VOYAGES OF EOS 2015
May - July part 1
Golly how time flies, another year, our ninth. As usual Mike went to the boat early, this year just before Easter, to do the routine works required for a successful and trouble free summer, we hope. The boatyard at Manfredonia is reasonably efficient and the painters much more proficient than those last year in Bar, but not perfect.
The weather at first was quite cold and miserable, the marina still nearly empty and cafes/restaurants only open intermittently.
We should, of course, be setting off from Licata in southern Sicily, but due to my silly ankle break last September in Manfredonia, we are three week’s sailing behind schedule and must be in NE Sicily by 3 July for the great arrival of all our children and grandchildren.
Tuesday 28 April
Heavy rain at intervals
An 04.15 taxi to John Lennon Airport with my very heavy suitcase (17+kg), for flight to NAPLES, a welcome expresso in airport and a croque monsieur on the plane kept me going until FOGGIA
I was grateful for my very basic Italian and managed to get on the Alibus to the city centre bus station (€4 on bus or €3 from kiosk). Finding the coach ticket kiosk was a little more difficult due to the coach station being rebuilt and the kiosk was obscure to say the least; eventually from Mike’s directions, I spied it and being careful not to let the vagrant take my money, slipped it through a tiny slit in the window in return for a tatty receipt.
As is usual, the coach left absolutely on time for Foggia, I recrossed the Apennines west to east this time, the scenery is glorious in a cultivated way. To find the next ticket office (Kiwi cafe) and the correct bus stop took a little time. From the cafe I bought the most delicious pistachio cream pie! Still raining.
16.15 arrived at MANFREDONIA, Mike at the bus stop to meet me, really good to see him again and he cooked supper. I slept well after my two weeks of very hard work cleaning and sorting our house in England; best of all I have lost weight and can do my belt up on the third hole!
Wednesday 29 April
Sun, getting warmer
We had to move from marina to boatyard to enable the sanding and painting of cabin top to be done.
I went shopping, about 10 mins walk. Joy of joys it is market day. Extraordinarily the populace of Manfredonia is definitely still in winter garb and babies wearing woolly hats, I was wearing a T shirt and cutoffs.
Thursday 30 April
We actually shopped together. Broad beans are in season and sold on every street corner as are tiny globe artichokes.
Yesterday Mike had come across the most wonderful bar, very reminiscent of the best of those in Paris. It sells all coffees, spirits, ice creams, tiny pizzas, tiny pain au chocolat etc. When buying you don’t get a chit, the man at the cash desk seems to know exactly what you have bought; he also sells coach and lottery tickets.
On Saturday around 18.00 the Marina Manager came to see us, very agitated, as we shouldn’t still be tied alongside the boatyard and would we move back to the marina and have a night or two free, yes certainly we said. On the way over the port engine failed which entailed a tricky manouevre in the wind into our berth. Whilst the manager was talking to us, one of the surgeons from my orthopaedic team realised who I was and came over to speak, he had a good look at my ankle and pronounced it OK, lucky really.
I felt I had to buy something from Elizabetta Mondo, a home furnishing shop, it was the owner who heard my plaintiff cries the year before and called an ambulance and found Mike, we now have shell shaped salt and pepper pots.
Monday 4 MAY
We were all set for an 08.00 start on Tuesday when the port engine failed again so Matteo was called for, just an air leak thank goodness. It was his work that had caused it.
09.50 we eventually slipped for Barletta, but changed our minds and went on to TRANI, a delightful municipal harbour with ancient houses all around, a cathedral and two other churches.
Water, elec and fuel. €56 per night.
The jetties are equipped with tiny rings on the face so it is impossible to tie up on your own, to this end mooring ropes are provided plus lazy lines.
Trani is a beautiful city, around the harbour are restaurants and bars, but just two streets back from the harbour are very smart shops and more bars and restaurants. This is a reasonably wealthy city. The cathedral dedicated to St Nicholas the Explorer, built of sandstone and enormous, stands just above the sea, the interior is so simple and quite stunning. Interestingly the organ had to be rebuilt using mechanical action as the 1960‘s electrical system couldn’t cope with the sea air, how exciting to listen to it if given the chance.
The marina within the harbour is a municipal one and works well.
Tuesday 5 May
Stayed another day, lovely
Wednesday 6 May
Up early to fuel, then off for SAN SPIRITO, a bit of a disappointment, though the harbour better than suggested in the pilot. We were met by the “hand” who has been here since the year dot, speaks VERY loudly and should probably have retired a year or so ago. Having said that he did find more line to extend the lazyline which didn’t fit us. Thinking we might have lunch out for once, unfortunately we drew a blank and decided the town was like Rhyl in North Wales on a wet Sunday; our eventual lunch consisted of two beers, a packet of crisps, a few olives and some pieces of sausage, all this sitting outside the “van” The longest market I have ever seen was just packing up, I could have bought 3 bras for €5 and any number of pairs of knickers.
The fog came down soon after we arrived and stayed all day.
Thursday 7 May
Slipped 0930 for POLIGNANO once an old harbour near to the village but now a smart Camper & Nicholson marina approx 3km from the village, two restaurants, one vaguely open, beautiful washing facilities, but otherwise completely dead.
Election day in the UK
Friday 8 MAY - VE DAY 70 years on
Against all the odds the Conservatives have won an overall majority of 12; what a busy day they all had, what with a visit to the Queen then in best bib and tucker for laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph.
A good but longish day to BRINDISI and what a surprise. In spite of this being a major port, it is remarkably quiet and pleasant. We eventually came alongside a newly developed quay, Via le Regina Margherita immediately below the steps at the end of the Appian Way, Not a soul has come our way to check on us. The downside is passing waterborne traffic causes a great lop, improved by hanging over the side, amidships, our two lengths of chain.
The rowing fraternity were out, lovely to see. Two restaurants within 20 metres, gelateria abounding, a supermarket around the corner. On arrival we were approached for money from a couple of men but they have now disappeared.
