Yacht Pipit


Marina di Ragusa (MdR), 3rd December 2012

Well you don't need to be a Master Mariner or Yachtmaster to know that the above doesn't look very nice! And this is what it looks like just outside the marina:

Someone much wiser than I once said it's better to be in harbour wishing you were out at sea rather than being out at sea wishing you were in harbour. Wise words indeed...

This is what it looks like on a calm day.

Six weeks to the day after arriving in MdR, we have 30 knot winds, gusting 40, and are slewing around and heeling over quite a bit. Still, the sun's still out! In fact, although the weather has been predominately warm & sunny we've had more rain & wind in the last 6 weeks than we had in the whole of last winter in Lagos. However Andy did make it to December before wearing trousers instead of shorts, and then only in the evenings so far.

We've settled in to life in the marina and there are plenty of social activities going on. There are quite a number of Americans and Australians here (some of them even speak something recognisable as English...), as well as plenty of British, with many other European countries having a representation.

Now we've had time to explore a bit, we can comment on our surroundings. The town of Marina di Ragusa serves our daily needs, having one largish supermarket and two smaller ones, albeit they are all a fair walk away. There are two hardware stores, a Post Office, hairdressers, a chandlery and a few restaurants that are open during the winter. But Lagos it ain't. The beaches don't compare with the Algarve either - not as clean, and a lot of the beachfront properties look in need of attention. But we weren't expecting another Lagos - there is a good reason why people return there every year, despite the marina being expensive. In MdR we don't have the natural beauty of La Roche-Bernard, where we spent our first winter, nor the convenience, beautiful beaches and coastal walking of Lagos, but we do have a similar liveaboard community to last year, the marina staff are friendly & helpful and it is about a quarter of the price of Lagos! Also the Ionian is not too far away...

Last weekend we walked to Punta Secca beach and lighthouse - our first walk that warranted getting out the walking boots, although the regular walk to the supermarket comes close - this is where the part of the Sicilian detective series Inspector Montalbano (we've still watched only one episode Dave!), currently being shown on BBC4, is filmed:

Last week we hired a car - Andy had wanted an Alfa or a Fiat 500 but neither was available, so we booked the next best thing - a Fiat Panda. What we got was a Peugeot 107, whose best feature was that it had a three cylinder engine that, when revved, sounded like a small V6, even if it didn't go like one... We drove to Ragusa, with the intention of visiting two shopping malls for some things we can't get in MdR, and then the old town. The malls weren't as useful as we'd expected, and apart from a few items in a large supermarket we came away empty handed. Ragusa has two distinct parts - Ragusa, the old part, and down the long steep hill Ragusa Ibla, the really old part. Both have some impressive Baroque architecture:

An ornate torch or flagstaff holder?

A pleasant and inexpensive pasta lunch at Il Barocco, Ragusa Ibla. An impressive building inside and out, there are better photos than this one on their website. Can't remember what I was trying to look at - the menu probably...

We've started working our way through the jobs list and, as usual, have done a number of things that weren't on the list, so obviously we had to quickly add them just so we could cross them off...

One of the jobs - re-sealing the edges of the cockpit teak with Sikaflex.

Preparation & masking takes much longer than applying the Sikaflex, but pays dividends. We've also done the cockpit sole and side deck outside edges and are very pleased with the results.

As our shopping expedition to Ragusa was somewhat fruitless, we've turned to our old online friends Amazon, M&S and John Lewis, amongst others. There's not much you can't get online these days, including food items, although the shipping cost of a Haggis to celebrate St Andrew's Day would have been more than the cost of the wee beastie itself, so we had to forego that. There is a good explanation of the Wild Haggis here.

So that's about it for now, Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, but I doubt we'll be having one of those this year either... Maybe a Kindle, but which one, £69 basic or Paperwhite? Oh dear...

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