Earlier in the summer, whilst we were sailing in Croatia on our Bavaria Lagoon 430, David and Lisa had contacted us to ask if we would like to complete a six week hosting stint back at their chalet in Tignes Le Chevril over Christmas and New Year. How could we refuse? Thinking that there was a chance that Keira would be in Val d’Isere for Christmas to see Sam, we jumped at the chance to do a shortened season.
Six weeks was perfect.
But now we were concerned that Ian would not be well enough after his bout of sepsis or have a relapse. We worried about the effects of altitude and consulted the medics. Suitably reassured by the consultant and doctors we set off.
We thoroughly enjoyed hosting all our guests. We had a marvellous time; lots of snow and great skiing. We met up with Keira and Sam, Lucy, Tracy and Lauren, Sue, Tim and Cheryl, Evie and Tom, Jon Dawes, Nigel and Berry (Yachtie friends from MDR).
After our long and busy winter season in the Alps, we were happy to be returning to the UK to stay with Ian’s mum, June, for a while. Especially as she had given us a bit of a fright the week before, having been admitted to hospital! Now, she certainly seems to be on the mend and back to her normal routine…so that was a big relief. Whilst there with June, we had a lovely video chat with Erin in Australia, the ease of which June marveled over. It was good to see Erin and to hear that she has been making progress on the job front and is enjoying life in Melbourne.
We squeezed in a couple of wonderful days in ‘The Shire’,
watching the Tour De Yorkshire fly past and enjoying one of Mr Brennan’s fine
pizzas cooked to perfection in his new pizza oven, in only 50 seconds! Now that is a HOT oven! On the Bank Holiday Monday we had a lovely
day at Alice and Ian Daggett’s with lots of friends from around the Dale. It was such a wrench to be leaving so soon.
Our return coincided with June’s birthday, so we were able
to have a lovely evening out with most of the family to celebrate.
On the 8th May we woke at ridiculous o’clock to
catch our flight back to Catania, Sicily and then to the boat which has been in
Marina Di Ragusa all winter.
She had survived well, although she was covered in a sprinkling
of fine orange dust which had blown up from the Sahara.
We began the process of rebuilding
her ready to sail away. Re-threading the
lines and halyards; putting on the sails (freshly laundered…I kid you not…they
smell lovely); cleaning and polishing everything; greasing the winches;
replacing the spray hood and bimini; (that word again, Michelle Firth!!). Busy, busy, work, work!
We had a minor accident in those
first few days, whilst Ian was trying to retrieve some batons from the
boom. Keira and I lent a hand and pushed
the recalcitrant baton down the boom towards Ian. Unfortunately, his front tooth was in the way
and the result was that he lost a chunk off the corner of his tooth.
A quick trip into Ragusa (and a chance for Keira and I to nip to see the old part of town) to dentist Dr. Aldo Miano and half an hour later it was all rebuilt! Cash job only.
During this jobs week, Keira cracked on with her studies for her Day Skipper Qualification.
It was lovely to catch up with friends who had been in the marina all winter. We also enjoyed a Fiat Cinque Centi rally. The weather was very unsettled during this time and we had cold, very windy and cloudy days with little sunshine. Most unusual for Sicily!
The Heanes arrived on Sunday the 12th May. There were still jobs to do (thanks to David for cleaning the fenders…they are like new!) and, since the weather was unpleasant, we decided to stay put in the safety of the marina for a bit longer.
There was a great deal of Bonus Whist to be played. And the delay in MdR meant that we could sample a spectacular fish meal at the Marisco restaurant and one or two of Burger Art’s delicious burgers. Almost as good as a pitta gyros! Eventually, it was time to leave and start the 2019 adventure………off to Croatia.
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.
Our first winter season is drawing to a close. It’s been hard work but mostly great fun with just the sadness of my dad passing away mid-season putting a dampener on the winter. We are already contemplating another season, will it be Val d’Isere or shall we try another resort? Perhaps St Anton. No doubt a topic that will be discussed frequently over the coming months.
We have a couple of weeks skiing left, the conditions are fantastic, but our thoughts are now turning to the summer and our sailing adventures. Work that should have been carried out on the boat whilst away hasn’t been done so we will probably have to spend some time in a boat yard at some point but essential purchases, and a few non essential, have been made and it’s all getting very exciting. There are several days work to get Linea ready for sea but the aim is to depart Sicily around 1 May, head east to Kephalonia, through the Corinth canal and on into the Aegean.
I recently came across the Bryan Adams track “18 til I die” which gave me an idea for a little video montage of our season, here you go……