Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fresh water springs and the Goodbye Party

6 April 2015
Yesterday was Easter Sunday.  One of the Dutch boaters in the marina announced on the VHF net yesterday that the town would have a 'parade' of sorts in celebration of Easter.  Supposedly they carry a coffin around the narrow winding streets as part of this Easter celebration.  She said the whole town participates and it would be interesting.  But we were too lazy to walk down to the town square so we missed it.  In honesty, we missed it for a couple of reasons.   We had no idea what time of day this 'parade of coffin' would occur.  It was a beautiful sunny day with still more wind than we would have liked.  That wind was really the reason we did not seek out that coffin parade.  It was far more pleasant to stay inside the boat.  This middle area of the Med sure is a windy place!  At least during winter and early spring, maybe it is calmer here during summer months; but we will never know because we will be long gone from here by then.  Three boats have already departed to start sailing season early.  It is still much too windy and cold for us but each day does seem ever-so-slightly warmer.  

This morning on the marina liveaboard VHF net 2 people announced that their folding bikes had been stolen overnight from the main center dock.  Apparently neither was locked, according to the owners.  Bill suggested that the habit of tying the gate open rather than keeping it locked might have contributed to these thefts, but his idea was poo-pooed by the net controller.  We all have transponders to gain access to the showers and toilets and to the gate that is supposed to control access to the docks.  The gate is supposed to remain locked but many of the bike riders like to tie that gate in open position so they can more easily ride back and forth.  I would prefer the gate remain locked to discourage local teenaged kids from coming onto the docks where our boats are berthed and where dozens of bicycles are kept on the docks.  But, hey, we don't own bikes so not our problem.  We leave nothing out to tempt theft. 

7 April 2015
The wind laid down overnight so early this morning we got the genoa back onto its foil.  It was so much easier to do in this 60F temperature than when we have had to do it in 85F.  I will be glad to have that sail bag out of the forward cabin where it has taken up so much space.  We bought a new bimini from Amel but we will continue to use the old one for a while longer and save the new one for later.  The new one needs zippers added to make installation on the frames easier.  Maybe we can find a canvas guy to add zippers when we do the routine haul-out next month in Malta. 

Note the 3 pale tan spots sanded smooth by our fenders

Fender board now in place
We had removed the fender covers when BeBe was moved to this berthing spot just before we left for the winter.  We were afraid that the fenders would rub the dock and destroy the fabric fender covers.  Turned out to be the right decision.  As you can see from this photo, our 3 fenders 'sanded' the wooden side of the dock smooth in a few places.  You can tell by the lighter color of the wood. Those fenders have much thinner sides now due to the rubbing motion all winter. We should have put up the fender board before we left for the winter to save wear and tear on the fenders.  It is up now though. (Now that it is no longer needed.)

When we moved the dinghy stowed on the foredeck in order to raise the genoa, we discovered that the hypalon tubing was rubbed raw in several places from the high winds all winter causing the dinghy to move slightly against the textured coach roof, even though it was securely tied tightly down with 3 lines.  Wore a hole in one tiny spot and roughed up the texture in numerous places.  That poor dinghy looks every day of its 12-year+ life span.  It truly looks sad.  We have always stowed the dinghy on the foredeck during winters and never had a problem of any kind doing so.  Just shows how nasty the winter winds are in this particular area of the Med.

8 April 2015
The marina diver was in the water for another boat this morning so Bill asked him to come to our boat when he finished there.  What a deal that turned out to be!  Instead of the usual minimum hour for 90 Euros, the diver charged us only 40 Euros for the half-hour that he cleaned our prop.  And he found a line wrapped around the prop and removed it!  That would have been a rude surprise when we leave the dock in a few weeks.  That line would have prevented the blades on our Auto-Prop from opening and spinning, resulting in not being able to propel the boat just when needed most in the confines of the marina.  Very thankful to the diver for his work this morning in the very cold water beneath our boat.

15 April 2015
Today was outboard day.  Last August or September when in Mljet, Croatia, our outboard quit.  After removing and inspecting lower unit and middle unit, we discovered that the allen key for the impeller had completely disappeared.  So Bill fabricated a key from a stainless steel bolt.  He ordered every part imaginable for that outboard while we were in Texas and we brought back bags of parts.  Today we once again disassembled the lower unit to replace the impeller, add correct rings and gaskets and replace the caveman key made from a bolt with the correct key.  All done and works like a charm once again. 

3 underwater springs.  Can you spot them?

2 of the springs are aligned with that stick marker between
them.  The 3rd is over at right edge of photo.

Marina di Ragusa has pretty clean water.  Much cleaner than most marinas this age.  I talked with the women in the office about this one day and was told that there are 3 underwater fresh water springs inside the marina that help keep the water so clean.  

A closer look at the 3rd spring which is closest to the dock.

Obvious 4th spring on western side of marina

One can easily see the 3 springs that the office staff mentioned.  These 3 springs are located on the eastern side of the main pontoon dock in the inner harbor area. 

These are small springs; nothing like the one we saw in Greece that was well over 100-ft diameter with very distinct edges. That one was really cool! 

Seriously!  How could we not have seen this spring earlier!
But there also is a 4th underwater fresh water spring.  I did not see this 4th spring when we were here in the autumn; I noticed this one right after our return arrival last month.  It also is located in the inner harbor area but on the far western side, opposite side from the marina office in the small boat docking area.  It is a 1/4 mile round-trip walk from our boat to the toilets and showers which are situated on the far western wall near where we were first docked, and we walk right past this spring daily.  

