Sunday, 13 March 2016

Louise Visits & Back To Licata, Sicily 6 Oct - 20 Nov 2015.

Repairer's, Maintenance And Storms In Gouvia.

          Louise always uses the cheapest flights available on all her travels so she arrived as Greece was closing shop at the end of summer and the storms started with a vengeance! We had to wait in Gouvia Marina for parts and Louise's arrival. This was fine as we were very safe as one very nasty storm headed our way wreaking havoc on the island just as Louise arrived! 

Evening Peace In Anchorage Outside Gouvia (Corfu).
Calm Before The Storm!
Storm Brewing, Delaying Our Departure From Gouvia.
Gouvia Marina, The Storm Clouds Gather Again!
Beauty And The Beast.
Looking Across To Albania.



         Louise arrived safely with the usual goody bag of UK delicacies and was soon out inspecting the markets with Ginny. Guy was still waiting for a new tachometer to be delivered so the girls took the opportunity to visit Corfu Town and north up to Kassiopi Harbour to the north of the Island while Guy sorted the repairs and prepared Kisti Two for the crossing. They managed a rather cold swim as well, the temperature dropping from the heat of summer.

Salut From Kassiopi, Venetian Castle On The Ridge.
Louise Viewing The Fish Market In Corfu.
Cheers From Kassiopi Harbour.
Kassiopi Harbour, Reached By Road, Unable To Visit By Sea!
Kassiopi Town Beach.
A Bracing Swim At Kassiopi.
Louise Ready To Return For A Late Lunch.
Virginia's Bar, With Albania In The Background.
View From The Venetian Fort.

Louise And Ginny Visit Albania.

          With waiting for parts and a change in the weather we were destined to remain in Gouvia Marina for a few more days so Louise and Ginny set off to visit Albania on a tourist trip! We went by fast Hydrofoil ferry to Sarande and then boarded a coach. With a local guide we were shown the 'delights' of the town on our way out to visit the Archaeological site at Butrint. Set on an isthmus this site represents the major phases of Mediterranean history  over 2000 years from the Hellenic Temples of the 4th Century BC to the Ottoman defences of the early 19th century.

           We were shown the extensive and varied excavations which have been uncovered so far. There is much more to be exposed but some of it is underwater and much more under the ruins and buildings already investigated. After several hours of exploration we returned to Sarande for an 'Albanian' style buffet lunch and then off to visit the numerous springs at a site north of Sarande. The incredible colours of 'Blue Eye' spring in the national park were impressive and the journey to and from the peaceful river valley where the clear spring waters well up from deep below gave use a good view of the Albanian countryside.

Sarande, Albania  On A Day Trip For Ginny And Louise.
View From Coffee Stop Looking Back To Corfu.
Small Chain Ferry At Butrint.
Triangular Fort Across The Moat From Butrint Site.
Venetian Fort At Butrint.
A Variety Of Walls And Buildings
From Successive Occupations In Butrint.
Once Well Above Sea Level But Now
Foundations Under Water And Home To Turtles.
Roman Amphitheatre Restored
And Used For  Modern Performances.
Roman Cystern
Temple of Doom!
Cyclamen Amid The Ruins.
Nave Of The Great Basilica, A Christian 6th Century AD Church.  
View From Lake Gate Over Waters Surrounding Butrint Site.
Reminder Of Hong Kong And Chinese Fishermen!
One Of The Gates Built Into The 4th C Walls 
Louise Inspecting A Well Site.
View Of Fortifications From The Walls.
Statues From The Site On Terrace Of The Museum.
The 14th-16th C Venetian Castle, Reconstructed in 1930's,
Now Houses The Museum.
A View Along The River From The Venetian Castle. 
The 'Blue Eye',
The Biggest Of Numerous Springs In Clear River Bed.
Wake From The Hydrofoil Returning To Corfu.
Corfu To Lakka.

