The final run of our 2019 sailing season - Syracuse to Marina Di Ragusa Sicily 

190929 2 Walking the streets of Syracuse

Wandering the streets of Isola di Ortigia Syracuse 

190929 5 Walking the streets of Syracuse Rockpool190929 8 Syracuse Sunset drinks onboard Paradigme

So we are really stepping back in time with the blog - back to September 29 2019 in fact. Some where from that date to this day on the 28th February 2020 there has not been the right “time” to complete the update of our final leg of sailing. So for the purpose of my own records and my books please indulge my belated update. 

Syracuse is for us now a familiar harbour that we have been fortunate to have visited on two previous occasions. The huge bay provides for a good anchorage and the old town area of Ortigia has a maze of streets that one could get lost for hours in without even diverting into one of the many art galleries, museums, heritage buildings, restaurants or bars. 

After a welcomed sleep to recover from our passage from Greece it was a bonus for us to once more be on anchor with Paradigme and in the company of Sophie and Francoise. Together with their guests it was decided we would take the opportunity to sail the last leg of our journey for the season west together. 

Before leaving Syracuse we headed for the local market to purchase some fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood. Located just a short walk away from the yacht harbour where we were welcome to leave our dinghy it is a foodies delight.

190930 6 Sailing Syracuse to Portopalo tacking challenge with Paradigme

After two nights on anchor in Syracuse the winds were agreeable to head west. We followed Paradigme out of the anchorage and set sail for Portopalo a small harbour on the south eastern corner of Sicily. 

As always with two boats on the water it inevitably becomes a race. Tacking became critical to claw back the distance that Paradigme had established with their slightly earlier exit. But with the promise of a tin of Pate Henaff Andrew ensured that Katherine pulled to the lead just before all sails were put away and we motored the short distance around Isola Di Capo Passero that was a mine field of fish pots. 

Evening sky Portopalo

191001 4 Dinghy trip to Isle of Capopassero with Paradigme

Exploring Isola Capo Passero

191001 13 Isle of Capopassero Fort Capopassero 16th Century191001 5 Dinghy trip to Isle of Capopassero with Paradigme Old Tuna Factory191001 16 Isle of Capopassero Fort Capopassero Lunch Time

It was agreed by all overnight that the Isle of Capo Passero needed to be returned to, to explore. Now that sounds easy until you pile six people plus the picnic into a 3.4m dinghy and motor back what looked like a short distance and turned out to be more like a 6nm round trip. Normally not a problem except we had run our fuel down in anticipation of not needing the dinghy for the remainder of the season. After a momentary lapse of engine on the return trip followed by a good shake up of the fuel tank we were all grateful that we made it to the island and back without having to row or any major incident.

The island itself is only some 1300 m long and 500m wide. It lays just 250m off the mainland. It was once a fishing village and remnants of old fishing boats and their equipment remain in the derelict buildings from which the old boat launch stretches down to the waters edge. Across on the mainland the ruins of a large Tuna Factory stands prominent on the waterfront, a showcase to how important Tuna fishing, packing and exporting was once to this area.

On the island the Fort built originally in the 16th century to protect against pirate raids provided a perfect place for a picnic lunch away from the heat of the day. It was obvious that there had been a recent grand plan to restore the fortification but funds obviously ran out or were redirected elsewhere and now the new toilet facilities, glass doors and partially restored facia are once again beginning to fall into states of decay. 

A very scenic spot that we now have noted with the intention of returning to anchor off to enjoy the pristine waters that surround. 

Andrew taking in the view 

191001 21 Helping hands

Before leaving Portopalo with the offer of extra hands we dropped our sails, a sure sign that the season had definitely come to an end. 

On the 2nd October we once more farewelled Francoise and Sophie as they continued their sailing season heading for Malta. For us it was just a short motor to our winter home at Marina Di Ragusa. 

191004 4 Unexpected catchup with Bernard and Beate Syracuse

Settling on a location that we are comfortable leaving Katherine in for months whilst we return to Australia is always a dilemma.  For the last three years we have been in the port of Cartagena Spain and so happy that Beate and Bernhard had watched over Katherine. 

When the plan was laid last year that both boats would rendezvous in Marina Di Ragusa Sicily for the 2019 winter we were both delighted and relieved. Not only is Katherine under great care but we have the added benefit of once more spending time in their company, not an easy thing to achieve during the sailing season. 

So ended our 8th year on the water. As always the season seems to finish way too soon. 

(For more photos click here.)

191226 2 Esplanade Marina Di Ragusa

The esplanade from the marina to the main square of Marina Di Ragusa always busy with people even in winter

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain