Winter 2018/2019 was upon us (this lazy blogger is still a year behind). In fact the weather had been pretty lousy even in late September. We got to Licata on the last day of the month and were directed to the outermost berth of a pontoon in the huge harbour. This suited us fine, as we needed to give the rubrail we had splintered in La Lina a proper overhaul, and being on the outermost berth meant we had free access to that side. Having the last berth also gave us a nice view to the west with some very beautiful sunsets.
Licata welcomed us with an excellent marina, a great liveaboard community and a genuine Sicilian town to explore. Unfortunately it also started raining as soon as we arrived and did not really stop for most of October. The whole winter turned out to be exceptionally cold and wet according to the locals. Often the rain was accompanied by plenty of wind, which mostly came from the west, making the end of the pontoon somewhat unquiet, although we soon got used to the water slapping on the side of the hull.
The community in Licata was great, and with lots of events organized by the marina and some long-term berthholders, we soon got to know the lot, making many new friends and helping each other out with boat jobs and rental car rides. Events included a Sunday BBQ, happy hour twice a week, Italian classes, yoga, pilates and energetic workouts directed by a military drill seargeant whose shouts often rang across the marina at unreasonably early hours (before 11!).
The townsfolk also organized some events, such as English language cinema screenings and something called Walkfood, which as you might expect involved walking a bit and then eating a whole lot of food, including a very nice caponata. We also had to drink most of the wine, as everyone else still had to drive home, whilst we were kindly offered a ride by a nice swiss lady who was living on a farm in the hills outside town. This ended up with a boat full of visitors whom we chatted to in suddenly fluent Italian. Unfortunately our newly gained language skills evaporated the next morning and left behind a mild headache.
We had lots of big and small boat projects to do, but due to the wet weather we made excellent progress on the interior jobs and hardly any on the exterior ones.
On the boat maintenance side, we removed the calorifier for an overhaul, added a thermostatic mixing valve, replaced the gas strut in our rodkicker, fixed the engine's PCV breather valve, fitted a new VHF radio with a second station in the cockpit, replaced the LPG alarm, serviced the throttle lever, fixed and re-gassed the fridge (again), installed a watermaker (more on that in a separate post), varnished the companionway stairs, sorted a problem with our anchor roller and countless more small jobs and regular maintenance tasks.
By mid December we were ready for a break and Elvyra had sorted flights to a Lithuanian Christmas for us.