There is a marina near to the entrance of the harbour but miles from anything of interest. We tried the Lega Navale, who had no room: I think you can sometimes get a berth in the summer when their members are away. We saw a few stern to moorings opposite LN, however, I am very glad there was no-one to help as the area turned out to be the meeting point of disaffected youth, chip shops and a small fair.
Saturday 9 MAY
For once a supermarket close by. Spent the afternoon exploring the old town, tea and a delicious torte.
Sunday 10 MAY
Very prudently we left our lovely quayside for the marina, gales are forecast for the next few days.
The marina is connected to the rest of Brindisi by bus. No 5 which comes to the marina car park on the hour, No. 4 on the half hour in the village, opp Super Mercato. Both go to the station, about 20 mins We were early for our train to LECCE, a little irritating as we needed to eat something, close to a station is not the best, panini sufficed, but lunch in the old quarter of Lecce would have been a lot more enticing.
We spent a lot of time in the castle. Although a little over repaired the limestone is such a glorious colour and the rooms so lofty does it matter. Lecce is the papier mache centre but not as I know it. These are religious models, smooth, detailed and looking like ceramics - not quite my taste. However I wonder whether the little painted statues in our English churches are in fact papier mache - I must enquire.
In a small room was an exhibition of jewellery by Roberta Risolo. She works first with brass then has it covered with either silver or gold; She also makes rings from olive wood, each with a pearl, very lovely but too large for someone small like me.
The Piazza Santa Croce is huge and lovely as is the church. Very Baroque. Whilst we were there in the late afternoon sunshine, a very pretty model in a white evening/wedding dress was posing for photographers, somehow this made the Piazza even more magical.
I just love the limestone and marble pavements everywhere in these parts.
We caught the Milan Express on our return on which were a group of Africans, were they trying to evade paying their fares and to travel further into Europe? In both Brindisi and Lecce there is a large number of Africans, most just busying themselves and no nuisance. Were they boat people who survived? Someone said we might see bodies in the sea as we make our way further south, poor things. Huge numbers have drowned in the last week or so.
The expected wind arrived, we doubled up our lines, battened down hatches and went to bed, however we did have a disturbed night, but only from the table which was jumping up and down above our heads.
Monday 11 MAY
I hate wind. Very hot sun though. The little “super mercato” in the marina complex doesn’t appear to be opening, however that in the village is OK.
I am surprised by the use of so many laurel shrubs around restaurants and bars, is it the result of the use Caesar made of it?
Many more birds at sea though it is difficult to identify the many different plumaged gulls. A family group of petrels swam by and I had a very brief glimpse of a black fin, probably a porpoise.
Tuesday 12 MAY
Very windy so another day in harbour.
Wednesday 13 MAY
A longish but good day to OTRANTO. Much more commercial traffic passing further out to sea.
Neither Andrea nor Fabricio (tel nos from CA members) were quite ready for us, so we anchored in the outer harbour till after their lunch. Finally, by moving out a catamaran there was space for us between French and Swedish boats. We made a very good approach, the French had put out all their fenders in case we hit!!
The harbour is undergoing massive reorganisation which will give considerably more space. At present water on the quay but no electrics, showers or WC. €30.
Thursday 14 May
Another uneventful trip, to SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA, a very Moorish/Arabic village at the toe of Italy and a very elegant light house. There is a wide flight of ancient steps up the hill which is lit at night , colours through the rainbow.
On further investigation this turned out to be the end of an aqueduct built from Napoli and inaugurated by King Umberto II in 1939. Its route is right across the Apennines to Foggia then south following the coast, but inland.
On a plateau is the Basilica della Madonna de Finibus Terrae set in a huge square with the lighthouse on one side. Apparently this is a place of ancient pilgrimage and fairly recently was blessed by Pope Paul.
In the town are some wonderful public buildings and huge private houses, but why were they built here, is it the climate? Strangely there are no shops to support a wealthy populace.
The small marina, sister to that at Brindisi, but not such helpful staff helping us in, we had to reorganise the laid lines. A bit of a lop which we expected.
The little kiosk at the entrance to the marina sells delicious crepes which we had for pudding.€3 each.
Friday 15 - Sat 16 MAY
Definitely staying put as is everyone else.
Sunday 17 MAY
A big swell, otherwise a good trip to GALLIPOLI.
The old town is a delight with a good mix of tourist shops, some tat, some selling lovely clothes, scarves etc. and no hassling, the same for the bars and restaurants.
We should really stay another day. The “new city” was in full passagiatta mode when we got to it, absolutely packed with the whole town out.
The restaurant at the marina was decidedly stuffy and at that point we hadn’t found the bar adjacent to the smaller marina next door.
Monday 18 MAY
An early run by me to the fish market and eventually some bread; unlike most of the other countries we have passed through where bread is baked and sold early, bread in Italy is produced much later; breakfast coffee is for dunking yesterday’s stale bread, fresh bread for lunch.
We had a good six hour run to TARANTO, a little hazy, but generally visibility was good. The harbour is enormous and took nearly half an hour from entrance to pontoon. It is home to the Italian Navy. The marina chief got in a muddle with our blue ensign and must have thought we were either Australian or New Zealand, he couldn’t understand why we hadn’t checked in with the Coast Guard in Venice; However all sorted by Tuesday morning.
At 18.00 the whole city finishes work and appears to come up the main road behind the marina, crossing it is a nightmare.
Basic food shopping is not obvious, the supermercato shown to us by the marina staff had a strange mix of merchandise, including a stack of pale blue plastic tubs, the largest a metre in diameter, what are these used for I wondered? Much later I discovered they are for setting fishing hooks.
Tuesday 19 MAY
A lazy day after Mike had been to the Coast Guard and the Immigration Police had been to the boat but not onto it as the passerelle was deemed dangerous.
The old town is VERY old, still with the vestiges of allied bombing never mind general decay. There are pockets of recovery particularly around the University and the Duomo. Looking at the graffiti I would guess the town has an anarchic element and possibly a Communist stronghold.
