, and if they have not already been awarded some form of Nobel prize for services rendered to the chunderingly infirm and deliriously incompetent, then I’m going to start an internet poll to get them where they deserve to be!
Wee Tom writes:-
As the first crew member to serve-up his breakfast to the fishes of the Mediterranean, I’ve duly written wee Tom a sick-note and his daily Millennial musings have been postponed until further notice.
Needless to say this went down like the proverbial bacon-butty at a Bhamitvah with Captain Pugwash, who, along with the expected mentions of keel-hauling and removal of the obligatory tot of rum, is threatening to ‘go legal’ if previously agreed responsibilities and commitments are not honoured…