At Anchor in a HURRICANE (Medicane, Cyclone) – Ep 57

Sailing is 95% tranquility and 5% sheer terror. This was the 5%…

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Episode Notes

00:00 Stephen

Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors warning. It’s the morning. Uh oh. We’ve been on the northeastern coast of the island of Malta for over a week now and it’s been fabulous but tomorrow we have a cyclone due through and it’s really important we get to shelter. So we’re going around to the other side, hopefully to Paradise Bay, which sounds wonderful, a great place to be in a cyclone, I hope. And, seeking some shelter out of the wind and the sun. Here we go.

00:34 Kerry

And just to note too, we’ve had guests on our boat for the last five months, and we just took them to shore now. Um, because they’re flying out on Saturday and with this storm coming in we couldn’t guarantee that we could actually get them to shore, um, to catch their flight.

So we’ve just offloaded them in their bags and they’re on their way now to their, uh, some accommodation near the airport so they’re nice and out of the storm. So Stephen, we’re going to face this storm on our own. We are. This way. You ready? Just a little note, we’re actually in the bay next door to Shipwreck Bay where St. Paul ran aground. So, hmm, interesting, just to note, as we go around the bay, across to the other side of the island, just to get out of the big winds and the storm, but um, I don’t, is it a cyclone or a mini cyclone? It’s a cyclone. It’s a cyclone. It’s a low pressure system. Low pressure system, uh, waves from 2 metres up to 4m.

01:39 Stephen

It’s a low pressure system taking up the entire sea between Malta and Greece.

01:46 Kerry

That’s a pretty big low pressure system or cyclone. And so, we got some local advice and we’re just going to the other side of the island and looking for a good place to anchor. Nice sand bottom and we’ll just do our best. To stay safe. Stay tuned.

02:30 Kerry

So we’re going to batten down the hatches and we’re going to go to a bay on the Lee side of the island. We asked the locals where a good place was to go which was safe out of the storm and they said Paradise Bay. So we’re going to head around there and hope that not every boat in Malta is also there. But we’ll see.

03:23 Stephen

Well, gotta love it. Got the headsail out, we are motor sailing, but going at 7 knots, it’s fantastic. Love it.

03:31 Kerry

You get so happy, don’t you? Love it. Saving fuel. Saving fuel, yay! Just going past a fish farm on our way out of the bay. Heading to the lee of the island. It’s already picking up a little bit of swell. It’s noticeable.

Heading to the other side of the island and here’s the ferry terminal that takes people on the ferry from the mainland of Malta to Gozo. We’re going around the corner and into Paradise Bay and we’re hoping that it’s going to be big enough for our boat to be there as well and that the swell’s not very big.

And if that’s a great place to stay, we’ll stay there for the next five days while the cyclone comes and goes and if it’s not, we’ll go looking for a better place further down the coast.

04:35 Stephen

Well, we’ve made it to Paradise Bay. So, it looks really good. We’re quite protected. The wind in Swell’s the wrong direction at the moment, but that’ll change when the cyclone comes through.

So we’ve started with 50 metres of chain, we’re anchored in sand. I’ve gone back on it really hard, lots of revs. And, uh, I think we’re okay. We’ve got cliffs all around us. Not too tall to make katabatic winds, but enough to give good protection. And, uh, we’re protected from Swell. From the northwest to the, all the way around to the southwest.

So, that’s fabulous.

05:16 Kerry

We won’t be going swimming though, have a look here. We’ve never seen this before. Can you see those, um, jellyfish? There’s one there, but there’s literally hundreds. Maybe 30 or 40 right just here. And when we came in, oh there’s some more. When we came in, we went through probably another hundred.

They’re just all around the boat. So no, we won’t be swimming here.

It’s amazing to me that here in Malta, we just don’t have lots of yachts around us. As we’ve travelled from Turkey all the way through Greece and Italy, uh, Sicily and to Lalta, we had lots of yachts in the anchorage with people from all different nationalities, different flags, all international boats.

But down here, it’s mainly Maltese boats. So, I’m not sure where they all are.

06:12 Stephen

Well, most of them are going to be in marinas.

06:14 Kerry

Most of them are in marinas and we’re at anchor. But we’re loving it here in Malta. I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that there’s no other boats in this bay that we’re coming to for protection.

06:23 Stephen

Well, it’s not summer anymore.

06:25 Kerry

True, it’s not summer. But we’re hoping that this is going to be a great protection for us.

06:37 Stephen

It’s pretty rolly here tonight, the day before the cyclone hits. But what a beautiful sunset.

06:43 Kerry

Battening down the hatches.

06:53 Stephen

Back down inside the boat, and just getting everything ready in here. So we’ve got all our wet weather gear. Our super wet weather gear. Our normal wet weather gear.

Our very Waterproof gumboots, our, um, emergency dry bag with the things we want to take if we jump off the boat, which we’re not planning on doing, our life jackets.

07:17 Kerry

So in there we have our passports, we have our boat papers, we have our, um, birth certificates, all those sort of things that we might need in an emergency.

07:25 Stephen

A few other things that we have got prepared. Under the chart table seat we keep all of our flares, bungs and other emergency safety type gear. And in the armrest we have a bunch of torches, including red light torches. And the, uh, things we need. So, we are ready to rock and roll! I think a lot more rolling than rocking.

07:59 Kerry

We’ve been rolling all day for the last few days, really. Yep.

08:04 Stephen

Let’s do it. We’re ready. So here we go. Wind’s just swung around from the northwest to the northeast. It’s picked up to 20 plus knots. And, uh, it’s looking pretty grey. Lots of grey clouds. And, uh, it’s going to hit pretty soon. So, we’re batten down.

All the hatches are closed, everything’s tied up.

08:26 Kerry

So we were going to move just a little bit further out from the rocks in case we dragged overnight because the winds are starting to really pick up. And then this very strange boat came in to where we were going to move to. Now this is getting a little bit close for comfort.

It’s a dredging boat, and they’ve come right up Next to ours almost. It’s a very small bay They’ve got their lights on. We don’t know if they’re working Whether they’ve actually done their work, and they’re now turning around to head out Don’t know what they’re doing Just hoping that they can see us here in the dark And we’re rocking like crazy.

We just ate dinner. Stephen had to help me cook because I couldn’t hold everything onto the bench and cook at the same time.

09:25 Stephen

So what are we going to do while we wait out the storm, Kerry?

09:28 Kerry

Distract ourselves.

09:29 Stephen

Play a game?

09:30 Kerry

Yeah, let’s, let’s, if we can,

09:32 Stephen

While it stays on the table?

09:34 Kerry

Ah, yes. It also just takes your mind off the wind.

09:40 Stephen

Well, the storm’s hit.

09:41 Kerry

It’s pretty dark. The rain is pelting down.

Yes, we’re rocking really badly. Breakfast just went flying. I was trying to grab everything. It’s going and going. This is just the tail end of it. But I’m so glad that we’re able to shelter on the other side of the bay.

10:58 Stephen

The aftermath. All the seaweed’s blown up over the edge and you can see how high it’s had to come. No wonder the ferries were, uh, embarking and disembarking from the other side of the peninsula yesterday.

11:11 Kerry

What we’ve just been through reminds me of the old hymn: “Does your anchor hold in the storms of life?” And how important it is to have an anchor that hold you firm in the middle of the storm.

11:23 Stephen

Not only do you need an anchor but you need a solid chain. A solid chain, in relation to God, is like a connection with God. So, God is solid, but we also need to have that solid connection.

11:37 Kerry

Well we’ve survived one more storm.

11:39 Stephen

So, we’re ready for the next one.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

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