We stopped for lunch hoping to have a lovely bowl of Taranto black mussels, apparently a delicacy here, but no such luck, mine were in a rather drab sauce with small pasta and Mike opted for veal; we were hoping to have mussels as in Nice (frites et moules). On returning to the boat I googled the town to find it is the most polluted town in Italy and we shouldn’t eat fish let alone shellfish. We survived that one!
I have never seen so much plastic/polystyrene in any of the seas we have sailed upon; there are not too many tourist boats so assume the fishing fraternity are to blame or is it the Italian’s attitude to rubbish generally.
Wednesday 20 MAY
A flat calm run to MARINA DI POLICORO but in poor visibility. This is a new development on the lines of Port Grimaud in France but so far it hasn’t quite taken off. We were given a warm welcome and watched by all, new arrivals being a rarity; luckily we made a brilliant approach.
Some laid lines but many moorings are the post variety as seen further north in Italy.
For the first time the land is almost mountainous, the awful ribbon developments on the east coast have gone.
Thursday 21, Friday 22 MAY
A long day to CARIATI to miss Sibari. We came alongside in what I call an upgraded fishing port rather than the fully blown newly built marinas, very pleasant and interesting it is too.
I found the best supermarket for a while M & D but ran out of cash so didn’t buy as much as I needed
The weather was against boating and we both needed a walk which turned out to be rather longer than was sensible. We walked up to the old village and its Duomo (closed), eventually found a shop to sell us freshly made paninis to take on our picnic.
What I had thought at first was a typical Italian landscape of cypress trees turned out to be surrounding an enormous cemetery with about 80 family mausoleums looking just like so many beach huts. The grandeur is quite extraordinary in such a poor area of the country - Calabria.
Walking on and up towards a hill village, we got over excited when we hailed the school bus, but of course had to walk 8km downhill again, far too far.
Saturday 23 MAY
Off to CROTONE weather was fine initially as the forecast, later quite a bumpy ride, we just managed to get tied up before the real wind.
Another fishing port/marina, very nice, obviously the “facilities” don’t match up to Camper & Nicholson but the atmosphere is good.
Mare Nostrum fish shop, a must see when visiting. At 19.00 still full of very smart people buying huge amounts of beautifully presented fish. I bought two large mackerel and baked them in a very hot oven, delicious. Sometimes they have been disappointing compared with Rhoscolyn fish, perhaps due to the warmer seas.
Two other CA boats in, both had over wintered in Sicily, one in Licata next to the Kitsons.
Sunday 24/Monday 25 MAY
An early dart to LE CASTELLA, again should have been a very gentle ride but just before we got to our destination, it blew up again. A single handed yachtsman following a bit later had to turn round due to huge waves.
We have sighted dolphins at various times on our trip south.
A very funny little port in the old quarry, the stone was used to build the castle.
We need to explore further but so far as we have seen, close to the sea are a large number of unfinished small blocks of flats, then a new road with some shops.
Best of all we found a lovely trattoria Mario’s. We were given a generous welcome to this very well run family restaurant, full of happy Italian families, good food and the Monaco Grand Prix to boot.
Next day we explored the castle and remainder of the village which is quite pleasant and worth a visit.
Tuesday 26/Wednesday 27 MAY
An earlyish slip for ROCCELLO IONICA and for once we were in company, several yachts going both north and south. We safely navigated the Golfo di Squillace which is known for its sudden heavy squalls. The harbour is another fishing port with added pontoons, some of the finger pontoons are very short and low. The Marina manager is very efficient; he appears to be on constant look out and calls you up if he can and will guide you through the shallows at the entrance, a bit scary as one passes very very close to the port mark and rocks at the end of the jetty, only one boat got caught on the sandbank but was off in no time.
It is about 40 mins rather boring walk to the town where the shops are perfectly adequate; again we found difficulty finding a baker. The butcher took the greatest care cutting up a lamb for us and tied up a bunch of parsley as a bouquet for me. Again we found the most delicious pastries. Unfortunately the cooking of the lamb didn’t do it any favours, it did us two nights, the second as “pulled” lamb with fried potatoes and onions.
We had been due to carry on to the east coast of Sicily but decided we weren’t in the right frame of mind for a long trip and have changed our plans - see the next day or so!
Thursday 28 MAY
Slipped 07.15 into heavy cloud and some rain (early morning thunder and lightening), lumpy sea again once off the “toe”. Very barren landscape as one would expect.
The largest aircraft carrier I have seen plus it’s defending ship passed by us out at sea then turned north up the straits. It obviously wasn’t publicising its name, it would have been interesting to know which country’s navy she was from; on the distant horizon both vessels had looked like oil rigs.
16.45 we arrived at REGGIO DI CALABRIA port, a bit of a dump with a great swell from ferries, police and coast guard launches. Quite expensive with no facilities. We were immediately accosted by Saverio Chico, a character of many years standing here. He will drop off a bag of croissants on your deck in the morning and hope that during your stay he will be of service as a taxi driver, chandler, you name it he is IT.
We went for an explore mainly to buy francobolli (stamps) which turned out to be a long drawn out affair. The tabbachios don’t appear to sell stamps any more and at the post office first one takes a queuing ticket, once at the counter the computer took over until eventually the envelopes were franked, and only €1 20 for two letters to England.
As Rod Heikel in his pilot says, it is no wonder the town is down at heel having been fought over so many times, two earthquakes one as recently as1980, however road sweepers would be a great help.
Friday 29 MAY
Slipped 10.30 for an interesting trip through the Messina Straits. Quite straightforward as long you observe the rule of the road and a 2.5 knot current against us. In the last few weeks we have successfully navigated from the Aegean to the Ionian Seas and now in unknown waters- The Tyrrhenian Sea; apparently it is less buoyant than the other two. We have also successfully foiled Scylla and Charybdis
We had our first viewing of the famous swordfish boats with their very tall masts/ viewing platforms and incredibly long bowsprits, apparently the fish bask on the sea surface during the day which seems a bit dumb of them waiting to be speared!
