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DESTINY DIARY 2014 - Slowly Back to the West

We returned to Destiny on April 7th and spent two months in Teos Marinas preparing Destiny for our 2014 cruising season. Apart from the now traditional painting jobs, we had few stainless steel pieces made. There is a great S/S supplier in Izmir - Inoksmetal, and John became great pals with Nuray, the sales lady. She speaks very good English and was very helpful to us. We had a new support for the helm seat made and we removed the fuel filler tube that was in the middle of our dining table and had a new flexible and demountable tube made. As a gift for our patronage, the company made an amazing 'S/S fruit basket' to cover the hole on the table. It all works and looks much better. We even had new cushion covers made for the dinette seats and sorted out endless little jobs.
So after four years in Turkey we decided it was time to move on. It was hard leaving Teos and Izmir, such a great city. We had enjoyed our time very much in Turkey, we'd met so many wonderful people and were sad to leave many good friends behind, such as Ozkan our mechanic and his family, Emrah the computer expert and his assistant Emel, Nuray at Inoks, Gideon and Shelly in Sigacik and not to forget the marina management Mr. Burrak, Hanife and Hikmet, who were so sad that we were leaving they organised a little farewell drink for us before we left. I hope we might get back one day.
Launch Vase Team Teos
Launch Day. Our gift from Nuray & Inoxsmetal. The Team at Teos.
Our plan was to sail back across the Aegean, head south around the Peloponnese and then into the Greek Ionian sea, which we hadn't visited before and then maybe on to southern Italy, but that 'was to be determined' as they say.
George and Fran on Zarafet (a Prout 46 catamaran) were to sail with us at least as far as the Ionian and were then planning to winter in Sicily, before continuing west the following year. Zarafet hadn't cruised in the northern Aegean although we had (see Destiny Diary 12P2), so between us we decided to retrace our 2012 trip back over the top to the Sporades islands and then through the Evia channel and onto Athens.
We needed to formally check out of Turkey and we had a choice of ports from where we could do this, (not all ports have the customs offices needed for the paperwork). We decided to head north, to go to Ayvalik for a last good fresh fruit and vegetables shopping, then cross to Greece to check in on the island of Lesvos.
Mitilini Pakilar Mitilini Harbour
Mitilini Town Quay. Dinner with the Pakilar Crew. Pontoon Girl.
Our plan was to stop in the port area, but when we arrived, decided on the grounds of traffic and noise to 'upgrade' to the marina. We completed port formalities and stayed in Mitilini for few days before continuing north to Lemnos and anchored in the harbour of Mirina - I love this place, very good fish wine, cheese and honey here.
In Mirina we met Tom and Rita (Americans with Captain Marcello - famous among the ladies for his 'budgies') on their beautiful sailing boat Pakilar, and a couple of young nutcases Michael and Johanna on their tiny (20ft) sailing boat Seascape. They'd already sailed from Austria down the Danube, around past Istanbul and were now in Greece. Their boat is a high performance race boat designed for day sailing with only a tiny cabin - but hey, they're young and they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. When we visited the winery the next day, by car, we met Tom & Rita who were also wine tasting, so we got together and went for a fantastic lunch together at a tiny restaurant up in the hills.
Lemnos BBQ Pelagos
View from the top - of Mirina. BBQ on the beach. Zarafet and me.
We stayed on Lemnos until June 6th then crossed to the Sporades Islands. These are very beautiful islands, quite isolated from the normal cruising crowd. First we stopped in the lovely deserted bay of Pantis on Pelagos and then visited Patitiri on Alonnisos, where we met up with Pakilar again. I liked the place and so we stayed for few days before going on to Loutraki on Skopelos.
At the village on the top of the hill, we were recommended to visit and dine at the Agnati Restaurant, which turned out to be well worth the climb. Next stop was Koukoumaries on Skiatos and then onto one of our favourites - the tiny island of Trikeri in Volos bay (population 14). A bit busy at this time of the year, but pleasant all the same.
Alonisos Loutraki
Harbour view in the Sporades. Sunset over the islands. (with bird).
