|Phoenix docked in the port of Rethymno, Crete.|
|Rethymno harbor at dawn.|
And if I swing the camera to the right (or west) you can see the view from Phoenix of the old Venetian harbor. Only shallow draft boats fit in that romantic, snug harbor. Behind it is the old fort and lining the harbor are restaurants. In this shot, I was lucky to capture the full moon setting over the old town.
|Moonset over the old Venetian harbor at Rethymno, Crete.|
All was good. All was so romantic.Until the southwinds started kicking up.
|27 knots of south wind in the harbor of Rethymno.|
|Jiggled and jerked by 30 knots of wind at the dock.|
|35 knots of southwind.|
|The dock is now being held just as much by its orginal rope as it is by the docklines of Phoenix.|
|40 knots of wind.|
|The guy who's talking to us all is the big boss man. I'm the guy in the white tee shirt.|
|Now we were up to 45 knots, the full Force 8 predicted by Meteo.gr|
By now, the winds were blowing 50 knots. Sorry I didn't get a photo, I was busy at the helm with the motor engaged to relieve tension off the docklines so they could be cast off. My Slovakian friend, Martin, was organizing the docklines when, to his frustration, one guy cast off the bowline early. Phoenix's bow fell away from the dock and the springline was under so much tension, it couldn't be cast off.
With motor under full throttle, I still couldn't steer back to the dock.
"Jennifer, get a knife! Cut the line!" I shouted above the howling winds, roaring engine and pounding waves. And just like an old salt, she whisked the knife from the companionway and cut the one-inch dockline.
Now we were falling away from the dock rapidly.
"Martin, jump! JUMP!" I screamed against all my warnings to crew to never jump from ship to dock or vice versa. But I desparately needed him to complete the maneuver on the far side. By some miracle, his legs suddenly elongated and he skipped the widening gap.
Just as Martin had predicted, I was unable to keep the bow into the wind and so we motored stern-to into the wind. Close to the peer, I put Phoenix in forward, made a circle and aimed for the slot. I had just one shot to make it without the bow slamming into neigbhoring boats. By the grace of Poseidon, we made it. There was still plenty of frantic line tossing and yelling, but soon we were secured.
I laughed with the local men once we were all tied up.
"Well, at least we will be comfortable here," I said.
"Yes, but in four days, it blows hard from the north," one said.
At first I thought he was joking. But Meteo proved he was not. It did blow from the NW a few days later. Hard. But what's Force 6 against a concrete pier with good fenders when you have weathered maneuvers in Force 9?
So it seems we might have a moody harbor at times this winter. I've tied chafe guards around our docking lines and I'll be checking them every now and then.