La Vie at Sea

Living on the water is a fun and interesting way of traveling. Getting paid to do it is even better.

We have guests on board and go at full steam to make their onboard experience the best, and then when they leave we have time to unwind, enjoy the boat a little as our home and explore the places we visit.

But sometimes weather gets in the way. We run with a small crew of three and our deckhand had plans to travel back to his home in Paris once the owner left to make the most of his downtime, however this meant that hubby and I had to make a transit of a few hundred miles alone, which, for safety reasons is simply a stupid idea and simply a non-option.

Luckily, we have plenty of friends in the industry and would call on them for a helping hand before calling a stranger in for assistance, purely for the fun factor. So that is exactly what we did.

The owner left the boat at around 12 noon on Saturday of last week and went off to the private air terminal at Corfu’s small airport and very shortly after dropping him and his guests off at his private jet, my husband collected our friends who’d stepped off an EasyJet flight into Greece from London. We had a lovely afternoon playing in the water and enjoying the anchorage before another couple of friends arrived the next day and we were crewed up and ready to set sail for Italy.

This past week has been a little crazy as we entertained friends who’d never been on board a yacht, hosted fellow yacht crew friends and battled a long and sleepless night of rough weather somewhere off Italy’s high heel. It has been an amazing week though all the same.

As I mentioned, it began in a beautiful anchorage in Corfu, we had a rough night of rolling around at sea before stopping for a night of rest in the flat part of Italy’s shoe. The next morning we set off at first light for Sicily and arrived just north of Catania in the early afternoon ready to explore the Sicilian sights.

After a long and windy drive up to Mt Etna (only to find that the cable car had long closed) we enjoyed a quick squizz at the volcanic rocks, a walk around a crater and, an essential ice cream, we headed back to the boat to change and doll up for a nice dinner.

A few too many drinks later and a delicious selection of food, we called it a night and got another early start to move the boat further north from the dock up to an anchorage to swim, play with the water toys and soak up some sun. Our land-based London friends flew out that day after an eye opening experience of a few days on board the yacht (excluding the small bout of seasickness) and we decided to continue our trip towards the Straits of Messina immediately to avoid a little bit of weather that was forecast ahead of us.

On the way, for a couple of reasons, we decided to continue straight towards the Amalfi Coast (our ultimate destination) as opposed to stopping at an anchorage off of Stromboli for a night as well. We passed by the active volcano after sunset as I was on watch and I have to say, I was struck my the glimpse of orange in the corner of my eye but as it disappeared when I looked away, I put it down to a rising star far on the horizon, or something.

Not long later, I passed my watch shift over to our friend, who is also a captain, and left the bridge to sleep in peace after a long, tiring day (feeling slightly hungover, much to my regret).

Next thing I knew I was awoken from my deep sleep by the buzz of the phone in the captain’s cabin and a vague memory of the mumbling words “Stromboli is erupting”. Sure enough, as night turned to day, I found out from our crewmates that they quite literally saw Stromboli spitting lava up into the air and that orange ball I had seen must have in fact been a bundle of lava spluttering from the crater.

As the morning grew into the day, the temperature was rising at a pace of knots and all of a sudden the power on board was lost momentarily. Not long later, we came to realise that the AC system had tripped and on a day that was 38 degrees outside, the air conditioning wasn’t coming back on.

After a lot of sweat, close to tears and metaphorical blood, we decided to divert our trip to the safe haven of a marina where we could have an expert come to help us with the required parts to revive the cooling system instead of sit on anchor and revel in the beauty of Positano from the sea as we had originally planned.

Happily in port, nourished and finally cooled, it was time for a movie and bed.

The adventure continues.

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