In a storm at night on a boat you feel small and insignificant, reduced to your proper size and your proper relevance in relationship to the forces around you. So beautiful and terrifying – schön und schaurig in German – at the same time. I just woke up after a long night of being rolled side to side by the swell, listening to the moaning of the boat. The sounds out here on the water are different from the ones you experience during a gale in the harbour. They seem less squeaky, less violent. The boat can move around freely, it can submit to the wind and waves. Of course, the waves are higher: particularly out here just east of Cap Corse on the very northern tip of Corsica, where lots of ferries and cruise ships cross in the distance.
The Mistral was blowing hard all day yesterday, starting with a thunderstorm and a downpour and getting stronger towards the evening. We enjoyed the coolness it brought, jumping into the choppy waves it created. In the process Leonie got burned again by a jellyfish! This time it stung more than ever, so she sobbed. Unfortunately she has some experience: this is the third time she made contact with the medusae. We used all the treatments we know of at once: hot water, urine, ammoniac stick plus homeopathic Apis and Agaricus pellets. Aloe Vera gel completed the treatment and in the evening the swelling was reduced and the arm didn’t hurt anymore. Now we have to do a medusa check with goggles for her around the boat before she dips a toe into the water.
We kept listening to wind warning updates on the VHF radio, but felt quite secure in our anchorage where the anchor had already held us all through the day withstanding gusts of up to 40 knots. Nevertheless, once the night came and everybody was asleep, the exact same situation caused my stomach to tighten and had me jump out of bed and up on deck at every peaking of the screams of the wind. Bill’s goodnight story of another Canadian on another Sharki in France having his anchor chain broken during a Mistral probably didn’t help soothe me into sleep! If you look at that thin chain of iron while the wind is trying to push you off the bow you can’t help but question: is this really all that keeps us safe from these rocks over there? OK, let’s work on my trust-into-being-supported-by-the-universe-practice right NOW.
But, as I mentioned before, being on the water in a stormy night is intensely beautiful, too. Especially in this bay, which is all nature, except for the remnants of an old Genoese tower guarding the rocks. No lights, except the dark yellow crescent of the waning moon obstruct the gaze to the stars. And the water is black with white foam flying when a gust hits it like a whip. Eventually I did get too cold and tired to look at this spectacle and must have fallen asleep.
And now with the sun on it, the Mediterranean sea looks friendly again. Good. That means we can lift anchor and sail across to Elba, the little island close to the Tuscan Coast of Italy.