Italy - Sicily
To view our previous log entries please use the following link: Malta.
To view our next log entries please use the following link: Greece, The Northern Ionian.
Log Entry Wednesday 4th August - On our way to Greece at last!
Last night we had our last supper, some of that wonderful fish I had caught earlier - tomorrow we leave here irrespective of the winds, within reason of course! We had been looking for winds to take us, as much as a forecast can, all the way. We now would compromise with as must of the correct winds as possible for the trip across, time for us to move on.
We set alarm for 0600 hours, and was on the move by 0700 hours, for the first time anyway as we would learn later. We motored away from the anchorage towards the entrance of the bay, it became very quickly apparent that we were carrying far too much weight. By that I mean too much weight on the hull due to growth, causing resistance in the water, not what we had eaten the night before. We had cleaned the hull following 4 weeks in the marina, that was only two weeks ago. We had assumed it should not be necessary again? We could not carry on with the 50% reduction in speed so we decided to turn around and have another look down below.
After two and a half hours down in the water cleaning we were off once again, the re-growth was amazing as was the barnacles on our propeller, our anchor chain was now "dyed black" and the plastic chain markers that indicate how much chain we had down had changed colour. For example the yellow was now orange, what ever was in that water?
We motored off shore awaiting clear winds, they were light and fickle, the first 24 hours saw every sail combination we had as it moved around us in a clockwise direction - still kept us occupied?
Come around 2000 hours the wind had gone completely, on went the engine and we settle down to a hot, noisy night, the sun went down and we motored through the night.
As dawn broke, two main issues, firstly we were still motoring and secondly we could still see Mount Etna on Sicily, with the "boot" of main land Italy clear in the distance - would it ever leave us?
We continued to motor through out the day, no option we had no wind, the sea turned to almost an oily substance. During early afternoon the automatic bildge pump kept going off - we were letting in sea water, not a good position? Eventually, we worked out why, our heat exchanged on the engine had broken, pumping sea water in to cool the engine, but then discharging it inside the hull instead of out through it? Identifying the broken component it was clear it would have to come from England. Looking at our options, we were 170 miles from Greece, 120 miles from Sicily but only 100 miles from main land Italy. When we looked closer at the ports on that section of Italy, none gave good access to us too shallow?
We looked at the broken component to see what sort of repair we could make with what we carried - we decided to "patch it", await winds and only use the engine when essential. This would mean an unknown extension to our journey but the best option for us? Following the repair, the wind arrived and we began traveling again about 1900 hours.
The night fell, it would prove a great challenge, using wind and engine, we had now changed our destination also, to suit our situation, we were now heading for Levkas, to sort the order and receipt of the required components, a shorter distance (by 20 miles) also, which only helped the situation.
We, as is required, drop the Italian courtesy flag and raised the Greek.
Log Entry Friday 30th July - Catch of the day!
Many of you have heard of our failing efforts with regards to "living from the sea", there is no doubt, should that have been our only option we would have starved to death some time ago. To day that all changed, look at our achievements below, no one could criticise as "the picture never lies!"
Well in this case it does some what, the unfortunate fish whilst jumping from the water miss judged, and fell into our dinghy - we found it there in the morning?
Log Entry Wednesday 28th July - No winds, wrong winds, gales and now electric storms!
We sit and await an opportunity to leave for Greece, only one stipulation - we are not motoring all the way (two to three days), therefore that means awaiting the correct winds. The winds in the area we are to cross at this time of year should be north-westerlies - perfect! Obviously they are not! Still time is something we have plenty of so, we wait.
The thunder clouds repeatedly pass over for a couple of days, no trips ashore again today for us. We watch as people try to move between the down pours, not having much luck to our wicket amusement.
Log Entry Thursday 22nd July - Man, rather Woman over board, a brush with death!
The day started off initially just like any other, light head winds (for us) so we were going no where, with plenty going on around to keep one's mind busy - that's apart from "jobs" obviously! We sat in the cockpit having our breakfast and finishing our cups of tea. We watched a classic wooden sail boat leave the anchorage in style, a relative small cruise ship came in and docked in the river - off ashore the people fled!
It was then it all went wrong, a life changing experience began to unfold!
I had assigned myself jobs down below, problems with our solar panels, Ann decided to clean the topsides (the side of the boat to the less nautically minded!) - we went our separate ways, Ann climbing into the dinghy with her cleaning accessories, me down below. After a short time, all of a sudden I heard an unsettling noise from the deck, followed by a splash! I ran to the deck, it's times like these that truly test one's character. Ann had indeed fallen from the dinghy into the water - she was extremely lucky it was not cold! I composed myself, I in theory, knew the man overboard procedure to the letter - still remaining calm, I reviewed the situation. With my intended coarse of action clear in my mind I then ran back down below and returned with the camera, a picture opportunity not to be missed.
For our readers, Ann was safely recovered aboard, she never even lost her cap! No animals were hurt during this event, nor during the creation of this log entry!
Log Entry Tuesday 20th July - Awaiting the winds for Greece.
With Ann back with us, Sailaway and I that is, all we have to do now is wait for good winds for the next 300 mile crossing, approximately 3/4 days. The problem is that the wind has been little if at all, still, there is no real hurry. We spend many hours "people watching" as we call it, watching the world go by? Siracusa is obviously a popular stop over for many?
