We have left Greece behind us and are now heading to Sicilia. After 4 months on Karukera, this step will be considered as the beginning of the return of the journey. We have already traveled more than 3000 miles (around 6000km) and the boat has suffered. All the problems we had in Greece are not abnormal for a 46 years old boat. Since we left, we knew technical problems will happen and until now we have been able to manage all of them and we are still sailing. Our wind turbine and our water turbine allow us to be autonomous in energy aboard. We haven’t plug the battery to the 220 volts since more than 3 months. And even if our GPS is dead, the navigation system controller still works very well.
So we’re coming home. Yahia and Alix will take a plane in Palerme and Cassandre will leave some weeks after. Nobody is expected on the boat after them (for the moment). We won’t visit other countries. All those considerations aren’t good for the moral of the crew. And this is not the weather condition of the crossing to Sicilia or the first stops in Sicilia which will help us to regain it.
So without GPS, we are leaving Greece at 6a.m. The first day is very hard: rough seas and strong winds (25-30knots), moreover we must sail close to the wind. The short waves are very uncomfortable for the boat and for the crew. We sail with 3 reefs in the main sail, half of the genoa and no artimon. Because it can always be worse, there are leaks in the aft cabine. The bulkhead which separe the aft cabine from the anchor is not waterproof anymore, beds are wet.
Hopefully, the sea becomes calmer and we manage to rest. During the night, as the wind decreases, we put more sails. And in the beginning of the morning, the wind leaves us definitely, we start the engine. It will be on until the end of the crossing… Regarding to the sea, the second day will be more comfortable than the first but the loud sound of the engine is still among us.
We are heading to Messina, with the hope of taking a shower. Since the arrival of Alix in Roma, we have taken only 3 real showers. It is ok for one week, but after one month it becomes hard. Once in Messina, the Ormeggiatori announce us the price of the night: 88€! For just one night, and we still have to pay water or electricity! We will negotiate the night at 70€ with free water. We enjoy the showers highly paid.
After the strong sailing condition, we double check the rigging. We want to be sure that everything is ok.
During this inspection, we go in the city looking for a new GPS. We find nothing cheaper than 250€, still expensive for us. Yahia our computer guy aboard will find a solution by connecting the GPS signal of our smartphone to the navigation system controller via wifi. And it works!
It could not be cheaper. For those who want a cheap and complete navigation system controller, take your smartphone and do the same!
Now we are heading to Scylla, a small fishing harbour at the beginning of the Messina strait. We went there two weeks ago and we found a place where it was free. Unfortunately, the place is not available anymore. We will put the anchor in front of the beach. But there is a lot of plastic bag in the sea and one of them go in the propeller.
We dive to put it out and we sail to Milazzo. Alix and Yahia will leave from there. But a loud sound breaks the calm of the day. Plastic is blocked in the autolube ring, (a ring near the propeller which maintain it in a good position). After removing the last pieces of plastic, we observe that it has moved a little bit.
That is not very good but we test the engine after that and the problem seems to have disappear. We will need to check it offently.
Once in Milazzo, we have the same « price problem » than in Messina. The first marina located in an industrial harbour demands 88€. No possibility to deal with the guy, then we leave. The following marina is more comfortable and closer to accomoditons but the Ormeggiatori asks us 120€ for the night! We will negociate the price at 70€ and, even if it’s still too expensive, we will stay for the night.
The day after, Yahia et Alix take their train to Palerme. We are three on the boat and heading to Vulcano.