From Greece to Italy through the Ionian Sea and over to Sicily

Lefkas harbour with sunset in an unstable weather condition
Lefkas harbour with sunset in an unstable weather condition
going north from Lefkas you have to pass the bridge which is opened once per hour
going north from Lefkas you have to pass the bridge which is opened once per hour
Ormos Lakka on Nisos Paxoi in the south of Korfu
Ormos Lakka on Nisos Paxoi in the south of Korfu

So we enjoyed spending the day in the harbour in Lefkas without working on the engine. The next day it was only raining so we left Lefkas passing the movable bridge and went to Ormos Lakka in the north of Paxoi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korfu
Korfu
Korfu
Korfu

On Sunday we left the lovely Ormos Lakka early in the morning to Mariana Gouvia on Korfu, the plan was to visit the city by mountain bike and then clear out to Italy in the customs of the Marina (our book said it is only possible there, not in Korfu itself).

the engine after Reto has extinguished the fire
the engine after Reto has extinguished the fire
the starter motor, happy to have an replacement
the starter motor, happy to have an replacement
Great, we are allowed to stay in the berth for the boats with technical problems ;-( right next to the gas station
Great, we are allowed to stay in the berth for the boats with technical problems ;-( right next to the gas station

On the way into the Marina we stop at the fuel station to fill up our tank and just in the moment Reto is handing back the fuel hose he sees smoke coming out of the starboard engine room. Immediately the fire extinguisher is handed over and Reto empties almost 2 kg of powder onto the centre of the fire which was the starter engine. Great, especially next to the fuel station. The fuel man got quite a bit nervous, wanted us to empty another 5 kg bottle and told us to leave. We on the other hand were not so eager to leave with a just extinguished fire and only one engine to maneuver. Help quickly came from the Marina guys who then towed us to the “technical problems pier” right next to the fuel station.

Well, at least we managed to extinguish quickly and also we had the spare part with us, so instead of sight seeing and biking off we go again into the engine room (Reto) and handing the tools (Angela). Two hours later the engine was starting again but of course we still had no clue why something like this can happen. The next morning we manage to find some fuses which are immediately installed and we hope to prevent the re-occurrence.

So when by next day noon we wanted to finally clear out at the Gouvia Marina we had to find out that we still need to go to Korfu in order to give back our Transit log to the customs office there. Great, in the morning the lady said it is all fine, she can do our checkout from Greece. Grrr…

sundowner on the way over to Italy
sundowner on the way over to Italy
the flag change from Greece to Italy
the flag change from Greece to Italy

Since we are a bit fed up from Greece and Korfu and also expect tougher winds for the coming days, we go to Korfu harbour with the ship, clear out and leave Korfu at 4 pm going north towards the border to Albania, then westwards to Italy.

During the night we have a nice speed of around 8 knots on an upwind course with the 3rd reef in the sail and the ship is bumping heavily in the waves ;-( I recognize that only very tired I fall asleep like this even though I already chose the salon where the bumping is felt less than in the hulls.
Early at 4 am we pass St. Maria di Leuca, for us too early to go into a harbour, but from there on we have the wind really on the nose. Afterward Reto said “only idiots or beginners go against the Wind” – well there is something true in this one, but when we arrive at 2 pm at Gallipoli we are happy as well.

we enjoy the new plates, a gift of my brother Alfred and the variety of ham after 8 weeks of white cheese
we enjoy the new plates, a gift of my brother Alfred and the variety of ham after 8 weeks of white cheese
Gallipoli old town
Gallipoli old town
Gallipoli old town, we like it ;-)
Gallipoli old town, we like it 😉

So why Gallipoli? Well, since my brothers wife Anna is from there they helped us in transporting our two pallets of material (household, tools, ect.) to their friend Francesco and together with Anna’s Brother Antonio they brought all the loads of stuff faster onto She San than we could look or take a picture of it.

Next day after stowing away the material and enjoying the beautiful settings in Gallipoli we decide to head on southwards starting at 4 pm, since the outlook of the forecast tells about thunderstorms for later the next day.

