Tag Archives: Sicily

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!

Friends in the Ionian

img_3464Erin, Ian and I set off for Prevesa.  Our aim was to complete the necessary Greek paperwork and to do some laundry.  Both necessary evils!  We had a wonderful sail up the west coast of Levkas so avoiding the channel and the apparently temperamental swing bridge.  We arrived in Prevesa in time for the Saturday night perambulations   –  known as La Passegiata in Italian, and La Volta in Greek.  Perfect people watching.

Ian showed incredible persistence to finally acquire our DEPKA form.  He presented a letter from the Coast Guard office in Argostoli saying that they had run out of forms and that we had tried to register.  There were also no forms in Prevesa either, although apparently, five were due to arrive…would Ian kindly return tomorrow morning? This he duly did and we were in luck.

The form was given to us, stamped and chocked.  All our passports and papers were photocopied.  Ian then had to go to the tax office to be given an invoice for 29 euros.  From there he was directed to the National Bank to pay the invoice, from where he would take his receipt back to the Coastguard in order to have the paperwork finalised.

By this time the washing had been done and dried.  We set off for Paxos to meet our great friend Sue Lowrey.img_3439

We moored on the north quay, away from the town centre in the most dramatic of settings yet.  An island protects the channel from the open sea and winds.  It is the most wonderful anchorage.  Understandably busy.  We set about tidying up the boat and preparing drinks and nibbles.  Sue and Margaret img_3441arrived and we enjoyed giving them the guided tour.

After a delicious pasta dinner and yet more wine, we staggered back to the boat and slept soundly..

Next day, Sue picked us up and gave us a tour of the island of Paxos by car. We spend a pleasant afternoon sunning ourselves on the beach and then went back to Margaret’s beautiful hillside home for a delicious dinner.

We had a jobs day on the Thursday and then welcomed Sue and Margaret for breakfast and coffee, after their morning swim, before saying a fond farewell and sailing off to Sivota-Mourtos.img_3443

We anchored in Middle Bay since the weather was quite settled and enjoyed some nice swimming around the boat.  I tried fishing again but with no luck at all.  We shot out in the dinghy to do some beach combing.  We were about to go ashore on to the biggest of the islands when we noticed a herd of rather shaggy goats with large horns on the beach. We stayed off some distance and admired them from afar.

Next stop was Corfu.  We anchored stern to in the incredibly smelly East Basin.  Compensated by the fact that you are right next to the Old Town and tucked under the fort and it’s free!  We wandered through the streets to the cricket field and showed Erin the colonnaded Venetian style streets.

The next day, Ian and Alice Daggett the-daggets-in-kalimi-bay-corfuarrived and we promptly set off to our anchorage further north where we had a quiet and smell free night.  The next afternoon we had to dropped Erin off at the airport.  She was returning to the UK to work for six weeks to save money for her up-coming ski season in Tignes.waterbaby

We zig-zagged across the channel to stay in Plataria and then Pagania.  We had some good sailing.  The anchorage at Pagania half a mile from the Albanian border was amazing. Once we had driven past numerous large and ugly fish farms we turned the dog leg to discover a completely enclosed anchorage.  No tavern, no bars, no body and no signal! img_3580

So, back to Corfu Town and another fond farewell to Mr and Mrs D.  We had had a wonderful few days with them.

As strong southerly winds were expected over the next few days we decided to head north to Kassiopi on the Northern tip of Corfu.  We had a few happy days there meeting up with Andy and Denise Hurley on Comet andy-and-denise-hurley-on-cometwhom we had first met in Mallorca back in April/May.

Our next visit was from old friend and fellow sailor, William Dear.  We had a boozy night with him in Corfu Town celebrating the sale of his boat.  As you may know, the happiest days of any sailor’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it! )

Next stop, Albania

Thence to Sicily.

Go Greece!

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The Crucial Crew, Ragusa day out.

After our top week in the UK, we scooted back to Sicily, leaving Erin behind, as she had to attend interviews for ski season jobs.  We met up with Kim (Carnegie friend) and Ollie (Kim’s son) at Wetherby services and travelled with them to Ragusa where we met up with Sheena (Coo-eee!) (Another Carnegie chum).  This was to be the super crew to help us sail from Sicily to Kephalonia in one hit – three days and nights at sea.

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Ian, Sheena, Kim, Ollie, Sarah
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‘Taylor’ Swift
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Bowline tying lessons en route.

We had a fantastic crossing, great laughs and pleasant sailing on very convenient winds.  We had a stowaway for a small part of the trip…a swift, soon named Taylor, who came into the boat for a sleep and then, as suddenly as she had arrived, disappeared off in the vague direction of Africa.

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Doric lighthouse at the entrance to Argostoli, Kephalonia
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First sight and smell of Kephalonia – bliss.

We arrived in Kephalonia to be greeted by the most amazing smell wafting on the breeze from the island of cypress trees, rosemary and jasmine!  Gorgeous!  The church bells were peeling exactly as we sailed into the bay at Argostoli.

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Sheena, Sarah, Ian, Kim and Ollie.

We were soon tied up and jumped ashore to have a hearty breakfast in one of the many cafes.

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Town Quay at Argostoli where the loggerhead turtles come to feed everyday.

We walked down the quay to see the giant loggerhead turtles that frequent the bay.  Simply stunning.  The conservation group were there telling us all about them.  www.wildlifesense.com

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What are ‘Neatness personnel’?

Erin flew in to Kephalonia for a holiday on board and we set off around the island.  (We met her at the airport and saw this interesting sign.)

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New crew – now with Erin too.

Leaving Argostoli we headed south.  Unable to get into the planned port of call on the south coast we had to divert to Zakinthos.  A fortunate diversion it proved to be.  Almost as soon as we arrived alongside, Kostas helped us tie up and offered us discount at his restaurant and hotel and Nicolas arrived on his tractor offering us tastes of his wares.  We ended up buying heavenly olive oil, wine, honey, feta, olives, dried sage, fresh bread, tomatoes and currants!  Perfect.

From there we headed north to Effimia on east Kephalonia.  We were bossed loudly into our berth on the town quay by an officious but efficient marinero/harbour master, who really knew his stuff.  He gave us our best lesson yet in mooring Med style with an anchor and lines to stern.

We pottered further north and stopped en route to swim and relax in a gorgeous bay.  The sea bream were out so grabbing my line and rod and stale bread supplies I set to catching fish.  img_1725Within seconds I had my first bite. Two fish at once.  In the next 30 minutes Erin and I had caught another three.  They were duly gutted, prepared, marinated, and cooked by Sheen, and eaten by us all for lunch.

Next stop was Fiscardo in the north.  We moored stern to the Northern part of the bay with long lines ashore.  And had an anxious time trying to get the anchor to bite and to get the lines ashore in a dinghy with a broken rowlock!

Sadly, after a couple of days relaxing andsic-keph-9 exploring the village, it was time to say goodbye to my mates
and then it was just the three of us again.