Tag Archives: Sicily

Malta to Cephalonia, Greece

Having analysed the weather yet again, no amount of re-looking could make it show what we wanted to see.  There was just no chance that we could set off for Cephalonia with the predicted low pressure system steaming in to give us a proper beating.

We decided to change the plan in the hope that the low would move out of our way.

So, we headed for Porto Palo on the south coast of Sicily.  We had a fairly good sail north and arrived in good time.  We anchored in the bay in among many of our friends from MdR who had recently left the marina, it being close to the end of the month and the start of May prices!

The next day we headed in the direction of Syracuse.  At least if the weather forecast didn’t change Chris would be able to return home from Catania.

We had a very pleasant sail up the coast and arrived late afternoon.  Despite their being heaps of space on Quay 11 – the Town Quay, we were not given permission to go there.  We were told to anchor off.

David and Chris went ashore and Ian invited Gwen and Glen from Pardella over for drinks.   It was good to catch up.

Glen and his new book.
Our favourite restaurant in the market area of Ortigia.

The next day the wind was due to really pick up from the South West in the afternoon.  We decided to go ashore and have lunch near the market with the two Gees.  It was such fun and ended up being quite lengthy!  Needless to say, by the time we returned to the marina pontoon, the wind was whipping the waves across the bay and not only would it have been wet to go across the bay to the boat, it would have been dangerous.

Luckily, kind people on the pontoon offered to put us all up.  We stayed on Pardella and David and Chris on  on their neighbours’ (Diane and Fred) boat.  It was a noisy night with waves smacking the bow and lines creaking as the pontoon bucked!  We had to leave Linea all alone out there and just hope that the anchor was well dug in.

Waves crash over the pontoon of the marina, Syracuse.
Dismal weather in Syracuse.

Next morning, the wind was still lashing the pontoon.  All the boats that had been moored on the Town Quay had left in the night to anchor off.   Linea was still out there.

It continued to be wild.  Finally, at about 1800hrs we managed to get the dinghy engine started and Ian and Chris went back to the boat to retrieve Chris’ things so he could fly home the next day.

David, Ian and I made it back soon after saying goodbye to Chris, had a quick supper and retired to bed.

We decided on an early departure in the morning so that we would have some chance of arriving in Cephalonia before Angela and Lizzie had to go home!!

Me, Ian and David.

We put the sails up in Syracuse Harbour and sailed for 50 hours.  The sea was unpleasantly swelly for the first 36 hours but gradually began to calm down as we approached Cephalonia.

Some miles off shore, we could smell Cephalonia’s unique flora.  The heady combination of wild  sage, juniper, pine and cypress trees and flowering jamine.  It is the most fragrant isle.

We lowered the sails once we were inside the dog leg to Argostoli having made a record Ionian crossing time for Linea.   (We had trawled a fishing line the entire way, however, and managed only to catch a bit of seaweed!)

Ang, Ian, David and Lizzie.

We moored stern to the town quay and put the boat to bed.

 

 

 

Nothing beats and gyros and Mythos! One happy man!

 

By 1200hrs we were having a well earned chicken gyros and a Mythos beer in town with Angela and Lizzie.

 

 

 

 

 

Tired Capitan!

But we were all very tired.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbecue on board. Fresh tuna (not ours!!!) prawns and mackerel.

So good to be back in Greece.

 

 

 

 

Spring in Sicily 2018

“Oh look, there’s ‘Cheesus’ over looking the cheeses.” exclaimed Steve from Amalia.

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.

Picking our way along the limestone escarpments near Ragusa, Sicily with the Kalura Walking group.

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.

Tomorrow, the wind will have dropped back to more acceptable levels and a few of us are off to join the Kalura Walking group again for a walk in the Sicilian hills nearby.

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!

 

Cleaning the head in the heads!!

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.

Buffalo mozzarella, buffalo cheese, buffalo steak, buffalo meat stew, buffalo mozzarella fritters, buffalo mozzarella pizza, buffalo tomatoes and finally, oranges!!! Washed down with plenty of red wine!!!

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.

 

Emma, Charlotte, Laura, Jack, Sophie, Adam, Tim, Keira and Erin. Cousin power!
Sarah, Keira, Ian, June and Erin

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.

Enio of Olimpic Sails, Syracuse, helping to fit the new lazy bag that he made for the main sail.

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 covered everything that stood still long enough, in polka dot sticky-backed plastic to jazz u the galley.

 

 

Beautiful, strong and well-made cover for the outboard made by Krina of Spray.
Linea Limoncello 2018

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.)

 

 

 

 

 

Carcioffi – artichokes.

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!

Two months in ‘The Shire’. –

After winterising Linea (Bavaria 430 Lagoon) and leaving her safely tucked up in the Porto Turistico di Marina di Ragusa, Sicily, for a second safe winter; we set off for Longridge and caught up with June, Ian’s mum, and the rest of his family, which was lovely.

We arrived back in Linton, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, a few days later, excited to see Keira freshly returned from a job in France; and already living and working at the Fountaine Inn, Linton.   We were soon to see Erin, too, as she was to travel up from London the following week.

We hit the ground running with a spate of socials and sessions.

 

Bryn and Jill fro ‘Fly the Coop’ who we managed to meet up with.

Soon, like everyone else, we were in full swing for Christmas.  Inevitably this involved more trips to the Fountaine Inn, Linton; and eating lots of food.

 

 

We did manage to fit in a good few walks when the weather was bright (and sometimes when it wasn’t!)  It was just lovely to be back in the Dale and experiencing village life again.

 

 

 

 

 

Erin had very little time off from her new job as Assistant Manager of the Miller and Carter Steakhouse in Worcester Park London, so she drove up north after her late shift had finished on Christmas Eve and arrived at 0200hrs in the morning!  A flying visit as she had to head back down south on Boxing Day morning.

We had a wonderful day on Christmas day culminating in an evening of hilarity at the Vyvyan’s.

We enjoyed a hearty walk and refreshments with the Heanes, Hodgsons and Plumbs in between Christmas and New Year but I was unable to muster the strength (due to being proper poorly) to join them all for the annual Inn at Whitewell walk from Chipping.

As predicted, time was flying on and we still had so much to do and so many people to see.

Happily, we were able to do a little farm, dog and house sitting which made a nice change.  Also, Ian was able to catch up and support his beloved Wharfedale Rugby Club.

I enjoyed going to the gym occasionally in a vague attempt to lose some of the weight I had piled on after a summer on the boat eating far too much feta cheese!

All in all, it was the most marvellous visit home, with added poignancy, since we haven’t been back for any length of time for almost two years.  We miss ‘The Shire’, our family and friends very much.

Remember, we would LOVE to welcome you to the boat during the summer if you fancy a bit of camping on water!  Please just ask and we will try to coordinate.

Next Time:  Keira heads off to Holland!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Setting sail – the first two legs of Season Two.

Marina di Ragusa resort and harbour wall

The boxes finally arrived after having had their own personal  ‘Giro d’Italia’ – having being sent to a marina in Reggio Calabria on the mainland, by mistake.  So, with them safely stowed, it was time to set sail.  Ian handled the boat superbly as he maneuvered out of the marina with the marinero guiding us safely out. (There had been an incident recently where a boat went aground so everyone was being super cautious.)

Me and my crew!

Heading  300nm East.

En-route, the engine suddenly stopped spitting out water with the exhaust and the bilges filled with blue coolant.  This was not good. Luckily Bill has a mechanical know how and between them, he and Ian had the problem  sorted and the engine going again!  It could have been a lot worse.

On the way we had two visitors, a gold finch who slept on the book shelf all night and a baby owl, no less than 60 miles from land, who had a brief rest on our dinghy.

We arrived in Argostoli at 0300hrs, parked up in the pitch dark and crashed out.  In the morning, Bill left us and we picked up Lizzie and Ang.  By noon we had set off for Zante to meet up with Bryn and Jill on Fly the Coop for dinner.  After a slap up breakfast in the morning we bid them a fond farewell and we went our separate ways for the time being.

We began the next leg of our journey aiming to get the Heane family to Aigina.  Our first excitement was to sail under the Rion-Antirion suspension bridge – the longest suspension bridge in the world with a span of 2.252km.  We had to radio the bridge traffic personnel to ask permission to transit under the bridge.  We were given clear instructions to transit under the central arch.  ‘Keep two pillars to your starboard side and two pillars to your port side.’  We had air clearance of at least 20m where we sailed through.  The vehicles on the bridge looked like little dinky toys as they passed overhead.   It was quite spectacular running before the wind with the headsail only and achieving an impressive 8 knots of speed.

We had a pleasant stop in Galaxadhi, from where we were able to visit Delphi and then we only had one more overnight stop before going through the Corinth Canal.  (See earlier posting of Ian’s time-lapse video.)

The strong winds from earlier in the week had died down and we enjoyed a gentle potter down the canal taking a slice through the history, geography and geology of the area.  We paid €225 for the privilege.  €70 per mile.

We were able to squeeze into a berth on the town quay in Aigina and had a fabulous meal from a restaurant near the fish market.  Next day, it was time to bid farewell to the Heanes as we set off towards Skiathos to meet up without next visitors – The Daggetts!