 

 

 

 
The night starts great, we sail with 7 knots with the first reef and I sleep deeply when Reto wakes me up at 4 am to help him.

the thunderstorms on the Radar display
the thunderstorms on the Radar display
Sun set on our way to Italy
Sun set on our way to Italy
the harbour entrance of Rocella Ionica, don't go straight in but stay on the side of the beach!! we are happy that Davide shows us the way in ;-)
the harbour entrance of Rocella Ionica, don’t go straight in but stay on the side of the beach!! we are happy that Davide shows us the way in 😉
Caulonia, some parts date from medieval times
Caulonia, some parts date from medieval times
medieval town of Caulonia
Caulonia
the castle of Rocella Ionica
the castle of Rocella Ionica
often we find this picture: the men sit and watch
often we find this picture: the men sit and watch
endless sand beaches in Rocella Ionica
endless sand beaches in Rocella Ionica

Damn, we are in the middle of the thunderstorms already and Reto just went though one when a lightening stroke down quite close to us. For the next hours the thunderstorms play cat and mouse with us, we manage to escape and avoid most of the fields which we see on radar. At noon we arrive in Rocella Ionica and reconsider our weather forecasts and the way we interpret them. Since Navtex gives notice of thunderstorms for the weekend we get out the mountain bikes and enjoy the area around Rocella Ionica. There are endless beaches, plantations with oranges, olives, grenadines, cactus fruits, beautiful hills, we find the middle aged town of Caulonia and of course Rocella Ionica, which is very pittoresc with its palace and castle on the hills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reto busy doing the olive harvest
Reto busy doing the olive harvest
I am invited to pick out the ripe black olives
I am invited to pick out the ripe black olives

Another highlight is the olive harvest, where Mimmo immediatly invites us to help and have a look and he gives me the best black olives together with the recipe of how to water them during one week and what spices to put on afterwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mimmo invited us to join the olive harvest and gives me the best black olives including recipe of how to prepare
Mimmo invited us to join the olive harvest
you have no choice, the smallest pizza is half a meter, together with some nice Heineken it does make happy ;-)
you have no choice, the smallest pizza is half a meter, together with some nice Heineken it does make happy 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also the Pizza in the Marina is worth being recognized, you buy Pizza here only starting from half meter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we are about ready to leave, but the forecasts again make us crazy, whatever plan we make, the next moment it doesn’t look good anymore, so again we stay one more day before leaving to “finish with” the Ionian sea.

and again one Bonito
and again one Bonito
the first catch of the day is already served for lunch
the first catch of the day is already served for lunch
and again the first one was followed by two of his collegues ;-)
and again the first one was followed by two of his collegues 😉

On the way over we get lucky in fishing and while we already have the first bonito on the plate for lunch we catch 2 more of his collegues, so our lucky number fishing seems to be the 3 ;-).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the messina straight, we go right through Skylla and Charybdis
the messina straight, we go right through Skylla and Charybdis
on our way into the harbour of San Nicola d'Arena
on our way into the harbour of San Nicola d’Arena
San Nicola, not very big, but well protected
San Nicola, not very big, but well protected
the dark clouds pass over the mountain but from time to time the sun comes out ;-)
the dark clouds pass over the mountain but from time to time the sun comes out 😉
the barometer is constantly falling...
the barometer is constantly falling…

 

 

 

 

 

After another “stormy winds break day” in Reggio di Calabria we head on to San Nicola d’Arena, a small harbour close to Palermo in the northwest of Sicily. We chose San Nicola because it was described for good shelter and the geographical position in the weather charts promisses to be good in the upcoming fronts over the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the plan was to head on to Sardinia, but it is as always with the plans… the next thunderstorm from in the strait between Sicily and Sardinia is not a good idea and our “starter motor burning story” also is not yet solved as the starting relays seems to be at the end of its lifetime and almost caused another cable burn again. So off we go on the way to the next Yanmar dealers…

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