Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Scopelo, Palermo and Cefalu

After a week or so in the marina in Trapani, it was time for a sail and a nice quiet anchorage somewhere, so we headed east with the sails up and the motor at low revs. We tried out the pole, spreading the genoa full abeam to catch as much of the wind as we could – it worked well. The Sicilian coastline along here is spectacular: mountains and sheer cliffs that drop into vivid blue water, extraordinary rock formations, and nestled amongst all this, small villages, cultivated fields and deep green pine forests.
Genoa poled out, a nice sail

At about 14.30 we found a beautiful small bay near the town of Scopelo. In between almost vertical cliffs of golden limestone, an old tunny fishery had been transformed into an attractive small hotel, The water was crystal clear and I didn’t need much persuading to jump in to check that the anchor was set. Unfortunately it wasn’t visible, buried deep in long seagrass, but we seemed to be holding ok. We spent an idyllic afternoon, swimming and snorkelling around the bay which, unusually for the Med, was teeming with fish; reading, relaxing, enjoying a cold beverage or two. As the evening drew in, we became less confident about our holding and re-anchored further from the rocks. Then, as so often happens, a perfect daytime spot turns into a bit of a nightmare as the wind strengthens and changes direction and you get that rolly motion of wind against swell. Well, we got through the night, regularly checking our position, and were happy to be up and off early next morning.

Converted tunny fishery in Scopelo
A bit of weather seemed to be threatening and we needed a few supplies, so the obvious shelter within range was Palermo Harbour itself. We’d spent a week in Palermo previously, staying in a B&B, but visiting a place by water is always a different experience. It’s a busy harbour with many competing yacht clubs and marinas (each really just a pontoon with a sign) so we decided to head to the Agip fuel dock to top up our diesel and proceed from there. In the end we didn’t proceed far as the fuel dock runs an adjoining dock and they offered us a reasonable deal for three days. We were right next to the rowing club so morning coffee was taken on deck watching teams of extremely fit young people negotiating their craft between yachts, fishing boats, tour boats and various other obstacles. They would certainly take medals for a rowing steeplechase!
Crowded marina in Palermo

Rowers in the harbour
Most of our time in Palermo seemed to be spent shopping – or rather, wandering the narrow alleyways trying to track down slightly obscure items: a certain type of clip for the fenders, Hercules pegs (the big curved ones that don’t break or let stuff blow overboard), upholstery cleaner, beef stock cubes, Greek yoghurt, a flagstaff ...       We discovered some of the more ‘alternative’ parts of the dignified city we saw on the first visit, and it was fun using ‘un poco Italiano’, ‘a leetle English’, amusing mimes and Google to identify and purchase our things. Our local bar was the ‘Beachfront Bar’ – literally on the beach – dominated by a huge art installation resembling the prow of a ship which veered around with shifts in the wind. The bar, and indeed just about anywhere in Palermo, is a great place to watch the passing parade – Sicilian life seems to be played out with drama and high style, and very much in public!
On the way to the Beachfront Bar, sculpture in the background
Palermo graffiti

But now it was time to move on, a little further east before crossing to the Aeolian Islands. From the Cruising Guide, Cefalu looked like a promising spot, and it turned out to be very pleasant – we had no idea it was Sicily’s second most popular holiday destination, after Taormina. You can see why. The coast is ruggedly beautiful with ‘La Rocca’ towering over all (and guess what’s on top of the rock? Yep, a castle courtesy of our old friend Roger the Norman!
Cefalu from the water
Views on the walk to town
Temple of Diana, halfway up the 'hill'
Look closely - this is someone's back garden, overlooking the sea
Roger was here
It’s an old fishing village transforming itself into a tourist resort: relics of the past alongside restaurants and boutiques, but in a way that feels authentically Sicilian (ie a bit chaotic and haphazard but lively and interesting!)

The harbour is on one side of the promontory and the town on the other, so it is a bit of a walk, but there are awesome views of the sea below and the Aeolian Islands, not to mention ‘La Rocca” towering overhead. Terry managed to make it to the top, securing another Geocache for the collection, but I only got as far as the ancient Temple of Diana about halfway up. It is a beautiful, peaceful spot to rest, take in the views and commune with the old gods of the Med for a while. Swimming is a weird sensation here as cold fresh water flowing from mountain springs forms a top layer of about ten centimetres, while under that the water is salty and warm, perhaps even heated by volcanic activity.
We enjoyed a Last Supper in Sicily at a very nice restaurant /enoteca called  Trinacria (after the three-legged symbol of Sicily) watching the pink and gold sunset over the islands, before heading back to prepare ‘Common Sense‘ for the passage past the volcanic peaks of the Aeolians to the Italian mainland.



Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Trapani and Erice

Trapani, with Erice atop the mountain
As part of our “take it slowly” campaign for this season, we made a short trip across the strait from the Egadi Islands to Trapani on the north-west point of Sicily. We’ve been in a small marina called “Vento di Maestrale” beside the fishing harbour for the last seven days, enjoying the town, the clear water for swimming and the comings and goings of the tuna fleet. There is a large fish market each morning on the waterfront right behind the marina where the catch is delivered direct from the boats. A kilo of sardines, cleaned and split is just 5 euros, a kilo of tuna between 10 and 15 depending on the quality. The vendors are loud and rude, spruiking their fish and insulting the catch and the manhood of their competitors – it’s great fun! Fresh produce stalls are set up daily around the fish market entry – in season at the moment are deep purple eggplant, late tomatoes, zucchinis, all kinds of wild greens, ripe stone fruit - everything you might need to cook up an amazing dinner. Here, seasons mean seasons! Fresh peas were available for one month; after that, “I’m sorry, Signora, peas are finished!” Yesterday there were no figs, today they are everywhere, plump, sweet and only three euros for a kilo. Somehow, foods are more precious and tastier when they only appear briefly, at their appointed time.
Tuna and swordfish fresh from the boats
Part of the tuna fleet
Fish market
Trapani is an easy town to like. Its name is a corruption of the Greek word for sickle, and Trapani’s narrow sickle shape means it has a waterfront on each side. To the north are white sand beaches (mostly free from the tightly packed grids of umbrellas and plastic lounges for hire that you find elsewhere) while the southern edge is the harbour and a substantial salt works with blindingly white mounds of salt and a traditional windmill. Much of the town seems to be old palazzos renovated as apartments, and many buildings have the remnants of family crests, ornate balconies and huge heavy doors which must once have admitted horses and carriages to an inner courtyard. Of course it’s Sicily, so you are never far from a good restaurant or café. Not surprisingly, Trapani’s best specialise in fresh seafood.  Terry could happily live here, one of the very few places we’ve been to that this is the case.  The islands are only a couple of hours’ sail away, with lots of bays to anchor in.  You can circumnavigate Sicily in a reasonable amount of time.  It’s not far to the mainland and Rome if you want a big city for a while and there’s actually surf on the Island of Marettimo.  It’s an attractive proposition, but we still have a long way to go.
The Cathedral
Life sized icons, carried by the various guilds during Holy Week
There are a few foreign tourists, but it seems to attract mainly Italians from northern parts, who spend their days lying in the sun and their nights cruising the bars.  That is, except for the massive Cruise Ships that come in, sometimes two at a time, with crowds bound for Erice.  They’re not really tourists, though, as they only spend a part of a day here then rush off in their hundreds to the next ‘part of a day’ in some other location.
                                                                     The wine shop

Main street in the evening
We spent the first couple of days attending to minor boat jobs – a water tank that might have been leaking, but fortunately wasn’t. A drain outlet that might have been blocked, but fortunately wasn’t. Repairing the snubber which took a bit of a hammering while we were anchored in Favignana – we took it to the local chandler to have the metal eyes replaced and the frayed bit cut off and re-spliced. Total for the job - €11!  We tried to get someone to come and look at the radar, but he put it off until “domani” … and “domani” …and “domani” so it probably isn’t going to happen.

