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DESTINY DIARY 2010, Part 1 - Greece and Turkey.

Winter Work.
We spent a long winter in Malta, and had a lot of work done on 'Destiny'. The aft deck now has a hard roof with built in lights, instead of the canvas 'tent', -no more flappy bits: it makes such a difference. We also did a major cosmetic job on the hull, we always felt that the view from behind was too big, so we repainted the upper transom white, which effectively lowers the aspect and then did the same around the aft sides. If you look at the pictures you'll see what we mean. 'Destiny' looks a lot prettier now, except for the color of the deck: I couldn't find the right green, and the one I found glows in the dark, but it will have to do until the next paint job.
We also raised the bathing platform, so that it doesn't drag in the water so much. Then we added a roller furling gear, which allows us to use our jib sail, and finally we changed the internal lighting to LED's, which reduces our power consumption at night, which means more time between battery charging.
Since John had commitments until late June, our 2010 cruise started late and so was a bit short, but we finally got away at the beginning of July.
Destiny As She Was   Spot the changes :-
  Hard roof,
  White band around the scupper line,
  Transom repainted,
  Roller Jib,
  Raised bathing platform.
Destiny Upgraded
'Destiny' As She Looked Before. 'Destiny' As She Looks Now.
We Get Away
We were planning to go to the eastern Med. for the next couple years, so the plan was to fill up with fuel in Tunisia where the price is good (€0.50/Ltr).Phil and Margaret on 'Argos' had joined us in Grand Harbour Marina and decided to come with us as they were heading West but also needed some diesel.
On July 2nd, the weather forecast being good,'Destiny' and 'Argos' and left Grand Harbour Marina and anchored in Mellieha bay on the west side of Malta for a short night.The following morning we upped anchor at 5 a.m. and headed for Lampadusa in the fog. (Lampadusa - go Google it - is a small volcanic island half way between Malta and Africa).
It was nice to be back at sea, we saw some turtles, dolphins and even a swordfish. By 7 p.m. we were anchored off Lampadusa in the Bay of Guitgia for another short night. I had my first swim in a 25C sea.
After another early start at 5 a.m. we reached Monastir early Sunday afternoon.
Sunset Argos
We finally gett away. Phil and Margaret on Argos - All the way from Oz.
We were given a mooring on the main quay and after long customs, police and harbor master formalities, (this time it cost us two t-shirts and 5€uros), we explored the marina. It is a big marina, lots of restaurant, cafs souvenir shops, and holiday apartments. We should have known it was a typical tourist trap, and our dinner ashore was a big disappointment.
The town of Monastir is a very old town, built on the ruin of a Punic-Roman cityy. We walked around the Ribat, which was where 'Life of Brian' was filmed. Monastir is also where the first Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba was born and a beautiful mausoleum was built at the top of the Mosque Esplanade.
Monastir Mausoleum
Harbour entrance at Monastir. The Habib Bourguiba Mausoleum.
We visited the town and got 'caught' by a friendly native, who happily showed us around before 'inviting us to take a coffee in his brothers carpet emporium. We left with two carpets for the house, I think I made a good bargain though.
The highlight of our stay in Monastir was our tour to El Jem. We organized a friendly taxi driver to take us around. El Jem is famous for its Roman amphitheatre capable of seating 35,000 spectators. We visited the most beautiful museum of mosaics that had been found in the nearby market city of Thysdrus, where large Romans villas were uncovered. On the way back to Monastir we stopped at Mahdia, an old Punic harbour and the boys wanted to visit the old shipyard in Teboulba where they still build traditional wooden boats in the old way. The taxi driver had never been to the yard before and couldn't understand why the crazy tourists wanted to see boats being built, but it was very interesting especially from Phils point of view, he being a carpenter/ boat builder himself.
Tunis roofs El Jem
Carpet emporium, top floor - No escape from here. El Jem - The Collosseum and taxi driver.
We did not want to stay long, as it was noisy at night with the cafs on the quay side, but windy weather prevented us from leaving until finally, on July 8th, after loading Destiny with 1921 liters of deisel for €980, we headed north to Hammamet, which was just as noisy with disco music alll night. But we decided this time, to visit Tunis by train, a new experience.
It was Saturday and the souk was heaving with people, we were rescued by a local Tunisian who later proposed that we take a coffee in his brothers carpet emporium! This time we resisted - there's a limit to how many carpets you can use on a boat! The souk is enormous and we saw some interesting old shops. John bargained and bought some Tunisian, curly toe, leather slippers for himself at the outrageous price of €7. For lunch we went to a 'locals' restaurant and had a traditional Tunisian couscous - didn't/couldn't ask what was in it, but it tasted great.
Margaret and I wanted to go back to Tunis later to visit the Bardo museum, but after another noisy night and the forecast being good, we decided to leave Tunisia and headed back north to Italy. We dropped anchor overnight on the south side of Pantelleria Island, (another rock between Europe and Africa), south of Sicily. The wind came up in the night and 'Argos' had to leave as his anchor wasn't holding. We stayed on and left at 7 a.m. with a nice little breeze, we hoisted the main and genoa!!! We were sailing!
El Jem Mosaics El Jem Mosaics
El Jem - The mosaic museum. El Jem - The mosaic museum.
We reached Sciacca (Italian for backache - in Sicily and met up again with 'Argos'. We found a berth in 'Il Corallo yacht club'. The friendliest place in Italy, with a very welcoming club president, not only did he present us with some local wine but also sent us to a great little fish restaurant 'Pretoria Mokarta'. They served a fresh selection of small fish for starters, a whole fish for main course, superb desert, all for €22 per person including water and wine; in Italy, that's a great deal! Well worth a visit.
Pantelleria Sciacca
A house on a rock in the Mediterranean. Sicily from a distance.
The following day we rented a car (through the marina, which earned us another bottle of the local vino) and drove to Palermo, the capital of Sicily. I enjoyed walking through the town and looking at the architectural remains from Roman and Arab times, the Palazzo and the churches. On the way back we visited the Greek temple of Selimonte, beautiful but a bit of a tourist's trap. (A little precision here - Eva and Margaret, studied the stones, John and Phil, studied a couple of bottles of cold beer).
Pretoria Fontaine Cathedral
The Pretoria Fountain in Palermo. Palermo Cathedral.
We had to go on, it's a pity we did not spend more time to visit Sciacca, it is an interesting small town with its medieval center - maybe next time. Our next port was Ragusa, a huge new marina and almost empty. We were welcomed by a very friendly young lady boatwoman, Tatiana, but Ragusa was too expensive to stay a second night so we moved on in the morning and anchored at Correnty Tower for a swim and hull clean and then spent the night in Porto Palo.
After our morning swim we continued to Syracuse. We showed the town to Phil and Margaret and then it was time for good byes as they were heading north for Italy, France and Spain and we were going to Greece and Turkey. But it was agreed that they would come to see us at home for Christmas!
Marsala Phil, Marg and John
The entrance to Marsala, known for wine and Garibaldi. Phil, Margaret and John take time out.
Our plan was to leave at 4a.m to cross to Greece, but with a fiesta and two discos on the shore it was impossible to sleep. So at midnight on July 18th we left Syracuse with fireworks on the shore to see us off!!!! This is the main problem in the summer, disco music is polluting every shore, and we cannot understand how people can stand it night after night, until early morning boom, boom, boom! Do the tourists really want that? How do the locals put up with it?
Selimonte.jpg Temple E
Selimonte in Sicily - More old rocks. More of Selimonte.
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