Its mid-April and I am sitting here in the Porto Turistico di Marina Di Ragusa whilst the wind howls around us at about 50knots. The boat (A 1992 Bavaria Lagoon 430) is rocking in the wind so much that the cutlery drawer keeps flying open, as if it has been magically enchanted by Mary Poppins!
It’s best to keep busy and distracted so that I don’t find myself worrying about every squeak, creak and crunch.
The music of the marina is clanging halyards, windblown rigging singing and whistling, whipping sail covers and flapping flags that shred themselves sacrificially.
Tonight, there is a proper musical interlude in the Marina Lounge Bar. The music being provided by very talented musical sailors within the marina community together with some locals.
For the last six weeks Ian has been working his way down his spreadsheet list of 180 boat jobs. He was able to complete some jobs despite recovering from his hernia operation and is now in a position to say that there are only three remaining pre-departure jobs to complete and they are all in hand!
Needless to say, fixing the heads (toilet) is a top priority – again. I had the dubious pleasure of cleaning the whole toilet pan. This involves chipping off the crystals that develop when wee mixes with the salt water that is used to flush the loo! Nice. The joys of sailing.
After arriving back at the boat in mid-March I immediately got on with the job of social secretary; catching up with marina friends and fellow sailors. We had an enormous lunch at the Azienda Magazze buffalo farm with a jolly group and waddled back to the marina full as eggs! Also managed a good few ‘Happy Hours’ at the Stella Marina Bar, a visit to the ricotta farm and a fiendish Bonus Whist session. Its been all go.
We had a lovely week back home with Ian’s mum in late March for the wedding of our eldest niece Sophie and her fiancé Adam. It was a wonderful day and so nice to spend time with all the family. Keira, Erin and Josh were all up north, so it was extra special to be them too.
Since arriving back at the boat, we have completed adjustments to the forepeak guest cabin to make it a little more spacious. (Well, there is room to just about swing a cat!) We have also come up with an improved storage solution for all the boat tools, spares and equipment. It means that it is easier to access everything and there is still room for the bunk room to accommodate one (small) person.
We now have comfortable and hardwearing cockpit cushions and a lovely new sail bag to protect the main sail. A new outboard motor cover, (From Krina on Spray, life raft cover, from Beatrice on Barracuda, and winch covers. I have made new covers for the guard rail pads and handy pockets for sun glasses etc. I also have made mattress covers for the forepeak and some storage solutions for the duvets.
I have also had my first attempt at making limoncello. (See the pages part of the blog for the recipe. It was very easy to make and tastes delicious.)
I have had a couple of journeys up to Ragusa with Helena (Amalia) and Aylin for the early morning market there. There’s all sorts available from; bags of ridiculously cheap vegetables; fish, meat, shoes, handbags, clothes, material, even woven palm frond ornaments for Palm Sunday.
I have continued to practise my Italian. Our neighbour Catherine has encouraged me to join her conversation group on a Thursday and I have made bad attempts to chat.
It has been a very pleasant time indeed, made even more so by the delivery of one hundred litres of Frattelli Mazza boxed wine. We have stowed it away. Now, we just have to try not to drink it all before we set sail!