Up early, checked the weather and then set sail across the Malta canal over to Sicily. All up an eighty mile sail and the first time Glenda and I would have been on a sailing yacht and not be in view of land!
The first part of the sail was a bit lumpy with 25knot winds but the seas were behind us so it wasn't too unpleasant. Both settled down nicely around 11am and we were able to have a great sail across.
The boat and Glenda both performed well!
Once across the strait we pulled around out of the wind into this bay and had lunch after which we continued to motor along the coast up to Siracusa,
A large town on the eastern side of Sicily.
We booked into our marina berth and then just showered and relaxed on the boat.
June 1 - June 3
After having breakfast on the boat we headed off to explore Siracusa.
It's a rather large city divided into the new and the old.
The new didn't look all that inviting to us so we just concentrated on the old and it didn't disappoint.
Just up from the marina is the city square where all the local political hopefuls were strutting their stuff. The local election was to be held next Saturday and every baby in sight was being kissed.
Next door to the square was the local produce market. We all mingled with the locals and purchased supplies that we would need on the boat for the next few days. After carrying them back to the boat we had a very entertaining day just meandering thru the narrow streets and lanes visiting many of the quirky shops.......and their were plenty!!
The following day we mingled some more, shopped some more then made our way to the Ancient Greek amphitheater for the local production of Oedipus.
Couldn't understand a word, but still loved sitting in the middle of this ancient amphitheater surrounded by hundreds of Sicilians and watching this ancient story being portrayed with all the modern stage props.
After the show we found a lovely little restaurant where we enjoyed a fantastic meal and the entertainment provided by the owners 9 yo daughter Bernadette. It was so funny watching her trying to practice her English with us and then in mid sentence revert to Italian with Me.
Early on Tuesday morning before setting sail for the small town of Riposto we had some on board entertainment!!!!
Glenda in her usual fashion was giving me some lip and not concentrating on what she was meant to be doing, lost her balance and FELL INTO THE WATER when she was crossing the plank between the boat and dock.
After fishing her out of the water and ensuring she was ok we proceeded to have a great laugh........up until she relised that her purse was on the bottom 8 meters below.
We quickly summoned the marina staff and they fortunately were able to get a professional diver not far away to come and retrieve it.
A couple of hours and 80eur later we left for Riposto.
Situated at the base of the active volcano (etna) Riposto is only 15 mins by car from Taormina.
It is a modern well kept marina that had great facilities including a restaurant, laundry etc. the cost to stay the night was 109eu which is around average in Italy.
We arrived and did the obligatory run around to collect maps, info etc then returned back to the boat to plan the next day.
The next morning we hired a car and set-off to explore Mount Edna.
The hire car was a little fiat, they didn't bother to check fuel levels, dents , scratches etc ......just have it back to us in the morning!!!!!
Maned with a basic map we headed away from the Marina and all the memories (bad) of driving in Italy quickly came flooding back.
Without too much pain we arrived at the base of Edna and quickly organized our tickets that would initially take us up a funivia (cable car) to a point up the mountain where we transferred to a four wheel drive bus that continued the journey to where the active cones were approx 4000 meters above sea level
The landscape was lunar with massive slabs of ice completely covered in black volcanic ash. Temperatures were very cool and the wind chill factor extremely high.
We met up with our tour guide and then spent the next one and a half hours walking and learning about the volcano.
Once finished we quickly got back on the bus and headed down the mountain for lunch.
After lunch we jumped back in the fiat and cruised to Taormina.
A scenic little town about half an hours drive from etna.
The town is built into the hills that rise from the coast.
We quickly started exploring and familiarizing ourselves preparing for the return trip after we leave A&G .
On return back to the boat we had dinner and prepared for our sail to Messina the next day.
The next morning Wed 5/6 we were up early had breakfast and set off to the other side of the marina to fuel up.
We pulled up at at the refueling dock, secure all lines and start refueling
One tank full.......move across to the other side......... 45 liters later Allan relises that he's filing the freshwater tank with diesel !!!!!!
The Marina crew were very helpful telling us that it happens all the time (although Allan didn't feel any better) and arranging for us to go over to the shipyards for assistance.
With my broken Italian we spent the rest of the day having the problem rectified.
Nothing really happens in a hurry over here and the marina staff still have to have their 1 1/2 hour siesta even though they knew we wanted to get to Messina. As it turns out, we were able to get all the fuel and water pumped out after lunch around 3pm but then had to wait another hour for the chandlery to open so we could buy the appropriate disinfectants.
So we waited some more and when the shop reopened we found that they didn't have any stock left!!!!!!!!
So,so,so we spent another night in Riposto flushing out water tanks!!!!!!!!!!!