After our lovely evening out with Katie and Loui, it was time to bid them farewell on Monday morning (September 21st) so they could catch their plane from Catania back to Gatwick. It had been a great week having them on board despite not having a working fridge (sorry girls!) and losing one of their favourite towels overboard (Jo’s bad).
The ever helpful George gave us all a lift into town in his rib so they could catch their bus and we could do some food shopping as we were very low on basics (or perfectly timed to coincide with their departure). We had decided to stay in Taormina another day as the wind was due to come up again overnight and the swell was high between Sicily and Malta. During our tour around town we found a fishmonger who sold us a mountain of ice so we could finally have a cold beer! Bliss.
We spent a lazy day pottering about the boat doing chores and getting ready for our 120nm trip directly back to Malta. Fresh swordfish on board that night with a very nice bottle of Voignier, served very cold of course.
Tuesday morning we took our dinghy this time to get more ice, calamari and bread before setting off for Malta at around 1230. It felt like we were liveaboards again getting fresh provisions in the dinghy.
The journey back was uneventful apart from the fact that out of the 23 hour journey, we only managed to sail about 4 of them. The swell was coming from the west and we were going south so the waves were beam on, which meant for an uncomfortable rolly trip back. Still, with the AIS working, it was easy to spot ships’ courses and avoid if necessary. Whilst we were still close to Sicily, we saw four navy frigates, a submarine, a spotter plane who seemed to take quite an interest in us and two helicopters. Not sure if it was anything to do with the refugee crisis or just manoeuvres.
Dinner on board, obviously, consisted of Fray Bentos (delicious) and the remains of the fregola we had with the swordfish. For those uninitiated, fregola is a Sardinian national dish similar to semolina. We arrived back in Malta around 1130 and Peter had found us a spot on M pontoon rather than the breakwater. Much more secure and closer to the shops and marina office. The only problem was that we weren’t sure of the numbering and there were two spaces. So, 50/50 chance on getting it right. Perfectly parked first time round and, of course, it was the wrong berth. Parked a second time and again perfect. It doesn’t happen that often when there are just two of you on board so we were very pleased. It was also the first time we had been in a marina since leaving Malta ten days ago. After lunch and a nap, more chores to get her ready for the winter as she is being lifted out next Thursday. We have a long list of things to do before we leave on Sunday but at least we don’t have to worry about catching a weather window to get her back now.
Off to local Italian restaurant this evening, Mamma Mia, to have pizza as we didn’t manage it all the time we were in Sicily!