We were still travelling with Zarafet and it was getting difficult for Fran because her elderly mum, back home in Australia, was quite ill and had been moved to the hospital. So we decided to push on a bit to get somewhere where they could leave the boat if they needed to. We headed south down the Evia Channel where we encountered a terrible thunder storm. We could see it coming but rather hoped that it would miss us. It got darker and darker and the wind started to increase from a gentle 5-6 knots to 45knts in about 2 minutes. The rain was torrential and we were surrounded by thunder and lighting. We had to slow, almost to a stop, visibility was so bad and we were close to the side of the channel. On the radar we could see the shoreline and the thunder clouds all around us, so we crept into a bay at the side of the channel to sit it out. As we arrived it petered out and moved on - the decks have never been so clean! It was frightening and exhilarating at the same time, fortunately there was no damage just a bit of adrenaline floating around. We anchored in the bay overnight and continued on the following day.
After passing through the bridge at Chalkida at a very reasonable time of 11PM (it only opens at night and you have to wait for the radio call to go through, we went straight to the yacht club. When we were here before we had spent time repairing our mast and so we were able meet up with our friends, Spiros and his wife Anth. George and Fran had to leave the boat and fly back to Australia to see Fran's mum (unfortunately, she passed away before they arrived).
We stayed 5 days in Chalkida, as John had some maintenance work to do on the watermaker and the hatch over the driving seat. When we finally left, we were on our own for the first time this season - we felt quite lonely - we were recommended by Spiros to stop in the bay of Almiropotamos (which means salty river), at the bottom of the Evia channel. We tied up on the quayside of the small town of Panagia and were welcomed by Tolia Atanasioi the owner of the Obuthos restaurant.
Almiropotamos Almiropotamos 2
Walking on water in Almiropotamos. Arty view of the harbour - Almiropotamos.
Tolia is responsible for running the quay and for the water and electricity posts. He is desperately looking for more visitors to help bring people into the small town. As yet Panagia is not mentioned in the pilot books. The quay was empty when we arrived The water is clean and we were surrounded by ducks and geese! We had dinner at Tolia's restaurant and the following day he presented us with gifts of food and wine for our onward journey - extraordinary!
After leaving the Evia channel, we were back in the Aegean, heading around the point towards Athens. We thought about stopping on Kea Island, but the wind was not favourable, so we turned west, and our next alternative was Sounion, just below the remains of a Greek temple. Sounion didn't appeal to us, so we continued on to Anavissou, where we dropped anchor in very clear water under the chapel.
But then the trouble started, the gremlins had arrived on the boat. As we were resting after swimming, the bilge pump alarm started. We found that the pipe from the fresh water pump had come undone and all the water John had made during the day with the water maker was sprayed all over the engine room - one way of cleaning the engine room and having a steam bath at the same time. Shortly afterwards the bilge alarm started again, a different bilge this time, (I had already heard it briefly in the middle of the night, but it had stopped very quickly). It turned out that there was water in the bilge under our cabin and at the by now the wind had picked was increasing and us towards a rocky shore!
John was not his usual cheerful self as you may imagine, the smoke emanating from his ears was a clue! We had all the floor boards up and the cupboard emptied to trace where the water was coming from and still no indication of the cause. Finally, after much searching and deliberating, we concluded that the leak was in the pipe supplying the aft deck shower, which runs along the side of the hull behind all of the cupboards and wardrobes - totally inaccessible. We would have to replace the entire section of pipe so we isolated the water pipe, put everything back and moved the boat to the other side of the bay. Then had a quiet night!!!!
Sounion Ephidavros
An ancient Greek temple on the hillside at Sounion. Looking for an audience.
The following day we planned to go towards Palaia Epidhavros, across the Saronic Gulf (south of Athens), looking for a place to stop for lunch on the way. We looked at Perdika on Aigina, but it was too busy. Next we looked at Dhoroussa on Angistri, a nice little bay but not enough room for us, so we continued our way whilst I made lunch. Just after finishing lunch, John heard a funny noise from the engine room, we stopped in the middle of the sea as he discovered that the coupling between the engine and the prop-shaft had come loose. We drifted for two hours whist he made the repair. Luckily there was little wind and no boats around. I hoped that the gremlins would leave us alone soon.