Vento, the marina dog

And finally it was time for a visit to Trapani’s main claim to tourist fame, the old city of Erice perched 2,480ft up on top of Monte San Guiliano. One of the marina guys dropped us off at the foot of the mountain and we boarded the cable car to the top. It was truly spectacular seeing Trapani’s sickle laid out below just like a map. And the ride just kept going – the sea, the Egadi islands, the green and terracotta patchwork of farmland – it felt like you could see the whole of Sicily from up there! It is hard to imagine armies scaling the mountain and still having the energy to take the town, but it appears that all the usual suspects did: originally Phoenician (with Greek influences), it was sacked by the Carthaginians, then conquered by Arabs, then the Normans under our old friend Roger. A Norman castle still stands, built on the site of the famous Temple of Aphrodite. The temple was supposedly staffed by 1000 sacred courtesans, which would probably have given visiting mariners an incentive to climb the mountain. The town is mostly Aragonese and very picturesque with its winding cobbled streets and flower-filled balconies. We managed to find Erice’s single geocache to add to the pleasures of the day. Do make the trip up the mountain if you’re in these parts – it’s well worth it.
View from the cliffs, castle above
Terry looking out over Trapani
Castle built by Roger the Norman over the Temple of Aphrodite

So, last evening here in Trapani. The weather has settled, we’ve raided the market for fish and fruit supplies and had a delivery from one of the local supermarkets. We’re planning to head into the Gulf of Castellammare, then Cefalu before crossing to the Aeolian Islands. Taking it slowly. Everything is clean, orderly and working. Except for that radar. Oh well … domani.

Streets of Erice

Thursday, 4 June 2015


Favignana is the main island of the Egadi group that lies just off the west coast of Sicily. Its symbol is a butterfly, as that is supposed to be the island’s shape (it’s more like a ragged bat). The narrow middle section is only about a kilometre across – we are anchored in a lovely bay on the south side next to Punto Longo, and the main harbour is across on the north. The east wing is flat, while the west wing rises in a 300+ metre limestone mountain, topped by an  Aragonese fort. It’s so steep and high that it creates its own mini weather system and the fort is often shrouded eerily in cloud.
Common Sense at anchor under Santa Caterina

We spent most of our first day recovering from the overnight passage from Licata – it’s lovely to be rocked to sleep by the swell again. I had my first swim of the season, hopping in to check the anchor, then hopping out of the FREEZING water again as quickly as possible. After that a flotilla of pinkish-brown stinging jellies came along so I had a good excuse to stay out! The bay filled up with trip boats and charters during the day, but only two other yachts remained overnight.

Isola Levanzo in the background
Next morning we were delighted to see Sarah Grace arriving and Anne and Gordon welcomed us aboard for a cuppa. Then we all tootled off in our dinghy to the shore and set out to explore Favignana and to find its three geocaches (none, thankfully, were up on the mountain). We covered about 12 kilometres and discovered some beautiful bays along the way, interspersed with hundreds of disused quarries. Along with tuna fishing, cutting limestone (tufa) blocks must have sustained many island families in the past. The old quarries have weathered into picturesque columns and chasms, overgrown with caper bushes in flower. Some have even been converted into beautiful productive gardens, with olive and pomegranate trees, grape vines and citrus. Terry and Gordon located all three geocaches, and we arrived back at the boats only a little the worse for wear.

Quarry garden
Next day was pretty much a rest and repair day, with only one near disaster when I tried to pump up the dinghy and managed to pump most of the air out of it. While I was sitting in it on the water. For a reasonably smart person, I’m sometimes amazed by what a dickhead I can be. Anyway, we managed the 50 metres over to Sarah Grace in our very squashy craft, and enjoyed watching Sunshine on Leith with Anne and Gordon, a cultural exchange for introducing them to The Castle last week. They left for Sardinia early next morning. It was a real treat to spend some time with our friends from Finike – they are great company, very experienced cruisers and have a wealth of knowledge about history, the natural world, books and much else - I hope we’ll meet up again along the way.
Harvesting capers

We decided on an extra day or two here to see the town and get a few supplies. Just around the point we discovered a little harbour full of cute fishing boats and the day was perfect for a stroll across the waist of the island to Favignana town. Plenty of quite up-market small villas suggest a thriving tourist industry. From the people strolling the town centre and enjoying the many restaurants, the tourists appeared to be mainly good-looking young Italians. Cycling seems to be the preferred mode of transport on this relaxed island and every villa has a fleet of bicycles, which transport the beautiful people to their choice of bars and beaches. Even so, it isn’t expensive – for 45 euro we enjoyed a meal for two of fresh local tuna steaks, tomato salad, chips, bread, wine and coffee – totally delicious.
Fishing boat harbour
Tuna steaks for lunch

Today we took another short trip into town and now we’re planning the next run – just a short passage over to Trapani to see the sights and hopefully take a cable car up to the old mountain town of Erice.
Remnants of the tuna trade - old factory with anchors in the foreground

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Leaving Licata for the final time (Terry)

Saturday looked good for some north so we planned to depart in the early afternoon for a 20 hour trip.  We intended bypassing Porto Empedocle due to some nasty reports of overbearing officials threatening cruisers with enormous €€€ fines for not much.  We also intended bypassing Sciacca as it would have required an early morning start to get in at a reasonable time.  This way, we would catnap, wake, watch, check, then snooze again but go “dritto” for 100 miles and hit the ↓ on the windlass, then go to sleep. 

