After dropping the other crewmates in Sicilia, we are now three aboard : Adrien, Cassandre and Olivier and our next step is the Island Vulcano. We sail during a few hours in very comfortable conditions towards the island where we discover a strange smell. It comes from the sulfur of the volcano, a smell very similar to rotted eggs. On the island, we can see people in warm mud baths : they are known to be very good for the skin. But we won’t take the time to enjoy them and we head to Lipari, the biggest island of the Aeolian islands. There, as always in Italy, the marina costs 70€ for the night. But we don’t want to pay anymore. Weather conditions are cool and we will moor somewhere else. We find a beach with pub, wifi. Luckily, the wifi is on during all the night and we use it to upload photos on the website. The next island we are moving to is Salina. We moor there too and we repair the porthole of the aft cabin which was not waterproof anymore.
Next step : Aliduci, the far west island of the Aeolian islands. In the middle of the afternoon, with the engine on , we hear a suspicious noise coming from the engine. We have a look and we realize the alternator is vibrating dangerously. One screw is untied and a cable is disconnected. That explains our doubt on the capacity of the battery since a few days. It does not come from the battery but from the alternator! The hole where the screw goes through is larger than normally, it is not safe to use. We put down the alternator and we continue only with the electricity of the solar panel, which is large enough in Mediterranean Sea. We stay in Aliduci just for the night : we have found a free spot at the fisher dock. The day after, we head in the morning toward Ustica, an island well known for diving, located in the west of the Aeolian islands.
We arrive in Ustica at the end of the day and, one more time, we find a free spot but this time on the diving boat’s dock. In the morning, we find the material to repair the alternator. We fulfill the water tank and the gasoline tank and are ready to leave to Sardinia. It is a great crossing with 200 miles and a total lack of wind. It is useless to wait for it : weather forecast says it won’t come for a week and if we wait too much, strong gale force winds are to be expected. So we decide to go now, only with the engine on our side. As you can understand, we are not in our best mood. Hearing the noise of the diesel engine is very boring. Hopefully, we have a lot of books aboard and we will spend a lot of our time to read.
The only distraction of the crossing : we see a turtle at 5 meters of the boat. We try to follow it but it dives without letting us the time to take one picture… After two days, we finally see Sardinia. The wind increases while dark clouds cover the sky, we are about to finish the navigation under the rain. Finally, we arrive at the island of Tavolara at midday totally wet.
Once the boat well anchored, we leave the boat in order to eat a well merited plate of pasta at the restaurant on the beach. We come back to the boat in the afternoon and we rest for a while, but at 19p.m. the wind come back very roughly : despite the anchor, we are drifting to the beach! Even with the engine we are in difficulty to counter the wind. As we are entering the swimming area, we manage to get back the anchor. Now we can put a little of the jib sail, that helps us to take more speed and we can sail at 45° to the wind. Five minutes later, we are out of danger and heading to Olbia, a very good shelter. There we are happily surprised to find another free dock.
The day after, we meet the fablab of Olbia. They are organizing an event to familiarize children with new technologies such as 3D-printing and laser cutting. Helped by a translator (our italian is not good enough yet), we present our adventure. After the presentation, we invite children to come aboard, they are fifteen running on the deck.
Just before arriving in Oblia, we had noticed the engine was one more time difficult to start. We suspect our engine to be clogged, as in Elbia. We take the exhaust system apart in order to clean it. After that, the engine looks a little easier to start.
In Olbia we meet Yann and Petra, they have been sailing since three years in the Mediterranean Sea on Nautic of Humble, a boat as long as ours. We spent an excellent evening with them but the next day, we are leaving on our boat while they are leaving on their bikes to a lake in the mountains. In the evening, we arrive at Capreira, a little island 8 miles from Olbia. We spent the night here and in the morning, when we start the engine, the oil alarm does not stop beeping. In addition to that, one of our winch does not want to work anymore, he claims for more oil too! There is a lot to be done on the boat, that is why we decided to come back in Oblia, a place where we can find a lot of services.
After an engine inspection, we conclude that the lubrification oil is full of dirt and because of that, the oil filter have been clogged. The oil could not pass along properly anymore, so the pressure went down and the alarm beeped. First step : we change all the oil of the motor and we put a new oil filter.
We take this occasion to change the gasket of the oil pump because it was leaking since a few days. But we cannot wait the gasket to be sent here so we use milk bottle. The carton of those bottles is very efficient to realize a basic gasket. The hardest is to cut properly the carton.
After all those reparation, we start the engine : the oil problem looks resolved but the engine still does not want to start well. After the air exhaust, we can check the exhaust valves but it involves a difficult operation : we must take the cylinder head out. We do not have any other solutions, so go on! When we finally see the exhaust valves, we understand immediately
We are very happy to have discover the problem but there is still a lot to do. We spent all the day to clean different parts of the engine. At 7p.m we finish replacing the second head cylinder, and are ready to start. We are all very tensed when we turn the key…and it starts perfectly! We celebrate it with Yann and Petra, who came back from their bike trip three days ago.
We clean one more time the boat which have momentarily been transformed into a garage and are ready to leave. Yann and Petra sail with us to Golfo Pevero, a shelter 20 miles from Olbia. It is very comfortable to sail with another sailing boat.
The day after, we move to the Madalena Islands. The wind is against us and is very strong (30 knots), but the water is calm. Yann and Petra are still with us. The navigation is not easy, we must slalom among the reefs, the navigation is very similar as in Britany! We finally find a good spot to spend the night.
In the morning we leave the beautiful Madalena Islands and say goodbye to our friends. Yann and Petra continues to the west while we head toward the Lavezzi Islands in Corsica.21