We eventually reached Palaia and found a place on the quay side. It's a nice enough town, but busy with tourists. We shopped for a replacement water pipe without luck, but I did find a lot of oranges that I could pick! We took time to visit the ancient Greek theatre of Asclepieion, amazing, built in 4thC BC and really well preserved (a bit like John).
After Epidhavros we decided to try Poros again, when we came through here before we had moved on quickly because it was so crowded. This time we had better luck and dropped anchor in Navy bay just off the quay at Poros, an ideal place to wait for the Meltemi (local strong wind) to pass. Poros' main harbor is the quay all around the town and surrounded by numerous anchorages in the bay. It is a good place to get laundry done and to indulge in ice cream. It's also a nice place just to chill out at anchor. Most boats and particularly the charter boats all head for the quay, we preferred the semi isolation and calm of the anchorage. We climbed up through the narrow streets to the top of the town to see the view from the clock tower, quite spectacular.
Poros Poros
The town of Poros. Looking out over Poros anchorage.
We heard from our friends Tony and Margot on Maranka. They were in Koilas, about 50Kms south of us, getting their boat ready for the season, but still out of the water. As the Meltemi was still blowing, we rented a car and went to visit them. We had a great day with them although it was a bit hot. On the Sunday they returned the visit and came to us at Poros, where we had lunch in the cockpit followed by the obligatory swim. They had decided to join us going south down the Peloponnese coast until Crete, where they had family to meet later in the year. So, the following day, we up-anchored and headed south to sail around to Koilas.
When we left Poros, we looked to see if we could visit the island of Hydra. No way, Jose....... the harbour is about the size of a supermarket car park and full, even at midday, with ferries, fishing boats, tripper boats and the inevitable charter boats. Boats were moored two deep, bow to bow. The captain was having kittens just trying to get us turned around and back out of this boating cacophony! I just took photos and smiled benignly, as is my wont. We dropped anchor on the Island of Dhokos in the bay of Dkindoson, fortunately the wind dropped and we spent the evening peacefully watching the stars.
Franchthi_Cave Navplion
The prehistoric cave at Franchthi. Navplion citadel by night.
We stayed few days in Koilas with Tony and Margot whilst they finished their jobs list and launched the boat. They also had the small matter of watching the football world cup. Margot is a German national so the big match for us was France vs Germany- the score is irrelevant! We took time to visit the prehistoric cave across the bay. Franchthi cave has been restored with explanation panels and a new walkway throughout; everything set up for the visitor, except people: no office, no charges, nothing, so we just walked in and showed ourselves around. It really was quite amazing, and to think that 6000 yrs ago, this cave was 10 km's from the sea.
On July 8th, we left Koilas with Maranka and stopped in Khaidhari, a nice anchorage before going on to Navplion, the next day. The town is really very pretty and was an important seaport and the former capital of Greece. We stayed there a few days and climbed the 999 steps to the Venetian Fortress of Palamidi, lots of old stones there, and a beautiful view. We also visited the old site of Mycen and Argos (more old stones!!!).
Mycene Argos
Mycean ruins around Navplion. Crusader castle near Navplion.
It was time to move on. Our next stop was the small harbour of Sabatiki. Tony and Margot decided to stay there for few days to sort a few things out but it was a bit small for us so the following day we anchored in the beautiful bay of Kiparissi. Beautiful clear water, you can see the bottom in 15 meters depth and the mountains behind the bay look like the Alps - they just go straight up from the waters edge to some 1500M - Magnificent.
Our plan had been to sail all the way around the Peloponnese to the Ionian Island, but I was not very keen to go any further south as it was very windy and we would have to go uphill against strong winds all the way north from the south Peloponnese to the Ionian. The alternative was to head back the way we had come and go through the Corinth Canal. We had heard from our tame Aussies on Zarafet, that they were back to the boat in Chalkida and we agreed to join them at the Corinth.
