Sicily and Sardinia
04 September 2013
Jane, warm and sunny
Hola – we arrived in Mahon, Menorca after having had probably one of our best crossings to date. The forecast for once was correct and we had between 10-20 knots most of the way on our beam. Our average speed was 7.5 over the ground and we completed 204 miles in 27 hours.
That sadly was not the case with our leg from Greece to Sicily, it was probably our worst. We had 15-30+ knot winds which was not forecast, not a problem as Ta-b loves a good ride as long as the wind is not on the nose! The issue was the waves, they were short, sharp and BIG. We have never had water in the cockpit, but we got 3-4 rogue waves as high as the bimini hit; which gave us 1.5 inches of water on the floor before it drained away. On Ta-b we can do watches inside and only go out, when necessary, tied on in heavy weather; luckily neither of us were in the cockpit when the waves hit. The journey was over 260 miles and took us 37 hours. Sleep for me was impossible, it was like being in a washing machine, but Russ was able to snore away quite happily. We had G&T’s on an Ozzie boat the day we arrived and they agreed that it was their worst trip from Australia in ten years too. All great experience though.
We loved Siracusa. The Italian architecture is a delight and of course the pasta and gelato an added bonus. The language is also such fun and people watching over my favorite new drink “sprite Aperol” in one of the many piazzas was wonderful. It was then onto Taomina where we had been on our way east. A stunning town on top of a hill overlooking the harbour where we were able to reprovision, however we also found out that if you are not local you get put to the back of the line which did not impress us much. From there we went through the Messina straits to Vulcano island.
That was another interesting trip. Going through the straits there were not the fishing boats that we saw last time with the high bridges fishing for swordfish, although we saw one fish continually jumping out the water. Great we thought as we had our line out, but hey no, a french boat tried to ram us up the bum and took our lore with him – b..t..d! It was a new lore too which we had specifically bought in Taomina!
We continued north and the black clouds that had been hovering since we arrived in Sicily did their thing and the heavens opened. We had so much rain that the visability came down to maybe a boats length, when that eased the thunder and lightening appeared in full force, big flashes in front lighting up the sea red, orange and yellow – yikes all electrical stuff in the microwave and no touching of anything metal. It was a tad too exciting and we were happy to get through it. There was no warning in the forecast, although ch16 told us after the event, but Ta-b was very happy to have had the wash as she was covered in salt.
Vulcano was not the sleepy little place that we visited a few years ago, when we went ashore at night with a bottle of wine and snuck into the hot mud pools for a free soak. No way, we had to anchor in 42 meters with 120 meters of rode out not wanting to be too close to the crowd. Turned out to a blessing as at 2230 the wind picked up and boats “poured” out the anchorage. Two were stuck together like siamese twins, and nearly hit us as they tried to untangle their chains.
We had a couple of days motoring to Celfau and across the northern coast to Trapani. Celfau was a charming town with lots of little cobbled streets and restaurants overlooking the rocks and sea beyond. I could have spent longer there, but we felt it best to get some miles under our belts and went onto Trapani which we also enjoyed before our leg to Sardinia. Not much wind for that trip, but at least it was fairly comfortable and we enjoyed the little bay of Malfatano when we arrived. From there we planned to go to Carlo Forte, but the wind was against us and we ended up in Porte Pino. A lovely long sandy bay; which in our pilot showed as a no anchoring militory zone, however we saw other boats there and with our iphone/ipad navionics program realised our pilot is way out of date.
We went into the marina at Carlo Forte for water, and as it was only 46 euro for the night (elec and water inc.) we decided to stay. Had a busy day recharging batteries, provisioning, washing the boat, filling with water, doing six loads of laundry, vacuuming and cleaning with the unlimited water. We treated ourselves to another dinner ashore (becoming a bit of a habit with limited cooking facilities on board without a generator) before we set sail early the next day for Menorca.
So it was ciao to Italy and hola to Spain, gosh I can’t keep up with the language. Amy where are you with your University Spanish? Thankfully most people speak pretty good English here (and a lot are). Dick (our friend who crossed the Atlantic with us) arrived this morning. Like us he is taking his boat from Turkey to the Caribbean so it will be good to catch up and travel with him and his crew for a while.
We hope this finds everyone well and enjoying life. It is always great to hear from friends and family, so do drop us a line and let us know how you are and what you are doing. Until the next time. Carpe Diem