We sailed from Southern Italy to Sicily for the final leg of our 2012 cruise in the Mediterranean, arriving in Marina di Ragusa on 19 September. The voyage took us from Santa Maria de Leuca on the heel of Italy, across the Gulf of Taranto to Crotone, along the sole of the boot to Rocella Ionica, across the Gulf of Squilace to Riposto, Sicily and then south to Siracusa (see map).
We visited many of the same ports this year as when we were headed east in 2009 (see Logbook Archive for Southern Italy and Sicily). Siracusa was at the top of the list of places we wanted to visit again, so we were thrilled to have another week in scenic Grand Harbor. Late in the season, it’s a gathering place for migrating cruisers headed to their winter berths. We anchored in the company of several American-flagged boats and others passed through on their way to Malta, Tunisia, or like us, to Marina di Ragusa in Sicily.
Readers of the Ocean Cruising Club’s Flying Fish journal may recall our article: “Favourite Cruising in Sicily and its Surrounding Seas” on pages 48-59 in the 2010/1 issue. Once again, Siracusa did not disappoint, especially in the food department. I can now add fire-roasted peppers from the Siracusa market to my list of culinary adventures (see photo at left). One of the vendors turned an abundance of onions and peppers into a popular item. They grilled them fresh daily on a fire set up behind their stand. I just followed the line-up of Sicilian women to the prize. I’m sure they are much more adept than me in scraping off the blackened skins, but it was worth the effort. For several days aboard Gyatso, we used them on salads, for antipasto, and as a side dish.
For our final passage of the year, we experienced minor engine problems (low oil pressure), but everything worked out fine. What we learned from the experience will be the topic of an upcoming article in SpinSheet magazine. I won’t give away the story, except to say that we made good use of our sails and arrived in Marina di Ragusa with plenty of time to prepare Gyatso for storage. A mechanic looked at the engine but didn’t find an obvious problem, so this is something we’ll have to investigate further next spring.
We left Gyatso in the water for the winter and returned to our land-based home in Annapolis on 28 September.