Last Sunday when the weather was still good, or finally coming right – depending on how and when you look at it, we went on a road trip with our boat neighbours from Takamaka. We made the 80km trip along the south coast of Sicily to check out Marina di Ragusa. It takes about 1.40hours to get there and on the way we saw the – unfortunately – common Sicilian sights: superbly bad drivers, insanely below average kept roundabouts and rubbish everywhere. Sometimes you would look out of the window and see Sicily coming to life with succulent greens, yellow, white, red and purple flowers and you are just about to exclaim your excitement over the beauty. And suddenly all the piles of rubbish come back into view.
Coming into the marina we walked along a beach promenade – it was wide and clean and relatively empty, probably because it was lunchtime and everyone was having lunch. The marina itself looked very spacious, clean and protected not only from the water but also from the little village Marina di Ragusa by a cliff-like wall. We were happy to see health and safety measures in place (life rings, fire hose), recycling stations, 2 toilet and shower blocks and beaches on either side of the marina. A fairly new walk and cycle way has been built along the coast with showers along the way.
It struck us that there was much less rubbish than in Licata and no(?) dog poo on the ground. We walked back past the marina along the promenade and all of a sudden it was packed and full of life – people had finished their lunch and came out to the beach to enjoy the sun, hang out in a restaurant/bar or have ice cream. The town centre was very inviting and open and very busy too. It was really quite charming. We found a little restaurant just off the centre and had a late lunch. The restaurant was packed when we arrived, by the time we got our pizzas/pastas, most of the locals had left and only the tourists (us) were still eating (plus a big Italian family who probably had been there since breakfast).
The marina itself looked quite nice and inviting. It has a fuel dock, a chandler and a shipyard onsite. What it doesn’t seem to have is a supermarket (which is a great plus in Licata) and it doesn’t look quite as sheltered from the wind. But, we haven’t stayed here yet, so we can’t really comment on these things – these are just our observation. We may be looking at staying a night here when we’re coming back from Greece. But, no plans yet, just options.
For the last couple of weeks we have seen cruisers come back to the marina, who left their boats here in Licata and spend the winter months at home or touring around different countries. They are all back getting the yachts ready for sailing season, lots of boats have been hauled out at the nearby ship yard to get new antifouling and anodes. During winter there has been a lot of growth on the boats - some look like they won't be able to make it to shipyard by themselves. There is a river nearby that flows into the sea next to the marina and there is also a fish farm about 500m away - there are a lot of nutrients in the water to speed up this growth. Jessica and Stefan from SY Sundowner just took her out for a spin in the marina and found that their prop was not working and they had no reverse. They are hauling Sundowner out next week to get her cleaned and antifouled. We are lucky - we do have a bit of growth on the hull but our antifouling has been freshly done in August last year. A dive and a good scrape should get us going again.
31st of March officially marked the start of the sailing season with our first liveaboard cruiser friend heading off to Ragusa, bunny hopping his way to Greece, where we hopefully catch up with him again. Eric is sailing single handed and has come all the way from the Netherlands. I think he is one of the happiest people I know, nothing ever seems to stop him smiling. It was a bit sad to see the first of us leave - we are a tight knit community, especially if you have been living together for the last 6 months. But it was also very exciting, knowing that we will follow suit as soon as possible.
The rest of us are busy working on the boats to get them ready, and/or waiting on the last spare parts to arrive via post. We are done, apart from waiting for the mail and scrubbing/cleaning the boat. We can't wait.
Mummy and Daddy took me into town for a walk. I love the smells but I am a bit scared of all the stray dogs. They said, they will cut me (not the stray dogs, my Mummy and Daddy)! So they brought me up to an apartment that looked a wee bit like a vet. And I don’t like vets! But this was different, it smelled nice – like wet dogs and hairspray. I was at the groomers! I got a collar around my neck and a little chain to keep me from running away – but I tried my best anyway! I sometimes don’t understand that if I just sit still, everything will be just fine.
I was then placed into a bath tub and I got a shower – shampoo, conditioner, pH regulator stuff. I then got a blow dry and suddenly I looked like the Michelin Man in a dog’s body. So fluffy! Even Mummy said I was so soft! I thought I looked quite handsome already but then the hairdresser lady got some clippers and scissors and started cutting me! They said I had a lot of knots in my hair, so it needed to be cut quite short. I was a bit scared of the noise and Mummy had to come and hold me – I tried to hide and climb into her arms but at the end they did it! They cut me good – just look at my skinny legs! But it didn’t end there. I also got some oil in my ears, some hairspray lotion all over my body – I smelled like a princess! Last things last – I got a pedicure, too. Two hours of pampering – I feel like a new lady dog! I didn’t like to be handled by a stranger person, but with Mummy’s help I might do it again! If you think I deserve a treat for this 'torment' then top up my treats on the Crew page :) - T.
What to do when you suddenly have an aching tooth in a little town in a country where you don’t speak the language? Despair, was the first feeling we had. Then we remembered, one of our cruising friends here at the marina had lost his tooth a few weeks earlier and had it put back in. He was happy enough with the result and the price that he recommended having the marina office make an appointment for us. We had no better alternative, so we went to the appointment to get the tooth checked out. Consultation was done via smart phones and Google Translate – where would we be without technology?! And after a few translation sessions the verdict was simple: Root canal! The following day we came back for the procedure and Alistair put on his brave face, although I could see the stress in his eyes. A dentist you can understand is scary enough, but a dentist who does not speak your language is even scarier. But, from what I could tell, the root canal was a success and Alistair had no more pain (a few hours later he had feeling in his face and nose again, too, which is a plus).
Now, we should have gone back to the dentist to get a crown done, we already had an appointment – but then we cancelled. Why? A few reasons came together, probably: Not speaking the language, not having pain anymore, not having too much faith in south Italian dentistry (sorry!), and a message from our friend saying that his tooth had become loose and he will need to get a new implant in 3 months (in England). With the urgency of the pain gone, we decided to cancel our next appointment and do some more research to see if we can find a better alternative. Fingers crossed!
Follow Alistair and Nicola as they share their experience of traveling around the world.