So it was northbound again. We stopped in Leonidhion, where we met up with Maranka again, they had not gone far, and said farewell to them. They were going south to the island of Crete.
On the way, I was determined to visit the Island of Hydra, we had already found that we couldn't get in with Destiny, so we anchored in Ermioni, and from there we took a day ferry to Hydra - a much more sensible way to visit. It was worth it, just like Santorini it is a must see. No cars are allowed on this small island, the only transport is by mule. When you arrive at the quayside, the only taxi line you will see is taxi-mules, they wait for passengers as well as for goods. We saw them being loaded with packs of bottled water. Hydra is all so typically Greek with narrow streets, white houses with colourful shutters, bougainvillea and plenty of cafes and tavernas for the visitors. We decided to have lunch in a great little Italian restaurant, just to get away from the ubiquitous Greek salad. After lunch we visited the museum, (air conditioned) where models of ships that had been built on the island were exhibited. It is hard to believe that Hydra was a major boat building place, it's so small and there are no trees on the island these days.
Hydra port Hydra Taxi Canon
Hydra Port- A busy little place. Taxi's, Hydra style. How we feel about charter boats.
Then, it was back to Poros for few days whilst we waited for Zarafet to catch up. We saw again Johanna and Michael on Seascape (the micro-cruiser) and took some photos of their boat sailing with their spinnaker flying, at high speed past Destiny. From Poros we went to Kalamati and anchored in front of the beach at the entrance of the Corinth canal and met up again with George and Fran.
Seascape Seascape
Mikael and Joanna on the 20' Seascape came all the way from Vienna, via Istanbul and would later go around the Ionian and up to Croatia.
On Saturday 26th July we went back through the Corinth canal, almost four years to the day since we had first come through to the Aegean.

Corinth Trizonia Patras_Bridge
Entering the Corinth canal. Trizonia - the marina of broken dreams. Patras bridge at the western end of the Corinth.
Once through we found flat seas and no wind, like a mirror. It was such a long time since we had seen a sight! We stopped in Galaxidi, which is a delightful small town, for few days and visited the museum in Delphi which we hadn't seen in 2010 - we left the old stones for George and Fran to visit.
There are not many place to stop in the Gulf of Corinth, so after much searching, we spend a night in the abandoned marina of Trizonia. 'The port of broken dreams' as somebody called it. The marina was built, but never finished and now among a few visiting yachts and some boats looking for a cheap place to stay, there are many abandoned boats and even a sunken yacht in the middle of the marina. However, the small village beside the marina was charming with lots of little restaurants on the beach and the water was very refreshing. We also ran into the micro-cruisers on Seascape again.
We passed under the impressively tall bridge at the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth and stopped in Patras Harbour on the south side of the gulf. Not the most pleasant place to stay with a swell coming into the harbour every afternoon that makes it very uncomfortable. But it is a good place for shopping and stocking up on provisions.
Our next stop was great, Messalongi. It's reached by navigating a very narrow canal for about a mile, with fishing huts and holiday chalets on either side. At the end you enter a large bay, like a lake with a marina or as we did you can anchor outside - I loved it.
Massalongi Zarafet
Massalongi Bay. Zarafet - waiting for the wind.
We had to continue north to the Ionians. The weather in these parts is simple, calm mornings and wind in the afternoon, so the trick is to get up early to reach your next destination by midday. We started our Ionian cruising by first staying on the mainland side with the intention of visiting the outer islands later. For our first night in the Ionian, we anchored in non-descript bay of Petalas for the night, before moving on to Astrakos the next day. We tied up to a smelly quayside and enjoyed disco music all night. The Island of Kastos, the next day wasn't a lot better, it was crowded and full of charter boats.
We decided to try the Island of Ithaca, where we anchored inside the bay of Vathi (many islands in the Ionian have ports with the same name - e.g. Vathi - which translates to 'harbour'). I liked the town which has many small artisanal shops selling various crafts and lots of small cafes and tavernas. Unfortunately it was very windy which kicked up a bit of a swell but it is a good anchorage. Later we found out that it is one of the windiest places in the Ionian.
