Still in Italy - On to Roccella Ionica for a Few Days and then an Anchor Stop in Crotone June 15 - 20, 2019

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June 20th 2019
Published: July 10th 2019
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Saturday, June 15th - the alarm went off at 4AM and we had our anchor up and headed out of the harbor at Giardini Naxos (near Taormina) at 4:50AM. Fortunately it was starting to get light around the edges so we could easily see the other boats in the anchorage. This passage will be about 14 hours and in looking at the weather forecast it could be a pleasant one or it could have a few hours of exciting winds coming down the Strait of Messina. We wanted to leave early in order to arrive in our next port during daylight, but it also was to try to beat the worse of the winds if they do materialize. It is funny how as a sailboat you want wind, but we want it from the right direction as well! By 6AM we had our first visit from 2 dolphins which we always take as a good omen. By 8:30AM the wind piped up to 24 knots so put a reef in the main while we rode out some waves hitting us broadside and coming over the deck. At 10AM the wind had died down again and we saw quite a large pod of dolphin in the distance, but a couple of them came by to check out Tsamaya which we always enjoy. By 12 noon the water was flat and we are motoring again. We need to change our heading up further and the forecast said we should pick up some wind that would help us - we will see if they are right. We got a little help from the wind later and actually picked up a little too much near the end so had to reduce sail again. Why does it always seem to pick up when you are getting close to a marina?? We actually made it to the marina in Roccella Ionica by 5:55PM. Not bad a trip as we made it in 13 hours even with a lack of wind for part of the trip. Guess those times with strong winds helped compensate.

This marina actually has docks for us to pull into which is very unusual for here – a nice surprise to have a side tie so we don’t have to climb over the bow pulpit to get on and off the quay – gee, the little things in life make us happy!
This Doesn't Make Us Happy - A Balloon in the WaterThis Doesn't Make Us Happy - A Balloon in the WaterThis Doesn't Make Us Happy - A Balloon in the Water

remember, what goes up also comes down

Soon after arriving we had a chance to meet a few people on the dock. Stewart is a single hander that lives in Florida (but originally from Liverpool) who just bought a new catamaran in Croatia and wants to get it back to the US. Steve was on the UK flagged boat with Roger who was helping him move the boat to Greece. They were waiting here a few days for a 3rd crew member to arrive for their passage to Greece. Had them over on Tsamaya and enjoyed visiting and learning of their travels and experiences.

Peer and Christine from SV Second Life that we met in the anchorage at Giardia Naxos made it to the marina and we had a chance to have them over for drinks and nibbles. Another lovely evening with new friends. Bob had also gotten the sewing machine out and did some repairs on our wind scoop and a few other things that needed to be stitched up. Nice to have the sewing machine, but as it is quite heavy and not easily accessed under the bed, we store up sewing projects til we have a block of time as well as electricity
Views From Up the MastViews From Up the MastViews From Up the Mast

Bob's "favorite" place to be - not really, but necessary
in a marina to use it.

We were having a problem with a crushed sheave on the top of the mast for the halyard on our main so Bob figured being at a dock was the perfect time to check it out. Up the mast he went and unfortunately found that he couldn’t change it out, but did take a look at our wind instruments and got those working again properly. Always something. Well, unfortunately a “tiny” mistake was made and the line let loose and it went down the inside of the mast –not good, but fixable. We had learned a trick from a guy when we were in the Netherlands about putting quite a few nuts on to a line and with that it would make a good lead line for pulling the line back through the mast. It worked before so tried this time. Not so easy. Not sure why but it caused Bob to go up the mast a couple more times and by the end of the day we still had not had success. Not a happy situation, but figured there is another day…. We realized the next day that by the position of
Making New Friends in Roccella IonicaMaking New Friends in Roccella IonicaMaking New Friends in Roccella Ionica

enjoyed visiting with Steve, Roger & Stewart
where Bob was “hanging” at the top of the mast it was not allowing the line to drop down into the correct position to grab it out of the hole in the mast near the bottom. Once Bob changed his position at the top, the line fell into the correct position and the first time was a charm! Figured this was going to make up for a bad day yesterday

The marina here rents bicycles for 4 euros each or 8 euros for battery powered bikes. Bob has always been interested in finding out how they are so we rented the battery powered ones for the day so we could go into town to the produce market and to the grocery store. Well, things didn’t start well as we had gotten the bikes the night before and locked them up. First problem was that we couldn’t find the key for one of the locks as our key had a different number than the lock. Back to the office to get another bike. We were then off! Bob loved the battery assist right away, but I was leery of it as it would start out in power level 3 (middle speed) and when you wanted to change it instead of going to the slower level it went to the fastest level next – definitely crazy! It worked but I found that I didn’t use the assist that much on my trip as I enjoyed having the control over my speed. I do have to admit on the long runs along the coast it worked out nicely as you still pedal as normal but you get there faster and with the heat of the day it was good to make the trip as short as possible. We were almost to the town and Bob had a problem with his bike. The pedals would go around but they wouldn’t kick into gear making it pretty near impossible! We nursed it along til we found the produce market. By this time they were starting to pack up but we did have a chance to buy a few pieces of fruit and vegetables. As soon as we got to the market we called the marina and they told us they would meet us. Most in the office speak very good English but the person Bob talked to on the phone wasn’t as easy to
Caught Up Again with Peer and ChristineCaught Up Again with Peer and ChristineCaught Up Again with Peer and Christine

