Uncle Paul gave us some money for ice cream's and somehow we just manage to stretch that money out to get an ice cream pretty much everywhere we go. Italian ice cream is the best. They even have this great idea of giving you two cones, one to eat and one to catch the drips.
Today we saw a castle. Apparently a rich guy brought in the 60’s and did it up so it was a hotel, a really flash one. When the guy died, his children fought over it. While they were fighting over it people snuck in and stole stuff, by the time they found out there was nothing left to fight over. Everything was gone – even the plumbing. Mum and Dad were here 16 years ago and it was apparently a ruin. It was empty for about 20 years. Today it looks near new. Someone has brought it and done it up. It is a hotel again and it only opened this year. http://www.castellotafuri.it/
We are now in Porto Palo on the south eastern tip of Sicily. This is a real fishing harbour and full of fishing boats. We later find out that the fishing boats can’t leave the harbour until the 15th of October to apparently let the fish stocks increase. We’re not so sure how effective that will be, but good on them for trying.
After an uncomfortable night at anchor we decide to try and get to pick up a mooring further in the harbour. We get permission from the fisherman and find ourselves right in the middle of it.
Some weekend fisherman return with a catch that stops the traffic, a crowd forms. The fish are small, as are the crayfish, but it is amazing that they caught them at all. Someone has brought them within seconds.
Burnt out boats with Arabic writing line the sea wall. Some Ukrainians were arrested here last week for people smuggling and we wonder if these boats were used for a similar purpose.
In Porto Palo we see this water machine with a tap, you pay 6 euro cents for a litre. You can even get fizzy water. It has a sign that says “NO PLASTIC IS COOL!” We should have some in New Zealand.
There is a little wind behind us, so we put out our two front sails one in either side. Then the wind came up and we try to put the very front one away but at one point it gets stuck! So Mum, Dad and I put the second one away. Then Mum went up front to see what was happening with the front one. The rope to pull it, the reefing line, was jammed on itself. Dad went up with the boat hook and Mummy and I put it away. It was fixed!
I am the rain
I am the rain, the pitter patter on your window,
The thing that makes your floor slippery.
I am the storm that stops you from playing that game of football or biking.
You can blame me for the storm.
So squalls are localised storms associated with lightning, heavy rain and high winds. You can see them quite clearly on radar.
Squall on the radar - lines 4nm apart.
They are usually quite small, only a few miles wide. On our trip to Sicily we encountered quite a few, most we managed to see on the radar and avoid, but one was huge - a line of squalls that was unavoidable. After trying to outrun it we made the decision to head into it at its narrowest point.
A squall to avoid
Sam set the autohelm to head into wind and we headed inside. We went out periodically to check on things. Inside we were glued to the radar. An hour later we came out the other side, no worst for wear – just some jangled nerves. The sea got quite agitated which sent Anastasia and Camille out of their rooms to sleep in the saloon … Maddy slept through it all! We were surprised to see when we checked, the wind had got up to a massive 60 knots. I think the fact that Maddy slept through the storm showed how well Hector handled it...not many people can say they slept through 60kts while at sea!
Thankfully the sea settled as quickly as it rose and we carried on… avoiding all other squalls. One of the issues with squalls is that they are very localised and almost impossible to forecast (other than to say that the conditions are right for squall breeding).
We started at Kalami and sailed for three days! On the way we had some pretty wild weather: rain, wind, waves and even water spouts! Now we are in Syracuse, Sicily - a giant two scoop gelato made everything alright.
Yes we were chased by thunderstorms for three days. It honestly felt like they were after us. Apart from that, the crossing was great. It was just under 300nm, our longest sail to date! It took 56hrs, an average of 4.9kts. This is pretty good given the amount of zig-zagging we did at night to avoid thunderstorms. Apart from the thunderstorms (which were isolated to the night), the weather was great. Most of the time the wind was either on our beam or from behind. A special thanks to John for his help and patience finding a comfortable weather window for us.
· Interesting creatures like Hummingbird moths and Pelicans
· Yummy Greek salad
· Taverna cats
· Beautiful buildings
· Goats with Bells on
· Turquoise Seas
· Delicious creamy Greek Yoghurt
· There are lots of great anchorages
· The people are friendly and most of them speak English
By Camille, Anastasia and Maddy
What's not to love...
We went into town and got ice creams, but I got a freshly squeezed peach juice instead. It was a bit hard to share it!
A long the road a bit we saw them filming an English TV show about the Durrells based on the book (My Family and Other Animals) we have read about Corfu. Hopefully we can watch the program in the holidays.
After that we found a horse and cart to have a ride. I sat in the front and everyone else sat in the back. I got asked if I wanted to drive but I said no. The horse's name was Balacan, she was brown with black legs. I enjoyed it!! It was fun!!
We're an ordinary family of 5 dreaming, planning and now beginning our adventure around the Mediterranean (and further afield), having an awesome time! Look out for our boat and come and say hi.