Return to Sicily for the winter
11 November 2013
With a 3 ½ day/485 nautical mile journey ahead of us from Crete to Sicily, we needed a good weather forecast and we got it. The journey was as we expected; the first 24 hours were fast, good sailing, followed by a mixture of sailing and motor sailing. We have made this crossing several times now and this journey was by far the most pleasant.
We thought hard about changes that we could make to our passage making to make the journey as easy as possible, especially as travelling at this time of year means almost 12 hours of darkness as opposed to the journey we make in the spring, when the days are so much longer.
Firstly, we both took sea-sickness tablets, even though it looked like they were unnecessary, until we were confident that the conditions were going to be ok. Both of us were sea-sick on the journey back last year and we didn’t want to go through that again!
A good, hot meal is important but this isn’t always easy to manage if the sea is rolly and you can’t face being down below. This year, we bought some freshly-made meals from one of the tavernas in the market in Chania to re-heat. It proved to be a great solution; all I had to do was put the containers in the oven and we enjoyed a delicious moussaka and then meatballs with roasted vegetables. Chris usually looses his appetite a little during long journeys (I am the opposite!) so we always have a bag of chocolate and breakfast bars available, as well as hard-boiled eggs, sandwiches and prepared fresh fruit in the fridge. Hot drinks are important too and we followed our Scandinavian friends example and bought a thermos flask so that we had hot coffee easily available throughout the night (the Scandinavians always seem to have a flask of coffee on the go at all times!!).
Between the hours 9pm and 9am, we take turns keeping watch in 3 hour intervals and sleep on the settee in the salon. My watches are from midnight-3am and then 6-9am and Chris does 9pm-midnight, followed by 3-6am. We’ve tried different combinations over the years but this seems to work for us. For this trip, I had a ‘travel bag’ with me into which I put toiletries and change of clothes for the journey. It meant that I didn’t have to wander around the boat looking for things if the boat motion was uncomfortable. I had everything I needed for my comfort always to hand and it made a difference.
By the time we arrived at Marina di Ragusa, it was about 8pm and dark but we had our friends waiting to take our lines and lots of catching up to do with everyone over the following days. It felt good to be back in familiar surroundings with lots of our good friends.