Vathi Cafe Ithica
Vathi Anchorage - a windy place. Coffee break with team Zarafet. Not my anchor.
Our next stop was Sivota south of Lefkas, the village is situated at the end of a dog-legged bay and has been built around the yachts, both for cruisers but mostly as a charter base/stop. The entire sea front is a quay for boats with restaurants and shops, the ideal stop! Next, was Meganisi, another busy island (aren't they all in this part of the world - Ed). It was very warm and we tried to find nice moorings to swim from the boat. Zarafet suggested we go to Port Atheni on the north side of the island which turned out to be full, so they anchored with a line to the shore, but John wanted to be on free anchor, so we went all around the bay and in the end had no choice but to do the same thing. Anchoring with a line to the shore means that John drops the anchor from the bow and reverses the boat back towards the shore, then I swim with a line on to the beach and tie it to a tree or whatever I can find, nice when the water is warm. I had to attach two lines, George and another white knight came to rescue me. We finished the day with one of Georges famous Aussie BBQ's on Zarafet.
Sivota Moulins Sivota
Evening view of Sivota. Wind Mills. Sivota beach.
Northward to Lefkada. Lefkada is an interesting place, it is just about an island, I say just about because the island is separated from the mainland by only about 30 meters. To maintain it's status as an island (and therefore it's tax breaks) the island authorities have always resisted building a bridge across the causeway, instead there is a floating bridge, which has to be opened every hour to allow the marine traffic through. The island is actually very big, 35Kms,most of it some distance off of the mainland, but the last couple of miles heading north, the separation is via a channel cut through marshes, with only the minimal of depth. The Venetians originally dredged the channel and to defend tit they built a castle at either end, which still stand.
Lefkas Lefkas Bridge Lefkas canal
Leaving Lefkas Town Going through the floating bridge. Venetian defenses.
Next to the town there is a large marina where we stayed for the night, partly because John, wanted to visit the chandler's in the marina. Zarafet moored on the town quay and we met up with them later for a beer. Otherwise Lefkada is not a very interesting place so the following day we moved on to Preveza, another big centre for boats with several marinas and plenty of good restaurants. Preveza is again approached through a dredged channel, with the town being in effect a couple of miles up-river. After the town the waterway opens up into an inland sea (Gulf of Amvrakia) which is famous for its wild life. We stayed one night on the town quay (we had some big problems trying to park the boat with some very peculiar currents moving us around. The next morning we sailed inland, up into the Gulf and anchored behind an island outside Vonista as the harbour was full, fortunately as it turned out, because the town suffers from a lot of disco noise during the night.
Preveza Vonista
Dinner in Prevesa old town - Ouzo with Aussies. Vonista anchorage.
George and Fran needed to leave Greece because their European visa was expiring, so they left us in Vonista and headed off to Albania (which is not in the EU) and then Italy where they could resolve the paperwork. We were on our own again. We visited the Venetian castle at the top the town - amazing view. The weather was improving and so the sailed back towards Preveza among a lot of turtles and dolphins. We decided to try the town marina. As we waited for a berth to clear we again had a problem with the engine coupling, this time it completely unbolted itself and damaged the gearbox as it came free. It couldn't be repaired and we had to order a replacement. Luckily there was one available in Athens.
Vonista castle Dolphins
Another castle, this time, Vonista. Dolphins in the inland sea.
Three days later with the gearbox back together we left Preveza and continued our journey north along the mainland stopping at Lakka and Mourtos. Eventually, we arrived in Corfu and anchored under the castle walls. we took some time to explore Corfu, which turned out to be a much more interesting and pleasant town that we had expected. We had planned to meet our friends, Andre and Heidi in Corfu in about a weeks time, so seeing as we had few days, we decided nip across and visit Albania, just 8 miles across the water from Corfu.
Murtos Corfu
Sunset. Corfu city defenses.