on Second Life - so glad we got to see them again
understand. When Bob got off the phone he wasn’t sure if they were just sending a truck to pick up the bike and us (which we really didn’t want) or if they were bringing a different bike. Time would tell. Luckily a person showed up with a different bike and took Bob’s back to the marina so we could still have a chance to get to the store. It was definitely hot now as it was about 1:30PM so looked around for a place to eat lunch. Not much was open but finally found a small place that worked out. We headed back out of town toward the marina and the supermarket. As Bob said he would shop all day as the store was air conditioned! When finished we headed back to the marina but instead of using the bike path back we decided to take the road which was more direct from the store. We were getting closer to the marina and guess what – Janice got a flat tire! I started to walk it back, but Bob said just ride it which I did and we turned it in as soon as we got back. We definitely were
Decided To Have Them Look At the OutboardDecided To Have Them Look At the OutboardDecided To Have Them Look At the Outboard

they came up to the same conclusion as Bob
not having any luck lately between the problem with our line and now the 2 bikes. Guess there are those days – luckily we don’t have many of them!

With having problems with our outboard engine Bob decided to see if the shop here would take a look at it to see if they could figure out the problem. We left it with them and they did a check of it, cleaned the carburetor again, changed to new fuel (even though we had done this as well) and still didn’t work much better. The bottom line is that both Bob and the shop agree we need to get a new carburetor or a carburetor rebuild kit. It just confirmed for Bob that his diagnosis was correct, just now to get the parts which are always difficult when cruising from port to port. Unfortunately no one knows where we can get one easily so it is on the list for when we go home. The engine does start better now and Bob knows how to run it, just not completely right so will still want to get the carburetor fixed. We really can’t complain as the Mercury 9.9 engine was
We Weren't The Only Ones Leaving Roccella IonianWe Weren't The Only Ones Leaving Roccella IonianWe Weren't The Only Ones Leaving Roccella Ionian

only problem, we had to turn around - oh well...
purchased in 2007 and it has been very dependable.

Got a chance to socialize with another couple, Andy & Jinti, on their boat, SV Selkie Dancer, that have been sailing in the Med for a few years. They have been up to Venice by boat which is our goal so got lots of pointers from them. Cruisers are always great for sharing information with each other.

Thursday – June 20th – After being in Roccella Ionica since the 15th we were ready and the weather was agreeing that it was time to go. It seems that others in the marina felt the same way as most of the people that we had been socializing were doing the same as they were heading in the same general direction – east. Our plan was to do a 14 hour passage so set the alarm for 4AM and we were off the dock at 5:20AM. We left the harbor, were treated to a beautiful sunrise and turned on the autopilot. It decided it didn’t want to work today. With being so close to the marina, it was an easy decision to turn back and slip into the same dock we had
The Next Day - The Real Start To CrotoneThe Next Day - The Real Start To CrotoneThe Next Day - The Real Start To Crotone

treated to another nice sunrise
just left. By 6AM we were tied up and now getting ready for figuring out what was wrong with the autopilot. Bob emptied the lazarette to climb in to check it out. He wondered if there was a leak of the hydraulic fluid as he had topped that up in Tunisia. No, that wasn’t it so had to investigate further. He finally figured out that grease was needed on one of the fittings. Out came the grease gun. What, it wasn’t working now. Not good when the tool you need isn’t working. Checked with our neighbor about borrowing a grease gun and by the time he got one Bob was able to clear air that had gotten trapped in the gun. Fitting greased, tested the autopilot, and all is well.

We had already discussed what we were going to do depending on when the autopilot was fixed and we both quickly agreed that no matter what the time we would wait until tomorrow so we didn’t get stressed out as well as arrive in the dark in a new place.

The rest of the day we spent taking it easy with catching up on some reading, doing more
Wind Turbines Galore, A Few Lighthouses, Nav AidsWind Turbines Galore, A Few Lighthouses, Nav AidsWind Turbines Galore, A Few Lighthouses, Nav Aids

and then gas platforms as we got near Crotone
research of places we are headed to and even broke down and took a nap! A USA flagged boat called “Madame Geneva” came into the marina with a family of 5 onboard. Always enjoy seeing “kid boats” as the kids are given responsibilities and they live up to them. Kids can do so much more than many allow them to – with everyone on a boat having to pitch in and have a roll it is critical that they are given the room to show what they are capable of (but still allowed to be kids!) They are being homeschooled and the kids help with writing their blog as well. I’ve checked it out and it is great to read about places we have been through the eyes of kids. They are headed to Croatia as well so hopefully our paths will cross again.

The next morning as we were all set to leave the day before it took us even less time between when the alarm went off and we were out of the slip and heading out of the harbor. We were treated to another wonderful sunrise. A definite bonus from early starts.

As soon as
Caught Up With Another USA Flagged BoatCaught Up With Another USA Flagged BoatCaught Up With Another USA Flagged Boat

met Madame Geneva in last port - this is in Crotone
we were out of the harbor we checked the autopilot again and it was working great as we had a 13 hour passage that day to get to an anchorage in Crotone. We always keep a look out for dolphin and fortunately shortly before getting to Crotone they cooperated and visited but for a very short time. When we arrived at the anchorage we saw that Madame Geneva was already there – they left after us but arrived before us (but they do have a few more feet of length on us which definitely gives them the advantage!) We had a nice quite evening at anchor and will leave the next passage for the next blog entry.


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