Siracusa to Ragusa (via Porto Palo) log
22 September 2017 | Marina di Ragusa (position: 36 46.869’N 14 32.705’E)
Bruce & Caroline
Newsflash... we've had a cracking sail, lasting 2 glorious hours!!!
Although a week earlier than planned we feel ready to move onto Marina di Ragusa (MdiR) for the winter, to settle into a place that we can call 'home' for the next 6-7 months. We've actually reached a point where we don't want to have to check the weather forecast daily, to decide whether or not to stay or move on or to go ashore. The search for supermarkets, laundrette, fuel etc has also become exhausting and surprisingly there is only so much 'culture' and 'sightseeing' that we can do before the head becomes all fuzzy. After obtaining permission from Siracusa Harbour Master to leave we departed from the anchorage bringing quite a chunk of the seabed onboard. Each chain link was solid with mud - a really messy job this time but there's no doubt that it's very secure holding.
With 60 miles to go until we reach Marina di Ragusa we scheduled an overnight stop at Porto Palo, 30 miles along the coast as good shelter can be found behind two moles but in places the ground is reported to be foul. "Wilson" (our anchor buoy/trip line) was ready to be deployed but after a quick check of the area we managed to find a sandy spot clear of any debris so he wasn't needed after all... and no need to shout "where's Wilson" the following morning! ;-). One night at Porto Palo was enough as the swell found its way in so we departed early to find a decent wind on our beam and we were able to sit back to enjoy two hours of sailing with both the genoa and mainsail out before we ended up motoring.
The entrance to MdiR is badly silted so it was necessary for us to radio in once we neared the marina. A dory came out to meet us and provided instructions to stay as close as possible to the port-side breakwater before he guided us to our berth and assisted with the rope work.
Total distance this season: 1096.13 nautical miles
Catania to Siracusa (anchorage) log
13 September 2017 | Siracusa anchorage (position: 37 03.612'N 15 16.811'E)
Bruce & Caroline
view from the anchorage across to Ortygia island and town quay
Being woken by the sound of the automatic bilge pump wasn't an ideal start to the day. It's fair to say that we've never moved so fast apart from the time when we had a rat onboard.
Thankfully we weren't sinking but we found the tap on our port freshwater tank was slowly dripping freshwater into the bilge. It's plastic and probably original (27 years old) so we can only assume that the rubber seal inside has perished. Our only option was to turn it to the 'off' position and hope that it didn't break off in our hand. Thankfully it didn't and the seal held. It's now a job for the ever increasing winter list!
With the tank now isolated we finally departed Catania somewhat later than planned for the 30 mile hop along the coast to our next destination, Siracusa. To our surprise we actually managed a very brief mid-morning sail before the wind died completely only to return in the afternoon blowing 23 knots bang on the nose. Yachts sailing in the opposite direction were having a blast.
With Mount Etna standing tall behind us the island looked comparatively flat and sparsely developed until we reached the outskirts of Siracusa where rows of tall apartment blocks led us towards the harbour and Ortygia island, where Siracusa was founded in ancient Greek times.
According to various online forums it's necessary to call the harbour master on the VHF radio to obtain permission to enter the harbour as failure to do so can result in a hefty fine. Some reports have intimated that requests can be ignored with the view to fining you once inside the harbour! Thankfully our VHF call was answered on the second call otherwise we would have resorted to the mobile phone. Failing that we would like to think that we could have left a mobile phone message and make a note in the ships log.
The harbour is a natural 'horse-shoe' shape with a small marina, town quay and vast anchorage. Mooring to the quay requires you to use your own anchor and you can stay for up to five days paying just a nominal charge but our preference was to anchor in mud with plenty of swinging room.
Total distance this season: 1035.02 nautical miles