On May 17th we were ready to head off towards mainland Italy (and from there to Croatia) with Angela and David. We were escorted out of the narrow canal from the marina because during the winter the waves had transported an entire nearby beach and deposited it all around the mouth of the marina entrance! A dredging operation had created a new channel with least depths of 3m, so we were fine.
We motored-sailed for a while and then noticed that the rev counter was flicking about or not working at all. This had occurred before and the consequence then was that the engine would not restart! So, regretfully, we decided to head back to MdR to get the problem fixed once and for all.
After a discussion with the manufacturers of the alternator and chats with various friends around the marina, we decided that dampness had affected the rev counter and all was well. Phew! Unfortunately, we had no more chance of sailing before the Heanes had to leave.
Keira and Sam arrived back after their week of touring the East of Sicily. We grabbed some bread and filled up with water and were off once more: Heading east.
We hopped down the South Sicilian coast, stopping in; Pozzallo, Porto Palo and Marmamezi before arriving in Grande Harbour, Syracusa.
We stayed here for a few days exploring the city of Ortigia and visiting the market and our favourite restaurant.
However, it is never plain sailing with us it seems. On the way in to Grande Harbour we managed to snag a fishing line round the propeller and our BRAND NEW sail drive/gear box started to let in water! To add insult to injury, it was our own stupid fishing line!
After some investigation and further challenge for my (poor) Italian, we found a yard that could lift us out and awaited the arrival of the Volvo Penta engineer. This gave us more time to explore this great city and its bustling market. Keira and Sam had to depart but we hope they will be back in September.
Salvo from Sud Yachting in Comiso arrived on Monday morning and we were lifted, washed, fixed and returned to the water in record time – three hours only. Fantastic! Antonio and his father in the boat yard near Lakkios Marina could not have been more helpful and kind.
The wind was favourable for a departure to the main land on Wednesday 4th June 2019. We decided to leave at 1600h to take advantage of the brisk southerly wind. Our first hop – 90nm to Roccella Ionica would take around 18 hours. We flew along for the first few hours at a spanking 7.5kn. We arrived about 0930h the following morning in the marina which meant that we had time for a snack, a nap and an explore by bicycle of the nearest town. It was a beautiful setting for a marina with a 3km bike track into the village. A railway line direct to Rome and all mod cons. Laundry was 4 euros a load so we cracked on with some jobs too. A bit pricey at 60 Euros per night in early June but it was worth it.
The following day we completed another 70nm hop up to Crotone to Capo Rizzuto which is an extensive marine reserve and enjoyed a peaceful evening there with wafts of pungent juniper drifting over the water.
Having gone through the long winded and nonsense application form on line, which required not just a picture of my passport but a picture of me, my place of birth, in Italy, my address in Italy and my tax code in Italy….all of which I made up….We managed to book a mooring buoy in the marine reserve. The idea being that the sea bed does not get damaged by anchoring.
There are tiny designated areas for anchoring but no coordinates, so it is difficult to know if you are in the right spot.
When we arrived in early June there were no mooring buoys in sight, despite the fact that I had just paid 20 euros to reserve one for the night!
We anchored off! As all the other yachts had done.