Tag Archives: Marina di Ragusa

Back in ‘The Shire’.

An Aerial shot of the Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa.

We pulled into our winter berth in the

Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa, Sicily, without a hitch and were pleased to see friends and neighbours from last year.  Our arrival coincided with one of the twice weekly happy hours at the Stella Marina Bar so we met old and new friends that night.

 

ALl Italy Laser Championships in Marina di Ragusa

Some days later, the Porto Turistico hosted the All-Italy Laser Championships.   The first challenge was negotiating out from between the pontoons, heading for open sea.

Scrubbing the bottom of the tender clean; one of the many jobs to do.

Since arriving back, we have been full-on busy with boat jobs; fixing, replacing, renewing, cleaning, servicing, removing, repairing and storing.

 

 

We have had visits from Alice, Ian and Jon.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to sail anywhere (even if the weather had been suitable) because the sails had already gone off to be repaired.

Ian, me and Jon above the stunning Ragusa Ibla.

However, we were able to explore more of Sicily.  Touring around to Syracuse, Modica, Scicli, Palazzallo Acredie and Ragusa Ibla – beautiful cities with stunning baroque churches and buildings.

A temple and huge bronze statue at Agrigento.

 

 

 

 

We also drove out to Agrigento to the Valley of Temples and were suitably impressed by the stunning Greek Temples there, which are some of the best preserved in the Med.

Visiting Agrigento – The Valley of Temples with Alice and Ian in our little Fiat 500!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caltagirone National Park (Ancient Oak Forest) with the Kalura Walking group.

We joined a walking group and enjoyed a couple of noisy walks in the surrounding area with forty chattering Sicilians.

 

 

I also went olive picking again and have my own bottle of freshly pressed oil from my olives, ready to open in the spring.

Steve and Laura busy picking some of the 200kg we picked that day.

 

Kangaroo Sky above Pallazzallo Acredie

Ian welcomed back his road bike with open arms (thanks once again to Nick and Paul) and has been out on it a few times.  He reports that it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier each time.

Ian and Sheena. (Love how ancient columns are incorporated into newer buildings.)

We also enjoyed a few days in Rome, with my old friend Sheena and her family.  We walked all round Rome and saw all the main sights and some little hidden gems with our super guide Sheena, who has lived in Rome for 30 years.

Then, it was back to the boat for a few last minute preparations before heading back to the UK for a couple of months where,  for the first time in a while, all four of us Mouldings are to be in the same country at Christmas.

So, yes, we are going to be living back in Yorkshire.  Staying in a cottage – 26 Linton Falls until the 12th February 2018.

We hope to catch up with as many friends and family as we can.  Do pop in if you’re passing.

In the meantime, we wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year.

 

 

2017 – The Stats

Total nautical Miles 2488

Sailed miles 1212 –  49%;  Engine miles 1276   – 51%

Engine Hours 319;  Total nights at sea – 6                                                              Nights anchored – 92;  Nights on a town quay or in a marina – 72

Nights in the boat yard – 9

Our final crew, David and Michael.
Most frequent flyers!

Number of guests – 21 – Bill, David, Ang, Lizzie, Alice, Ian, Sam, Rory, Bryn, Jill, Louis, (plus the rest of the family for dinner and drinks,) Jane, Alice, Ian, Erin, Josh, Keira, David, Michael, Alice, Ian

 

Litres of wine consumed – Gallons!

Yacht A – 340million Euros to build. The masts are 90m tall.

Number of Super Yachts seen – 1 – to beat all

Days of sunshine – 168  Days of rain – 12

Deepest water  – 3600m;  Highest waves – 4m;   Strongest wind – 38kn

Hottest temp – 36;  Lowest temp – 24

Fish caught – NONE;  Dolphins seen – Lots;  Turtles seen – 2;  Star fish seen – 1

Pitta Gyros consumed – Far too many!!

Times up the mast – Ian Masta-Climbing;  me pulling!  11

Genaker out – 15

Number of boat mechanics met – 10 plus the crane driver

Our Yorkshire Flag after a season in the windy Cyclades!

Number of flags and pennants shredded – FOUR –  Greek flag, Cruising Association Pennant, British Ensign, Yorkshire Flag.

A memorable year!

 

 

 

 

Continuing the engine saga!

 

The good news is that we welcomed Keira, Erin and Josh on board when they arrived on Naxos on the 1st September.  Keira and Erin completing their mammoth overland journey from China to Europe with the ferry ride from Athens.  Read all about their amazing adventures on www.twigletandnoodletravels.wordpress.com .

After the high pressure pump was analysed,  reconditioned and refitted, the engine appeared to be working well.  We had tried it in neutral in the marina but had not yet worked the engine under load for the ultimate test.  Reluctant to go out and risk engine failure in strong meltemi winds, we persuaded ourselves that we may as well stay in Naxos until the girls arrived.  We had a good couple of sociable evenings with Chris and Izzy on Mutch, admiring their new Nauticat that they had just bought in Kos.

The girls arrived on one of the large Hellenic Seaways ferries; one of 28 daily ferries.  The wash created by the Fast Sea Cat Champion Jet ferries when they come in and spin round at high speed, sends a series of surge waves which curl and ricochet around the outer wall of the harbour and hit the boats on the pontoon in a domino effect, causing alarming rocking and rolling.  We were parked right by a very solid lamp post and our gang plank came up against it and was damaged.

On Saturday, we met up with Stephen and Gillian Hodgson who joined us from Mykonos.  Unfortunately, they arrived without their luggage which was somewhere in Manchester airport.

We had a very pleasant evening out with them on the roof top at Oniro restaurant up in the Hora. 

Next day, we set off to the south of Naxos to put the engine to the test.  Typically, the wind was blowing from the south so we had to motor all the way.  The bad news was, that Ian noticed that there was some diesel leaking out of the engine but couldn’t identify where it was coming from.   We motored the whole way (4 hours)  to Ormos Kalados at the bottom of Naxos and anchored off.  Stephen and Gilly hired a buggy and set of on an adventure down the island to meet us there.  They booked a room at Kalados studios.  It is a rural and remote spot with sheep regularly strutting up and down the beach and donkeys and horses grazing in the fields.  We had been told about a fabulous rustic restaurant above the harbour where you could get barbecued lamb chops and fabulous veggies.  We had a fantastic meal there, and, although the wine was rough and cloudy, it didn’t stop us drinking rather too much of it!

We ferried Stephen and Gilly back to their end of the long and deserted beach and crashed out. Unfortunately, even the copious quantities of wine we had consumed couldn’t help us sleep in the swell that crept in during the night on the southerly wind!  We were bobbing about badly all night.

Next morning, we decided that we ought to set off back to Naxos town to get the leak looked at.  We were pleased that the wind was still southerly.  It would be a nice sail back up.  As soon as we rounded the headland to take us into the Paros/Naxos Straits, we saw lots of other yachts ahead. They were heading south under head sails only.  Strange? How could they also be sailing on a southerly wind?  Ah!  Wait a moment the wind has changed….we have 14k on the nose, as per usual.  So, we motored and the engine seemed to be doing well despite the leak.

We were barely a mile from the marina entrance, just passing between an area of rocks jutting from the headland, literally the most dangerous spot in the entire area, when the engine spluttered and died!  OH! GREAT!

We quickly deployed the head sail and sailed away from the danger towards the top of Paros.  There was a shocked silence amongst the crew.   I guess we were all wondering how we would get back into the marina without an engine.

We sailed and contemplated the situation.  After about 30 minutes, when the engine had cooled a little, Ian and Keira went to peer in the engine room.  Ian managed to bleed the airlock out and miraculously the engine started again.  We all breathed a huge collective sigh of relief!  We motored back into the marina.  Stratos, the engineer, returned in the morning to further investigate.  We have discovered that the fourth fuel injector is slightly corroded.  It leaks very slightly and,  when the fuel is compressed within, a very fine mist of diesel is ejected, which makes seeing precisely where the leak is coming from particularly difficult.  (Although the leak doesn’t affect the performance of the engine when it is running, as soon as the engine is stopped the air can get in and engines do not like air bubbles inside them!)

Stratos sorted the injector and advised replacing it over the winter.  Phew!  Job done.  Beach day, well and truly deserved and drinks with Stephen and Gilly before heading home to cook up a huge curry.

Next day, we left the marina at about noon and had a lovely sail down to the south of Paros to Ormos Aliki.  (Which was precisely where Stephen and Gilly had just booked into a hotel for the night, unbeknownst to us!)  We were just motoring up to the delightful looking anchorage when the engine stuttered and slowly died – again!  Bloody hell!

