We had expected to stay in
Trapani for three days for the forecasted
southern wind to pass, but the wind kept intensifying. The ‘Scirocco’ blew for
five days instead, reaching 40 knots inside the marina. At this south-west
corner of Sicily, the sea narrows between Sicily and the African coast of Tunisia, and
any southern wind becomes magnified and routinely blows strongly through this
narrow gap at gale force. The marina (Vento di Maestral) where Three Rivers is
staying is inside the large commercial harbor, and normally it’s reasonably
sheltered, except where there’s a strong blow from the south. There’s a fetch
of about 1 mile from the southern shore, enough to have significant waves in a
strong blow. We didn’t know that; but even if we did, the forecast originally
was only for 20 knots.
This cruise ship required two large tows to get to her berth
During the evening before the forecasted gale, the entire marina staff worked late into the night to help everyone to prepare their boats. We docked our boat bow-to, as we usually do; that would be a problem as now our stern would be exposed to the expected wind and wave. During a lull of the wind, just before dark, with the help of four marina guys, plus one in a dinghy, we and our neighboring boat were turned around in 25 knots of wind so have the bows facing windward. Not a moment too soon – within one hour the wind picked up, spiked at 40 knots. The pontoons in the marina were bouncing up and down, and all the boats in the outer pontoon were rocking like crazy. The air was saturated with sea sprays whipped up by the wind. It was yet another sleepless night!