We arranged to visit Saranda where a friendly port agent helped with customs clearance, visas and moorings. We spent a couple of very interesting days in Albania. The country is trying to develop tourism and attract cruising boats, it is how Montenegro was five years ago, very affordable and not yet spoilt. The people are friendly and there is some very good eating out. We decided not to visit inland on this visit but used our time to get to know the town and stock up on provisions, particularly fresh fruit and veg. which is not so abundant in the islands. A worthwhile visit - I'd like to see more on another trip.
Andre and Heidi arrived with the rain in Corfu. We had arranged to use a berth at the Mandraki Yacht Club. A very nice place to stop. You access the yacht club by walking through the old Venetian Fort. Once again we met up with Seascape - the micro cruisers, this would be the last time we would see them as they were heading north home to Austria via Croatia. Not ad though - the Danube, Bosphorous, Aegean, through the Corinth canal, the Ionian and finally Croatia, all in one summer in a 20 foot sailing boat.
Albania Saranda
Even Albanians like the beach. Saranda harbour in Albania.
We had already been surprised by Corfu, now we had more time to explore the small narrow streets, the beautiful arcades, the museum of Asian Art was very interesting, it really is a town to visit. We hired a car and toured the Island. We visited the Imperatrice Sisi summer house Achilleion a beautiful palace, despite the rain. With Andre and Heidi aboard we went cruising for a couple a days, to show them our way of life on Destiny. We spent our first night anchored Mortos and then went on to Patitiri for a second night. We arrived back in the Madraki Yacht Club before the heavens opened again. They really did bring the worst weather of the summer. I'm not sure if we'll invite them again; - just joking Andre...
Madraki Corfu Achilleion
Corfu the other side. Madraki YC. Andre & Heidi - when it stopped raining. Achilleion villa decoration.
After they left we had arranged to meet Johns brother Tony and his wife Jane in Meganisi, back down south of Lefkada. We headed back down stopping in Prevesa once more before traversing the channel at Lefkas. We had booked a berth in the marina in Meganisi and stayed for four days visiting the island by car and taking day trips around the island. Meganisi marina has great plans to expand so it will be interesting to see it again in a few years time. On our last evening together Tony had arranged for us to join them for dinner in a very nice restaurant that they knew well. Everything went fine until at about 10 o'clock, the worst noise in the world started up across the bay. One of the restaurants on the water front had employed a local man, who couldn't sing for his debut opportunity to entertain. Personally I don't like Greek music when it's good, but this was excruciating and loud enough that we were unable to hold a conversation at our restaurant across the bay. We finished early, but he didn't. He went on to about 4 in the morning. We were leaving that morning, but from what I heard many of the locals were forming a posse and looking for a tree to hang him from!!
Patitiri Brothers Ionian Sea
Patitiri harbour art. Two old men on the quay - Brothers in Arms. Ionian splendor.
We left Meganisi and went south to Fiskardo on Cephalonia. This is 'The' place to visit in the Ionian, for interesting restaurants and nightlife, according to the information received. However although we had moored a little away from the town, planning to go in by dinghy, the charter boats from hell also decided that it was a good place to be. we stuck it for about 2 hours before finally upping anchor and moving to a bay around the corner. The following day John wanted to visit Argostoli on the south of the island, so we left early and headed around the top of the island to go down the west coast. Not a good idea. There was no wind at all but some very large uncomfortable seas that rolled us all day down that interminably long coast. When we got there, we gratefully tied up alongside the town quay. We stayed for two quiet days before again being infested by inconsiderate charter boats - What is it about charterers? Do they leave decent behaviour behind when they go on holiday?
John wanted to winter the boat in the Ionian, but it turned out to be nearly impossible to fly back to Lyon from this part of Greece. So after a long discussion (which I won) it was decided that we would winter in Sicily, in Ragusa Marina and who gave us a very good deal from November to end of April 2015. So there we were with plan.
