Siracusa to Catania

Off Rip Auto?

Off Rip Auto?

After checking the weather at a local Internet cafe (the marina told us that their WiFi didn’t work) it became apparent that we would have to change plans as any attempt to reach Malta (Matts’ departure point) in the following week would be bordering suicidal in a small boat.

While the conditions remained stable we chose to move Eileen to Catania, 35NM further north, where Matt could catch the weekly ferry service to Malta.

We arrived just as the weather closed in and moored at the yacht club in Porto Nuovo. A good choice as we were enthusiastically welcomed by the staff and made to feel at home (thanks Massimo).

For anyone visiting Catania, be sure to ask Massimo where to get the best “brontosaurus size” steak in Sicily.

Between frequent downpours (always forecast at least 2 minutes in advance by plagues of umbrella vendors spontaneously emerging from the woodwork), we managed to do some sightseeing and get a taste of Catania nightlife. Fascinating, but I’d think twice about having my car serviced here after coming across this premises (see photo). 😉

Leaving Roccella Ionica

The "big captain" & crew

The "big captain" & crew

Matt and I left Roccella Ionica in high spirits, it was great to be moving again and while the sea was still boisterous, the winds were favourable.

Our destination? Siracusa Sicily, just under 110 NM away on a heading of approximately 212°.

Upon departure we said our goodbyes (en passant) to our new French friends on their yacht“Oceane” and braved the remaining swell at the ports entrance. Matt found the surf highly amusing but I must say that running Eileen at full speed against a potentially breaking swell is not my idea of a good time.

After the torrential rains of the last week, the sea was littered with floating debris, including whole trees! However, we were more concerned that this made fishing with our newly acquired (blue) lure, (purchased on the advice of our infinitely more successful {surely only in terms of fishing…} acquaintances), almost impossible. We’d only get the line tangled in bunches of bamboo or other flotsam, never mind that some obstacles were so large they presented a shipping hazard.

Feeding time!

Feeding time!

All we managed to catch the entire trip was what happened to fly on deck. In this case tiny squid which Matt was more than eager to try.

While storm clouds constantly threatened we made the night passage without incident and by morning entered the secure port of Siracuse.

I opted to spend a night at the marina but upon reflection it would have been better to remain at anchor in the bay as many other yachtsmen had chosen to do.