Tag Archives: Syracuse

Setting off to Croatia

A map of the south east corner of Sicily showing the main places we visited.
Marina di Ragusa is just out of shot to the west.

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. 

Keira and Sam braving the chilly and slightly dubious waters of Grand Harbour.
Day Skipper practice.

We stayed here for a few days exploring the city of Ortigia and visiting the market and our favourite restaurant.

Ortigia, Syracuse.

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!

Ian retrieving as much of the line as possible from around the propeller shaft.

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.

Linea in mid air!

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.

Flat calm. My kind of sailing!

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.

Ian going off to check the anchor.

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! 

Striped like a flag… sky, cliffs, sea.

We anchored off!  As all the other yachts had done. 

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.

 

 

 

 

Sailing back to Sicily and our winter berth at Marina Di Ragusa

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Crotone to Marina di Ragusa in Sicilia

The huge castle in Crotone

We spent a couple of days in Crotone and enjoyed having a wander round this town with its huge castle and imposing town walls.

We enjoyed briefly meeting fellow sailors on Three Times a Lady (try spelling that with the phonetic alphabet!) and early the next morning we slipped out in the calm morning breeze and wove our way out between the gas rigs and set off south and a reasonable lick.  The wind was as fluky as predicted across the Golfo di Squillace and so we slowed right down.  The night passed much better than the trip from Corfu and apart from one incident when two sailing boats appeared out of the darkness rather closer than I would have liked, the crossing went smoothly.

We then hit strong winds on our approach to Syracuse but coming right at us on the nose so we had to tack considerably further than we wanted to. img_3525

However, we arrived safely after two days and one night at sea and motored towards the incredible bay of Syracuse.  We followed the procedure for gaining permission to enter and were allocated a berth, along with one other yacht on the massive town quay.  Soon after we were tied up we visited the coast guard to do the necessary paperwork and were pleased with ourselves for doing things right.  Next morning the Coast guard came round to check our papers.  We were rewarded with a warm handshake and welcome to Syracuse.

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Syracuse duomo

We spent the whole day walking round this incredible city. syracuse

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We visited the Leonardo Da Vinci museum

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Leonardo Da Vinci models of his inventions

which has large working wooden models of his inventions and was absolutely fascinating. l-da-v-pulleys-to-aid-construction

 

 

 

The market was fabulous as Italian markets always are. Seeing all the fish and fresh produce made us hungry, even o soon after breakfast, so we had an amazing Sicilian lunch in a little back street café.

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Pasta Siciliana and Seafood risotto

I had Pasta Siciliana which is made with a sauce of anchovies, pinenuts, sun dried tomatoes, oil, garlic, and sprinkled with herby breadcrumbs. Mmmm.  Ian had Seafood risotto with saffron.

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Syracuse Promenade

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Ancient Roman ruins in Syracuse

We need to go back to Syracuse because it was just beautiful and there we were, just parked on the promenade in the most enviable spot.

After a couple of nights there we just had a short hop round to Marina di Ragusa to complete.  A longish day but do-able.  We calculated 56 miles.  We ended up doing 81 miles as the wind was, once again blowing right at us! We made it in, in the dark, and tied to the fuel pontoon ‘til morning.  The security guards, alerted by the barking  guard dog, flew round in a car and quizzed us. Once we had told them that we were booked in for the winter they gave us vigorous handshakes and lots of  ‘va bene’s and shot back to their security posts.

Next day, we oh so smoothly, parked the boat in our winter berth – L16. Within minutes we had been invited aboard the opposite boat for coffee and met up with Carl, Amanda, Mark, Peter and Catherine.  This is the most sociable place with 162 boats and around 300 live-aboards staying for the winter.  We soon heard about a daily radio net, Yoga, knitting and tai chi classes, Italian lessons, olive picking experience, dinner out en masse, happy hours (3 of them per week), music making group, Halloween party, and much more…

What a fantastic, welcoming and friendly international community.