The Navionics Route
Our final week in Licata was marked with some very strong winds from the West, which didn’t suit us at all.  It did suit some of our friends who were headed to Malta (Malta must be full right now!) but we sat still.  Our friends Cees and Jos, the two Dutchmen on Vasco Da Gama, were preparing to leave a day behind us to come up the same way, and Gustaf and Harriet on Miss Sophie were planning the same day but south to Greece.  Gary and Louise on Takamoana need to do a run to Tunisia to restart their VAT clock as we did and after that they are still undecided.  Martine and Patric are still there but will be out this week and off to Greece.

We made up a giant hamper for the marina staff to show our appreciation for all their work and help, particularly with medical issues and contract issues.  It truly is a well-managed marina, (as was Finike, to be sure) and we will miss Maria and Dario, Emi and the Marineros, particularly Big Tony’s smiling face.
 Emi on my right, Big Tony on my left.  Maria and Dario alongside Tony, Andy and Giuseppe at the other end
 A sailor's suit for Maria's new baby

We went up to town to get some money and called in for coffee at our favourite coffee shop, Roma Café, with Signore Toto and his wife Ina – the best coffee in Licata and some of the nicest pastries, and a regular morning drop in spot for us.  Then it was a quick trip next door to Vodafone to say goodbye, hugs and kisses with Antonella who helped us a lot with our various wifi needs over the past 6 months.
 Toto and Ina in Roma Cafe alongside Toto's famous machine

We did a final buy-up at Conad, loading up on milk, Coke, beer, including Carol’s Lemon Beer,  wine, chicken (for our usual Common Sense Chicken Stew, which is actually Miss Jane’s Chicken Stew J), mince for Tacos and Osso Bucco (which are €2.30 for two large cuts here, so we got 4) plus yoghurt, vegies and bread.  Carol snagged a 500ml bottle of home-preserved Artichoke hearts in the street from a man whose wife prepares them at home - €5!
Then it was final showers without a time limit, hand back the shower keys and off to Common Sense.  Miriam off Lady Blue (still deciding where to go as her eldest needs to choose a University soon) shook our lines and we motored out to only a few horns and blasters, unlike the early departers who had upwards of 40 horns going off.  We could see Cees and Jos waving, Gary and Louise, Miriam with her horn but no sign of Patric unfortunately – he has a French Cavalry Bugle that sounds great.  Carol was on the foredeck with her Bahamian Conch Shell sounding out over the whole bay and then it was out the heads and off to new adventures.

We slipped our lines at almost exactly 14:00.  The Autopilot refused to turn on again, although with a different error message this time.  I  turned everything off in sequence, turned everything back on in sequence and finally it engaged and we assumed our normal positions on the settees as we motored up the coast in 5knots True but from directly on our nose.  Nothing new there.

Passing Agrigento, capital of our Province

We continued on through a moonlit night with no variations in engine noise but with occasional currents either helping or hindering – one hour at 4.7kn, another at 6.7kn.
Off into the sunset again
Lots of small fishing boats out as we neared our endpoint as it is Sunday and it’s go-fishing day for all the guys.

We are anchored in a bay in Favignana on the west side of Punta Longa with about 10 other boats.  All but one will leave tonight I think (on day-trips from Trapani and Marsala).  We are at 37° 55.059N, 12° 19.147E.   The water is crystal-clear, the wind is up a little but we are dug in well, it is warm and we are all caught up on our sleep.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

From Licata to Tunisia via Pantelleria

The start of a sailing season brings mixed feelings: there is the excitement of setting sail and the prospect of new lands and new adventures, but also sadness at saying farewell to so many good friends with whom we share the cruising life. Of course there is every chance we’ll meet again, in a little fishing harbour, on a busy town dock or a deserted bay somewhere, to share our stories and a few cold beers. Ours was a little less tearful than many of the departures as we knew we’d be back in Licata in about a week. We were making the trip to Kelibia in Tunisia to avoid being in the EU for more than 18 months at a time, which would make Common Sense subject to VAT.