13.15 arrived in BAGNARA to stay for a few days to explore where Charles (Mike’s father) won his MC during the Allied Invasion of Italy. Coming in from the sea and looking up at the impenetrable hills it appears a daunting task; I am presently reading Airey Neave’s account of the setting up of safe routes by the Resistance, with particular emphasis on sending home valuable airmen whose planes had been shot down; I can imagine the extreme difficulties looking at the terrain around here;
Two sword fish boats here so must investigate close at hand.
Saturday 30 MAY
At last warm enough for breakfast on deck. An exploring, shopping, useful day.
Sunday 31 MAY
Mike had done a fair amount of research to find the bridge which Charles and his Royal Engineers had to span during the war. We walked a little further than we needed to, en route found the Carmine Church, very lovely, and were shown around by a very proud parishioner. It is just below the bridge and appears not to have been damaged. You can easily tell which span had been blown up by the retreating Germans and the buildings on the opposite side of the road damaged by Allies. As a family we had always heard about the two cottages which had to be demolished to allow for the bailey bridge to be put in place, and there they were rebuilt!
We heard from someone on a neighbouring boat that his father had been part of the supply team and had found abandoned German vehicles which would have been very useful if the the local Italians hadn’t removed all reusable parts and syphoned off the fuel!
Monday 1 June
Mike went back to the Town Hall to find more war info but nothing found, possibly the archives are now in the regional offices in Reggio.
Deciding where to stay cheaply until Peter arrives so thought a train trip up the coast would reveal little harbours, but of course, most of the trip is in tunnels, however we did see the new harbour at Palmi/T. Then went south to Scilla which is said to be the most attractive harbour in Italy, it is pretty but think there are others more so, what about Amalfi. Anyway we have sussed out the mooring on laid buoys and will probably go on Wednesday.
On observing the population in Calabria, which lets face it is one of the poorest regions of Italy, there is a large proportion of obese boys and more young men than you would expect.
On the other hand a huge number of men/women/young/old are out in their sports gear, walking/jogging/running/cycling on a daily basis.
Tuesday 2 June
Off I went early to the market, said to be one of the best, only to find it not there but worse most of the shops were closed too. When I got back to the boat we discovered it was a national holiday; Heikel didn’t put it in his pilot. It’s a long walk to and fro to the shops; one of us was not best pleased. However I did buy local olive oil from a barrel poured into an old wine bottle.
Our boaty next door neighbour gave us two spare fish they had just caught and the other neighbour presented us with a bottle of white Alsace wine and yet another gave me a little “pauwer” shell he had picked up whilst diving.
Wednesday 3 June/7 June
Left Bagnara for SCILLA where we were warmly welcomed and helped to a mooring buoy, then promptly asked to move to another, as the sword fish boats needed our space too, we would definitely have had our heads sliced off by their 25 metre long bowsprits.
We were off put by the swell at first however very soon got used to it. A boat service is included in the price, we use it sometimes but I need to be au fait with our dinghy and electric motor.
Lots to watch, this is a busy small fishing port. However we fear it could be gentrified within a year or two; the young, though interested in fishing, helping with boat maintenance etc, probably won’t be prepared to live the life of their forebears.
The village is divided into two, the fishing harbour and houses/shops on the north side of the rock and the seaside part on the south. This latter is reasonably large but no shops other than gelateri though a general store might be opening later in the month.
Eating out was a disappointment, we had been recommended a restaurant belonging to the same family who run the moorings etc and told that the fish is the best, but apart from my delicious carpaccio di tonno the remainder was overpriced and boring.
Sunday evening - the sword fishing boats are in as are most of the fishermen, a religous procession is winding its way around the town with mournful singing, the sky looks like rain and thunder, a helicopter flies overhead and suddenly a gigantic crash, the seagulls are in uproar? It is the road engineers dynamiting part of the old Mussolini coast road.
We have been looking at this section of road for sometime, one of the spans had been left hanging. Apparently a new more attractive road is being built which blends into the hills, the old one is a monstrous ugly thing.
Monday 8 June
Slipped 09.25, saying arrivederci to the mooring people, Nino, Giovanni, Clementi etc.
Safely across the Straits of Messina and into the harbour at MILAZZO past “Stanlow Oil Refinery”!
We have a very nice berth just away from the ferry wash. Marina del Netuno is for big yachts and a few people like us. A further yacht marina is north of the town. Our berth was inside the S/W pontoon and appeared to be less affected by wash than those more easterly.
Showers/WC adequate, could do with more cleaning attention. At least one of the marina staff is a keen gardener growing tomatoes, courgettes as well as flowers.
On first acquaintance Milazzo seems a congenial place, the same feel as Prevesa in Greece. Good if small supermarkets, fish, butcher, chandler, hat shop, greengrocers.The old part, turn right from our marina, is delightful.
Bar Nettuno opposite with “at table service” quite expensive but does sell the most gorgeous pattisseries particularly rum babas. The owner’s wife, a large lady wearing very short skirts, high heels and lots of makeup. The following day we went to the slightly scruffy bar further left.
Tuesday 9 June
Shopped and prepared for visitors.
Wednesday 10 June
Finished shopping. B & P arrived from Palermo around 16.00 and managed to leave their car with a parking firm and we trust it will be around on their return.
Thursday 11 June
Slipped 09.30 for a gentle cruise to LIPARI PORTO DI PIGNATARO, this very low key marina has a strange arrangement in that the various pontoons are let to three different concessions, ours is Eol Mare ch 14. A fair amount of wash from the ferries.
Showers and WC fair.
The pale pink bar/restaurant, in the same building as the marina office, is reopening on Sunday with a party.
Sited above the marina is Picolo Hotel Appinata where one can have a very pleasant aperitif and a wonderful panoramic view.
