DIVA Delivery - Sun Light 30


When it all starts with a message on Capetan CH16

Rainy Prelude: Journey to Lesvos

6 March:

Amid the dull rain of the off-season, our journey began with a drive from the urban hustle and bustle of Bucharest to the refuge of the Kavala coast. Struggling through the rain, our resolve to embrace our adventure remained steadfast. As night descended, we found ourselves boarding the ferry to Lesvos, the rhythmic rain accompanying our journey across the Aegean waters.
Adventure at sea: From Lesvos to Kavala by 30-foot sailboat

7 March Morning.

Engine wouldn't start, battery died. The engine backup battery died before we had a chance to start the engine. You can easily see that the lead-acid batteries on the boat were so charged, they looked ready to stage a mutiny of their own!

On the other hand, the salt-flavoured crew knew their way around the sea well and were not easily influenced by overwork or excessive work. Because we knew that rain was expected the next morning, we had supplies on the boat, including good THEMA white wine.

It's a quarter to 7pm: the three-cylinder diesel roared like cannon, its cacophonous howl filling the air as if it were running its own offbeat musical performance.

Mytilene's nightlife turned out to be mellow, offering little more than a few drinks to unwind after the day's adventures.

8 March

The day unfolded at its usual pace, starting with the comforting ritual of tea and Maria's delicious craving for excellent eggs Benedict. With a warm smile, Maria, the waitress who seemed to sprinkle joy wherever she went, brightened our morning and set the tone for the day ahead.

Our hearts sank when we received the devastating news about Dirzu, the crew's beloved golden retriever and cherished companion of 17 years. The grim reality hit us hard, knowing he was on his deathbed, 500 miles away from us. Amidst the vast sea, we struggled with the weight of a decision that would deeply affect our crew for the rest of our voyage.

As a solemn tribute to Dirzu, our faithful canine companion, we marked his passing with shots of ouzo and brandy, raising our glasses in a bittersweet farewell. Each sip was peppered with memories of his unwavering loyalty and boundless love, a fitting tribute to a friend who had traveled with us through the ups and downs of life at sea. As the spirits warmed our souls, we found solace in shared camaraderie, knowing that his spirit would forever sail beside us, guiding us through the waves of life's adventures.

March 9 1020 3kn NE

Around 3am, we prepared to leave the harbour after a quick breakfast. Just as we were about to leave, Anastasia, the port manager, brought up the issue of the "TEPAI tax". With a slight joke, we couldn't help but tease Anastasia, the French manager, about her difficulties navigating Greek bureaucracy, despite France's reputation as the birthplace of complicated administrative systems. After all, even the most experienced bureaucrats can get lost in the labyrinthine complexities of foreign regulations!

Once the TEPAI tax issue was resolved and with due assistance from Anastasia, we set off for Kavala. But our journey quickly ran into two formidable enemies. Our engine, despite our best efforts, refused to exceed a sluggish 2.5 knots, a frustrating impediment to our progress. Adding to our woes, a worrying leak appeared around the prehensile encapsulating the propeller shaft.

Under the veil of night, our ship crossed the Lamna Canal, where the benevolent whispers of the wind became our guiding force. With the mighty engine and the undulating stretch of genoa sails unfurled, we accelerated forward, embracing the thrill of the open sea. Despite the challenges we had previously encountered, our spirit remained fearless as we made our way through the darkness, propelled by the relentless pursuit of adventure and discovery.

In the crowded Lamna Canal, we encountered a range of maritime activity, sailing past a number of vessels, including imposing military ships engaged in night exercises. The air vibrated with energy as bright lights pierced the darkness, casting an eerie glow over the water. Undeterred by the excitement, we steered our course with steady hands, weaving through the spectacle with a sense of awe and adventure.

March 10 1021 1knt NNE

As the sun rose on March 10, we found ourselves navigating through busy traffic to Çanakkale and the legendary Bosphorus. Our path was dotted with runaway container ships, bustling fishermen and vigilant police boats, creating a dynamic tapestry of maritime activity.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, we took a moment to refuel, topping up with 22 litres of diesel to keep our journey fuelled. With the help of solar panels and our trusty bank of lithium batteries, we feasted on succulent steaks cooked on the electric stove, a hearty meal in the midst of our adventures at sea.

However, our triumph was overshadowed by the worsening leakage around the propeller shaft, which reached an alarming rate of 50 litres of water removed every 3 hours, a challenge that required our immediate attention.

As dusk descended upon us on March 10, a gentle zephyr turned into a spirited gust, propelling our boat forward at a brisk 5 knots. With Limnos disappearing into the distance on our port side, a remarkable sight greeted us - all other ships seemed to disappear, leaving us the only adventurers on the vast expanse of sea. Accepting this newfound solitude, we continued into the night, occasionally turning off the navigation lights to soak in the majestic spectacle of the stars above. Beneath this celestial vault, we found ourselves filled with a sense of awe and wonder, each twinkling star a guiding beacon on our bold journey across the open waters.

March 11 1014 15knts ENE

On 11 March, as the morning sun was illuminating the waters off Thassos, our boat was in the midst of a critical situation. As we approached the Strait of Thassos, there was growing concern among the crew about the engine's ability to navigate the strong currents. This concern added to the persistent leakage that was flooding the craft, prompting us to make the difficult decision to change course to the Manitsas Marina, where we could carry out urgently needed repairs to the pressure box. Time was crucial, as we wanted to reach the safety of Kavala Bay before the southern storm unleashed its fury. Sailing swiftly past Thassos at the very last moment, we continued towards Manitsas, propelled by the gusts of wind that heralded the onset of the approaching storm.

As evening approached on March 11, around 9pm, we tried to get into the crane berth in Manitsas Marina. However, the lack of lights, combined with the increasing gusts, forced us to secure our lines to the floating pontoon and wait for dawn to make a safer entry. In the meantime, our craft encountered new challenges as the engine continued to lose power and the lithium battery bank was completely drained. With darkness enveloping us and the winds picking up, we faced a daunting prospect - an approach to the dock with loose sails, at night, high winds and wet conditions. Despite the risks, necessity left us no choice but to push on, relying on our skills and intuition to navigate through adversity.

The morning of 12 March greeted us with the typical Greek warmth and glow we had all longed for. Having received from the owner of the boat the part for the repair of the simering, we wasted no time and embarked together for Kavala. Sailing past picturesque fish farms, we made our way to the welcoming embrace of Kavala harbour, savouring every moment of our maritime adventure. After recovering our cars, we ended the day with a delicious dinner, enjoying the flavours of Greece one last time before refuelling and bidding farewell to this enchanting country, driving back home.

Author / Delivery Skipper

Sorin Olteanu

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