Monday, 9 May 2011

Sicily to West Coast Italy

Hi from Clare,      Sicily to West Coast Italy      Sunday 8th May

When last I wrote we were anchored in the large bay of Siracusa.

Siracusa Bay

Otiga town Centre


Monday morning we set off to the fresh market, a coffee in the beautiful town square and to recharge our sim card for the dongle. It was rather lovely being back in familiar territory and not having to search for the post office, supermarket, ship chandler, telephone office etc.   We now have internet access on the boat so have total communication with the world, family and friends.

The weather is still cool with average temperatures in the mid twenties and the sea temperature is a measly 16 degrees. This is great for sight seeing but no basking in the sun or swimming yet. So far Andrew has been in once and that was to dislodge a piece of twine which had been sucked up into the propeller.  I got the better end of the deal - to stand by with a hot shower and warm clothes.

Andrew, Arjan & Evo

We knew most of the yachts in the bay at Siracusa having spent time with them in either Malta or Tunisia.  Our Dutch friend Arjan from “Aquadraat” was moored next to us in Tunisia for the winter. He and Andrew kept in touch when at home regarding the instability in Tunisia. We left Tunisia before he returned and so we thought we may not see him again.
Then Arjan arrived in Malta when we were leaving.  We shouted across the boats and arranged to meet in Sicily.  Cruising people are very friendly and cups of coffee, sundowners and good company is not far away.

We left Siracusa early Wednesday morning to travel up through the Messina Strait. This is the narrow bit of water between Sicily and Italy. It can be pretty nasty with currents and unpredictable wind. We spent the night at Reggio Calabria (Italy) on the town wharf and then motored through the narrowest part of the strait early the following morning. The sea was flat and with the current behind us, we just focused on dodging the many ships - all was well. We had a very pleasant spinnaker run for most of Thursday.  We spent our time working on assembling our newly purchased sea drogue. We have to weave 116 cones on to two ropes.  It is a slow process but we now have 26 cones done and 90 to go. The idea of the sea drogue is to slow the boat down when in following seas. The cones fill with water and these act as a brake. We are preparing this for the Atlantic crossing at the end of this season and we sincerely hope we will never have to use it.  Thursday night we passed Stromboli Island and the volcano was quite active, we saw a number of explosions and small red lava flows.  Last year when we came this way Stromboli produced only one puff – this year was quite spectacular!

Andrew, considering his options                                  Passing Stromboli under spinnaker

So now we are on a mooring buoy in a small bay 60 miles south of Sorrento on the Italian west coast. We arrived here yesterday morning and having had three hours sleep overnight we spent a lazy day enjoying the sunshine and relaxing. I could imagine this bay would be packed in summer; yesterday we had a dozen or so local boats in here.  People were relaxing, reading and enjoying the sun. Today is much cooler weather and we are here alone.

 Our solitary bay                                                                Confusion

This year we are having a lovely time with a new Ipad and Kindle added to our comprehensive wardrobe of electronics on the boat. The only problem is that we are constantly getting confused as to which application we are using. We have been guilty of unsuccessfully trying to use the “Ipad touch screen facility” to operate the computer and Kindle - the computer mouse to operate the chart plotter at the navigation desk and the “Ipad touch screen facility” to operate the chart plotter in the cockpit. It always surprises us when stabbing at these screens just doesn’t work!  

We will have a quiet week waiting for our Aussie friends Colin and Denise to arrive from London for a holiday. We will catch up on emails and phone calls and with a bit of luck we will attach some more cones to the sea drogue.

Love CANDY xx