In order to avoid arriving in Cassamicciolla during the luncheon void, we had quite a leisurely start to the day and then puttered across the windless bay under engine. At first the log was not working, which annoyed John as he had spent some time the previous afternoon evicting small crustaceans from the paddle wheel till it ran freely. This problem sorted itself out, though the engine hours refused to make an appearance and then the rev counter went blank. A couple of hours in and the wind vane pirouetted wildly before settling down to show wind direction the stern, the exact opposite of observation. The wind speed was also reusing to admit to more than a slight breeze, even though we could feel it building. John went below and clicked things, coming to the conclusion there was a persistent malfunction of some kind in the instruments, but nothing to worry about. Not to be outdone the steering wheel had developed a distinct wobble, though fortunately the autopilot was still performing admirably. Still it was better than an engine fire and we continued boldly. We crossed paths with two of the ferries and saw a large silver tuna flipping over in the water astern. As we came into the channel between the islands we were busy watching the progress of a small yacht on our starboard bow, when I spotted a large school of small grey dolphins busy fishing alongside us. This is always a thrill, though when we looked back at the yacht he was heading straight at us, also dolphin watching. Fortunately the dolphins span off to where he had come from and he turned again to follow them away. John tested the steering and said he thought the wheel was ok. I asked as to the location of the emergency tiller and was not thrilled by John’s rather vague response. We sat keeping our thoughts to ourselves, I was imagining being lowered into the large aft locker to ferret about for the tiller, whilst John made secret plans to bring us in on the autopilot if need be. As we came up to the harbour mouth two ribs came racing out towards us and we wondered if competition for yachts between the local ormeggiatori had reached fever pitch, but they sped on by, so John radioed in and we lingered slowly turning in the harbour as usual. The main man came out and indicated a narrow space between two yachts. He had a colleague in a rib standing by to nudge us, should the need arise. I held my breath and stood firm on the windward line, but John made a textbook docking, so much so that our host said “Brava Capitano, Brava”, telling us it was a pleasure to welcome us back.
Once we had stopped John managed to reset the wheel with surprising ease, but we have yet to solve the problems with the electronics.
It is a great pleasure to be here, relaxing into the holiday feeling. There is something very satisfying about sitting on a boat at night, looking out over the lights of the town and hearing the traffic noise at a distance, being at the same time part of it all, but other.