Sicilly!

Christy Racecic arrived on Monday!

Backtracking a bit,

We LOVED the Eolian Islands north of Sicily.

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Lipari was our favorite when it came to the locals. From the woman who gave us samples of her favorite olives, to the man who was opening sea urchins while his young daughter watched, we found everyone friendly and warm.

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Pina! She requested us to write on her FB page.

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Locals selling us a fish.

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Kiosks selling nuts and herbs.

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Grecian influences.

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We rented a scooter and found a vineyard where the 3rd generation owners were generous and warm.We bonded and they brought out old photo albums to share their lives and history with us.

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The winemaker put the label on upside down at our request.

Now stored in our wine cellar AKA the dry bilge.

We bought herbs on the side of the road from a new mom and as we looked over a steep cliff from her stand, we saw the next place we would anchor.

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In the morning before departing Eric jumped in the water and was stung badly by a medusa (jellyfish) and we quickly read on line what to do. DO NOT PEE ON IT!  Depending on the medusa type you can use alcohol or vinegar, but first wash with salt water to get the tentacles off and use a credit card to scrape it if necessary.  Then pour the hottest water you can stand, and then cover with shaving cream. Really.   Antihistamines help with the swelling

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The sail was about 70  miles and all in daylight. Left at 7 and arrived at 7PM to Taormina where we spent the week.

Sailing through the Messina Straights (which separate Sicily from the mainland of Italy), we saw the local boats fishing for Swordfish/Spada.

They are approx 50’, with 80’ towers, and 70’ sprits.

The traditions of the sea in the different countries are so wonderful to see firsthand and we felt honored to watch them swoop around the mouth of the Messina Straights as they looked for the sleeping fish so they could harpoon them.  The currents were swirling and we would sail from 5 kts to 11 within minutes as we sailed against and then with the water flow.

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As soon as we hoisted the spinnaker the wind died.  And the dolphins came out to play in mass. One in particular was loving El Gato and showing off in style. He kept jumping for joy as we sang to him and laughed and encored him to do more. Was he a he? We think so.  Teenager for sure. haha

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Sicily is crowded. There are buildings everywhere, and the history is complex.

Many influences including Arab, Basque, Greek, Norman, and Roman, so the people are indeed a mix.

As we set our hook at Taormina and looked up, we discovered Mt Etna was emitting gases. IT is the highest active volcano in Europe at approx 3350 meters, or 11,111 ft. Approx because it keeps erupting and did so as recently as May this year!

We loved seeing the Greek ampitheatre and the Castel Mola at the top and met some friendly Canadians on the bus to share some giggles with at a famous bar known for it’s sexy artwork.

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Mt. Etna

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Our harbor at Taormina.

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Christy arrived and we took a day tour of Mt Edna with 2 fellow cruisers and 2 newlyweds. Being on a live volcano that erupted 2 months ago? Well we figured the odds were good that we would live through it!  Lunch at a vineyard and swimming in a gorge were included.

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French fries anyone?

Fabio was riding by the gorge!

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Ran into a famous martial arts teacher and tested my sparring skills. He almost killed me and he is 88!

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We hiked down into caves created by lava flows.

A water maker problem has delayed our sail to Greece so we are making the most of it.

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As we sit at the fuel dock next to the super yachts while the local electricians try to solve our issues, Christy and I are downloading photos and I am uploading this blog. We hope to sail to Cephalonia in a couple hours. The local markets here in Riposto are filled with fresh fish including Spada, and tons of beautiful fruits and veggies.

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It will be our longest sail of 250 miles and we are psyched! The reels are ready!

And so is Christy!
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