Storm in Ionian sea throws Aurora 60 miles off course but finally finds safe shelter in Lefkada

Storm in Ionian sea throws Aurora 60 miles off course but finally finds safe shelter in Lefkada

 

 

Once we lost sight of the Italian cost the sea started to get rough and southeastern wind started to increase. According to the forecast it was too early. We expected it on the next morning when we were close to Greece but not in the begging of our journey through Ionian sea. The bad weather came 12 hours earlier than expected. We  could easily go 40 miles north with that wind and find shelter behind the toe of Italian boot. Never the less we just corrected our course to point between Zakynthos and Kefalonya and now waves came at 80 degrees to the bow. We reefed the sails and prepared ourselves for a rough night at sea but what came with the darkness was spectacular. Far behind us on the Italian cost started a thunderstorm. With the clouds and the sea in the same colour and flashes from thunders every 5 seconds. We were running away from the storm but it was chasing us. Soon thunders started to appear to the north and even northeast at the heel of the boot. It was like Zeus himself was throwing thunders all around us but we were sailing in the middle into the eye of the storm.

Aurora in a safe shelter in Lefkada old town
 
Night in Ionian sea

With the sunrise the situation improved a bit. We were exactly on the sea border between Greece and Italy with nobody on a 30 miles distance except a tanker vessel called Neverland. Rado had an idea to ask him for the updated weather forecast since without internet coverage we did not know what to expect next. After a breif chat with the on duty officer he told him with stron indian accent today is 4-5 southeast but tomorrow there would be an improvement  6-7 west. He left us wondering how 6-7 stronger wind is an improvement from what we had now apart of may be the direction. We had to make it to Greece before the "improvement" comes.

Sunrise in the Ionian with passing Neverland
Neverland gave us weird weather forecast

In the late afternoon we got mobile network coverage and somehow we felt Greece closer. The waves got bigger but still bearable once we knew we are getting closer to the islands. We have been adjusting the course to the north whole day  to avoid crashing with waves and now we were hardly getting into the channel between Lefkada and Kefalonya. Before getting dark we furled both sails and prepared for strong wind and it came at midnight with heavy rain but luckily no thunderstorms. with 7 miles away from Lefkada we could hardly maintain the course. We missed the southern channel and now our options were to hide behind the north part of Lefkada and if weather allow to pass the north channel when retractable  bridge is open or stay close to the island and enter from western side. The continuing storm left us with no option we could only hide from the northern part of the island and by the morning the weather calmed down. We waited on anchor untill sunrise and slept few hours in front of the channel and once it opened at 08:00 we crossed it.

Lefkada retractable bridge
Rado crossing the channel once bridge was open
Entrance into Lefcada port via northern canal

Once safely moored in the old town Georgi and Nikolay run for cheese pie and  cigarettes. Since Ionian sea crossing took a day longer than expected and they had no cigarettes left they tried to smoke the mint teabags and now we had only 2 mint teabags left. Until they came back we refilled and started the generator and now it was nice and warm. We stopped at the petrol station to refill the diesel tanks a bit. Rado suddenly thought it is a good time to jump from the boat with the clothes to test the water. It was somewhere 15 degrees according to him. 

Georgi with bag of cheesepie
Lefkas Marina and the petrol station
Rado after swimming in Lefkada
Boots are not handy for swimming

Soon we were slowly motoring into the southern Lefkada canal into the bay of Pireaus. We could make a stop or try to pass Corinth on the next morning. With the storm following us if we had favourable conditions we would rather pass the channel once we can.

The most beautiful scrapyard in the world
South Lefkas canal
Canal stretches for miles
Georgi navigating via the canal
The boat flag after the storm
Canal view
Ionian islands view
Safely in to the bay of Piraeus. Time for a nap


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