Corfu, Greece to Marina di Ragusa, Sicily
22 September 2019 | Corfu to Marina di Ragusa
It's time to start making our way back to Sicily and Marina di Ragusa for Njord's winter berth. We spent a very happy month in Gouvia Marina; it was very hot but as September came you could see the weather forecasts changing over mainland Italy with some lows coming in and bringing high winds and rain.
We decided to make our first passage for the return journey from Gouvia in the northeast of Corfu straight across to Crotone on the heel of Italy. It was an overnighter but went according to plan and we came safely into the old harbour and took the same berth as in our outward journey back in May. We knew the next day would not be a good day to move on so we stayed two nights. The rain came and then cleared and we were able to make the next hop to Rocelle Jonica.
We only stayed for a brief stop in Rocelle Jonica this time as there was a short window before the next rain was due. So at 06.30 just as the sun was rising (see this photo) we left the toe of Italy and set off towards Riposto, Sicily. Another long day at sea. All was well until about 2 hours off the Sicilian coast and the heavens opened. It was like the tropical rain you get in Singapore. We came in drenched like water rats, but safe and sound. The marina at Riposto is eye-wateringly expensive, but you do get a CA duscount so that pays for an ice-cream and a beer each! We do like Riposto though, it is a working fishing town mostly for the locals and has everything nearby for provisioning. Several fish shops, the fish market, a great fruit and veg market, a good nearby supermarket and nice restaurants, all with a wonderful backdrop view of Etna.
It rained for two days and then next up was Siracusa, a favourite anchorage in everyone's book: gluey mud to hold you fast and a charming old town to wander around.
We went went to Marzememi, the tuna canning centre and an upmatket holiday resort for the Italians. The harbours are run by the yacht clubs and they will always find room for a visitor. The only one you can go to is the first however if you draw more than 2 metres. We had 4 metres under our keel and some very large super sailing yachts were in there for the night too. Next was the anchorage in Porto Palo where the tuna is brought in and all the substantial fishing boats go in and out from here.
The final stop, our winter base for Njord, Marina di Ragusa. Over the summer the marina has worked hard to dredge the entrance as it was silting up in April and May in the storms when we were all ready to leave. We called up on VHF ch. 74 and were given a very warm welcome by the marina. Our friends Caroline & Bruce were on the pontoon to welcome us home too and invite us for a delicious and chatty supper on board Flirtie. A great welcome home!