Top Time in October and November

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We arrived in Marina di Ragusa, our winter berth, and within minutes had been invited round to neighbours for a coffee.  We rapidly realised that this is a super friendly and sociable place to be holed up for the winter.   This was going to be a great opportunity to catch up with the blog, www.madabouttheboat.com, and all the jobs we had been putting off.

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Ian up a make shift ladder stripping olives off a tree.
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Sarah wearing her kangaroo pouch olive collecting haute couture!
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Antipasti to keep the workers happy.

Our first outing was a day trip to a farm near Palazzolo Acreide where we were to spend the day olive picking.  Gorgeous people fabulous food and great fun!  We had a wonderful meal and were delighted to have picked about 40 kilos of olives which in turn will make about 8 bottles of virgin olive oil the colour of pale lime juice and tasting like fresh cut grass!

What with happy hours, beach exercises, volleyball, beach combing, Italian lessons, there was only just time to fit in a rigorous regime of cleaning, sorting, fixing and fettling!!

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Messina
Aurora arrives in Messina.
Aurora arrives in Messina.

On the 7th November we hired a car and set off north to Messina where we were due to meet Ian’s parents Harry and June at their cruise stop off in Messina.

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The famous clock.
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The date sun clock.

We had a lovely day with them, chatting, walking and eating.

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First glimpse of Mt Etna.
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House swamped by lava floe.

We waved them off and drove through the deepening gloom to our overnight stop in Randazzo.  Passing deserted lift stations as the rain and night descended made us feel slightly disconcerted as we spotted dark lava floes and a distinct lack of vegetation.  We pulled up into the village and found our B and B (thankfully not the derelict building first identified on Google maps) and were welcomed by Rosario.

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In the presence of volcanic ash.

We walked miles around the town to find that the restaurant he’d recommended was closed so we finally came across a pizzeria and tucked in to, what else? a firey pizza named Etna!!!

next day we drove up the slopes of the volcano and after a few dead ends found the main cable car.  The cost a a return trip to the summit being 63 Euros each we decided against going up.  The view was better from where we were.

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Dry lava walling.
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Snow on Mt Etna where there are 5 ski pistes and various lifts!

We thoroughly enjoyed the change in temp – well for a few minutes anyway!  and were so glad we’d taken a coat and hat! Down on the coast it had been a comfortable 20 degrees.

 

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Sky line of Noto.
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Spectacular church facade in Noto.

Next stop was beautiful Noto, with its incredible array of baroque buildings and over the top architecture.  Literally a church on every block.  Stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cleaning the bilges.

 

After our lovely two day trip it was time to get down to some serious work
on the boat to prepare her for winter in the Marina.

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Mess making!

Completing our top tips for winterising a boat:- Cleaning everything, polishing all stainless steel, washing the anchor and chain and anchor locker, washing and sterilising bilges, winterising the engines and generator, flushing fresh water down the heads, removing and washing all lines, (using mouse lines to track the route of all the lines) and generally fixing stuff that we have broken over the summer.  More on this later.

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Threshfield Moor.
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The Wharfe in full flow.

Before we could blink it was time to return to the UK.  We had a LOVELY week catching up with friends and family.

 

 

Perfect preparation for our season in Val d’Isere!

 

Summary of sailing on Linea 2016

Linea’s travels this year.

linea-route-2016Miles covered – 3435 nautical miles

Miles sailed -2373

Miles motored – 1062

Engine hours – 354

Number of countries – seven: Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, Spain, Italy, Greece, Albania

Number of land masses – Fourteen: Europe, Africa, Ibiza, Mallorca, Minorca, Cabrera, Sardinia, Egadi Islands Favignana, Sicily, Kephalonia, Zakinthos, Paxos, Corfu, Mathraki,

Visitors – 35

Total nights on board – 256

Number of paid nights in Marina or Town Quay – 93

Number of ports of call – 73

Number of anchorages – 92

Number of mooring buoys – 2

Number of town quays – 17

Nights at sea – 8

Longest consecutive stretch of free berths and/or anchorage – 29 nights

Deepest water sailed over – 2950m

Bottles of wine consumed! – that would be telling

Number of rescues – 2

Number of fenders found – 1

Number of dinghies found – 1

Number of dolphins seen – pods and pods

Number of things broken/damaged – too many to list!

Amount learnt – incalculable!

Number of bruises – too bloody many

Number of mozzie bites – quite a few – but not as many as I had thought

Number of arguments – just the odd one!

