Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa to Argostoli Cephalonia
“How many years have you been doing this?” asked Harry our always chirpy taxi driver as he loaded our four large bags, one full of boat things, three full of Lynn’s things and a small bag containing my things into the boot of his car. This is our sixth year cruising we told him. Can it really be that long since we launched Pamarzi at St Katherine’s Dock surrounded by our friends and family?
A hassle free flight to Catania where Luciano was waiting to whisk us to Marina di Ragusa. Luciano and his wife Sandra run a taxi and car hire business in MdR and over the last few years we have become friends as well as clients no meeting now goes without Sicilian cheek kissing all round.
As in previous year Sam and Florencia along with various mechanics, electricians, and other specialists have been attending to Pamarzi in the winter months to keep her in pristine condition but it was still a delight to see her gleaming in the shipyard arc lights when we arrived at 23.30 that evening. Luciano insisting on taking some of our bags on the long walk out to pontoon M where we are berthed. It felt good to be back on board and despite the late hour even Porto the ship yard Labrador gave us a welcoming bark before resuming his slumbers.
That first week our focus was on refitting all the running rigging and our sails to ready Pamarzi for the riggers who were flying down from Genoa to check and tune our rig. They were very thorough and I’m pleased to say they gave Pamarzi a clean bill of health. Watching the riggers working out at sea whilst we were under full sail ninety foot above the waves with the boat heeled prompted Lynn to remark that she would not be taking it up as a profession.
The following days flew by as we washed and polished the topsides, mast and fittings and buffed every one of the many stainless steel fittings throughout the boat and a host of other jobs including the fitting of our new and very smart leather bottle screw covers. I crossed laced all nine of them with black cord and when Florencia saw them she said they reminded her of corsets. They will now aboard Pamarzi be known for all time as bottle screw corsets. All this work though was interspersed with fun filled evenings with other owners as they to prepared their boats for the coming season
Sandra with a car for a few days and we made several provisioning trips to supermarkets in Ragusa and MdR. Nearly ready, nearly ready and then the washing machine got its electronic knickers in a twist and we went in search of a Bosch dealer. Florencia eventually found one in Syracuse and an engineer arrived a couple of days later. He diagnosed that the machine needed a new computer! A week later and several hundred Euros poorer we were soon catching up on the laundry.
Rob and Liliane arrived on the 21st May, good to see them again and as usual they brought with them boxes of delicious Belgian chocolates. We were at last ready to go but the weather gods had other ideas and decided to put on a blow for a few days in the Ionian Sea. Thankfully the arrival of more boat owning friends made the social scene even livelier and the banter filled days passed quickly. The weather forecasts indicated a window of good conditions from the 25th and this meant that Charles could join us for the crossing. He has been hoping to join us on a passage ever since we launched and we were delighted that at last he could make it. He was with us by 14.30 on Friday 25th and by 15.30 we had cast off our lines and with a host of friends along the pontoon waving us off we slipped out of Porto Turistico in the late afternoon sunshine and a slight sea.
It was an easy and mostly comfortable crossing, there were a few hours of rolly seas but the north westerlies blew moderately between eight and eighteen knots for the whole voyage. Some forty two hours later around 10am local time we were all on deck as we motored, having lost the wind, about twenty five miles of the coast of Cephalonia heading toward Argostoli when the reel on the fishing rod screamed as line flew out. I grabbed the rod, Lynn slowed the boat and the battle began. As I put more tension on the reel to slow the escaping line the road arced seaward as the muscular creature at the other end sought its freedom. Charles flooded the after deck with water, Rob got down onto the sugar scoop gaff in anticipatory hand as the battle raged on one party seeking freedom the other seeking supper, many of them!) We got him, or her as it turned out, closer to the boat, a turmoil of splashing water and flashing silver scales as time and again she sought to escape. Nearer still and Rob made a successful gaff and we hauled the beautiful creature aboard where she was quickly despatched and half an hour of butchery later divided into forty three succulent steaks and two kilos of meat for a tuna tartare lunch. What a fantastic finale to the journey and great to have shared it with our son.
Argostoli bay was quiet as it has been in the previous two years, only one other boat at anchor in its forty acre or so expanse. I chose a spot to drop the hook in five meters of depth and we paid out forty meters of chain our bright yellow anchor buoy marking the spot. It was only later when Lynn was completing the log entry that she noted that our position was within two decimal places of latitude and longitude to where we had anchored in 2017 and 2016!
Supper at the Portside restaurant and breakfast next morning at the Captain’s Table and it was time to say goodbye to Charles who fly’s back to the UK today. I hot footed over to the Port office to do the necessary paperwork and the headed for the Vodaphone shop to acquire Greek sim cards for our router. Lynn and Liliane headed to the shops. Rob and I relaxed back aboard Pamarzi and it was not until late afternoon when we received the call to collect the girls from the harbour with their multiple carrier bags.
We leave for the island of Zakynthos tomorrow morning as we start our southward voyage in earnest.