04 Jun - 25 Jun 2002 Syracuse

Mediterranean Sea
Southern Ionian Sea
Italian Republic
Syracuse Bay
Grand Harbour
SY "Kamu II" with her stern to the yacht quay and with her bow anchor on a very long chain.

Click below for a bird's-eye view of our harbour berth:

Click here for a summary of this year's travels:
2002 Map

Clearing Italian customs and immigration free of charge in a very elaborate and complicated process (as if they were doing this for the first time ever) which lasted two full days thus filling in many wrong and right forms, queuing a few times for the wrong and right rubber stamps at the wrong and right offices with the wrong and right officer (all of them very polite, well-groomed and clad in immaculate snow-white and golden carnivalesque marine uniforms, including white Versace socks and white, hand sewn designer shoes) and producing a booklet of filled-in and stamped forms - all in correct Italian - as proof that our South-African ship SY “Kamu II” and we had legally entered Europe.

Berthing stern-to (nicknamed “roman-catholic mooring” which is the predominant mooring technique in the crowded Mediterranean harbours and means dropping the bow anchor three to five ship lengths off the jetty, then reversing until the ship’s transom is close enough to the jetty that Konni could jump onto the jetty and could tie up the ship with two stern mooring lines - quite a challenge with a long keel and a centre cockpit) amongst a long row of international sailing yachts and very close to the daily afternoon passeggiata, when well-dressed Syracusan couples strolled up and down the waterfront, stopping near the ships and the men talked to their wives, fianc├ęs, mistresses, girl-friends, mamas, grandmothers, sisters and female co-workers knowingly and with seemingly much experience and in great detail about the ships, always with plenty of gesticulation.

Exploring the city of Syracuse, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and probably Sicily’s most beautiful city, with her intoxicating mix of Greek, Byzantine and Baroque inspiration and thus visiting (i) the Fountain of Arethusa, on the Ortygia island where according to a legend, the nymph Arethusa, hunted by Alpheus, took shelter, (ii) the Ear of Dionysius, an artificial limestone cave whose name comes from its similarity in shape to the human ear and has extremely good acoustics, making even a small sound resonate throughout the cave, and was used by the tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse as a prison for political dissidents where he eavesdropped on the plans and secrets of his captives, and (iii) the 7th-century CE Cathedral with its 1599 CE silver statue of St. Lucy by Pietro Rizzo.

Sipping more than one cappuccino in the Piazza del Duomo, one of the most beautiful Baroque squares in all of Sicily.

Indulging in (i) home-made Italian durum wheat pasta in 1,001 different variations, shapes and sizes, e.g. spaghettoni, spaghetti, spaghettini, maccheroni, fusilli, lasagne, conchiglie, farfalle, fiori, bucatini, penne, rigatoni, vermicelli, fettuccine and tagliatelle (... and learning about the legend that Marco Polo had allegedly imported pasta from China which originated with the Macaroni Journal, published by an association of food industries with the goal of promoting the use of pasta in the United States, whereas durum wheat, and thus pasta as it is known today, was already introduced by Arabs from Libya, during their conquest of Sicily in the late 7th century CE, according to the newsletter of the National Macaroni Manufacturers Association, thus predating Marco Polo's travels to China by about six centuries), (ii) the cheeses of the region (our favourites: scamorza, salumi, ragusano, pecorino, belicino, provola and ricotta) and (iii) the Sicilian Salina Rosso  and Valle Belice Rosso red wines with their marked aromas of ripe fruits.

Taking strolls around Ortygia, where ancient 8th-century BCE Greek and 18th-century CE Baroque live side by side in near-perfect symmetry, and shopping the freshest fish, fruit and vegetables from the friendliest Sicilian vendors at the open-air fresh produce market in down-town, a mere 10 min walk from our ship.

Enduring a westerly on-shore gale which blew with up to 40 knots for almost 24 hours straight on our bow thus testing both our nerves and our 45-pound CQR bow anchor (which was 50 m in front of us properly dug into the mud at a depth of 8 m), the only and last line of defence before we would have hit the concrete jetty with the stern of SY "Kamu II".

Matt: Watching a great classical performance spiced up with some Hollywood-like, daring stunts in the 3rd-century BCE Greek open-air theatre at Syracuse, hewn completely out of the living rock, where the Italian version of Aeschylus’ “Prometheus” was being shown.

Socialising with fellow yotties Christiane & Hans (SY “Pipe”) from Germany, Joan & Wolfgang with their son Robert (SY “Protea”) from South-Africa/Germany and Monique & Daniel (SY “Pandora II”) from France.

Taking the local bus from Syracuse to Noto, 32 km SW of Syracuse at the foot of the Iblean Mountains, having a wander through Noto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most perfect example of Baroque architectural genius in Sicily, and mourning over the partial collapse of the magnificent Cathedral of Noto in 1996 CE, a great loss to Sicilian Baroque.

Matt: Reimbursing his accrued bonus air miles from the Qualiflyer Travelclub and flying with Volare Airlines (return ticket for free) from Catania/Italy to Dresden/Germany and visiting his family in Saxony.