Our friends Trina and Joe arrived late on the 4th June after being caught up in travel chaos in Edinburgh. So their first day was spent settling in to life on Vaila, a quick paddle and a BBQ of swordfish and Tuna bought at the local stall.
We departed promptly for Syracusa at 0845 on 6th June, having breakfast on the hoof. Unfortunately we only got about 1.5 hours of sailing as the light wind was behind us and as the seas increased it got impossible to just sail, so the engine went on again.
We arrived in Syracusa about 1700 and got our berth in Marina Yachting which is right opposite the old town within easy walking distance. It was a tiny marina but had great showers and a lovely covered sitting area. Trina and I managed a wee swim at the small beach under the town walls.
The next day we awoke to find that a huge Cruise liner had docked very close to our berth. A quick Google showed that the MSC Splendida took about 4500 passengers with approximately 1500 crew!
We set off to explored Syracusa after breakfast, hoping to avoid the crowds. Andy and I had been before and we wanted to show our friends the cathedral and the Archemedes museum. We found a delightful cafe with a sea view for a coffee and canoli. The cathedral and museum did not disappoint. The museum had changed slightly and now also included Leonardo Da Vinci machines. The large working models were brilliant. We also found a lovely chocolate shop and had another swim.
We set off at 0300 on 8th June to sail to Ragusa, as we had a long way to go and the forecast was for strong winds to arrive the next day. We were treated to a Dolphin display at dawn and we had to negotiate big swells and confused seas going round the point. We arrived in Ragusa about 1700 in rising wind and were helped into the berth by the ormeggiatores from the marina with their rib.
The wind arrived as predicted the next day (9th June) with gusts of 30+ knots. A day for clothes washing , boat rinsing and defrosting the fridge! Ragusa is a great marina with lots of facilities where many live aboard over winter. The town by the marina is touristy but lovely.
The following day was even windier with gusts up to 40 knots so we stayed on board and had a lazy day. The expert wind surfers were out enjoying the challenge but the rest of the beach was deserted.
By Saturday 11th June the wind had dropped a lot and we took a bus up to the main town of Ragusa. Andy and I watch the Montalbano series on the BBC i player and a lot of the outdoor scenes are filmed in Ragusa old town, which sits astride a huge ravine about 20 miles inland. The old streets and Baroque buildings are beautiful. You need stamina to visit this town though, as there are hundreds of steps and steep streets to negotiate.
Since leaving Ragusa marina we have visited Licata, Agrigento and Sciaca working our way westwards along the South Coast of Sicily. We are now in Marsalla preparing for the 2 day and 1 night passage to Sardinia (160 miles) tomorrow. Only 2 more weeks and we will be home again!