        The weather calmed down eventually and we were able to escape Gouvia Marina on 13 Oct . We had a short trip up to Ay Stephanos for a swim then headed south to let Louise get some fun time on Kisti Two. We spent the first night at Petriti then sailed on to Lakka on the 14th Oct. Lakka is a favourite of ours but was definitely closing up. There were enough bars and restaurants to enjoy our time there while we waited safely as more storms crashed around us with thunderous lightning storms. The swell outside the bay was horrendous which can be seen on a couple of photos. Guy had 70 metres of chain out as we watched other yachts drag anchors and drift by! Not fun I can assure you.

Corfu Coastal Scene.
Bathing Belle On The Foredeck
In The Anchorage At Ay Stefanos.
Crossing The Ford!, We Paddled Across Back To Our Dingy.
Kisti Two Anchored Out In The Bay At Petriti.
Fishing Fleet In The Harbour Viewed From Our Supper Table.

Bar With A View In Lakka.
Sun downers Before Evening Meal.
Sheltering In Lakka, Note The Waves Outside.
Waiting For A Chance To Set Off To Sicily.
Breakers Outside The Mouth Of Lakka Bay.
A Quiet View Of Lakka From K2 At Anchor.
Very Quiet!
Sailing Across From Lakka To Sicily.

        At last a weather window appeared in the early hours of 17 Oct to sail across to Sicily. Guy waiting for a storm to pass and the swell to subside before heading off out of Lakka Bay at 1100 hrs with a reef in the main. We were fully kitted out for bad weather sailing and our waypoint outside Syracusa Bay was 264 NM!! The swell was the most uncomfortable Mediterranean type but with the wind at F4, the sun came out at 1300 hrs. We made good progress at 6.5nm each hour and so by 1900 hrs as the sun set and the swell died down we only had 215 NM to Syracusa. The wind dropped as well so on went the Iron Genoa as we settled into the night watch routine motor sailing. Dolphins greeted us at 2300 hrs and as we looked back to Greece, we could see the most enormous lightning storm. Thankfully we had escaped Greece but could see storms a long way ahead which were forecast to end before dawn. Lightning continued all around us all night, but sunrise brought in clear skies and soon we had no wind and the main had to come down.

Captain A Crew Geared Up At Last For Crossing To Sicily.
Captain On Watch, 'The Girls' Safely Tucked Up In Bunks.
Sailing Through Rain.
Sunrise For The Watch Keeper.

       The 18th Oct turned out to be a calm no wind day! We motored along under glorious sunshine and by 1300 hrs were only 106 NM from the waypoint. It was so calm and warm that we stopped Kisti Two at  1600 hrs for a swim with 1900 feet of depth underneath us. Absolutely glorious. The rest of the crossing was rather boring as we motored along with Guy adjusting the speed so as to arrive in Syracusa at first light on 19 Oct. The sunset, starry night and sunrise early morning were wonderful. It is one of the glories of sailing to get away from habitation and enjoy the colours of nature at its best.

Mid Ocean Swim Between Greece And Sicily.
Come On Louise We Need To Be On Our Way!
Ginny Posing In New Bikini.
Mid Ocean Sunset Heading West.
Approaching Syracusa.
     We entered Syracusa at first light and dropped anchor of the main jetty and immediately all went to sleep. Rejuvenated we went into Syracuse to do a spot of tourism for Louise and enjoy a well earned lunch. We hoped to stay that evening and the drop off Louise to catch a bus to Catania for her return flight on the 20th to the UK. However a quick check of the weather meant that Guy and Ginny would need to leave that night otherwise they would have to wait in Syracusa for a further 5 days while more storms swept through and the wind turning to come from the west which would have meant much tacking against the wind and tide in a big swell. A no brainer really. So poor Louise quickly packed and we dropped her off at a guest house next to the bus station. 

Welcome Cold Beers And Lunch In Syracusa.
Fish Circles In Anchorage At Syracusa.
Fish Surround Kisti Two.
Syracusa To Licata.

