From Crotone to Marina di Ragusa
26 September 2012
Who would have thought we could have had such a great time in Crotone? We certainly struck it lucky by meeting Elizabeth and Eddy, a friendly couple from the Netherlands who have been cruising the Mediterranean for many years. And when they described the food at their favourite local trattoria, "La Lampara", we knew we had to try it. With Jackie and Mel from "Feisty" and Louise and Gary from "LouLou" (also en route to Marina di Ragusa) we had a congenial group. The restaurant's owner Antonio was so full of personality that it seemed like we were at a private party. Plate after plate of antipasti arrived at our table, followed by bowls of delicious pasta. Unfortunately, by that point we'd eaten so much that we didn't have any room left to try the fish!
After three nights in Crotone, the wind finally moderated and we grabbed the opportunity to head for Siracusa. The sea was calm, and a pod of dolphins rode our bow wave as we passed the protected marine area at Capo Rizzuto. We even managed to get a glimpse of the imposing castle at Le Castella through the binoculars. Things got a bit bouncier through the night, so we were both happy to arrive in Siracusa harbour at 10.30 the next morning. We were accompanied by dolphins again as we made our entry.
Although we've been to Siracusa many times, a visit to the market is obligatory. This time, the scene seemed more relaxed than usual. An impromptu musical performance was happening in one of the fish stalls. As we stopped to buy a sea bass for dinner, the vongole (clams) spit water at us from their bins. In our favourite cheese shop "Caseificio Borderi" the co-owner Gaetano was in rare form, inviting us to take his "father-in-love" off his hands. He introduced us to his friend Giovanni, a musician with an apparently voracious appetite. ("This is Giovanni...he's very rich.") As we waited to place our order for smoked mozzarella and ricotta, Gaetano fed Giovanni a seemingly endless selection of tasty delights, and insisted that we also try each one. Everything was washed down with small medicine cups of wine. There would be no need to have lunch, but we walked off all the calories in a long hot journey to the outer reaches of the town, in search of a piece of Lexan to repair the cowl vent box. (We did not find it.)
That evening, we hosted a small gathering onboard Aisling, with Jon and Jan from "Brigantia" and Chris and Sue from "Nimrod", who are also heading to Marina di Ragusa for the winter. As we sipped our drinks, a grass fire broke out onshore and large pieces of black soot began drifting onto our decks. Before long, we had black bits covering our topsides and our canvas. Some of it even drifted inside the cabin. Argh! Keeping this boat clean is a losing battle.
We'd intended to stay in Siracusa for another day or two, but yesterday, we woke up to a big roll in the anchorage and decided to get the rest of the journey behind us. Besides, we needed to wash our decks! In spite of a total lack of wind, Aisling was almost standing on her side in the big swell as we left the harbour. Fortunately, the seas moderated after we turned the corner. Ten hours later, we entered the Porto Turistico at Marina di Ragusa and motored toward our berth. It felt a bit like a homecoming, especially when we saw our friends Ni and Krissy waving to us from the deck of Finalmente. It's great to be here!