Fiume Salso

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    • Day 3


      May 5 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      In what seemed like a blink of an eye seven months whizzed by and it was time for us to make our way back to Odyssee. We were a little apprehensive, as having spoken to some of the other boat owners before we left the marina in September we were told horror stories of storms and water spouts that lifted entire pontoons on top of boats. Even more disconcerting were the resultant disagreements about compensation between the marina and the understandably disgruntled owners of the boats, which reportedly ended with one damaged boat being dragged out of the marina and having it's anchor dropped with the threat of further mafia repercussions! Luckily, there were no such dramas this winter and Odyssee was in perfect condition when we returned!

      Having decided last year that our seacocks (valves that can be closed to prevent water entering the boat should any of the hoses to or from sinks, toilets or the engine split) were in desperate need of replacement (they were the originals from 1984 and eight out of eleven were seized open!) we had a few days to have a sort out before the boat got lifted.

      One of the most important jobs we needed to do was to get the sails rigged back up. This requires almost windless conditions as when held in a static position in the marina, the boat can't move with the wind, meaning even the smallest amount of breeze can fill the sail making it near impossible to hoist. The wind was more than forecast all day and having struggled to hoist the genoa just after dinner we decided to wait for even stiller conditions to re-rig the main. These conditions arrived at 11pm, so with a head torch and the light of a full moon we set about hoisting the main, putting the batons back in and re-attaching the reefing lines. A little unconventional perhaps but so much easier than in the breeze of the day!

      Over the winter we had also decided to take the covers for the v-berth mattresses home to use as a template so I could make replacement covers for them. As much as we did enjoy the original 80s tangerine velour, these had seen better days and had a tear that got worse every time we went on them. Luckily, the new covers fit pretty well so I shall add reupholsterer to my boating CV!

      Sam and I have also, with uncanny but entirely accidental accuracy, managed to be in the various towns of Sicily for their main patron saint festival and Licata was no exception. Hearing cheering from the town centre we headed in to find what seemed like the entire population of the town milling around the streets. The parade was the best we'd seen, with a a stately procession in one direction made up of many of the younger population dressed as barefoot sailors, the relics of the saint in a silver casket and a marching band. After more milling around and several false starts the parade group then turns round and runs at speed back to the church, all accompanied by Benny Hill-esque music from the marching band!

      Sam and I decided to make the most of the glorious weather at this point and cycled to the neighbouring town of Palma di Montechiaro. It was a gorgeous twelve mile route along minor roads and farms tracks leading to a lovely town completely off the tourist track and all the better for it. The locals were really friendly and the food at our much needed lunch stop was delicious! The only downside was the lack of suspension on our folding bikes as some of the tracks were absolute bone-shakers!

      Having been told by Elia (the man organising our boat repairs) that our boat would most likely be lifted on Tuesday due to a slight delay with the previous boat it was with some surprise that we got a text from him on Monday morning to say he'd moved a few things around and would be with us in half an hour to take the boat round to the yard! After a speed sort out we were on our way to the other side of the marina for our first ever lift out. All seemed to go smoothly and just like that Odyssee was up in the air and out of the water ready for work to begin! Elia's team didn't hang about and by then end of the second day had managed to remove all of the seacocks (some with a lot more persuasion than others!) and clean up our hull and propeller ready for another coat of anti-foul (this stops too much sealife growing on the boat, which can slow her down and cause problems if left unattended).

      As with all things boat, the work took a little longer than originally planned but Sam and I were able to rent a small apartment in the marina complex and luckily met some great people who kept us company while we waited for Odyssee to be sea-worthy again. On the day of the Coronation we spotted a beautifully decorated boat on the neighbouring pontoon and couldn't resist going over to compliment the owners. It belonged to Denis and Zina, a lovely couple from Folkestone, who split their time between there and their boat Electra II. They were brilliant company, and told us many great anecdotes and priceless bits of advice from their years of sailing the Med, as well as joining us for several meals and "happy hour" drinks in the marina. They also solved the mystery of the caravan that appeared to have been set up on the breakwater entirely for the comfort of the local feral cat community. Apparently it was originally put there for someone to monitor the fish farm in the marina entrance and it was only later that the cats commandeered it (supposedly with similar intentions)!

      Eventually Odyssee was ready to splash back into the water and with our breath held, and much running backwards and forwards between the seacocks to check for leaks, she was lowered back in and found to be watertight! Now all we needed was our outboard engine for the dinghy back. Despite us having given it to Elia's mechanic in September and having made daily requests to have it back since we'd come back, it still hadn't been returned to us two days prior to our planned departure from Licata. Elia's repeated assertions that "yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, it's sorted, I'll bring it tomorrow" (we naturally distrusted anyone who uses that many yeses in succession!) did nothing to reassure us. Rightly so it turns out, as he informed us that mechanic had tested it again and found it didn't run well at high revs (the precise problem we'd asked him to fix)! So the mechanic was given one more day to try and fix it and in the true dictionary definition of what we have come to call "Italian time" it was eventually returned at 9pm the night before we planned to set sail!

      So having bid our friends in Licata goodbye and with seacocks in full working order, sails rigged up and a supposedly functional outboard we set off in beautiful sailing conditions in the one day weather window to get to Marina di Ragusa further East on the Sicilian South Coast.
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    • Day 3

      Start Round Sicily

      September 9, 2020 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      Auch in so einem verrückten Jahr oder gerade dadurch, wächst die Sehnsucht nach Ferne, Kulturen, Sonne, Meer und Meilen. Daher: Reise Reise - nach einem Tag Bunkern, tanken, Schiff klarieren und Gewitter abwarten > gehen in der Marina di Cala del Sole in Licata die Leinen los und die OCTOPUS GARDEN nimmt Kurs Osten nach Ragusa.
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    Fiume Salso

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