Sicily, Sardinia, Fouled

February 18, 2024

Sicily was all you've heard: very pretty with very good food. The marina in Riposto is right by where the the catch comes in every morning, and so just a block down and to the right is market after market of fresh fish right off the boat. We ate tuna and swordfish pretty much every day.

There was also good produce right there, along with butcher shops, bakeries, and miscellaneous stores with meats and cheeses. I suspect the neighborhood is still abuzz about how much food the American family with teenage boys bought while in town. One lady was shocked -- like, "are you sure you want that much?" -- when I ordered about a pound of mortadella.

One afternoon, after the fresh markets were closed and I was looking to stock up on wine, a car slowed down near me on the street. Out of the window popped the guy from the produce stand where I had gone three days in a row, and the guy's big booming baritone rang out, "Hello my friend!"

I hope the local grocery economy will recover quickly now that we are gone.

(More text after some Sicily photos)

The size of these peppers!
If you travel to Sicily, definitely take a tourist boat out to see it from the sea. It's beautiful from out there.

A full day of motor sailing brought us to the north side of the island. We bashed into the wind all day. The sailing wasn't fun, so we tucked into a little cover on a small volcano north of Sicily and got a good night's sleep, followed by a great sail the next day. Another day yet, and we were to Sardinia.

We chose a marina in a quiet little town that is mostly shut down for the winter. We took a taxi into town and had a five-star meal, but other than that, it was mostly boat chores and laundry. Very pretty though, and it shows signs of being a happening place during the high season.

(Even more text after these pictures)


Leaving on Saturday, we had ideal conditions for putting out the Code 0 (big, giant downwind sail at the very front of the boat). But I neglected to get any practice on closed-loop furlers, and as I pulled out sail, the furling mechanism was wrapping itself around the sail instead of just unfurling line like a drum furler would have. V and I went forward to get things untangled. but the wind had a good grip on the bit of the sail that had gotten let out. I asked for the boat to be steered into the wind so that the sail would luff, and when the boat turned, it went right over one of the sheets on that sail that was half deployed.

If you sailed to Cuba with us, or if you heard tales of our Cuba trip, this will sound familiar to you.

The line got caught in the prop (of course), which means no more motoring. We dropped the big sail to the deck and bungeed it into an ugly bundle. Then, under main sail alone, we sailed close to a pretty little beach and dropped anchor.

We had to find all of the components of the hookah dive system. I had secretly hoped to never use it again.

And the best advice that we got before leaving for this trip was to go buy a used wetsuit, just in case.

We got things sorted, and it took me forever to work up the nerve to swim under water. I kept going under and finding that I couldn't breathe. Eventually, it dawned on me that I was clenching my jaw so tight that I wasn't letting any air out.

The line wasn't on tight. I just had to unwrap it, maybe seven or eight times. I wasn't under the boat more than 75 seconds or so, probably, but I was nervous like I was diving a blue hole.

After that, we had a couple of drinks and enjoyed being anchored on a warm afternoon. Then, we put all of the gear back away, wrestled the sail and tangled lines into storage, and set off again. I'm tying this at 4:00 AM local time, and our beautiful weather window is over. There's no wind out here at all.

At some point, I'll do some technical videos about our sail rigging, but I have a lot left to learn first.

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