Winds at the start of the week had been consistently strong west south-westerlies - just what we didn’t need for the run to the Sicilian island of Pantelleria which lies about 90 nautical miles directly west south-west of Licata. Sunday promised light westerlies, so that looked like our best bet. After the paperwork and all the usual checking and stowing, we slipped out at about 11 am, planning to make Pantelleria the following morning.
It really was a fine start to the season, with sunshine, a great view of the rugged Sicilian coast, dolphins, a glassy blue sea and a light breeze. The sails were up and everything seemed to be working, though we did need the motor on most of the time, chugging away at low revs. At one point the smell of burning rubber raised anxiety levels, but it proved to be the new fan belt, which had worked loose and was promptly readjusted by il Capitano. At about the halfway mark of the passage, we met a fleet of thousands of little jellyfish with their bells the shape of perfect translucent sails, scudding along with the wind. A couple of feet below them streamed golden brown jellies with long trailing tentacles – some mysterious jelly migration was underway.

Sailing jellyfish
As the sun set we enjoyed our standby sailing meal of pressure-cooker chicken stew. The temperature dropped steadily and we put on extra clothes layer by layer, relaxing out in the cockpit under the full moon and the softly glowing sails. The AIS proved its value yet again as we dodged various vessels and heard on the VHF that a massive cargo ship was diverting to avoid us.
 We took turns to catch a bit of sleep and were pleased to see the volcanic island of Pantelleria rising steeply ahead as the sun rose. Around 0800 we tied up in the Nuovo Porto di Pantelleria, assisted by Leonardo the Harbourmaster and not at all by the highly unreliable bow-thruster.  (Actually, it can pretty much be relied on NOT to work at the critical moment.) We had a couple of hours sleep before attempting anything else.
Hot chicken stew
It proved to be almost impossible to get off the boat via the passareille as the dock was so high, so we launched Eileen, our dinghy, and tootled around to the Vecchio Porto which is closer to the town centre. The outboard didn’t sound too healthy so it was added to our list of things to check/fix once back in Licata. When they say “vecchio” here, they mean really old – the port housed the Punic fleet a couple of thousand years ago and there is still a line of rocks marking the ancient breakwater. It’s an attractive place; the water is clear and the volcanic soil is rich and well cultivated. There is a pleasant waterfront for the evening passegiata and the pace of life is relaxed. We enjoyed a wander around the town and an excellent fish dinner overlooking the old harbour. A grim note is the large pile of refugee boats rotting away near the new harbour – how desperate would you have to be to take to sea in some of these?

We had planned to leave for Tunisia the next day, but some instinct woke Terry about 1am and he decided this was our window. Any wind at all in the tiny marina space and we would have been in trouble.  At 01:30 we slipped out of the harbour in the bright moonlight with no wind and were suddenly greeted by 15 knots at the turn on the Heads .  We enjoyed five or six hours of perfect sailing conditions before the wind slackened as the sun rose. We motored the rest of the way, reaching the Tunisian fishing port of Kelibia at about 1030.
Sailing under a full moon

First impressions? Hot, dirty, busy, interesting… There was very little room amongst all the blue, white and red fishing boats of varying sizes, so we rafted up next to a big steel ketch, which was in turn rafted next to an even bigger motor boat undergoing a refit. Habib appeared to give us expert assistance – and we noticed him magically appear whenever a boat came in and needed to find a spot or have a line taken. It was quite an event getting on and off the boat, clambering over lifelines and from one vessel to the next, greeting people in a couple of different languages along the way.