From where we were (south Ionian), to Sicily is quite a long stretch, the shortest hop is from Othoni Island, north of Corfu across to the heel of Italy and then across the bottom of the foot to Syracuse in Sicily. So it was back northbound again!
On Saturday 20 September we were heading back to Preveza, waiting in the Lefkada canal for the bridge to open, when we were hailed by a car on the road alongside. It was Tony and Jane, who were driving back to Athens to fly home. What a coincidence, we thought we'd got rid of them! So once we had passed the floating bridge we stopped and they came on board for a coffee before we went our separate ways . John was very happy to have seen them again.
In Preveza we anchored in the lake behind the town marina, a very quiet spot and kept an eye on the weather forecast which was changing on a daily basis, to make sure we had a good crossing to Italy. We left the following morning intending to stop in Corfu, before going over the top of the island to Italy. Once we got out of the Prevesa channel though, we decided, what the hell, and continued straight on. Because of the weather forecast, if we were going further north to Corfu we would be stuck there for at least a week, for a system to blow through. We estimated a 24hrs crossing to Le Castella. It started well, sunny, little wind but once we reached the open seas we had a big swell and wind from the south, so the genoa was unfurled to help reduce the rolling. It was a very long day and night and the current slowed us down as well. By dawn everything was grey the sea and the sky and we still had another 5 hours to go. We arrived in Le Castella on the heel of Italy on Sunday morning just before 11 o'clock and found space alongside the quay by the entrance. It was good to stop, we hadn't done an overnighter for a few years and it took it out of us. After lunch we both slept most of the afternoon.
Le Castela Ragussa
A great big sandcastle. The lovely beach at Ragussa.
Le Castella is a small harbour, very shallow and full of local boats. We met Charles and Elisabeth on Aura, who were going north but were waiting for a weather window. The following day, after a long sleep, we took the bus to Crotone with them. They rented a car at the Airport, but it took far too long to organise and by the time they dropped us in the town we had just enough time to find a phone shop and by a Sim card for the phone and catch the bus back to the harbour. We spent three nights in Le Castella. It's a small tourist town with a big sand castle, but it was very quiet being now, out of season. We stocked up on food and drinks and I also went to the hair dresser (it was badly needed).
We had one day weather window to get to our next stop south, a place called Roccella Ionica, so Wednesday morning at 7H45 we left and headed south and arrived at half past two in the afternoon after a very nice day at sea. Unhappily, when we parked the boat we got swept around by an unexpected current (something to do with local sluice gates, we found later) and the captain pranged the bow on the concrete quayside - damn. The Marina is famous for its Pizzeria, which is the only one that we know of that sells pizza by the meter! We did our best to keep them in business. Four years ago, when we last came through here, the marina was free, but since May this year, there is new management and they have caught up with the other Italian marina prices - ouch. It was now late September and with the season drawing to a close there were a few boats in transit heading like geese to their winter base, both north and south, some like us going on to Ragussa.
Our last long leg was across to Syracuse on the east coast of Sicily. So at dawn on September 28th we left with favourable weather and had, for once, a great crossing. This can be a rotten bit of sea channeling down from the Messina straits, but today, the wind, the swell and the current were with us (more than a small rarity - Ed) and 12 hours later we were safely anchored in Syracuse. We had received news from Zarafet, they were in Pozzallo, just around the corner from us, so the following morning we sailed around to meet up, before sailing on to Ragussa together the next day. It had been fantastic. We had started our cruise this year with George and Fran on May 20th and finished with them on October 1st 1600 miles later.
Ragussa Marina Fin
Ragussa marina. Bye for now!
So there we are - Destiny is safely tied up in the south of Sicily among a large crowd of live-aboard's. We shall drive down in December to spend the festivities on board with lots of friends around and next year, well as always, our plans are open ended. We shall go to Malta for the spring lift-out and then probably visit Tunisia to fuel up, after that, maybe back to France, up the river to Macon or maybe...............

For those interested, I keep a more up-to-date diary of our trip along with lots more photos on my Facebook page. I would be happy to have my friends as friends, so follow us on Facebook in the usual way or click the link at the top of the page.
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