We put the head sail back out and sailed about whilst deciding what was best to do.  Concluding that it would be best to get back to Naxos, we set off at 1515h tacking into the wind.  Luckily, the wind was quite strong so we made good progress.  We arrived in Naxos bay, rounding the Vrak Fournos rock and wreck in six hours.  The plan was to sail directly into the anchorage to the north of the marina.  We had actually managed to start the engine again but couldn’t rely on it giving power so we sailed in on a close haul with the boom out ready to drop the main.  Once we were behind the breakwater, we dropped the main and used the head sail only to power us further in.  Immediately we were in position, we let the headsail flap and put the anchor down as the wind pushed us back.  Just for the added challenge we had to do all this in the dark…luckily there was a full moon to light the way!

We were well set!  Mightily relieved, we put the boat to bed and had a welcome beer.  We soon rustled up some chilli and had an enjoyable dinner down below because it was surprisingly cold on deck.

In the morning, we motored into the marina with Josh motoring beside us in the dinghy as back up in case the engine failed again.  Nikos, the Harbourmaster, was joking with us that we should ask him for the annual rate for mooring.   Stratos returned once again and pumped out the fuel, filtered it, changed all the fuel pipes and cleaned the tank out.  There must have been debris in the tank that stopped the fuel from being delivered to the engine.

He has already found one solidified pellet of liquid gasket (a kind of blue tack used to seal things) and believes there might be more.  He has also found other bits of debris in the fuel tank and coating the sides of the fuel pipes.

This does seem to be progress.  Stratos assures us that the engine is fine; and now that he has cleaned the fuel there should be no further problems.  With each successful outing we gain more confidence that the engine will not let us down. On the plus side; we have learnt such a lot and had our sailing skills further tested.

It has been a bit of a baptism of fire for the girls and Josh and I have been more than a little anxious to have all my eggs in one basket!  At the same time, it has been lovely and comforting to have help on board and we are proud to see how well they have coped with all the excitement.

Back On Board

Having survived, not only the ski season, but the return coach journey from Val d’Isere to London Victoria, and from there the train journey up to Preston we spent a happy few days with Ian’s mum.  After packing our boxes of essential purchases for the boat we posted them to ourselves as we ourselves set off for Manchester Airport at 0430hrs to catch a flight back to Catania, Sicilia.  Friends from Marina di Ragusa, Bryn and Jill on Fly the Coop) picked us up and we were whisked to Decathlon for Ian to buy his latest mode of transport; a push along scooter, on which he can bomb about the marina. (Much to the amusement of Keira and Erin!)

We passed a delightful lunchtime at Donnafuggata eating mussels baked in the oven with a pizza lid, washed down with beer and wine, as we whisked off our socks and shoes and basked in the spring sunshine – great company and a warm and welcome meal to mark our return to Linea.

We were delighted that the boat was fine and the bilges perfectly dry and clean.  Just a little dust and sand on deck but otherwise in great nick.

For the next few days we would be gradually reversing the winterising process: trying to remember where everything went and prepping the boat for the sail over to Greece.  This included food provisioning for the trip and visiting The Fratelli Mazza wine wholesalers.  We now have 50 litres of wine stashed in every available locker.

Soon our crew arrived for the sail across to Cephalonia.  David Heane on Friday afternoon and Bill Dear during evening happy hour.  A good few beers were consumed.

Today has been spent putting the sails back on and we are very pleased with our repaired Genoa which is now trimmed in a sand coloured UV strip to match the spray hood and new bimini, so we are looking very smart. (The sail bag is on next year’s expenditure list!) Also, we are delighted at our newly upholstered saloon cushions, which look clean and fresh and are super comfy.

So, we will set sail as soon as our parcels arrive.  The boxes we dispatched from home are now subject to a delay due to public holidays in Sicily.  A five day delay – In getting them from Milan to us! Hey ho!

Today, we are watching Optimists bob about the bay as they race to be the champions of Sicily; the monthly angling competition and large numbers of scouts milling about building tents and bridges and all manner of structures.  So, ‘Molti manifestioni’ as they say here.

We will be back in Sicily in October/November.  It has been wonderful to catch up with our new MdR fellow yachtie friends and we look forward to catching up and exchanging stories when we return.  In the meantime, there is plenty of sailing to be done.

Top Time in October and November

h-and-j-and-ian

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!