It was time to leave Siracusa for three reasons...
1. the holding (poop) tank was almost full;
2. it was time to commission the water maker and make water - we didn't think it wise to run the watermaker in Siracusa given the mud and silt around as it would probably clog all the filters;
3. it was time to move.
This season hasn't been planned at all apart from we would like to visit Taormina on the eastern side of Sicily then onwards to the Aeolian Islands, an archipelago of seven islands located north of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Both of these were on our list in 2017 on route to our winter destination of Marina di Ragusa, Sicily. At the time the weather prevented us from visiting Taormina (blog: Scilla to Sicily, Catania via the Messina Straits)
and we decided to miss the Aeolians when in Vibo Valencia (blog: Vibo Valencia to Tropea)
based on the comment of another cruiser who had just returned saying that they were far too busy and to go by ferry instead.
So Taormina it is but this time we have a cunning plan that should allow us to spend a couple of nights - visit on a day when light airs are forecast (the theory, no wind, no swell).
The distance from Siracusa to Taormina is approximately 53 miles so we decided that we'd shorten it by 14 miles with an overnight stop at Monte Pergola near Augusta and commission the watermaker on route to produce some water.
It's been almost two years since we last ran the watermaker. Since then we've done a fairy major rebuild of the pumping unit so we felt it sensible to fill numerous 15 litre jerrycans, testing each one for smell, clarity and measuring parts per million (This measurement is the mass of a chemical or contaminate per unit volume of water ) before transferring them into the tanks.
The highlight of the day - few visitors just for a moment
The highlight of the evening as dusk approached was watching Mount Etna glow red in the dark sending the occasional belch of smoke and ash into the air along with lava overflow. The sight was truly spectacular and a privilege to be able to see her from a safe distance.
Despite being next to a commercial port we had a comfortable night at anchor.
Total distance from Siracusa to Monte Pergola, Augusta: 13.58 nautical miles
Total distance this season: 74.35 nautical miles