Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 4 - 75? Km from Catania

This morning we managed to get out of Letojanni where we've been stuck for a day and a half. Beautiful town, but being stranded was making us both a bit stir crazy. Paddled down the coast to Nizza where we met up with Antonello. 

Antonello brought us to his mother's place for a truly amazing lunch. Homemade wine, homemade sausage, pasta with zucchini and pistachio pesto, these amazing cauliflower fritters, octopus he caught himself... Just lovely. 

Our boats were definitely sitting lower in the water after lunch than before, but maybe that was the dinner Antonello's mother made us to take with. (And despite swearing we wouldn't be able to eat another bite today, we managed to put a pretty good dent in it after setting up camp.)
If all Sicilian mothers cook like Serena's and Antonello's, Sicilians are lucky indeed. :)     

The kindness and generosity of the people we've met has been truly astounding. No matter how beautiful the scenery is here (and it is beautiful), the people are even better.

After lunch, Antonello joined us for an hour of paddling. Conditions were lovely all day despite a forcast that promised rain. We rounded a point and made camp on the beach at a little town I don't know the name of, but it seems to be across from the toe of the boot. 

Chores and dinner over, I decided to take a walk into town. Walking through the dark of the deserted beach, all of the sudden I hear footsteps to the side of me. I shine my light. Nothing. I keep walking. Then hear them again. Then all of the sudden it feels like a cloud of butterflies is trying to grab my arm. I scream and turn around and rush back to camp. It felt like someone else was there. René thinks I am crazy, but I am sure it was a ghost. I think it may be a couple days before I take a dark walk down a beach alone again.

Tomorrow we'll get through the strait and head along the northern coast. It's been a slower journey than we'd planned, but I have faith we'll make it up.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day two - 50 km from Catania

Our first morning was lovely, with an excellent cannoli send-off from Catania. The boat Giuseppe at Overline was kind enough to lend me was excellent, but I am too inexperienced a packer to get all my crap into it. Giancarlo was generous to offer me the use of his own boat, another Overline Aretusa, the same one René is paddling. I love it. Great boat. We got to tour the factory where they handmake them. Pictures will be posted on our team blog - - at some point.

The weather got a bit rough at the end of day one. My first big wave experience. Got worked a bit on the rough surf landing, but we made it in. This morning started out lovely, but we headed in earlier than planned because of some high winds. Looks like tomorrow is going to be very bad, so we may get stuck for a couple days. Too much getting stuck and it might get tricky to finish by April 1, but I'm more into staying safe than finishing on time, to be honest. We'll get a dawn start as soon as we can get out and haul ass to see if we can make up some time. In the meantime, we're in Sicily paddling. Life is pretty good.