2014 Log: Italy & Islands

18 July 2014
06 July 2014 | Trapani, Sicily
02 July 2014 | Ragusa to Trapani, Sicily
21 June 2014 | San Vito lo Capo, Sicily
04 June 2014 | Padova and Venice
03 June 2014 | Marina di Ragusa, Italy
01 September 2013
31 August 2013
29 August 2013
13 August 2013
27 July 2013
25 July 2013 | (In 200 BC, that is!)
24 July 2013 | Samos, Greece
24 July 2013

Finally Underway!

02 July 2014 | Ragusa to Trapani, Sicily
The end of June marked the end of our contract at Marina di Ragusa and with that deadline we were 'full'-on checking items off the to-do list before sailing. One of the last jobs was dinghy repair and that involved sanding down (roughing up) the hypalon surface, cleaning it thoroughly and applying a 2 part rubber paint, with the goal of solving pesky air and water leaks. As you can see from our paint pattern, some areas did not get a new rubber coating ... we ran out of paint! But after 5 days curing, the dinghy showed no sign of leaks and, with its 'unique' paint design it is never going to be selected for theft!

One more shot at getting the fridge fixed (unsuccessfully), some minor provisioning done and lots of cleaning and polishing so Sangaris looked pretty sharp and, we daresay, was much improved from the dusty appearance when we arrived in May. Oh yeah, did we mention we had to put the engine back in the engine room, too? It was worth the effort because we finally found a pesky oil leak that had been with us for months.

July 2, then, was our departure from MdR after some wind came up at 11am and we sailed for 3 1/2 hours and then motored 3 1/2 hours to Licata. Good news - no oil leak; bad news - the main battery terminal post to the starting motor solenoid broke so we figured we'd stop at the marina rather than anchor out. Next morning Craig pulled the starting motor and a marino drove him around town all morning looking for an auto electric shop to fix it. Three shops just gave the famous Sicilian shoulder shrug and said they couldn't fix it, but for 500Euros they could get a new one. Wrong answer, so Craig took it back to the boat, fabricated a new contactor-post from a steel bolt and it now works perfectly. Ah, "sail 'n fix", "sail ''n fix", mates.

From Licata to Sciacca it was 49 miles of "Motorterranean" from 10 am to 6pm and having seen some of the colorful seaside town and checked out its small harbor when we took the land trip a couple weekends before, we decided take advantage of a very light (and unusual) east wind and anchor out for the night, just west of the breakwall. Even though we'd met a local sailor who had shown us one of two Lega Navale's pontoons allowing visiting yachts (we think at 50-60 euro/night), we thought we were making a good choice. But with dead calm later in the night, it was uncomfortably rolly from a sea swell and we weighed anchor by 6am for Mazara.

Our travel day to Mazara del Vallo was not only shorter (1/2 the miles) but favorable NW wind allowed us to sail close-hauled for about 3 hours of our 6 hour trip. This time we went into the harbor and took a slip at the second Lega Navale where we were waved by very friendly Julio. The afternoon was very hot and, with our frig having lost all its cooling, we were happy to have the use of the club's cooler, take an afternoon siesta and after sunset, venture out for an evening walk and delicious fish couscous dinner.

Mazara del Vallo is a harbor port with a longstanding history and importance under the Phoenicians, Greeks and then with African traders. We learned that even today many of its inhabitants are Tunisian by origin and the Tunisian district, just behind the fishing port, was the first area we explored (left pics). The streets and cafes were relatively quiet even at 8pm on a Saturday night, background conversations and great aromas seemed to be all coming from local family kitchens. But the scene soon changed as we entered the medieval center of the city where many people were gathered in the Piazza della Repubblica (center top photo). There we admired a number of exquisite buildings including the Seminario, the Palazzo Episcopale and the town's largely baroque cathedral with its beautiful green domes. Mazara was still a-buzz at midnight when we followed the seafront's Lungomare Mazzini home to Sangaris.
Cruisers note:at a Lega Navale, 2nd in on the east side, stern-to facing west for 70 euro/night ... protected and with water /elec included, but harbor itself was not clean; we were told recently fouled with diesel from a fishing boat ... this time we should have anchored out in the totally calm area just east of the harbor, oh well!... see pic at bottom of flat, calm anchorage.

Egads the Egadis are beautiful! (we agree Gail!)

Offshore from Trapani lie the three Egadi Islands of Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo. Their remote location and beautiful coasts (10-19 miles from Trapani) lure nature lovers, diving enthusiasts and marine archaeologists. For this reason, they have been declared a marine reserve in order to protect their flora and fauna. The map above shows the island of Favignana and three zones with different levels of protection, allowing anchoring in some regions, required buoy moorings in others and sail-by on in the most restricted areas.

The Egadis used to survive on fishing and the cutting of tufa for building stone. Today tourism does much to fill the coffers. This area of Sicily was noted for its tuna, and the island of Favgnana had a very large fishery that (under the entrepreneurial Florio family who owned the islands from 1874 to just before WWll) had an excellent reputation. The annual mattanza, a tradition of catching and killing huge shoals of tuna, takes place over a few days between Mid-May and mid-June. A photo in a slide bellows shows a dramatic (yet clearly dated) scene of some pretty aggressive tuna fisherman.

