We’re in the final countdown to departure for some seasonal cruising in the Med after nearly 18 months on dry land. We hauled out and stored Gyatso at the end of the 2010 cruising season and returned home to write a cruising guide to the Black Sea. The book is scheduled for release later this month, and we’re now looking forward to our return to Marmaris, Turkey where we will begin this year’s cruise. Continue reading Countdown to Departure for Seasonal Cruising in the Med
Dates: 08/16/09 – 08/23/09
Distance: 30 NM
Grand Harbor in Siracusa — what a sight to see! Having had so few opportunities for anchoring in the Med, we were happy to find that Siracusa exceeded our expectations — many cruising friends had highly recommended it to us. The old city of Ortigia sits on a promontory which used to be an island and overlooks the large anchorage and the newer parts of the city. We found plenty of space to drop our hook among the 25-30 other cruising sailboats. Unlike many places we have been this summer, the cruisers outnumbered the charter and local boats in this port. We spent our first night onboard admiring the views, sipping sangrias, gobbling down eggs-a-bras for dinner and going to bed early after two days of sailing from Malta.Continue reading Siracusa, Italy
Dates: 08/15/09 – 08/16/09
Distance: 57.7 NM
We anchored overnight with a handful of other sailboats, including one with an American flag, and the local fishing fleet. With no wind to hold us into the gentle swell, we rocked uncomfortably for part of the night but managed to get enough rest to continue to Siracusa the next morning. Given all of the fish traps and shipping traffic in this area, we were glad to break-up the trip from Malta into two day-sails rather than making another overnight passage.
Dates: 07/07/09 – 07/16/09
Distance: 19 NM
Before we could get underway today, we had to untangle the mooring lines which had become wrapped around the base of the mooring ball overnight. We took on 300 liters of fuel on the quay near the ferry docks and motored our way to Marsala, keeping well offshore due to the shoals along this coast. We spent eight days here before making the overnight passage to Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia on 15 July. The marina is located just across the street from the famous Marsala wine producers, so we took tours of two facilities, one making fortified wines (Florio) and the other (Donna Fugata) making innovative wines from traditional grapes of Sicily.Continue reading Marsala, Italy
Dates: 07/05/09 – 07/07/09
Distance: 12 NM
We returned to Trapani from Favignana and spent two more nights on a mooring in the outer part of the harbor — a bit cooler than being tied up at the dock. After a quiet Sunday, we launched Rinky (our dinghy), went ashore to the excellent daily market and filled our new “Gimi” shopping trolley with fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and other local food specialties. We stopped in at the local fish market and decided to treat ourselves to some fresh swordfish. We also found a small supermercato to stock-up on bottled water and a few other provisions before returning to the boat — a real Sicilian shopping adventure, which turned into a culinary adventure when we were back onboard. We ate the swordfish raw for lunch with lemon, olive oil, onion, sea salt, cracked pepper and parsley, and then seared it in olive oil and served with couscous made with pine nuts and raisins for dinner. Both meals were washed down with tasty Sicilian wine.Continue reading Trapani, Italy
Dates: 07/04/09 – 07/05/09
Distance: 12 NM
At the last minute, we changed plans and decided to escape the heat of the “city” by heading out to the Egadi Islands for a night at anchor. We thought it would be a nice way to spend the American 4th of July holiday. What we failed to take into account was that it was also the first Saturday in July — a “beginning of summer” holiday for Europeans and no chance for a peaceful night at anchor in the Med. When we arrived in the small harbor, some aggressive anchoring and mooring behavior by the skippers of other yachts was our first clue. The harbor filled up soon after that, including one other American-flagged sailboat that wished us a happy 4th as they passed by in the anchorage. If we had moved to a mooring in Trapani as we had planned, we would have been treated to a big fireworks show there — oh well, we had a nice night anyways.