Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Storm Ride

The trip to Elba was planned as a night trip. We set off in the afternoon around 15:00 o'clock, left our sheltered anchorage in the Arno and went out to sea. Before us Livorno, which greeted us with a high number of ships. The wind came in the meantime from NE and blew with 15-18 knots from stern in the sails. For the first time we beamed the Genoa. With a speed of almost 7 knots we made very good progress. The night came and after Livorno we only had one ship meeting at the Strait of Piombino with a ferry. In the morning the wind fell asleep and we drove the last part to Porto Azzurro.

Here we had to sleep for a while, because we were awake almost the whole night together. We had time and the town didn't run away. So the day passed with nothing to do and we enjoyed the sunset in a dream bay with no wind, with an Italian town as background scenery.

In the night wind from the east came up and a terrible swell began to set in the bay. The anchor field, at least 30 boats close together, was awake and controlled the hold of the anchor. We had laid 40m of chain, which was not much due to the situation. But unfortunately the boats stood too narrow, so that we could not give more chain. Meanwhile we had 25-30 knots wind and a wave of 1,2m. The anchor chain stood stiff but the anchor held, still! Another hour later it was then constant 30 knots and by the high wave nothing stood here in his place in the boat any more. I decided to drive around the southeast point of Elba and take shelter in the Stella bay. So we anchored and drove out of the bay. Four or five other boats had the same idea but then turned around when they felt the weather conditions at sea. 40-45 knots wind and a wave of approx. 2 meters height received us. Due to the leeshore situation, we made a big bend around the southeast cape.

The wind died down just before entering the gulf and the sea calmed down very quickly. Unfortunately, this undertaking was not without consequences. The davit was really damaged, so that the dinghy had to be pulled behind or brought on deck at the moment. The pipe clamps on which the davit was attached to the railing were torn off. We had survived the adventure to some extent and were now lying quietly in the bay of Stella. Next to us lay the "Dar Melica" another TO yacht. Janet and Heinz came over with the Dinghy and greeted us immediately. We arranged for a beer in the afternoon and were happy to meet a new TO crew. The time passed in the flight and after we had exchanged what is planned next, we said goodbye again and enjoyed a quiet night, in a peaceful anchor bay, with a good hold at 8m. The next morning the "Dar Melica" said goodbye to Isola del Giglio while we wanted to return to Porto Azzurro. We had finally decided to at least have a look at the town and buy some provisions. So we drove back and anchored at almost the same place as the days before, took the dinghy and paddled into the harbour of Porto Azzurro. The small town with its ice cream parlours, cafes and restaurants in the harbour area is typical for these Italian cities at the coast and so we settled down, after visiting a nearby supermarket, at a place in front of an ice cream parlour, enjoyed an ice cream and the harbour flair.

Unfortunately the weather in Porto Azzurro was not on our side. In the night it got rough again and so we decided to drive on towards Isola Giglio. Also this time we had more wind and wave than we liked. In the anchor bay Punta dello Smeraldo on the island Giglio we had then up to 40 knots wind but the anchor held. The bay is beautiful, there is a small sandy beach with a restaurant and a German flag. A French crew tried to get back on their boat with the wind and their dinghy, which was only possible with a lot of effort and gusts of wind. Because you are only allowed to row on land in Italy, we did not go ashore. Also in this night we found again little sleep and because the weather forecast did not announce any improvement, we made ourselves on the way to the Italian mainland.

We headed for Civitavecchia. With steady winds from the southwest, we made quite good progress. Unfortunately we left very late, so that we reached our anchorage only in the dark. Due to the southwesterly wind, a considerable swell had built up on the Italian mainland coast during the day, so we had to reckon with little sleep again that night. Therefore we went relatively early anchor on around further direction Rome a quiet place to find. Our destination was a bay with an unfinished marina between Fiumicino and the Tiber. Here a mole offered us protection from the waves from all directions, except from the north. We reached the bay on detours because the wind came from the south. In the late afternoon we entered the bay and anchored at 5 meters. The water was flat as a lake and we could sleep the first night again properly. We stayed 2 days to fix various things at the boat with on-board means and to clear the ship again, furthermore we prepared ourselves for our visit in Rome.

What we experienced in Rome and in the Tiber we tell you in the next blog. In this sense always a hand's width and keep your ears stiff.