We had a minor first aid situation on board yesterday. After arriving in Capo San Vito we all went swimming and jumping of the front and the back of the boat. As we came out Tyrii was stung by a jellyfish (even though we hadn’t seen any as we went in). We cleaned and disinfected his leg and he was very brave! This morning all seems fine again with his leg !
Today we are heading to the Egadi Islands. We are planning to stop at Isola Favignana before our crossing to Sardinia.
After a gentle day’s sailing we arrived in Sicily yesterday. We visited Cefalu, a historic town with a cathedral dating back to Norman times (12th century). Today is another calm day and we are cruising along the north coast of Sicily. There’s not much else to report apart from the fact that we are really enjoying Italy, the weather, the food and the sailing!
We arrived in Salina this afternoon, a beautiful green lush island in the Aeolian archipelago. This group of islands are all peaks of volcanoes of which two are still active (Volcano and Stromboli). Aeolus was the god of the winds and it was he who gave Odysseus the contrary winds tied up in a bag, but near Ithaca his sailors opened it believing there was a treasure inside and yet again Odysseus was flown away from his homeland.
We sailed from Scilla to Volcona and then to Lipari where we were welcomed by massive fireworks. There was some sort of annual festival and we had front seats and watched the fireworks from the comfort of our boat. It was also super busy with Italian tourists (we didn’t see any other foreigners). We then sailed on to Panarea and spent a couple of days relaxing in a beautiful bay and yesterday afternoon we sailed to Stromboli. We timed it so we arrived there by evening and it was truly spectacular to see the lava stream out of the volcano. We anchored at night time and left again this morning to Salina.
It feels like a real holiday cruising the Aeolian islands and before we head over to Sardinia we also want to stop in Sicily. We’re feeling quite happy with the miles we have under our belts so far (approx 900 NM since we left Turkey).
I asked Tyrii what he thinks about our new lifestyle and he said it is both wonderful and not wonderful. What is not wonderful is not having wifi all the time and what is wonderful is the snorkelling, the food (pizza, pasta) and the sailing and the fact that he doesn’t get seasick (he got seasick a few times in the past but seems to be totally ok now!). I think that sums things up nicely!
Boys drawing volcanoes
Fireworks in Lipari
We had a very productive pit stop in the marina. We cleaned the boat and had a good sleep and ate some amazing food. The little marina restaurant served the most delicious lunch: spaghetti a la vongole, mussels, veal steak and the juiciest lobster I ever ate (for only 12 euros!). In the evening we went to get some pizza and were astounded to see approx 1000 (yes one thousand) people seated outside the little restaurant for dinner. It had turned into a true food factory and all the locals were eating there.
We left Rocella Ionica at midday and sailed for 30 hours to arrive in Scilla at 6 am, a picturesque swordfish fishing village with a imposing rock fortress. The sea was very calm with little wind until we hit the straights of Messina where the wind built to 22 knots with tidal changes and whirlpools everywhere and much traffic. Quite an experience!
We also were greeted by dolphins twice yesterday, once in the afternoon and once at night . They swam around the boat and showed us their tricks.
Today we are going to explore the town and the fortress and tomorrow we are heading to the Lipari Islands just off the coast of Sicily.
Leaving the straights of Messina behind us
We’re in Italy ! We got here a bit faster than anticipated so had to slow down and stand off until sunrise as we didn’t want to make our approach at nighttime. It was quite a challenging crossing. The first 18 hours were very relaxing. We cooked dinner and had a quiet night. Didn’t see a single boat all night. In the morning the wind started building which was ok as the boat handles it well. The swell however was extremely uncomfortable and coming from two different directions. The wind kept building so we put a couple of reefs in before sunset. The second night was rougher than the first. We saw a few big cargo ships and lightning around us in the distance. I did a shift from 1 until 4 am and managed to tack the boat twice on my own and feel quite proud of myself! We sailed into Rocella Ionica at 9 am, a lovely little marina. We tied the boat up and now we are having a little celebratory beer! Bit crazy at 9 am but we feel we deserved it!