Friday 12 June
Slipped 09.15 for Stromboli and Panarea; unfortunately the wind got up and the sea was quite unpleasant for a first time sailor - Bridget - not to mention myself. We turned around, had a look at Panarea and decided the shelter was not good enough, and headed for SANTA MARIA, SALINA, PORTO TURISTICO IN S. BASIN. An attractive large marina behind a high stone breakwater with arched recesses some of which have doors for storage. The large useful bollards are painted bright blue, lots of flowers, good showers and WC., pleasant staff and only a quick walk into the main village.
Again a very busy port, ferries large and small in all directions.
Good shops of all persuasions, bars, restaurants. The best granita bar in the Aeolians.
Alongside us came a large motor yacht owned by Salvatore with his delightful family of 4 children plus wife and “hand”. He was born in London and has a cockney accent when speaking good English. For some reason they took to us and plied us with cherries, wine etc.
Saturday 13 June
Weather still too windy and more forecast. We decided to take a bus around the island to explore and after a bit of toing and froing we got to the right stop. The island is supposed to be the only one of the Aeolians with its own water supply and is very lush though to us it looked the same as the other islands. It is the centre for growing capers and has a a very pleasant dessert wine, Malvasi. We stopped for a swim/paddle and snack in Rinella and to check out the moorings. Caught another bus to Malfi for lunch, in my guide book it is described as chic,I would say pleasant but not smart.
Due to the bad forecast, boats of all sizes came into the harbour for shelter including one chaotic yacht who damaged his stanchions on us and blamed us for not having enough fenders out! luckily whilst we were out.
Sunday 14 June
Still very windy, we took the ferry to Stromboli and Panarea, well at least that is what was talked about, however we only got as far as Panerea!! We took a little golf buggy to the swimming beach, sitting looking astern it was very fast and not very secure.
The day wasn’t too successful, too much hanging around and not enough shade other than sitting in a restaurant/bar and paying. Peter had a swollen foot, we think from a jellyfish sting, which made walking uncomfortable. Mike bought a very smart panama type hat, at last thank goodness.
We found the hotel Rob and Sal had stayed at some years ago which looked beautiful, but generally none of us was particularly taken with the town. It was packed with day trippers and no shade and didn’t look like the chic place we were expecting.
Every night we hoped we could see Stromboli erupting from Salina but much too much mist.
Monday 15 June
Slipped 09.00 for VOLCANO, but first we anchored in a sheltered bay on the north of Selina, just west of Malfi. Glorious clear water though could do with being a bit warmer. We used our external shower on the bathing platform for the first time, very successful it is.
On to Volcano and PORTO DI LEVANTE where we made several distrastrous attempts to tie up and in full view of people we had seen previously; eventually William the ommogiato had to come on board to help. Probably we were given/took the wrong headrope first, it should have been the windward one. I MUST learn to be more forceful in getting the correct line first.
The little town is pleasant with some good shops. We found a family run trattoria for my birthday supper where I had black spaghetti, absolutely delicious.
The evening was spoilt by the most dreadful lop which made it almost impossible to get on and off the boats. We did sleep quite well but others didn’t. Mike decided that having wheels on the end of the passerell was not a good idea and changed them for a piece of thick rubber; I don’t know why these new wheels should be so skittish, we had had wheels for years as they cope well with the stone quays.
Tuesday 16 June
Peter went off to the farmacia as his foot is still not recovering and was told to go to the doctor where he was dealt with very quickly and efficiently. Not a jellyfish sting but probably an infected cut, so 3 days of antibiotics and it should recover.
Bridget and I went to the mud baths where hot mud and steam erupts naturally from deep down. Sitting covered with a mud pack is said to alleviate aches and panes - I don’t think we were there long enough to be helped.
Slipped 12.00 for LIPARI to the same marina as earlier.
Wednesday 17 June
Shopping and snack with B & P before they caught the ferry back to Milazzo and their car.
Caught the little bus which runs every ten minutes or so and stops at the marina €1.30
Had a couple for drinks who come from Norwich, they came in early morning and as they were making their approach the steering failed so had to come alongside and then be pulled round, stern to.
Rain in afternoon.
Thursday 18 June
Boring activities like shopping, washing, cleaning.
19.00 off to drinks with the Sicilians who have come over from Volcano. Champagne and local bites to eat. Just as we thought we should be leaving, it was obvious we were having supper too, lovely Sicilian meats, cheeses including smoked ricotta, sausages on the table top bbq, the same as the one we had seen in Manfredonia. We had a lovely evening in spite of a shortage of mutual language apart from Salvatori and David, the boat hand. We may see them again once we are in Licata later in the year.
Friday 19 June
Hot, started on preparing decks for painting, more washing and cleaning of kitchen.
I needed a walk so went up the very steep hill behind us too steep to venture up there often.
Drinks with the Norwich folk.
Saturday 20 June
Hot again.We are the only boat left on our side of the jetty which makes us rather exposed to the wash.
Sunday 21 June
Out for lunch and to watch the Austrian Grand Prix; our chosen restaurant said OK, we ordered our enormous pizzas, then discovered they didn’t have sky so no race could be shown. Rosberg won, Hamilton 2nd.
Monday 22 June
Decided I must have a hair cut, the receptionist at Eol Mare put me in touch , however when I eventually found it, being Monday it was closed. Instead I found Hotel Orienti part of the Amadeus group of hotels. The reception area was FULL of an eclectic collection of Indian/Colonial decorative objects and looks as though there is a very pretty garden at the back. The proprietor spoke perfect English.
Tuesday 23 June
Nothing very interesting.
Wednesday 24 June
Deck painting and exploring the old town and castle. The amphitheatre we had been told about is in a lovely position as is usual with a backdrop of the sea, but has been rebuilt and is used for concerts. We discovered a whole new area of town down beyond the castle, very touristy and where the trip boats come in. There are two little harbours, probably only for fishing and trip boats.