      After a quick sleep, the alarms woke us up and we quietly departed Syracusa at 2200 Hrs under engine. We were able to sail as the wind picked up about mid-night but we had to remain on our toes avoiding various fishing fleets as we rounded the SE corner of Sicily. Several storm clouds passed us by and we had a most glorious rainbow off Regusa, another marina on the South Coast. Guy decided to push on and so we entered Licata at 1400 hrs on 20 th Oct to conclude our summer sailing. It was great to meet up with old friends and new as we attended a pontoon BBQ that evening. Sums up the family spirit of sailors.

Rainbow Off Southern Sicily Passing Ragusa.
Back To The Familiar Sight Of Licata Marina.
Visit Around Licata.

       Once back in Licata we slipped back into winter activities with the other live aboards. A tour of Licata had been arranged and Ginny joined the walk about and access to parts of the town not always open to tourists. We visited the 'Mother Church', Chiesa Madre with the chapel of the Black Christ with it's painted and decorated walls. Then into the main church with lovely light blue and white decoration. 

     We went into the Museum foyer where a Roman anchor was displayed in salt bath. It had only been brought in from the underwater site, a little way along the coast, a few days before. The other major part of the trip was up to the castle, Fort San Angelo, above the town. We had a scary local bus ride up towards the cemetery. We offered to get off the bus to enable it to climb the narrow cobbled road. However the driver was determined to get the bus load up and thankfully was successful. We climbed the last steep section on foot and explored the inside of the fort and some of the excavations around the outer walls. We then had a tour of the catacombs and tunnels that provided water during preiods of sieges.

Interior of Chiesa Madre, In The Chapel of The Black Christ.
Details Inside The Chapel. Wooden Carved And Painted Panals on the Walls.
Ceiling Detail, Painted and Carved Wood With Gold Leaf.
The 'Wedgewood' Ceiling Of The Main Nave and Altar Of The Cheisa Madre, (MotherChurch).
Roman Anchor Recovered From
Along The Coast Near Licata.
         Live Aboards Trip In Fore Court Of The Museum. 

Exploring Fort San Angelo Interior.
View Of Outer Walls Of Fort With Licata In Background.
Caves and Catacomb's Below Church On Route Down From Fort San Angelo.
The Cemetery And Harbour Walls Of Licata.
Yacht Marina Off To The Left.
Official Sign.
5th Down Says It All!
Tunnels And Cisterns Under Licata
Tunnelling Around Licata.
The Winter Season Begins.

     We soon settled into the winter season cleaning and polishing the hulls and coach roof, cleaning the teak deck and painting on Teak Wonder. So she was looking all spick and span. We also took the opportunity to move into an inner mooring position which has proved to be a much more comfortable location from the prevailing winds and strong SE's. BBQ's, wine tasting, happy hours, music nights, games and visits all soon started.

Marina BBQ's Again. 
Marina Staff and Father Augustino.
Alison Sporting Guy's Sunhat, Guy Wearing Ginny's!
Poppy Day Being Celebrated.
Wine Tasting, Dave Recording His Preferences.
Another Lovely Sunset After Wine Tasting.
View From Kisti Two In New Winter Location.
Fat Boys Breakfast Aboard In November!
Summer 2015.

      The summer of 2016 has proved to be a most enjoyable experience. Malta was stunning and the Ionian a wonderful sailing experience although to be fair, we had to be on our toes much more than expected. The wind has a habit of going from F1 - F7 in a matter of minutes and changing direction by 180 degrees within seconds. It can be frustrating at times and leaves it very hard to leave your boat at anchor with complete confidence. We have seen several boats drag at anchor this year while crew are enjoying a good meal ashore. We had to ride out storms on several occasions. Predictwind, the weather station we use proved to be very reliable although local anomolies make this very complicated. Cosmote, the Greek wifi system proved to be very reliable and cost effective. Much more so than anything in Italy! We completed a total of 2615 NM in 2015 summer sailing.  Kisti Two has now completed a total of 14888 NM in 10 years as well as 2038 engine hours in total. We have now done over 12688 NM on Kisti Two during our 6 years of ownership.