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Date: 10 May 2013 16:46:00
Title: Isola Vulcana, Porto di Levante

I say we had a great sail for the first 50 NM (Sue says "The Jury's still out!"). You see, we had little or no wind overnight in Taormina and it was just as we picked-up the hook it started to blow............ F5 from the North, this being our intended direction! With plenty time to spare before we could get our favourable tidal stream and because it's always more pleasurable to sail, we tacked our way northwards towards Messina. The F5 increased to a good F6 as progressed towards the 'funnel'. Even the decks got a good wash. 9NM short of Messina we called Messina Traffic Control on C16. Having answered ALL their questions (and convinced them we are 2 crew and 0 passengers they kindly confirmed our expected tidal stream direction and rates (which confirmed my planning on the dot) and asked us to listen on C10 & C16 and proceed with caution (which means dodging the big ships and ferry boats) with the assumption everything else in Italy demands an automatic right of way! What t
hey didn't tell us was to watch out for the odd submarine! Bloody big thing cam out and crossed our bow making us look pretty small (in prospective). A minutes earlier timely decision to take down sails and go on donk was another good-un. As we passed Messina to port a BIG stink-pot (liner/cruiser) came out and the Messina Pilot on board radio'd us and demanded we keep clear (we'd already figured this out anyway ......... its about BIG ships in narrow channels not being little'uns) and the waters began to boil! We kept reasonably clear of Punta Pezzo where there can be an infamous 'whirl-pool' and almost doubled our speed over ground as we lurched from one eddy to t'other. When we finally cleared the northern entrance there was little or no wind and what there was .......... yep 'on the nose' from the west!
We planned to be go on the hook in Porto di Pontente (where we have visited before). Unfortunately it has no navigational lights and there was no moon. Hence we opted for where we are now, Porto di Levante (and followed a ferry in just after midnight (this morning). In total 91NM for the day....... another good-un!
This morning we were up again for the Dragnet (local SSB call-in). Then it's dive-gear on and bottom-inspection/cleaning time. The good news is......... the Coppercoat re-work last summer appears ticketeeboo. Has cleaned-up lovely. Power-washed (my invention for under-water cleaning) our prop........ also come up a treat! The water-line took some cleaning. Notwithstanding a short break for lunch I've been in the water nearly all day........ another good-un! Very pleased with the resulting clean bottom & waterline, which looks brill.
There's some headwinds coming soon from the West, so we'll need to keep a good eye on this before setting-off West! Towards Ustica and on towards S-end Sardinia. Overnight sailing tacking into >F5/F6 (and possibly more) would not be the way to keep my Lover a happy bunny!!!
PS Will add pick of the sub when have normal internet again. I asked Sue to take the pic and received her rebuke "I don't want to get arrested!"


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