Stopped for a gelati, then the proprietor gave us a glass each of the locally produced Malvasia dessert wine, I don’t think it was a very good example though.
Thursday 25 June
The great hair cut day, the salon is in the most delightful square pink painted house with lovely white wrought iron balconies and a pretty garden. I now look like Doris Day.
We have done justice to the Archeological Museum, so much to take in. It is spread through several separate buildings, but no guides and no indication as to where one should start. The exhibitions have been well laid out and the written information is good. In the past there has been an enormous amount of work by archeologists in piecing together hundreds of shards to make coherent exhibits.
In spite of our guide book saying the museum closes at 13.00, during the summer at least it is open 10.00-18.00, €6 and no concessions for the very old.
A sword fishing boat has just come in, it is a long way from its normal fishing grounds.
I am pleased to note that the Italians have a great affinity with traditional designed small motor boats, beautifully built. The first time we have seen so many of this type in all our travels - grp sailing yachts do not reign supreme here. To be fair the Italians do like their big super yachts too. This might be the country in which to sell Eos when we feel the time is right.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 26, 27, 28 June
Windy at sea, busy at porto Pignataro, the larger yachts/motor boats are starting to arrive. The sword fish boat which came in earlier in the week held an end of season supper on the quayside. We had supper at the bar, better than we expected though considering it is a start up business they haven’t quite got used to the customer being a priority.
Monday 29 June
An exploring off the boat day, we took the local bus to the northwest side of the island to Quatropani though we didn’t actually walk down to the village itself as we had 5km walking to Aquacaldo to meet the other bus. The scenery was wild and uninhabited, hence no bus along this section of road, with constant views of Isola Selina it was a lovely walk. The walk downhill took us about an hour, don’t try it the other way round as it is uphill ALL the way. As a treat we had delicious gelati whilst bus waiting, back through C???? Mike said he didn’t like the place when he had walked to it, certainly the seafront is very pleasant but I have to agree with him that the outskirts are fairly grotty.
We went for a wine tasting of a very delicious Malvasia wine, one with no lable and is produced on Isola Selina the adjacent island. It is a desert wine accompanied by little sesame biscuits, delicious. In England I think it make a very pleasant pre lunch aperatif on a cold winter’s day!!
Tuesday 30 June
Hot. Slipped at 09.10. Farewells to Simone and Marco the two very efficient and helpful “mooring men”. We had an uneventful trip to Scilla, such an attractive place, but had forgotten about the swell which seems much more than during our last visit.
Wednesday 1st July to Sunday 12 July,
THE GREAT FAMILY EXPEDITION TO THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS
Wednesday 1 July
Mike and I took the boat to MESSINA to meet up with Emma, Graeme, William, Adam and Max who had flown very early from Manchester to Catania then coach to Messina and had had delays all the way. However we had a good first voyage for them back across the straits to Scilla avoiding sword fish boats on the way; also an American war ship who recognised our blue ensign and dipped to us, of course we reciprocated!! A nice touch we thought and probably relieved someone’s boredom.
Thursday 2 July
Off earlyish to explore the castle at Scilla, then train back to Bagnara to show the family Charles’ bridge I am not sure what the boys thought but Emma particularly was very pleased to know its whereabouts, it having been part of family history.
Friday 3 July
Off to Milazzo, Sicily, to meet up with Sophie, Henry and Tabitha; their flight was delayed too by a technical fault at Luton but all good in the end. Sophie and Tabitha’s B & B excellent, Henry stayed with us. Out to pizza at Doppio 0 with Christian, Caroline and little Rita their 3 year old daughter.
Saturday 4 July
Took over IL MIGLIO BLUE, our charter yacht for the coming week and met Christian our skipper. To pass the time before Alexandra arrived we took our boat up the isthmus and around and down the other side for an anchor stop and lovely swim. Supper on board.
Alexandra arrived safely from Birmingham via Rome and Catania.
Saturday 4 July - Friday 10 July
From today till Friday 10 July we explored the Aeolian Islands with Christian leading our group of 11 - 3 daughters, 5 grandchildren and 1 son-in-law, Mike and myself.
We had a fabulous time though generally not enough wind for sailing, however all can now tie a bowline and most can row and bring the dinghy to tie to the stern of Eos. We swam everyday, the favourite pastime jumping off the side of our boat, swimming round to the stern, up the swim ladder, round to the side and jumping off again. I must say Max was the noisiest and had to be restrained at intervals.
Our newly installed transom shower was a huge success, eliminating the need for everyone traiing salt water throughout the boat
Christian is the author of the pilot to the Aeolian Islands and proved a great leader to lovely lunchtime anchorages and evening ports, brought us delicious goodies (Canolli in particular from Filicudi) and best of all introduced us to an even nicer Malvasia dessert wine produced in the islands,
He was brilliant with the children and made sure each had a turn of his attention. Though we slept on the same boats each night, during the day everyone had a turn on il miglio blue except Mike and I.
The reason for the family gathering was to celebrate our
golden wedding with the children. Emma etc were coming from New Zealand to Sicily anyway and like topsy the enterprise just grew.
On Thursday 9 July we all went out to dinner in Santa Marina Selina, to celebrate the occasion, lovely to have everyone together, however the actual date is not until October so we had better live that long!!
At the end of our travels Christian and his wife Caroline invited us all to their apartment for supper which was a great treat and very kind of them.
Saturday 11 July, Emma and family took the night train to Rome for a couple of days, then train to Venice before flying back to Manchester. Alexandra had to hurry back to the UK to finalise arrangements for her wedding the following Saturday, Sophie flew back the same day and we had to hurry down to Riposto to leave the boat for the remainder of July and August whilst we too went back to the UK for said wedding.
