One More Time with Feeling!

Last year on Pakilar was supposed to be our “LAST” year sailing on this amazing boat.  My husband Tom and I planned to list it on the market.  Aging makes it harder to move to grab a line as quickly as you might or race forward or aft to address a fouling or throw a dock line.  Selling the boat was the wise decision.  Still, fall, winter and spring came and husband Tom could not find the heart to list this great love.  We have taken great care of her and in return she has taken great care of us… exciting sailing, as well as a comfortable home for our adventures in the Med and Aegean.

June 28 – July 3, 2017    Try, Try Again! Through the Straits of Messina and on to Palermo June 28, 2017          Try, Try Again! Through the Straits of Messina and on to Palermo

It is a early start and we have ‘wind,’ almost 17 knots! We are sailing! My watch is from 3 to 6 pm. I am actually at the helm for the three hours while Pakilar charges through the waves. Marcelo has set the sails perfectly, of course. All I need is to keep her on course. I have been at the help this past week more that I have in 17 years of sailing, I love to sail and am sure that I would have loved it even more with more time at the helm. I should have pushed more the chance. Certain that I would have made mistakes and wobbled through the water from time to time but I would have learned. Necessity has opened the opportunity on this trip. Better late than never, I guess. (Note to sailors: Give the wife / girlfriend / daughter a chance. You would be surprised by how much they can do.)

hop over to this web-site June 29, 2017 On the Way to Palermo

My next watch is 12 to 3 am that matches up with our passage through the Straits of Messina between mainland Italy on our north and Sicily on our southern side. Tom, Marcelo and I are all up on deck to check for ferries and fishing boats. Small fishing boats only sport white lights. Tricky, because you don’t know if the light is coming from the shore or it is another boat. A number of boats are out fishing tonight. The wind is light so we are powering. The current is not a problem either. The 25-mile stretch passes easily and we are out of the Straits with a turn south for the 100-mile trip to Palermo by 3:17 in the morning. At the end of the straits, there is a firework display. Very nice reward for a safe passage! There is another fire-related event on the island of Sicily that we witness as we begin our passage to Palermo. The hillside is ablaze. We can see the lights of numerous fire trucks and police vehicles. Wood smoke is in the air. I always say a prayer for people when I hear an ambulance or see a fire truck. Corny, no! Can’t help it. Always have and always will.

sites de rencontre international afrique canada June 30, 2017          Palermo – Villa Igiea Harbor

The afternoon comes and Palermo looms closer. Marcelo pulls out the jib to speed our progress but the wind is flukey and it is hard to fill the sail and still keep on course. Jib rolled, we plot a straight course to Villa Igiea Harbor. The southern wind picks up and the seas are mixed and choppy. Like an errant children being led to bed in one direction the waves resist and turn in odd and contrary paths.

Villa Igiea is straight ahead…or is it? What looks like a section of a broken city wall is ‘supposedly’ the entrance to the harbor. Is this really the entrance and can we squeeze through? Luckily, Tom and Marcello have been here before and know the drill. The plan is to enter the harbor and stop at the gas dock to the left of the entrance. The opening to the harbor is actually larger than it appears. Fenders and lines out, we motor through.   There is a small area before you progress to either dock floats or the gas dock. The gas dock has space for only two boats and both are full. We wait. Maneuvering forward and back is a tight space, fighting the winds that hope to push our bow on its whim, when I see a second sailboat and a power boat approaching the entrance to the marina. Luckily, the sailboat sees us and waits outside the entrance while the small boat powers through.

A sailboat on the gas dock leaves. We begin to back into the empty slot. The wind picks up and starts to push our bow away from the dock pushing the stern at an odd angle to the fuel dock. The attendant on shore refuses our dock lines and throws us a very oversized line to tie up. I grab the line and begin to tie up. Marcelo runs aft to help tie up, putting it on our self tailing winch.  The line is too big to run through the self-tailor and comes off. Marcelo and I push Pakilar’s stern off the dock waiting each second for that horrible sounding grind that means damage. We are lucky. Nothing damaged. Marcelo is tying the aft line again and has me run forward to catch the fuel dock gas line.  I find an empty cleat and begin to tie up. When the bow started to swing, we yelled to the marina dinghy, that just happened to be motoring past, to push Pakilar’s bow with their boat. He came next to the boat and did nothing! Frustrating. Tied up, we gas up and head to our slot two floats away…exhausted!

