...see you next year to start all over again!
It was with some sadness that we stepped off ITIKI for the last time in the 2018 season. She had been our home for the last 4 months and taken us 2,900 nm from La Rochelle, through Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, the Balearics, Sardinia, Sicily and finally on to Tunisia. We spent 2 weeks in Port Yasmine, Hammamet, stripping her back to her birthday suit to prepare her for the winter.
Having scheduled the installation of our solar panels in Marina di Ragusa we had set ourselves a deadline to be somewhere by a set date. As seasoned sailors will know that can be a challenge as the weather does not always place nice in those situations. Well we felt like we had plenty of time in the lead up to this date, and then all of a sudden we didn't... I feel like we barely scratched the surface of Sicily but looking back on the photos we still managed to see some great stuff, and I have shared some of those gems in the slideshow below.
Well Marina di Ragusa really is such a lovely place, although by day 5 we were feeling like this could be the Hotel California of marinas. It’s the longest time we have spent in once place since we left La Rochelle. It has a great reputation as a marina to leave your boat in winter, and people even stay aboard all winter before heading off cruising again in summer. Indeed many people come back year after year or use it as their home base. Having rarely used marinas and certainly not stayed in one for longer than 3 nights, this is our first experience of this kind of community and it really has been special to be included in the family for the relatively short time we have been here – a big thanks for the warm welcome. Coincidentally a former colleague of the chap who bought Too Up, our Sydney charter business, is wintering here so we were able to meet up for a few drinks. There are about 16 kids of varying ages living here this year, mostly being home schooled but a couple are going to local schools. Halloween was a stormy night, however boats with their anchor lights on could be relied upon to welcome trick or treaters! Social calendar is organised too with various happy hours, karaoke nights, BBQs and volley ball. Plus a daily community radio on VHF.
You may have heard about some bad storms in Italy over the last couple of days. One marina at Rapallo (near Genoa) has been destroyed and sadly lives have been lost. We had some heavy weather in Sicily on Sunday and Monday but ITIKI and crew are safely tucked up in Marina di Ragusa, southern Sicily. Its raining still, but we are safe and there is a big community of cruisers living on the marina for winter and lots of social activity going on so we are enjoying it here. Our solar panels have arrived here but no other visible progress on the frame so far. Allegedly it has been made and awaiting delivery to the marina from the workshop 20kms away - they don't seem to have a truck to deliver it - and presumably the idea of fitting solar panels in the rain is not so attractive... public holiday here tomorrow (All Saints Day) so further progress is unlikely. Hopefully the rain abates so we can see a bit of the island by car.