Ports of call and lunchtime swimming anchorages
VOLCANO - Gelso SELINA - Santa Marina, Porto delle Eolie
SELINA - Pollara FILICUDI PORTO
ALICUDI PORTO FILICUDI PORTO
FILICUDI - Filo di Lorani
LIPARI - Portocello
SELINA - Pollara/Lingua SELINA - Santa Marina
LIPARI - Portocello LIPARI - Marina Lunga
VOLCANO - Marina di Livante MILAZZO
VOYAGES OF EOS 2015
August - October Part 2
Wednesday 26 August
Mike and I arrived back in Riposto via our flight Manchester/Catania. Alibus from airport to station, train to Riposto and a very old dirty taxi driven by a very old man who was obviously not a bona fide taxi driver and wouldn’t come into the marina, I wonder why not, and he charged us €10.
We were given a warm welcome back by our boaty neighbours. The boat dusty and hot so out to a pizza supper at the restaurant adjacent to the marina. Delicious but very strange service, as if we weren’t meant to be there.
Thursday 27 August
Shopping, tidying etc, very hot.
Friday 28 August
We had a jolly day on trainiEtna all the way to RANDAZZO which was a bit of a dump as Peter and Bridget had thought, in spite of our guiide book raving about the place. However I had a lovely glass of local Sicilian white wine.
The little train is a one coach ancient diesel train doing the round trip from Riposta Giarre to Catania and back (you have to peruse the timetable carefully as not all trains do the complete circuit). Initially the track is bordered by lemon/orange groves, higher up mainly olives, the scenery is varied, some areas of volcanic rock others quite agricultural. A good few really nice looking horses grazing happily on not a lot.The poor little train could never really get going as there were so many unmanned road crossings that he had to slow for. A lovely day out.
Saturday 29 AUGUST
Left Riposto for George Ritso’s buoy field below Taormina. All very easy though there is quite a swell below the cliffs and rocks quite close, in a southerly apparently he moves everyone around so that all can be secured fore and aft.
Sunday 30 August
Bronco, George’s helper, took us to the shore to catch the bus to Taormina. The fact that it was Sunday, end of the holidays and a cruise ship was in made the place rather full and we are not good with meandering crowds. The shops mainly a disappointment and certainly not a patch on those in Santa Mariina, Selina.
We found a pleasant restaurant ???il Grotto di Cyclopi up a stepped side street. I had the most delicious ?? With a pistachio sauce and Mies calamari was good too. The waiter spoke some English and had a good selection of gentle jazz c.d’s.
We didn’t stay long and headed back to our boat. My mind hadn’t moved with the times and I was expecting the town as it had been when “A House in Sicily” was written.
We were surrounded by boats full of families enjoying the last of their summer, huge numbers of very brown children swimming around like fishes jus as ours had.
Monday 31 August
After I had had a swim, said goodbye to George Ritso keeper of the buoys below Taormina and set off for ACIREALE in the hope there would be space for us. ..... Just. Rather nervously we anchored amongst the rocks and all was well. No water or elec.
As is our wont, we looked for a bar and a welcome beer, the first two restaurants which looked very nice, didn’t want to serve us, around the corner we found a bar with no beer other than a sort of shandy which at least was cold.
One very small super meccato and a wealth of very attractive buildings along the coast. We didn’t explore the town above the cliffs but reading the guide books it appears to be quite a substantial place.
We were the star attraction, first small children practicing their English, then the gigly mothers who had no English, finally late at night the dreaded teenagers who sound so menacing, we just stayed down below so they couldn’t taunt us.
Tuesday 1 September
Around 10.00 we slipped and no trouble retrieving our anchor. A straightforward trip passing by Catania. Arr BRUCOLI around midday when a nasty little breeze set up. At first we were told we were too big for the ‘marina’ and were tied to a huge yellow buoy in the bay which would have been great; then it was decided we could come to the pontoon which was fine if the boatmen had been more efficient tying us up and not dropping two head ropes; the result lots of cross people and I was definitely in the sulks especially the thought of walking some distance along a very dusty road past disgusting rubbish bins. In the end we did find food, a nice cooling beer and a delightful next door neighbour who had been out fishing all day and ready to party with their mates, they were noisy, obviously celebrating the end of the holidays.
Wednesday 2 September
Slipped circa 10.00 from Brucoli for a gentle run to Marina Grande Ortegia Syracuse.
On a very quick look this appears a splendid place to stay for a day or two.
We were just coming back from our explore when we came across a wedding car having the greatest difficulty negotiating the tight corners; we then came across a group of smartly dressed folk in black but couldn’t tell from their demeanour whether they were going to a wedding or a funeral!
Thursday 3 September
About ten minutes walk to the open air fruit and fish market - brilliant. Also a couple of delicatessens selling so many Sicilian specialities, piles of cheeses, salamis, james etc.
Coffee and a cannoli, postcards and stamps. Mike went off for a hair cut and I set off to explore. I found a lovely ceramics shop and bought two tiles with comic faces on them, typically Sicilian I am told, they will do for our bedside tables at home. I could have bought the whole shop particularly lovely bright and quirkily decorated plates had I €100 per plate.
Archimede’s fountain, Aretusa’s fountain, Temple of Apollo, so much to see but best of all walking up the narrow via Minerva and coming into the wonderful Piazza del Duomo. The Piazza is long not square with beautiful long Baroque facades.
I left going into the Duomo until 18.00 when most of the tourists had left. Naughtilyh I stopped for a gelati, a cassatta but should have chosen lemon; one woman was buying a huge brioche filled with ice cream, how she managed to eat it all before it melted in this heat.
Mike and I arrived at the end of a wedding, the guests outside and the bride and groom waiting to process down the aisle to Mendelsohn’s wedding March. He in a dark blue suit and she in a strapless frufru dress, quite the opposite of our bride!
The Duomo is said to be the oldest Christian church in Europe, was stripped of its Baroque fittings in 18th C and now the 2500 year old columns stand truly magnificent.
Friday 4 September
Off to the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis by no. 2 bus. The Greek Theatre is vast but somehow it didn’t have the magic of Ephesus and all the other Turkish and Greek ones we have visited, perhaps because it didn’t have a backdrop of the sea. The caves however were dramatic.