We sat and watched as "uncle Ted" came in, his vessel large enough to have a pilot bring him in to his quay side berth - lack of confidence we thought! "Uncle Tom" brings in his vessel (centre picture above), no pilot, a lot more confident individual, but does get on your nerves a bit? Well, then "Aunt Gladys" arrives, well Aunt Gladys does every thing in style - she even had a pilot take her to the anchorage because she is so large she cannot fit in the river or marina.
Aunt Gladys then has her crew drop down a couple of dinghy's, 30 foot long or so into the water. One for the crew to use to take out the garbage, the other far more elegant for her and her "hangons" to use - makes sense really! We watch her go bathing later, one of her good looking crew man had to hand her a towel as she climbed out of the water?
If you thought I had lost it for a moment, no, just relieving the boredom!
Still, back to reality, every three days, developed as a habit really, we go ashore to the daily market and pick up our fruit, salad and whatever? I any way have become quite well known, tending to use the same stalls if the produce is good.
The choice is quite amazing and very good prices too.
The fish stop is customary, not that I have ever caught one but I look at them and think, "I must have come close to that one". Keeps me happy I suppose - Ann just stares?
Once all that good stuff is done all that is left to do is to wait the closing of the day - perhaps tomorrow, better winds?
Log Entry Tuesday 13th July - Siracusa
Siracusa, unfortunately had no real interest to us, certainly no happy memories. As the previous log entry explains it was a place we made for to leave Sailaway and return to England following the death of my, (Kevin's) father. The day after my fathers death we learned that my Mum had been admitted to hospital with a heart attack - the result of her actions upon finding my father in the garden. My fathers funeral, delayed until my Mum left the hospital, went as well as one could expect, the attendance was tremendous - even many of our "childhood neighbours" were present. As soon as I saw them I was expecting to get shouted at! Mum has recovered well and is dealing well with life as it now is. We returned to Sailaway after three and a half weeks, looking forward to our continuation to Greece, unfortunately, during the prior week, Ann's Mum fell breaking her wrist. Just when you think it could not get any worse, Ann's Mum falls again, alarmingly both times sober! This time she breaks her leg and ribs, Ann is unable to settle from the reports she receives from family and friends and returns back to the UK after only two days back in Siracusa. I take Sailaway out to anchor in the bay and await Ann's return.
Siracusa - the following pictures were taken before our return to the UK, the town has much to offer, the old town with quaint, narrow streets, all filled with bars and restaurants as one grows to expect. The town is obviously soaked in history, much dating back to the Greek era - we hope you enjoy the pictures of the old town (Ortiga) and its attractions.
The narrows streets make their way to "Plaza Duomo."
The water front provides every thing one would expect, capable of handling all sized vessels?
The town centre dominated by a Greek Temple.
Log Entry Saturday 12th June - "A sail for my Dad!"
Yesterday I (Kevin) received a telephone call, my farther had died suddenly, without warning. My Mum had found him in the garden, and to quote her words "he passed away with out suffering and in the place he loved best!" Now, for Ann and I there was only task a head of us, "where do we leave Sailaway, and how do we get back to the UK?" Following numerous telephone calls, to and from various sources, our chosen destination was to be Siracusa on the east coast of Sicily. There was two marinas at Siracusa, from there we could travel by road to Catania where flights to England were available.
Porto Palo was situated on the very south east corner of Sicily, our route was simple, round the cape to the east and head north up the east coast, the winds were light south easterlies, not a bad start.
As we rounded the cape a different perspective was gained of the town of Spadaro, the town itself was barely mentioned in our pilot book, viewing it from the east the town looked to be a thriving holiday resort, saturated in history, complete with beautiful beaches. If circumstances had been different we would certainly have visited.
We carried on up the coast until we reached Siracusa, the entrance to it's great bay quite outstanding, it's history reaching back to 400BC. Siracusa was once a very prominent Greek strong hold.
We were unable to communicate with the marina's even telephone calls were not answered, still it was the weekend, and not yet their peak season?
We made for the nearby anchorage, we would go ashore in the morning to try and secure a berth for Sailaway, telephone communications were re-open with family and went on until dark.
Log Entry Friday 11th June - We arrive at Porto Palo, Sicily.
With dawn breaking we made ready to enter Porto Palo, as is expected we raised the Italian courtesy flag, finish our tea and headed for the port.
We entered the busy fishing port, although small in comparison to some a great deal of activity within, some vessels entering with us finished for the day, some just leaving, beginning their shift! There is no town or village named after this port, however it is over looked by the small village of Spadaro from the hillside.
Within the anchorage there were four other vessels at anchor, all French and asleep, we picked our position, dropped our anchor and made Sailaway secure. We had a good "full English breakfast", minus the sausages and then retired to bed as we had little sleep during the previous night due to the motion of Sailaway, but she did us proud once again.
We awoke about 1200 hours, the activity around us had not slowed down, it explained the concentration of fishing vessels we had to negotiate around during the night. The trawlers were still coming and going, one enthusiastic vessel dropped his net about 200 meters off our starboard side and "trawls" his way out!
We check the weather issued at 1200UTC, it is very likely now we will have a series of calms, as we have no intension of motoring the 300 miles to Greece, we will make our way, north of Sicily, to Siracusa. The town, and the old town (Ortiga) has origins back to 400BC. It reads and interesting place, certainly a good place to await the winds?