All was going swimmingly. We left Bari around 2.30pm on Monday with some wind from the NE so we were able to truly motorsail. With the engine on and the lift from the wind, we were able to touch 7 knots at times. However, by 6.30pm the wind had dropped to pretty much nothing and would be the same all night.
Michael had made a chilli before setting off in the slow thermal cooker so the evening meal was both delicious and easy to serve. Then about 9pm the engine stuttered and lost revs. We immediately put it into neutral and then reverse as it felt like something had wrapped itself around the propeller. However, it happened another two times so by midnight we got very concerned, especially as it had trouble getting back into neutral from forward gear. There was no wind so we gently bopped whilst we figured out what to do.
We got the engine going again and at 1000 revs we slowly made our way towards Vieste. Luckily, there was an anchorage just outside so we dropped anchor around 2am. We were all pretty exhausted as Liz and Michael had only had a couple of hours sleep and Jo hadn’t had any. It was a bit rolly with the swell but we were safe. We awoke around 8am to an amazing vista with the medieval town of Vieste, complete with a monastery looking down on us.
We slowly crawled into the marina at 9am on Tuesday morning. It took us best part of an hour to cover a mile or so and also tie up. Luckily, going astern wasn’t a problem so we moored up without incident.
Catterina, the local representative for the Cruising Association, runs a marina here and also seems to know everyone. The mechanic she wanted to use has a day job as a fisherman and she couldn’t contact him so around 5pm an electrician turned up who decided that it was something to do with either the gearbox or the cable on the binnacle (no shit Sherlock). He couldn’t help so a mechanic turned up at 8pm and did the same tests but this time looked at the gearbox oil. He was concerned that there was some black in the oil so concluded that it needed changing so would come back tomorrow morning to do that.
There was nothing more we could do so we went out for a delicious meal in the old town. The place was buzzing as it was one of (they have three!) the patron saints’ days. Bands played, fireworks were set off and the town rocked. The historical centre of Vieste is a very medieval with winding streets and alleyways. However, on the way into town Liz decided that she didn’t quite have the right lures to catch the local fish. Michael caught (no pun intended) the moment perfectly!
This morning the mechanic came back but only to tell us that he would come by this evening. We had the day to ourselves so we got the dinghy out, put the outboard on and went for an exploration. It was lovely to jump off and have a swim knowing that the temp was in the 30s so you’d get warm again quickly. The outboard decided to play up so we made our way back to the marina and serviced it after a leisurely lunch. All sorted, Michael and Liz took it out again but it failed after ten minutes or so. I have no idea what they did to the poor thing but we will sort it out tomorrow. We will have time as the mechanic has not turned up this evening! Grrr.