We are very happy to be in Italy, it’s one of our favourite countries. We love the food, the culture, the language. I asked the kids what they think about Italy and Tyrii said it’s the best country in the world because it has the coolest cars (Ferrari , Lamborghini ) , the best food (pizza) and volcanoes which are pretty awesome. Aeneas is mostly looking forward to seeing a real volcano! Stromboli and Vongole here we come!
We spent a day with our lovely friends from London who happened to be holidaying in Cephalonia this week. It was great for Tyrii to catch up with a classmate and for us to catch up on the latest London news. We had a great meal out and went for an all day sail the next morning. We anchored in a quiet little bay for a swim and some lunch on board and then headed back into Argostoli. It was a wonderful day and sad to say goodbye!
Last night we all had an early night and a good sleep and now we are ready to depart to Italy! The wind forecast is good, a gentle 3 to 4 beaufort right on our beam and we should be there in about 48 hours.
For my Facebook friends: you can also follow our blog by clicking the “follow” button on the top after you typed in the address on your browser (svrehua.wordpress.com) and you can follow where we are by going on marinetraffic.com and typing in our unique MMSI number 378293000. The boat still shows up under her old name (Spirit of Nina) as the name change process is still underway.
We are in beautiful Cephalonia. Today we’re in Argostoli, from here we plan to check out of Greece and head across the Ionian Sea to Italy. We enjoyed a few beautiful stops on the way here. After Oxia, we sailed to Cephalonia and spent two nights on anchor in Katelios. The bay was like a huge private swimming pool with shallow turquoise water, plenty of little reefs and gorgeous views. The boys couldn’t get enough of snorkelling and swimming. We have a few London friends arriving on the island on Sunday and would like to catch up with them before we leave Greece early next week. We also need to stock up the boat and get it ready for our first crossing. It is a small crossing compared to what is yet to come but nonetheless it is good practice for us! It will probably take us about 48 hours to get across to Italy and we will take turns doing 3 to 4 hour shifts. Exciting!
We are anchored in a little bay on Oxia, a small island in the Gulf of Patras. Last night we stayed in a beautiful bay in Trizonia and today we sailed through the Gulf of Corinth. Actually, we motored mainly as there has been very little wind the last few days. The Gulf Of Corinth joins the Gulf of Patras under The Rion-Andirrion suspension bridge. According to our pilot book it is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. It was pretty cool to sail under it!
As soon as we were anchored, we tied some sternlines to the rocks and went snorkelling. After dinner Aeneas wanted do some fishing and in literally 2 minutes caught his first fish ! It was a sea bream but only a baby one so we threw it back in the water.
We’ve been living on the boat for a month and a half now and it really is starting to feel like home. Tyrii still misses some ‘London things’ like his favourite delivery pizza and some of the foods we can’t get here but all in all the boys seem very happy and Greece has been wonderful so far!
Passing through the Corinth Canal was spectacular. It is a short canal, only 3.2 miles long and quite narrow with high vertical walls on each side. Apparently it is the one of the most expensive canals per mile in the world. It cost us 200 euros!!
There was no wind today so once we left the canal we motored all the way to a little bay and town called Galixidhi. It sounds like a town from an Asterix cartoon. It is beautiful with a cathedral and an old town and centuries ago it used to be a prosperous port until it was conquered by the Turks. Today it only offers shelter to a few yachts and it is no longer used as a commercial port.
We saw a large group of dolphins on the way here which was very exciting but they didn’t come over to play despite the boys tapping the side of the hull to call them over…
entrance to the Corinth Canal
inside the Corinth Canal
We are anchored in a little bay 5 NM south of the Corinth canal. Today’s sail couldn’t have been any better. There was a gentle breeze right on our port stern and we decided to launch the kite. It was the most pleasant sail so far. So we decided to go a bit further than planned. We had a lovely dinner on board and some time to chill before bed. Life is good.