Tonight we have dinner at a #1 Tripadvisor recommendation for Palermo in the old town near the Saint Ignazio Church, called All”Olivera Wine and Dine (Tel: 39 091 785 2487) Piazza Olivera #9.  The location is on a walking street.  Nothing special about the atmosphere.  The waitstaff was very good but the food was a disappointment. Not bad, just average. Not a #1.  After all, Italians have a reputation for fine dining to uphold. July 1, 2017   Palermo 2nd Day

Marcelo has been telling us about a great market in downtown Palermo. We decide to go. It just happens that today many of the streets are closed for a “Gay Pride Day” Parade. Truck loads of revelers dancing and singing to very loud music, shoot water pistols into the watching crowd. It is a fun parade. From what I can see, all was very peaceful and celebratory.

It is a long walk down the main shopping streets of Palermo from where the bus drops us off but we finally find a warren of back alleys that are home to the market Marcelo has been telling us about. Actually, it is more of a food market with vendors selling meats and fish and other specialties and then grilling them for you while you wait. The smells are terrific. We have plans for dinner tonight but this could have been a happy option. It is several hours before our dinner reservation tonight, so we stop at a café for an aperitif. Marcelo gets an ice cream and Tom gets fresh orange juice. My sparkling water will tide me over for now. I am looking forward to tonight’s dinner. A specialty ice cream treat here is a bread roll stuffed with ice cream / gelati. Wow, I thought I was bad with my hot fudge on vanilla custard. The killer is that all the people I see eating this indulgent bread ice cream are thin! There is no justice in the world!

The three of us dine at “Osteria Dei Vespri”. It is located lovely and quiet spot near the Museum of Modern Art at Piazza Croce dei Vespri, 6 – 90133 Palermo Tel: 091 617 1631.  Fabulous, fabulous food!!! I was tempted to have the tasting menu but happily satiated with my duck stuffed ravioli and a Tuna with olives. Fine local wines and both unique and traditional desserts make this a special night. Two bothers own and operate the restaurant. The four lovely women waitstaff were all you could hope for in helping make it a wonderful dinner. (We remember Melissa, Julia, and Johanna who is Romanian and grew up just 15 kilometers from the Count Dracula castle.) It is a taxi home tonight. Memorable day!

ligar con chico heterosexual July 2, 2017   Catch Up

Not much to report today. We begin the day as we do every day in Sicilia with a trip to the local bakery / coffee shop. I have my usual coronetto di crema (a pudding stuffed croissant) and a cappuccino. Tom loves the fresh Orange juice and a coronetto and a café dopio, a double expresso. Marcelo loves the cannolis. Tom and I spend the day calling children and catching up on email and doing some bill paying.

It is a clean-up day. A potpourri of items from the frig are dinner ,,,smoked salmon, a selection of cheeses and olives. Marcelo and I head to the local gelateria for dessert while Tom watches the Red Sox on his computer. (Reading this, I see that we, or at least I, am very food focused. Still, this is Italia. I can’t help it!

site de rencontre hainaut ado July 3, 2017 A Trip to Capello Bakery and a Gourmet Grocery in Palermo

Time to stock up on our favorites for a trip to Sardinia. Light northerly winds make the trip north and west more manageable. We wait for the right weather conditions before heading off on this next push towards Minorca and Majorca. It will take about 30 hours. The next planned stop will be Calabria .

It is a bus ride into the city center and then a long walk to Capello Bakery to begin re-provisioning with our favorites. We show no shame! Marcelo, Tom and I each have two pastries. By far our favorite is the cannoli. The ricotta is amazing and the pastry is a delight, crisp and flavorful. The Bakery kindly calls a cab for us…should have been a crane considering all the sweets we ate…and we head to the gourmet supermarket Prezzemolo & Vitale, Via Piazza Villafranca,20/A, 90141Palermo. P IVA 058 953 60823. You can find all the Italian gourmet items, including wines that you want at this supermarcati. Quite a find. I recommend it highly.