One day when the winds were relatively calm and waters flat inside the marina, this underwater spring was very noticeable.  

Since first noticing it, I cannot believe we had not noticed it earlier.   

Actually kind of hard to miss it.

Beginning to set up for B-B-Q

Last Saturday the marina hosted a 'Goodbye Barbeque' for all the yachties berthed here. They really did it up right, as we might say in Texas.  They set up on the ultra-wide main floating dock.  The big umbrellas were much appreciated on this sunny day.  (Although I still managed to burn a bit because it is so early in the season and we are still winter pale.)

Beer keg under this umbrella. It was the most popular
place on the dock.  Until about midnight!

Tables were set up for the food; even had fresh flowers on the tables.  

A keg of beer along with bartender to man the keg.  

Wine served and poured freely.  Along with bottles of water for those who did not imbibe.  

Almost finished setting up.  Just add the tables & chairs.

The marina provided the meats for barbeque as well as several other types of foods, including beautiful little pastries.  Everything was delicious.

Our contributions for the event were a couple batches of brownies to share, one batch made from Cadbury's cocoa and one batch from Italian cocoa.  The Italian cocoa is far superior!  Much darker and stronger rich flavor than the tasteless Cadbury's.  Also baked some cranberry/oatmeal bars to share, a new recipe that I will be baking again as these were surprisingly tasty and I have a few more bags of dried cranberries and plenty of pecans that I brought back from Texas.  And I made some deviled eggs to share.  Figured these things did not require cutlery or plates so would be easy to eat at a barbeque on the dock.

Judy chatting; having a good time

A great time was had by all, I think.  I talked for hours with a lovely woman from Cambridge. She taught English in Cambridge and now is teaching English as a personal tutor to the man who is in charge of this marina.  She introduced us to Julio.  I am not certain of his title but he is the man in charge of everything at this marina complex.  A nice man and his English already is good enough for conversation.

Had a good turn-out!

The marina surprised us by distributing door prizes.  I think there were 4 door prizes, the least of which was a dinner for 2 at the marina restaurant.  The second prize was 300 Euro discount on berthing here next winter season.  And first prize was 500 Euro discount on a haul-out here.  First Prize was won by Mario on Maltese Falcon. Those were some really nice door prizes!!  Many thanks to Julio!

And a great time was enjoyed by all.  Good food;
plenty to drink; and enjoyable conversation.
Photo taken from our mizzen deck.
At one point when people were beginning to clean up I was shocked to see a woman from one of the boats berthed here scrape food off a plate into the water!  I do not know who she was; but she was a yachtie and not an employee of the marina.  This absolutely shocked me; not surprised but shocked!  One does not throw food into the water in a marina.  How could anyone do that!!  We do not even pour the liquid from a used jar of pickles down the galley sink into the water in a marina.  So to see someone scraping parts of sandwiches and other partially eaten food directly into the water was positively shocking.  Please do not do this!  Marina waters get filthy fast enough without deliberately throwing garbage into the sea.  And do not think, "oh, I'm just feeding the fish" as that is not what you are doing; you are disposing of garbage into the sea.  

As noted previously in this blog posting, this particular marina has those fresh water springs and these help keep down marine growth on boat bottoms and propellers.  The clean water of this marina is one of its best assets.  Please do not throw garbage into the sea when within 12 NM of land as per international law.  Within 3 NM is okay only if the garbage is ground into particles less than 1-inch in size.  

The 3 parts of AeroPress coffee maker
On a few of the online sailing forums there have been discussions of what is the best coffee maker to have on a cruising sailboat.  Based on numerous glowing recommendations, I purchased an AeroPress while we were in Houston over the winter.  This is basically a tiny 3-part plastic device that makes individual cups of brewed coffee.  One places either a paper filter (required for the ultra-fine ground coffee sold here in Italy) or a metal disk filter (works well with normal grind versions of coffee sold elsewhere) into the tiny bottom part and screws it onto the main part.  Then spoon coffee into the top.  Place device over a coffee cup and pour in boiling water.  After 10 seconds, insert the plunger piece into the top section and press down to force any remaining water through the coffee grounds.  This is supposed to make up to 4 cups of espresso-level strong coffee.  For American style coffee, just add boiling water to each poured cup to desired strength.

This little contraption does make surprisingly good coffee.  Bill and I each drink one large mug of coffee each morning.  This little AeroPress makes exactly 2 large mugs following the process I described in the previous paragraph.  Having the used coffee grounds pressed into a small disk also makes for easy clean-up, something always appreciated in a boat galley.  I would recommend the AeroPress to any sailor looking for an easy way to make really good coffee.

Plunger section in place.
Be careful about that.
Just be sure you are awake and thinking clearly when you make that coffee.  One morning Bill let me sleep late and he made coffee.  Then he awakened me asking where I had put the top plunger part.  He had already taken the entire galley apart twice searching for it before he woke me up.  I looked in the normal places and still could not find it.  And then I looked at the AeroPress sitting on top of a coffee mug...with the water NOT dripping down into the mug.  Uh-oh!  Something was wrong.  Turned out that Bill had inserted the paper filter and screwed on the bottom piece.  Then put in a large scoop of grounds into the top and added the boiling water.  Except that the plunger section was in place!  So he had mistakenly added the coffee grounds and boiling water to the inside of the plunger section rather than into the main section.  

That water was not going to ever drip down into that mug.  

Poured it all out and started over the correct way.  

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