Sat 7 Aug 2010 07:33
38:11N 15:33E
I lost track of harbor/anchor place I guess last blog, , as I now remember Rocella we were in a marina. I have already lost track of which day in the week this is... Is this a...uh.... working day? (Lebowski speak). Perfect. Nice spot. Instructed by the coastguard on arrival to berth elsewhere in the marina, as we did not fit the appointed place. After a few beers we decided to check out the local restaurant with a fish dish. This was really disappointing, so we ordered a family patates fritos to prevent having to sleep with an empty stomach.

Earlier yesterday there were fires on the mountains we could see from a distance. Places scooping up water from the sea flew in, lowered, touched water, and likely 15 seconds later took off and returned to the smokey mountains. We tried to record and show this but are struggling to get it on youtube, as A's laptop is broken and H's chip does not fit G's computer, capice?

Today then.Numerous dolphins joined the boat on our way to Reggio de Calabria, in the straight of Messina, where the boot of Italy kicks the ball of Sicily. Lots of big ship traffic, lots of wind, lots of current, which was also against us. After finally getting Reggio, we double checked the harbor approach, and learnt that the maximum LOA (Length Over All) was 12m, so we could not go in. On to Messina then, on Sicily, on the other side of the straight. This is where one has to cross the ship traffic channels with care, and the quickest, which is to aim 90 degrees. Practically, due to wind and current, the boat will not go 90 degrees, but maybe 81, however, correcting the course and ensuring true 90 degrees takes more time then just aiming 90 degrees...

The Messina 'harbor' was the smallest we entered so far, a few finger pontoons, floating, and not a lot of space between them, while just at the entry of the commercial harbor of Messina, lots of ferries, lots of waves, not optimal for a good night sleep. We prepared for a stern-to berth, with NW4 on our side... We passed the berth slowly on our Port, reversed slowly backwards to Port and with a bit of Bow Thruster to Starboard, this was a piece of cake. But the Bow thruster did not work.... We were now laying dead still, but wind was pushing the boat slowly but surely towards the boat next to us, that is, their anchor which was pointing out quit far. The germans were protective and help H holding the boat of. Now the thruster did work, and we reversed slowly and controlled to retry, this time we would go bow-to, so straight a head and take a left :) One of us tripped and accidentally flinged the power controller backwards, FULL SPEED. Just 1 or 2 seconds to make the boat yet again not behave as planned in this tiny location. Anyways, with some guidance from the local dude and the germans, we put the boat safe to the finger pontoons.

Later that evening, after we had overcome the complete rip off fee of 100 euro's for this no-electricity, whobbly and noisy marina, we went shopping. I''ll spare the details of trying to find a supermarket, but I can tell you that in Italy wednesday afternoon, all supermarkets are closed, still not sure why?

Eventually we found a liquor/water store and we took about 50Liters of water, plus beer, wine and juices. The consequence was about each arm carrying 12 kilo, 24 lbs/ After 3 meters I returned to the shop and suggested with body language they could drive us to the marina. YES! They wanted to. a tiny fiat showed up 10 minutes later, and after a confusing long drive to the various ferries despite our pointing the right direction, we finally arrived at the marina entrance, facebook id's were shared and everyone was happy! Thanks to the shop dudes.