David's Diary: Sunday, May 4, 2003

Passage to Siracusa, Sicily

Kevin Helming
Kevin Helming

We spent yesterday rushing around getting a few last minute things completed on the boat. We then did a professional photo shoot off Valletta for an upcoming article that I am writing for Pacific Yachting, a sailing magazine based in British Columbia, Canada. Today, we were up before dawn. As we motored out of harbour and passed Valletta the sun rose over the horizon lighting our way on a glassy smooth sea.

Electronic Navigation
Electronic Navigation

It's a long passage from Malta to Siracusa, Sicily and we share shifts as we make our way across the open water. Throughout our adventure we have used electronic charts with real time updates from our GPS receiver. This allows us to see an icon on the electronic chart that represents Dragonsinger. We can follow our track and see exactly how far off course we are. The children have found it easy to go below and look at the electronic chart, and then come up top and spot landmarks they had seen on the chart. The real time feedback is a benefit of modern technology and far different from what Karalee and I learned when we first began to sail. In case of emergencies, we still carry paper charts for all of the areas we are traveling in, but so far we have rarely had to use them.

Spotting Dolphins
Allen Spotting Dolphins

On long passages we often see schools of dolphins. When they spot Dragonsinger they swim over and ride our bow wave and dive underneath the boat. The call of "dolphins" brings all of us to the bow where we enjoy their antics and stare amazed at how close their tails come to the bow of the boat.

Jocelyn
Jocelyn Swinging

Another favourite activity to pass the time is for one of the children to go up the mast in our bosun's chair. Jocelyn loves to swing far out over the side of the boat as she moves from side-to-side. Many happy hours have passed this way.

Siracusa
Tied Up in Siracusa

After a boring, but uneventful, passage we tie up in the inner harbour of Siracusa. We were here last October and we once again enjoy the picturesque setting. As the sun sets we prepare dinner before going out to explore the narrow streets of the old town. In the twenty-two months that we have been away, this is only the third or fourth time that we have returned to a place that we have already been to.

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