Back to the boat for a rest to store all the calories we have consumed during the day. I am embarrassed to say it, we still find room for dinner! Tonight it is off to a simple pizzeria for

Beautiful Detours – Kythira and Zakinthos June 23, 2017           Kethira (Kythira)

Close hauled again on another good sailing day on our trip to Kethira. Only powered the last hour. Pulled into Diakofti Harbor on Kethira (Kythera). This port on the southern tip of the island will give us a straight shot southwest when we head to Syracusa in Sicily. There is a slot alongside a huge granite dock used for the ferry. Two other boats are alongside already. We got the last spot. Hopefully this is a good omen. We tie up and I head up to the ferry terminal, a low set of a couple of buildings that also houses Panayotis Car Rental (2736038270)…such luck. I arrange with Panayotis to rent a car for one day…he keeps saying “Ask your husband if it is alright.” Not a women’s lib kind of guy, I guess.

A hearse pulls up to the front of the ferry terminal and a Greek Orthodox priest gets out of the front seat, along with the driver. The ferry is about to arrive and I assume there is a casket on board. I head back to the boat to get the documents we need for the car rental before the hoards disembark the ferry, when the port police arrives. The young woman manning the ferry terminal said that I had to check with him to see if we can remain on the dock. He gives it the “Ok”. What a relief!

Car rented, we watch the arrival drama. Unbelievable numbers of vehicles come off the ferry…huge tourist buses, trucks, personal vehicles, equipment, etc. It reminds me of the clown car at the circus. I keep wondering if the vehicles are circling around the boat for a second ride through and off. In contrast, a solemn group of locals join the Orthodox priest on the quay. The hearse enters the ferry and minutes later, departs the ferry and drives off. The group disperses after a number of somber handshakes and shoulder pats.

The ferry terminal attendant gave me the number of a gas station with trucks that deliver diesel. We call Bardas Fuel at 2736038270. The driver asks for 10 euros extra for delivery since it is a bit of a drive for him to Diakofti. We schedule a fuel delivery for tomorrow morning. Tom and Marcelo and I take advantage of the quiet on the dock to head off in our new wheels. We plan to take a tour of the island and head to a grocery store…hopefully, a fairly large one. We have a long list of needed items for our upcoming trip to Sicily.

The island is charming and very, very quiet. Good place for reflection or to write a book. There are very few cars on the road. We head to the Chora to see the castle but parking is fairly inconvenient and we have had a long day already. We do a driving tour of the surrounding villages and stop in Potamos at “Maria’s” for a dessert and coffee and a second wind. A very nice gentleman runs the office supply place here in Potamos who gives us some suggestions on what to see on the island.

There are several large grocery stores on the island and a number of gas stations. Most everything is mid island or nearer to the Chora. We purchase groceries and then head back to the boat before doing a U-turn to Avlemonas to have dinner at a family style tavern. It reminds us of one of the many agri-tourismos in Italy. Farm fresh food served on the farmhouse’s terrace. The service is excellent but the food is just so so. Back to the boat and no trouble sleeping.

company website June 24, 2017   Lingering in Kythera

I sleep in…again. I don’t even hear the fuel truck leave and depart or the fairly. Marcelo plans to stay aboard today…getting both a swim and a run in during the afternoon. (Son Jake’s birthday. Luckily we have internet and can send our greetings and make a phone call as well.)

Tom and I take a drive to the northern tip of Kythera and then swing south to visit Mylopotamos. Charming town, it sports a waterfall (just a trickle with recent minimal rains and then eat lunch at a restaurant next to the bell tower in the town square. The whole town is there. We sit under the large shade trees that perfectly cool the diners.   Marcelo’s wonderful spaghetti tonight! We are ready to begin our long trek to Italy tomorrow. We expect three days and two nights of sailing.   I will be taking a watch solo. I haven’t been able to snatch the wheel either sailing or driving the boat for more than brief interludes during the past seven years. This should make the next few days very interesting.

rencontre en ligne avis June 25, 2017 . First Nighttime Watch

I take the first 3-hour watch at 12 noon. That gives us all 3 hours on and 6 hours off. No wind today. I get a crash course on how to use reciprocals to make the driving easier while seated at the stern, how to alert oncoming traffic to my presence if they come too close, how to pass vessels (on their stern) and how to identify nighttime ship traffic and track their path using the radar. Most importantly, I learn where the horn is and am encouraged to use it, even if it is only to rouse Tom or Marcelo below and get help with something. On deck alone, I am told never to leave the stern area. Good idea! No one would know if you fell overboard if you are there alone. The daytime was easy but tiring but nighttime is quite something else.

