The crossing from Corfu to Sicily continued to be adventuresome after the lightning storm chase…
The kids were enjoying watching the big waves on the blasting beam reach the next afternoon when the waves decided to join them in the cockpit… One wave was so keen to greet them it washed Boston right off the cockpit seat giving everyone quite a fright! Thankfully the wind swung more behind us as forecast and the seas moderated for the second night of the passage ending up with a period motoring in calm.
Arriving in Catania, Sicily after a 40 hour trip there was some confusion on where to berth for customs formalities even after several VHF and phone calls and help from a Guardia Costeria boat. We ended up EUR 100 lighter in a marina and quite a few hours later were all cleared in and official. We nick named the marina stink bay as we were downwind of the fishing fleet dock, Phew Ew! Impressions of the fishermen were not improved when a deckhand on an incoming boat threw his rubbish straight into the harbour leaving plastic bobbing about. And these are guys who make their living from the sea!
Catania was a fascinating mix of impressions. Obviously wealthy history and beautiful imperious buildings, some high end shops in the bustling retail area, mixed with boarded up buildings and impoverished business climate. Step away from the main areas as I did accidentally one evening and it very quickly gets seedy and disreputable.
We love the Italians! This kind gentleman from a few boats up the dock kindly helped us find the laundromat and when he saw the size of the load we were carrying insisted on driving us there. Lovely!
Our cultural tour of the city included a mission to a recommended toy shop. For some reason the kids were happy to do a big trek this time…
This is about my size!
Let’s see if the censor will let me sneak this shot in…
A long motor up the coast brought us to the lovely Taormina bay, one of the only sheltered anchorages on the East coast of Sicily.
Mt Etna smoking quietly in the early dawn.
Hot Hot day for an explore ashore. Oh, it Sun and most of the places are closed. Darn.
I managed to meet up with the local canoe club and joined their morning session. Hard men to paddle K1’s in the ocean! I was pleased to be able to keep up with them even on the sprint intervals. I think they were a bit surprised. Great to see lots of kids out paddling unlike NZ.
Dawn on another big day of motoring took us up through Strait of Messina with a 0400 start to try and miss the building headwind.
Now this is a dedicated fished boat! They are after swordfish who move sluggishly close to the surface during the day and harpoon them. I wonder what the wind limit or bravery limit is in them?
Another tough day in the office as we motor in flat calm to the Aeolain Islands. Amazing the weather and sea change as soon as we came out of Strait of Messina from 20 knots headwind to glassy calm.
We found a stunning little cove on the southern end of Isola Lipari. Quite busy in the afternoon, but we were alone for the night. Why rush away from here?
Early morning explore while the beach is still in shade and deserted.
Our Kiwi flag drew an excited wave from the most excellent Lars and Laura from S/V Andante of Mersey in the neat if very popular anchorage Porto di Ponente on Isola di Vulcano. They loved their time in NZ and still miss the orange chocolate chip ice cream. Another awesome and too generous care package came back after we send a little one their way! Thanks guys and look forward to catching up again.
A little hop across to Lipari to get a stamp on our transit log. Usual boat style adventure… Long walk down a sketchy Cliffside road with no footpath to the relocated harbourmasters office. Glad we arrived when we did not an hour earlier as the fuel tanker to the left of the shot anchored in the spot I was eyeing up. Hmmm, don’t argue with them. Trekking back in the heat Boston found EUR 20 note in the gutter. Nice! Then we just needed to find the girls who were shopping and lug the groceries back to the dinghy.
Predawn leave for the next day’s long jump from Aeolian Islands to an overnight stop outside Palermo.
Arrived in Egadi Islands to meet our friends. Cute little village.
Another of the cute little cats we have to stop for.
Best bays are filled with mooring bouys at EUR 29 per night. Annoyingly you are not allowed to anchor overnight close to them so we were bumped to a marginal anchorage around the corner and took too many goes to get the anchor through the weed. I was not is a happy place for a bit. The next day was entertaining watching the day sailor Italians pack into the bay and one we named Mr Drag as he dragged 5 times!!! With the wind forecast to move the next night we changed anchorage on dusk.
And what a dusk it was, back in my happy place.
School projects continue. Here is Amelia’s book review of Dennis the Menace.
Yay! We are back with our friends Peter, Lucia & Beatrice from S/V Sula!
That’s a lot of anchors… The tunny net anchors in Favignana for the static nets from the tuna industry.
Another gratuitous sunset shot. Peter “That’s my boat mate.”
Catching magic shrimp by torchlight with the Sula crew.
The following morning it was all too soon time to say goodbye to our friends again as the whistle stop tour demanded a jump to Sardinia on our way out of the Med. Miss you guys.