Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sicily circumnavigation 2010

Earlier this year, when i was out in Sicily the potential of paddling around the island, logged in my mind ... and was very appealing. Turquoise seas, Mediterranean climate, excellent food, access to kayaks and excellent support, was just a super opportunity. With approximately 1000k of coastline, 35 days should allow enough time to paddle around. The plan was following the symposium and Francescos mums grape harvest we would begin our journey on the 11th October.

If your interested in the earlier part of our journey, we kept in contact with Francesco, who sent us weather texts and then kept his own blog, which can be viewed here , otherwise we hope you enjoy the following photos ...

Francesco highlighting camp spots and small harbours on our map.

Arrival on the 12th Oct, winds were low but the sea wasn't!

13th Oct and packing at Ognia, just N of Catania and mid way along the East coast.

10k up the coast and super volcanic structures at Aci Trezza

On the North coast Storm bound for 3 days, the sea was getting closer and we were running out of beach, but at least we had a cold water supply in the form of a shower! (mid left on the photo)

More like what we expected!

I take Sonja to all of the best places, we did have a pitza take out ... yes it was our camp for the night!

Approaching Palermo (capital city of Sicily) and being guided in by Sal, while dodging the regatta!

San vito lo capo and a storm is brewing

Now on the West coast and South of Trapani

One of those rougher days!

An early start and up before the sun

Moving down the Sicily channel (the south coast) and another early start

Crossing one of the larger bays, on a bearing and meeting a oil tanker on the way out of the 2nd oil terminal, Gela.

Having rounded the Southern most tip, Isola Capo Passero and now back on the East coast with 130k to go : )

My final day a real welcome as Mt Etna, shows her self (smoke can be seen coming from the crater, just right of the summit)

Back in Ognia and much brighter than when we started. Gianfranco texted me mid morning and asked "did I desire anything in particular for him to bring for me ... an Arancino (fast food - rice, ragu and cheese snack) and a Moretti (Italian beer) would do me fine.

While we were on our journey Gianfranco and his wife Claudia had their first child Sara, we stayed with them the last few days before we returned to the UK. Gianfranco on the left, me, Francesco and Babara (Francescos wife), just about to wet the baby,s head.

Overall the paddle took 33 days, with 11 of those being storm bound days and 22 paddle days. Due to rougher conditions than be both expected, which often resulted in difficult dumping surf landings, this placed more pressure on us both. After much pondering Sonja decided to call it a day after a respectable 750k. With 10 days left before we were due to fly back, mileage would need to be increased, which meant longer days and so earlier starts! These 10 days were soon reduced to 7 after another storm!

We would like to thank the following people for their support and help: Giuseppe for the sea kayaks provided by his company Overline and SKD. Huge thanks to Francesco who runs Maremotu for the weather texts and updates, for picking up Sonja within hours of our phone call, Babara for the cakes and making us feel welcome in their home. Vincenso and the use of Arenella and for Andrea who meet us and booked a super fish restaurant for that night. Justine for the cap (I lost mine on the symposium tour), one of her cameras (mine finally gave up, just before we began) and a lighter sleeping bag for Sonja. Gianfranco and Claudia for driving us about and looking after us before we flew back.

An article is in the pipe line which we hope will be published by the end of the year or early next with Canoe & Kayak, we hoped you enjoyed the photos and may even be inspired to visit Sicily your self.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful story!
    Probably the more challenging Sicily kayak circumnavigation, due to the super stormy days...
    Of course now the sea is calm and warm and nice sunny days: can we call this "Murphy's Law"?