First priority was checking in and getting all the paperwork in order to show that we had left the EU.  A feature of Tunisian ports is that the Foreigner Police are at your boat before you've finished tying up and this was no different.  Customs were also summoned and we completed formalities quite quickly.  Harbour fees for our three day stay turned out at 54 Tunisian Dinars in total, or something like $9 per day.
A bit like going from Greece to Turkey, travelling from Sicily to Tunisia we were struck by how hard everyone was working – no siestas or “domani” attitude here. Fishing boats coming and going, the fish markets in full swing, ship repairs, mending nets, boats being sanded and painted, building underway, buying and selling, deliveries, market stalls, taxis. The sights, sounds and smells took us back to our winter in Monastir; the mix of French and Arabic, the smell of mint tea and harissa, the headscarves, and the donkey carts jostling with brand new Citroens.
View of Kelibia Harbour from the fort

Pride in the boats, but little care for the sea

The one thing that really upsets me, however, is the total disregard people have for the ocean environment. Sure the Med has been a dumping ground for God-knows-what for thousands of years, but at least it was all organic. And why is it that fishing harbours and fishermen are the worst? You’d imagine that people who make their living from the sea would show a bit more respect for it, but no – every vessel that went out left behind a trail of plastic rubbish, bits of net, waste fish and a greasy slick of fuel, oil or something worse. Here begins my Clean Up the Med campaign, which consists of wearing slogan T shirts, picking up bags and bottles on my kayak runs and ranting in this blog!
Anyway, we used the opportunity of being in Kelibia to visit the ancient site of Kerkouane nearby. The town was sacked and pillaged by the Romans when they destroyed Carthage around 300 BC, but it was not resettled so quite a lot remains of the Carthaginian buildings, along with interesting artefacts found in the town and its necropolis. You can walk right around the streets of the town, observing its homes, artisan quarters and water system. Many of the homes have intact bathrooms with well designed baths for hygiene and relaxation. The town has an idyllic location beside the ocean, with gardens and lawns maintained by a team of local workers – it’s highly recommended for a pleasant and interesting day out.

We stocked up on a few specialties – big, cheap cans of Tunisian tuna, harissa paste, almonds, sweet local bananas – and refuelled while there was no wind in the early morning (though opening times on the fuel dock appear to be ‘suggested opening times’only.)  The fuel cost was 1.25Tunisian Dinars per litre, or 0.61c, a big saving on EU prices.
As we went to present ourselves to the Police to get our passports stamped, we were informed that we had to have a tax stamp of 30TD per person affixed before we could be allowed to go.  We were not informed of this until the last minute, and could have picked these stamps up any time in the three days we were there, as we were quite close to the Tax Office regularly.  But no, nobody thought to mention it and we had a mad scramble in a taxi to get the stamps.  Unfortunately, the Tax Office closes at 16:30 and despite our very courageous taxi driver berating the old grump who ran the Office, he refused to provide the stamps.  Luckily, one of the junior employees advised the driver that a Tabac shop in town carried these things so it was off there via an ATM to pick a couple up, at a slight premium to the 30TD.  Problem solved, thanks to our quick-thinking driver who was well rewarded.

Our last official encounter was an evening visit from Customs just prior to departure. All  visiting boats are inspected, particularly for stowaways but also for the usual stuff – cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, firearms. We didn’t have a strong sense that we were being shaken down, but the inspector did dwell on my stash of Italian wine for a while so I asked in French if he liked wine and he said his wife did, so we gave him a bottle as a ‘gift’. Then we were free to go – in fact we had to go at once!! Before we could sneak any illegals on board.

So it was back to sea, slipping out from between yachts rafted either side, and making directly for Licata, 140 nautical miles almost directly due east. We started out well, motoring with assistance from the 10 knot breeze, then zipping along under sail as the north-west wind increased to 20 – 25 knots. This was great, but as we all know, nothing lasts forever. At about 0530 the wind and sea really picked up and we were a little slow to reef the sails. I wasn’t strong enough to winch in the fiercely flapping genoa, and one of its whipping sheets took a great jagged piece out of the clear window of the dodger – a good lesson to never get in the way of uncontrolled lines! The wind was now 40 – 45 knots with quite a high following sea, so Terry pretty much had to hand steer the next fifty miles, surfing down the waves and trying to avoid the sneaky sets that hit side-on. Meanwhile I was down trying to clean up and stow stuff that hadn’t been prepared well enough for these conditions – another lesson there.

Finally the wind eased a bit as sunset approached, and we saw the very welcome heads of the breakwater at Licata ahead. It was wonderful to get into calm water at last, and to tie up safely on our dock. There was a party in progress, but somehow we weren’t quite up to it. I can’t actually recall anything after readying Common Sense for docking, so I guess it mostly involved sleep! So now we have a few fix-ups and repairs before we head off again in a week or so...