The 1st leg of our sail to Spain
17 July 2023
Sunday 9th July
We left Argostoli on Keffalonia at lunchtime. We motored away from the island for an hour then hoisted the sails, switched off the engine and began sailing 'proper.'The wind was perfect so we sailed nonstop all afternoon, all night and all the following day! It was fantastic, a great start to the trip. Only when the wind finally calmed did we have to put the engine on to help the sails a bit. I had sunset watch, so Ricky went down in the saloon for a power nap so he can take over helm at midnight . In the meantime, after seeing only 2 other ships, I had my beady eye on a cruise ship that was pretty much sailing parallel to us. I'm sure it would look miles away in a photo - but I know how fast they can go, so do not want to be in its path if it should choose to change course...it didn't- phew!
Tuesday 11th July
It was late afternoon by the time we finally arrived on the shores of Sicily, having crossed the 263 nautical miles of the Ionian Sea safely, enjoying the peace of travelling under sail, the clear starlight nights and of course the unbeatable sunsets and sunrises at sea, miles from anywhere. We anchored on the SW corner at Capo Passero. Here there are two choices of anchorage either side of the island, divided by a very shallow strip of sand and rock. Both bays are beautiful with turquoise water and lots of black Molly fish. We had become rather used to beautiful seas with very few fish in Greece so this was the icing on the cake. We set the anchor in the sandy bottom, swam amongst the fish, ate tea and collapsed into bed. The anchorage was rolly but we slept ok. Tomorrow we were continuing on to Ragusa, a favourite spot for live aboard sailors to winter, a mere 32 nautical mile hop.
The sail to Ragusa was relaxed, we took 8 hours as we sailed slowly, not worrying about the time. We decided we would splash out and stay in the actual marina to suss it out for a future possible winter stay. It certainly was a huge marina, we would become very fit if we stayed there as the marina office , launderette, bar, shops and loos were a fair old walk away from the pontoons. Ragusa has a wonderful busy, vibrant promenade and sophisticated beach bar with youngsters playing volleyball on Sicily's equivalent to Sandbanks. Here are the well dressed, confident generations of the jet set who first decided upon this destination to holiday, years before the marina was built. One can easily imagine the large brimmed white hats and large Audrey Hepburn sunglasses on the rich and famous, (maybe even Royal) ladies lounging around the beach and the straw boaters and turned up linen trousers of the upperclass cads spending Mama and Pa's money.
The marina staff were lovely, so never say never, we could be back, after all I have the Audrey sunglasses.
Our next stop in Sicily was the marina at Licata. We spent all day sailing the 30 miles along the south coast . It was sunny, seas were calm and the wind in our favour. Ricky even spotted a large dolphin, on his own swimming up to our bow. He only played in the bow wave for a few seconds so unfortunately I missed him. When we arrived at the marina it was very different to Ragusa. It had a very local, ordinary folk feel, having a supermarket in a shopping mall just a few hundred meters away from the marina. A great place to stock up on some water and a few other bits and bobs .
The following morning we headed for the marina of Sciacca. It was a long day , so we decided we would eat out when we arrived - Great idea and then there were the steps up to the town from the quay- I counted 252! We were however rewarded at the top with a wonderful meal in a beautiful courtyard that we stumbled across behind the church. The courtyard was lit with fairy lights that were wrapped around the olive trees between the tables. Pizza, Sicilian beer and music hit the spot. The place was fairly busy when we arrived, but chocker by the time we left. The families started to arrive at 10 and sat at long tables. Generations all together, sharing bread and stories. The older grandparents sharing a joke with their grandchildren or perhaps even great grandchildren, made me smile. Maybe it is just the weather that brings families out together in the cool evening, but I think not. There is more. Family means everything to our Italian friends, and what a magical place to spend an evening together.