Very hot again, a late lunch and siesta.
Saturday 5 September
Off to the market. I was brave enough to buy tuna and have it cut very thin to make a carpachio (only moderately successful). Mike decided we should have an oyster or two and a glass of Frizzanti sitting at the fishmonger’s tables amongst the frenzie of Saturday shoppers, very pleasant.
By the time we arrived back at the boat, the wind, as predicted, had arrived which made for a dramatic arrival of several yachts, some couldn’t make it and had to anchor in the harbour. One which did tie up ok adorned with white ribbons and a bride and her entourage on board.
I find these warm southerly winds quite exhausting so nothing much happened for the remainder of the day.
Sunday 6 September
Lots of Sicilian families off on their boats for the day.
Mike spent hours looking for a restaurant which would show the Italian Grand Prix - no luck.
Monday 7 September
We had planned a bus trip to inland NOTO (another beautiful Baroque town) however just as we were having an early lunch the dreaded rolls of thunder then lightening, then heavy rain. Needless to say we decided not to spend ages walking in the rain to the bus, even had it been dry in Noto. Later numerous yachts came in for shelter.
Tuesday 8 September
Caught the 10.10 train to Noto, rain not scheduled until the afternoon. After a boring uphill walk we arrived at the centre - wow - this certainly lives up to the guide books, it is lovely, miles of lovely honey coloured stone buildings, churches, streets with the most ornately carved balconies (said to be the most decorated in Europe), the town hall with a very boring room of mirrors as the guide book said) .
A bit of rain so a lunch stop indicated but we didn’t chose the most exciting restaurant!!
More sightseeing and then to bus station to catch 16.00 bus back. Interestingly large acreages of newly planted lemon orchards to supplement the already mature orchards.
Around 19.00 the deluge arrived, we spent a happy time mopping up leaks. Poor boat has been in the sun for so long that the sealants around the windows etc have dried up.
Wednesday 9 September
Off shopping and was caught up with hordes of tours; having lived here for a week I feel rather possessive and don’t like these non locals!!
Two things I have forgotten to mention:-
The beautiful double avenue of clipped lemons/oranges the full length of the harbour frontage which makes a lovely shady walk towards Arethusa’s fountain.
Near to the open market we came across a knife grinder who used the motor of his scooter to power the grinding machine. I haven’t seen one for years and years.
More rain and more mastic filling.
Thursday 10 September
A glorious day with nothing much to do except tidy and go to the Vecchio Pub, via del Virginia (?) for a bruschetta and a glass of wine, a last gelati from the shop at the corner of the Piazza del Duomo and a last look at that wonderful square.
The proposed new cruise ship harbour is to west of the city. The works along the east side will again be for visiting yachts; what an enchanting place to be except in a westerly when you could be blown against the quay.
Friday 1 September
Slipped 10.00 for an uneventful trip to MARZAMEMI. Again we arrived at lunch time and had to tie up to the fishing wharf until Arturo was ready. Finally we tied up alongside a beautiful steel hulled replica of a gentleman’s launch, approx 80 metres long.
According to our pilot book Marzamemi was a sleepy pretty place, I don’t think we walked far enough.
As we came south the sea depth dropped to around 1600 metres.
Saturday 12 September
Slipped 09.00 for POZZALLO and had to anchor in the harbour until the harbour master was ready at14.00.
This is a commercial port with a French Frigate alongside and numerous Guardia/Finanza boats. Also a fast ferry to Malta.
Once we had been for a walk we realised this is actually a holiday resort, people coming over from Malta on a day trip etc. The beach is wide, clean, beautifully swept and the bay perfect for anchoring.
On our walk we peered through the port fence and saw a huge number of old fishing boats, fairly neatly stowed, some with Arabic writing, also a number of what I call “naval pulling boats”, ie for intership rowing races; these were all newly numbered and we wondered if they were confiscated from boat people.
Whilst coming round the coast we passed ISOLA DELLE CORRENTI which the Sicilians regard as the most southerly point in Europe, may be so for Sicily but we think the most southerly tip of the Greek Pelopponese takes the honours.
Sunday 13 September
Slipped 10.00. Stopped for a swim then on to SCOGLITTI where we were squeezed in. A very pleasant little port but I imagine not much room for visiting yachts in the height of the holiday season.
As we came along the coast we were parallel to the main shipping route, we saw about 8 merchant ships. Are they being sent on this narrow shipping lane between Sicily and Malta to avoid hindrance from boat people?
Just waiting for the last bit of the log!
PORTS OF CALL IN 2015
4-5 May Trani stern to €56
6 May St. Spirito stern to €50
7 May Polignano Camper & Nicholson €56 per night
8-9 May Brindisi alongside town quay free, no one came to see us.
10-12 May Brindisi Marina €38 per night
13-16 May Santa Maria di Leuca, marina/harbour €53
17 May Gallipoli marina/harbour €60
18/19 May Taranto, marina/harbour €50
20 May Marina di Policoro new marina €30 + elec
21/22 May Cariati, alongside marina/harbour €40
23 May Crotone, marina/harbour €30
24/25 May La Castella, alongside €40
26/27 May Roccella Ionica €45
28 May Reggio di Calibria, marina €50
29 May/2 June Bagnara €36 (€55 per night)
3 June/7 June Scilla, mooring buoy €30
8/9/10 June Milazzo marina/port (Eoli Mare) €40
11 June Lipari, Porto di Pignataro €40
12/13/14 June Selina, Santa Marina €50
15 June Volcano, Porto di Ponente €30
16 June/2 July Lipari, Porto di Pignataro €40
4 - 10 July Aeolian trip - see above
13 July to
28 August Riposto Marina
29/30 August Taormina George Rizzo’s buoys
31 August Acireale fishing port
1 September Brucoli pontoon
2- 10 September Syracuse Grande Harbour, Marina Yachting
11 September Marzamemi,marina
12 September Pozzallo