The Egadi Island of Favignana was our destination from Mazara as we bypassed wine tasting in the historical town of Marsala along the way. Again we were going upwind, but the 50/50 rule applied and we were lucky to combine reefed close-hauled sailing with motor sailing for the six hour trip. We looked at many different areas on the south coast and selected an approved anchoring zone off Lido Burrone. By early evening we were alone as daytrippers returned to Marsala and Trapani and, after a cool (73 degree) swim, we enjoyed a sunset cockpit dinner with gorgeous scenic views of jagged rocky coves, turquoise water highlighted on small sandy beaches and, above us a fort shrouded in a cloud donut.

With a light southerly building and a forecast for more, we rounded the east coast of the island in the morning and chose to drop anchor right in the port harbor, in 3 meters of excellent holding sand near Praia and Palazzo Florio. We were only three boats for most of the day but the bay held 10 by evening, and that seemed about the max. We stayed aboard for a while after checking the anchor in order to observe the busy daytripper tour boats and ferry arrivals and departures, especially to evaluate the effect of their wakes. Although it was a pretty constant 'traffic' flow, most boats slowed sufficiently before entering the little harbor and were well practiced at maneuvering with each other and some private yachts that chose med mooring on the free wall.

The next day, again with a wind shift to the west and a threat of a strong blow from the same direction, we moved around to take a mooring on the east coast in a protected area called "Blue Marino" (24 euro for 24 hours). Most boats followed the moorings rules, but a half dozen or so local powerboats anchored close to shore and scooted off before the reserve polizia came to collect fees. The photo below shows the rock wall we faced in Blue Marino with its interesting caves and carvings and Sangaris tied to a mooring with a strong current holding us northwards ~ we had a challenging "in place" swimming workout next to the boat! Most boats wisely had lines with floating life preservers for swimmers.

In the charming town of Favignana that afternoon and the next day we found lovely bakeries, cafes, specialty food shops featuring salted tuna and capers and a mercato dei pesci that provided ample ice for us, as well as squid and the fresh tuna Craig's enjoying for lunch. Ah, life on a slant!
Vessel Name: SANGARIS
Vessel Make/Model: Amel Santorin - a 46'/14m Ketch
Crew: Katherine and Craig Briggs
In 1999, Katherine and Craig "sold up" to go cruising aboard their 46' Amel Santorin ketch "SANGARIS" and since then have sailed some 25,000 miles. Leaving Florida they headed south to the Caribbean, then west along the "Spanish Main" coast of South America to Colombia and Panama. [...]
SANGARIS's Photos - Main
55 Photos
Created 3 June 2014
9 Photos
Created 11 May 2013
66 Photos
Created 11 May 2013
A tour around the North Dodecanese islands of Greece
59 Photos
Created 11 July 2012
"On the hard" and around Leros Island, Dodecanese, Greece
30 Photos
Created 9 July 2012
30 Photos
Created 22 June 2012
October 2011
35 Photos
Created 17 October 2011
September/October 2011
16 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
September & October, 2011
43 Photos
Created 9 October 2011
16 Photos
Created 19 September 2011
27 Photos
Created 26 July 2011
25 Photos
Created 8 July 2011
23 Photos
Created 7 July 2011
9 Photos
Created 27 June 2011
22 Photos
Created 26 June 2011
Anchored in Navarinou Bay and free marina in town - walks to castle, bay north, Nestor's Cave and Giavola Lagoon.
25 Photos
Created 23 June 2011
train trip from Katalolon, west coast Pelopponese, Greece
19 Photos
Created 11 June 2011
Inland trip with Sandra & Chris April 2011
40 Photos
Created 18 May 2011
Return to Sangaris via Athens
11 Photos
Created 16 May 2011
two day tour of ancient city before departure from Athens to USA
30 Photos
Created 16 May 2011
Arrival October 2010 and April/May 2011 in Marina Messolonghi
27 Photos
Created 16 May 2011
30 Photos
Created 8 October 2010
4 Photos
Created 5 October 2010
3 Photos
Created 23 July 2010
25 Photos
Created 16 July 2010
37 Photos
Created 7 July 2010
20 Photos
Created 25 June 2010
Marina & town resources
9 Photos
Created 20 June 2010
An inland touring day in Slovenia's capital city
21 Photos
Created 19 June 2010
Day trip in wine country
14 Photos
Created 19 June 2010
57 Photos
Created 18 October 2009
13 Photos
Created 21 August 2009
Old town & Gelato
4 Photos
Created 14 July 2009
Otranto's Aragonese castle and Romanesque Cathedral with 12th C Floor Mosaic
8 Photos
Created 14 July 2009
4th of July at anchor at the "Heel" of the "Boot" of Italy
6 Photos
Created 13 July 2009
Wash-down at the marina and a day trip to the hillside village of Stignano in search of a friend's ancestral roots
12 Photos
Created 13 July 2009
Escape from Siracusa ... and an unexpected detour to Catania
7 Photos
Created 12 July 2009
Trip to Palermo for a notarized signature plus some sightseeing
7 Photos
Created 12 July 2009
Launch day at Cantiere Navale di Benedetto
4 Photos
Created 12 July 2009
New Bikes to the Amphitheater for Greek Drama - in Italian!
7 Photos
Created 12 July 2009
"Infiorata" Flower Petal Art Competition and Noto's Baroque Architecture
10 Photos
Created 12 July 2009
Friends and sights in Siracusa, Sicily, May 2009
14 Photos
Created 12 July 2009
Siracusa and the boatyard
21 Photos
Created 11 July 2009