Monday, June 3, 2013

Puttin' In Time In Syracusa

2013 06 02
Siracusa, Sicily, Italy

After being trapped in Marina di Ragusa for two weeks in high winds it is vexing to find our selves trapped in Siracusa for a week due to low or twitchy wind.  How light?  Last night while I enjoyed the last cigar gifted by my son and the BC and I shared our nightcaps I untied our dinghy.  An hour later it still floated right beside the boat having never moved.

When the wind does blow it switches direction often.  We circle our anchor several times a day.  

This year we have decided to sail for real.  If conditions do not support our moving under sail we wait for conditions that do.  This is partly a call to purity.  

Sailing in the Mediterranean is pretty much non existent.  Slave galleys were invented here for a reason.  Before diesel vessels were rowed around the Mediterranean. The Med is what our friend from Greene Harbour Newfoundland calls "a motor job".  Everyone "motorsails".  Motorsailing means motoring.  You keep your sails up to reduce the motion of the boat sort of like stabilizers on bigger yachts.  Sometimes the sails will give a small push but usually not enough to make a difference.

TMoving around the Med is expensive.  Diesel fuel in Italy costs €1.75 per litre, make that $2.35 Canadian.  In American that is about $10.00 a gallon.  This is expensive travel and it is affecting our travel plans and our forward progress.  

 I wonder if the cost of feed for slaves was as high as the cost of diesel?

When you amalgamate the cost of fuel, the need to motor much of the time and the high cost of entry to some countries you can see that you have to be careful with your sailing plan.

Our plans are to travel to Venice this year.  The best way to get there, bar none, is to sail across the Ionian/Adriatic seas to Albania and north through Montenegro and Croatia.  These three countries share what is known as the "Dalmatian" coast and offer great sailing grounds, islands and anchorages.  

The east coast of Italy however offers little: no anchorages, not much scenery, hostile environment and few and expensive marinas.  

With a significant competitive advantage in sailing the Croatians, now freed from their communist controllers, impose massive fees for sailors who wished to visit their beautiful country.  How very enterprising of them.  It will cost us about $500 to sail into Croatia for a month or two what with the boat fee, light fee, tourist tax and all.  The bulk of the cost is good for an entire year so if we wished to stay longer the cost per day would be less.  

For centuries people have sailed these waters without benefit of diesel.  This year so will we.  Well, maybe.  For now we will try.

As we wait for wind we enjoy Siracusa, a favourite city of ours and while we wait we do boat jobs.  Yesterday Connie rebuilt our wet locker and I took the packing out of the stuffing box and installed new packing.  Today we will ride the city bus system looking for a brico store (do it yourself lumber yard) and a jeweller to fix a broken watchband.

For now we remain pure and parsimonious.

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