I have the 9 pm to midnight watch. It is pretty simple and very beautiful during the first hour as the sun is setting. Such peace! I have my phone and earphones and listen to a playlist I hurriedly concocted. Then it got dark! No moon. Holy moly, where are the headlights on this thing! I am driving a boat going 7½ knots into pitch black. I watch only my course on the plotter and compass and check the radar for white blips. Freaky experience! Tankers do not want to hit you but you are the one who has to get out of their way. Their turns require a very long distance. As each blip either disappears or it becomes clear that we are not on a collision course, I experience a great sense of relief. At one point I think, ‘This is too much for me.” Then my ‘brave or stupid’ self (you decide) says, “You can do this. It is just driving! I feel proud of myself when Marcelo comes up for the 12 to 3 watch. I have kept us on course the whole time and haven’t hit anything! I celebrate with a half of a peanut butter sandwich and then head to bed. As the song says, “Oh, what a night!’

site rencontre agadir June 26, 2017 Decision Point.

The wind is on the nose today again and the current is fierce. Powering 7 knots, we only make 5 miles of progress. At this rate it will take us two or three more days to make it to Syracusa. We will be long out of fuel and the wind is forecast to die. We need to make a decision. Decision made…we head back to Zakynthos, called Zante by the Italians. Even though it is 70 miles north, there is a guarantee of fuel. It will require a recalculation of our eventual routing to Italy, a more northerly port and passage that will take us through the Straits of Messina.

We head to Lagana Bay on the island of Zakynthos. Lagana Bay is a sanctuary for the “Logger Head Turtles”. There are restrictions on boat speed when entering the Bay and the use of certain beaches. This protects the turtles’ nesting grounds.. Lagana Bay is beautiful. I can see why the turtles picked it to start a family. Apparently, some wealthy individuals share the turtles’ taste. There are a number of lovely villas on the hillside. We anchor in this good holding ground and are happy to hear the engine being turned off. We have traveled 168 miles but we are still in Greece. It was the wise choice but we had hoped to be farther along. Our surroundings reward us for our visit with their beauty. It is a leisurely evening made even better with Marcelo’s pasta and a nice bottle of wine. Nice bunk and no middle of the night watch. What a joy!

June 27, 2017 Zakynthos Town

We head off to Zakynthos Town, a bit south of Lagana Bay to fuel up for our second try in reaching Italy. On our way out of the Bay, we spy a Logger Head Turtle about three feet in diameter swimming past the boat. This was a kind departing salute on behalf of the turtle population. It was not wasted on us. Yeah, Turtles!

Zakynthos Town has a large harbor, actually two harbors. The smaller of the two is home for small power boats. We head to the western side of the marina and take a position on the dock stern to, as usual. We still experience a surge in this spot when the ferries leave. A fuel truck is standing on the dock and we get refueled within 20 minutes of our arrival. The dock attendants are very helpful and attentive here.

Once we square away the boat, Tom and I head into town. Both the harbor and the town seem similar to that on the Greek island of Syros. The town square and buildings are marble edifices, a white city. Quite nice! A tourist train sits waiting in front of the government buildings. Tom and I decide to ride the train to get a lay of the city… grocery stores, vegetable market, pharmacies and a place for me to buy some needed boat shoes. The decks get hot during the day. Also, it is much safer to wear boat shoes when off shore waves spray over the decks. The train is pleasant, provides the info we need while providing respite for Tom’s swollen arthritic ankles.

Very large grocery store sits on the large front street bordering the harbor. The staff kindly lets us keep our paid for groceries in the store while we run a couple of more errands. Then they call us a taxi to take us back to the boat. Time for a short rest and then it is off to dinner on shore. The three of us choose a “Lonely Planet” recommendation…Mesathes. (Tel: 26950 49315) located near the Byzantine Museum. The owner plays guitar and has a pleasant singing voice. A fellow diner decides to join the owner in singing some of the more well (known tunes. Happily, he does stop singing to allow conversation at the tables. The food is Ok. The service is very good. Tatiana, our waitress, was very pleasant and attentive. Glad for the short walk back to the boat.

Visits to Kythera and Zakynthos were unexpected detours…but isn’t that when all adventures begin?