Well where did the last seven months go? The last time I posted we were in Salerno on the Italian mainland. The sailing season was coming to a close, the days were getting shorter, the weather a little unpredictable and so we were now on a mission to get to Cuffysark’s winter berth in Licata on Sicily.
We left Salerno on 21st October 2018 and arrived in Licata on 26th October. We hopped from Salerno to Acciaroli 35 miles up the coast. The weather wasn’t great so stopped here two nights on the visitors’ pontoon. The next hop was an “overnighter”, my favourite sailing, NOT! We were headed to the Messina Straits which you have to go through when the tide is right as the current can be up to four knots against you, which is like taking three steps forward and two back. So, we had to get our timings right, yes you’ve guessed it we didn’t but that was down to going too fast on the way there and Ian couldn’t possibly slow up, well he did eventually or it would have been dark going through the Straits. We left Acciaroli at 11.00am with the anticipation that we would arrive at the entrance to the Messina Straits at 8.00am. We sailed the first 86nm in 11.25 hours and averaged 7.5knots.
At 3.00am and with just 15 miles to go and not a breath of wind we had to put the engines on but only on tick-over. We arrived at the entrance at 6.00am as it was just getting light. The current was running “three knots against us” plus there were lots and lots of small fishing boats.
We had intended to anchor up at Taormina which is on the NE coast of Sicily but we were going great guns so pushed onto Syracuse which was a further 50nm. We anchored in the lovely bay there at 18.16, just ahead of darkness. We had been told that it’s imperative you radio the harbourmaster here as they have to tell you where to anchor in the bay and they did, giving us exact co-ordinates where to drop the anchor. There was us and one other boat there. We had travelled 200nm with an average speed of 6.4knots over 31hours. We were pleased to have arrived!
The next morning, Thursday 26th October, we were off again heading to Ragusa. Our friends Cath and Ray, who we’d the spent the winter with in Cartagena, were here. We arranged to meet up with them and would you believe in this very large marina we were given the berth alongside them! We arrived at 6pm and were provided with a lovely dinner by Cath and Ray. The following morning at a not too terrible start time of 10 o’clock off we went to our final destination of 2018, Licata. We were met be quite a welcome committee, so no pressure to berth the boat, whilst being watched. It had been a busy October we had covered 600nm over the last three weeks from when we had left Olbia in Sardinia to arriving in Licata. We calculated we had travelled about 2,500 over the last season. Definitely time for a well-earned rest!!