Monday, 25 October 2010

Sicily to Tunisia

Leaving the Egardi Islands in early morning
Trapani and Favignana Is behind us Pantelleria Harbour
A Mausoleum in Monastir, Tunisia
Hi from Clare, Sicily to Tunisia Sunday 24th October GOOD BYE ITALY, HELLO NORTH AFRICA We left the Egardi Islands on 14th October to travel 150 miles to Monastir Tunisia. The first part of the trip was to the island of Pantelleria which is about half way between Sicily and Tunisia. We had around 16knots of wind on our beam having a good sail and completing the 65 miles in eleven and a half hours (Photo 1 & 2). We spent two nights on the fishing wharf at Pantelleria waiting for a 30 knot blow to pass over before continuing on our way Photo 3). The fishing wharf was crowded leaving only one spot for yachts. So we rafted up five deep outside two racing yachts that were on their way to Malta for the Middle Sea race. The racing boats left at first light the next morning and then two large fishing trawlers behind us went out to sea leaving a big space in the corner. TAKE ACTION CAPTAIN The blow was due that night. Late in the afternoon six more yachts turned up. There was an English yacht that rafted up to us, a French yacht that decided to leave and a group of inexperienced Polish people in four hire yachts. The Polish contingency rafted up against each other in the corner. But as it happened they only had one stern line to the shore holding the four yachts. When the storm hit at 2am this line became detached and the four yachts swung around and ended up across our stern and the sterns of the other three boats rafted up to us. Andrew was on the wharf in the pouring rain giving instructions to the stunned Polish contingency. They didn’t have any idea what to do or even that they had to do anything, so Andrew became very directive and shouted over the noise of thunder and rain, “GET A ROPE – TIE IT TO THAT CLEAT – GIVE IT TO ME – GET ANOTHER ROPE etc”. By this stage it was like watching a game of “Simon Says”. I was waiting for Andrew to shout “NOW JUMP IN THE WATER”. I think they would have done it! Fortunately for Eye Candy, the yachts rafted to us on both sides were a little longer and so the Polish contingency was resting on their sterns and not ours. The following morning the Polish people were full of apologies and thanks. OUR FINAL SAIL We left the following afternoon at 4.30pm to travel the 85 miles to Monastir Tunisia. We wanted to leave and arrive in daylight due to the number of fishing nets near both harbours. Once again we had a good sail, this time on a broad reach. We made such good time that before daylight we had to drop the main and continue with only a very small jib to slow the boat down. It was a little sad knowing that this was our last sail for the season. MONASTIR FOR WINTER So we have been in Monastir for one week. For the first three days we had 30-40 knot winds so we couldn’t do much to pack the boat up. We spent the time checking into the country, organizing flights home, finding our way around and catching up with friends who are also wintering here. The last four days however have been very busy. We have stored away the sails, removed all the halyards and sheets. Andrew has done his engine maintenance, calibrated the fuel gauge and pickled the water maker. I scrubbed the dodger, bimini, side panels, boom bag and stowed them away. I then polished the stainless and washed the deck. I have also kept the laundry busy running back and forwards with doonas, quilts and lots of linen. We wanted to get these jobs done before the rain came again. We achieved our goal as today it is raining. We are having dinner tomorrow night with the English couple who were rafted up to us in Pantelleria and a Dutch couple who are next to us in this marina. All six of us are keen to do some land travel and so this will be the topic of conversation. I haven’t had my head in the right space to take photos of Monastir as yet (Photo 4). I also haven’t seen enough of it to form an opinion. I can confirm that the marina is good. We think the boat will be very safe in the water here. We have two ground lines to the front cleats, two ground lines to the centre cleats and six lines attached to the stern of the boat to the pier. We have American friends who are spending the winter here too. Andrew has agreed that they can store some of their sails inside our boat while we are at home. In return they will keep an eye on our lines and Eye Candy in general. SO WHAT NOW Hopefully we will do some land travel. The marina organizes trips for four or more people with English speaking guides. So all we need is to enroll another couple in the possibility and we will be off. Love Candy xx