11 May 2012 This is Catania. second biggest city in Sicily, and COMPLETELY ruled by the mafia. Such a strange place, right at the foot of Mount Etna, one the worlds most active volcanos. The city it self looks extremely run down, not cared for, it seems it has not seen a paintbrush the last 20 years. But then again, who wants to spend energy on painting and renovating, when you don't know when Etna is going to have her next big outburst and bury the whole town under lava and ashes. We are quite sure people here has quite a special mentality. Squeezed between the ocean and an active volcano, used to a high crime rate and opressed by the mafia. But, special mentality or not, we met nothing but really friendly people. Catania was also where found our new outboard motor. The guy who sold us the engine, Nino, pretty much adopted us and made it his responsibility that we and La Negra were safe at all times, that we had fresh shrimps to eat, that we found the best chandeliers, that we could dock safe and for free. He even told all his fishermen friends in the harbor to keep an extra eye on our boat for us. Still, we didn't really feel safe. Hearing about all the theft and weird things happening, we sailed on. but, before we left Catania, we celebrated my birthday, had a SUPERB meal in a really nice restaurant and even Etna was kind enough to make a little "birthday eruption" before the day was over. SPECTACULAR!!

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