Saturday, June 25, 2016

Albania part 2 - Vlorë

June 25 - 26 - Vlorë

We arrived into Volora and got ourselves tucked away at the commercial dock and headed off into town to grab a bite to eat.  Well it turns out that approximately and hour and a half after we arrived, the serene picture below was not to be. We were at dinner down the road, when we noticed the wind was kicking up, and Shaun realised it was not from the usual direction. The wind was directly entering the harbour from its non-protected side, so after we quickly finished up eating, we headed straight back to the boat to make sure things were ok. Several other boats had tied up behind us for the night and we had a steel fishing boat tied perpendicular to the end of the key just 4 ft in front of us. As we approached the boat I could see a tablecloth of cloud sliding down the face of mountains in the distance....the tell tale sign of the much feared "Bora" winds. All the boats were violently rocking from the wind, so we all added more lines....but as time went on, the swell started to build eventually reaching 4 to 5 ft waves with a 2s period and heavy breaking crests - I'm quite confident, they were good for surfing. The waves managed to quickly chafe through 3 of our lines in less than 30 minutes, while our starboard bow was becoming airborne down the backside of the waves, as they hit our boat bow on. It seemed like our stern cleat was going to be ripped off the deck because the line was originally tied too tight for the height of the swell, but the line chafed through on the concrete jetty before that occurred. We were fairing far better than the steel fishing boat that was getting bashed beam on, with the swells attempting to smash and lift the boat on top of the jetty. With the help of the other sailors, Shaun ended up cutting up one of our spooled stern tying lines into shorter lengths for more storm lines. We added these 5 lines to a strong ship's bollard in front of us, to hold the boat in place, so that it would not slide backward into the sailboats just behind us where the ferry was in the photo, as our "spring line" for this job had chafed through as well. Once all the storm lines were in place and not too tight, the boat was riding the large waves like a champ, and we just had to keep an eye out for more chafe. 4 hours later at approx. 2am, the ordeal was over and we could hit the sack and pass out. Oh yes, but then we were headed out the next morning early before the 7am ferry returned....

Word to the wise, do not tie up at the commercial dock. Go down to Oricum marina, you will fair much better in bad weather.

the calm before the storm

Follow our video adventures on our YouTube channel: Video adventures of s/v Element

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