Books read – a goodly few.  Best ones North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell!  Behind closed doors by B A Paris

Scrabble played – Scrabbled out!   (well almost!)Sant Miguel anchorage

Winter plans for Linea and her crew 2016/2017

 

We have been busy since arriving here in Marina di Ragusa, Sicily; not just with jobs to get the boat repaired and shipshape after all the miles this summer but with our plans for what we wanted to do in the winter.

We reviewed the finances and concluded that in order to continue cruising we would have to earn over the winter, or at least stop spending.  Rather than returning to our previous roles, we investigated some interesting alternatives.  House-sitting,pet sitting, contract housekeeping for someone with two homes, jobs back home in the Shire, jobs abroad.

In the end, we decided that we could combine our love of ski-ing and the mountains, our enjoyment of food and cooking by applying for a few roles with chalet/ski companies which operate in the Tignes/Val d’Isere area.  Since Erin is going to be working in Tignes this winter, we thought we could work in the vicinity and thus be able to see more of her than we have during the last two years that she has been working in Thailand.

We are delighted to have been offered positions as chalet hosts with renowned company, Powder White, in Val d’Isere  We will be running a chalet for them!

Very exciting and just a little bit daunting.

Hopefully, there will still be time to fit in some ski-ing.  We look forward to catching up with any friends and family that come to Val!

Sailing back to Sicily and our winter berth at Marina Di Ragusa

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Crotone to Marina di Ragusa in Sicilia

The huge castle in Crotone

We spent a couple of days in Crotone and enjoyed having a wander round this town with its huge castle and imposing town walls.

We enjoyed briefly meeting fellow sailors on Three Times a Lady (try spelling that with the phonetic alphabet!) and early the next morning we slipped out in the calm morning breeze and wove our way out between the gas rigs and set off south and a reasonable lick.  The wind was as fluky as predicted across the Golfo di Squillace and so we slowed right down.  The night passed much better than the trip from Corfu and apart from one incident when two sailing boats appeared out of the darkness rather closer than I would have liked, the crossing went smoothly.

We then hit strong winds on our approach to Syracuse but coming right at us on the nose so we had to tack considerably further than we wanted to. img_3525

However, we arrived safely after two days and one night at sea and motored towards the incredible bay of Syracuse.  We followed the procedure for gaining permission to enter and were allocated a berth, along with one other yacht on the massive town quay.  Soon after we were tied up we visited the coast guard to do the necessary paperwork and were pleased with ourselves for doing things right.  Next morning the Coast guard came round to check our papers.  We were rewarded with a warm handshake and welcome to Syracuse.

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Syracuse duomo

We spent the whole day walking round this incredible city. syracuse

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We visited the Leonardo Da Vinci museum

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Leonardo Da Vinci models of his inventions

which has large working wooden models of his inventions and was absolutely fascinating. l-da-v-pulleys-to-aid-construction

 

 

 

The market was fabulous as Italian markets always are. Seeing all the fish and fresh produce made us hungry, even o soon after breakfast, so we had an amazing Sicilian lunch in a little back street café.

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Pasta Siciliana and Seafood risotto

I had Pasta Siciliana which is made with a sauce of anchovies, pinenuts, sun dried tomatoes, oil, garlic, and sprinkled with herby breadcrumbs. Mmmm.  Ian had Seafood risotto with saffron.

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Syracuse Promenade
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Ancient Roman ruins in Syracuse

We need to go back to Syracuse because it was just beautiful and there we were, just parked on the promenade in the most enviable spot.

After a couple of nights there we just had a short hop round to Marina di Ragusa to complete.  A longish day but do-able.  We calculated 56 miles.  We ended up doing 81 miles as the wind was, once again blowing right at us! We made it in, in the dark, and tied to the fuel pontoon ‘til morning.  The security guards, alerted by the barking  guard dog, flew round in a car and quizzed us. Once we had told them that we were booked in for the winter they gave us vigorous handshakes and lots of  ‘va bene’s and shot back to their security posts.

Next day, we oh so smoothly, parked the boat in our winter berth – L16. Within minutes we had been invited aboard the opposite boat for coffee and met up with Carl, Amanda, Mark, Peter and Catherine.  This is the most sociable place with 162 boats and around 300 live-aboards staying for the winter.  We soon heard about a daily radio net, Yoga, knitting and tai chi classes, Italian lessons, olive picking experience, dinner out en masse, happy hours (3 of them per week), music making group, Halloween party, and much more…

What a fantastic, welcoming and friendly international community.