Part 1 May - July

This is our tenth year of boating, twelve years since we bought her.

As usual Mike came out in April before me, to have Eos taken out of the water, cleaned and part painted.  Again only a small amount of maintenance required. However this is the year for the complete overhaul of the engine coolers which entails a great deal of heavy lifting and oily hands.

Most of the “live aboards” are still here, thus the social life was good.

Initially the weather was so hot that the paint dried on the brush before it could be painted on the deck; once back in the water the wind and rain came, but had gone by the time I arrived on May 4th.

Thursday 5th Ascension Day.  A very nice welcome back, we were woken to a gun salute and many church bells.  The entire town has been out in force, streets are lined with stalls selling everything you might or might not wish to buy.  Galloping horses, bands, fireworks, religious parades spread over three days.

The older generation are smartly dressed, suits and ties for men, women mostly in suits and small girls in their best new dresses.  As far as we could see no drunkeness, most people drinking soft drinks or coffee or water and eating endless lovely granitas; I had one with a brioche at a very old fashioned bar, the patronne a toothy deaf lady who spoke very loudly and thought I was French and wondered how old I was - it turned out she was the same age.

Mike and I had a good wonder around and bought a little expresso machine and a set of blue striped glasses.  Supper was a donar kebab and a plastic glass of red wine, at a garish stall, sitting at trestle tables with very loud music.  Must be mad.

At 20.00 there was Mass at the cathedral and fireworks in the square which in an enclosed space prevented the smoke from escaping, causing the onlookers to flee holding their mouths and covering their eyes.

I don’t know who pays for all this and the lights, but Licata is not a wealthy town. It is a treat to be part of, though I suspect there is disharmony somewhere in the background.

Friday was the afternoon for silly games, greasy pole etc., the night ended with a superb 15 minute firework display set off from the sea wall, obviously we had a great view.

The Marina put on a fine BBQ for us boaties, really good fun and for pudding so many canoli.

The weather is mixed, not a soul has ventured out to sea, I thought from their conversations people were macho sailors and would go out in anything - no they are as wimpy as myself..

Trouble with water pump on one engine so no going anywhere until this is fixed.  Tom and Madeleine have arrived so expect we will do more exploring.  Just had a very nice, simple lunch at Ristorante de Gustibus di Luca Paglini, Corso Vittorio Emanuele 136.  I don’t think he was intending to open having just taken delivery of new Ikea chairs, but Mike had been before so was known to the patron.

Saturday 14 - Tuesday 16 MAY

No point hanging around Licata so off on our travels, each with a small rucksack, we must look a funny lot of old codgers.  Caught the bus to Palermo travelling through lovely countryside to spend two days staying at an Ibis adjacent to and overlooking the port, from the 7th floor dining room and bar we had a bird’s eye view of a vast area of the port.  We were most impressed by the staff, all multilingual and very helpful.  The hotel has recently had a makeover and become very modern and quirky, strange lopsided decorations, bedheads, mirrors etc.  Delicious breakfasts.

T & M went off to explore by open topped bus, Mike and I followed the walking tour in our guide book which took us to most of the interesting places in the Centro Storico.  Parts very run down and a bit pongy (Vucciria) but most just delightful and as one might expect you come across surprises eg a group learning graffit art and my favourite an Iranian shopkeeper selling wonderful rugs and ceramics (Shahidi, Corso Vittorio Emanuele) I bought a bowl.  The Borgo Vecchio is an area of very narrow streets but where the food shops were open early on a Sunday, a cycle race around the city centre and much blowing of car horns, street entertainers in Piazza Ruggero Settimo in front of a concert hall we nicknamed the Albert Hall/Brandenburg Gate. We went on a tour of he 3rd largest opera house in Europe, Teatro Massimo, their concert series this year mostly Wagner.

Mike and I had lunch and then with the others, supper at Casa del Brodo  on via Vittorio Emanuele - a family run business and delicious food.  We made an error in trying to get to Monreale, you really have to plan the timing of buses very carefully.  We shall go in June when we return with boat.

Monday we left by bus for Piazza Armerina via Enna, through the most lovely countryside, we were all amazed at the amount of intensive agriculture.  The Ibis hotel had helped with our booking of B & B .....................delightful.  We were quite hungry by now, the little Trattoria.............which was about to close, had enough antipasta remaining which just filled the bill.  After a good explore of the town and its enormous and beautiful Duomo, another decorated in blue and white a la Wedgewood, we went back for dinner - very crowded this time.  As a couple were leaving (we didn’t gather their nationality) they asked how we would vote in the Referendum and why were we travelling in Europe if we weren’t certain about it!!

Next day off to Villa Romana del Casalis by taxi as the little minibus didn’t appear.  The mosaics in this ancient huge villa are exquisite and breathtaking, they cover such a vast area.

On to our bus again through lovely countryside and passed “orchards” of prickly pears, not certain what they are used for, to Gela  and its awful bus station with only one bench.  This was the weak point in our excursions as limited number of buses connecting to Licata; However the 2.5 hours passed by relatively quickly - very cold and windy though sunny.

Back to boat.  Sad news on Wednesday, Jasper dog had to be put down, probably a tumour, Sophie, Craig and vet decided it would be unkind to put him through exploratory tests etc.  He was 12 which is a good age for a big dog.  We shall all miss him.

Thursday 19 MAY, T & M went off to explore Agrigento, back Friday.

Our part for the water pump finally arrived on Monday and was fitted on Tuesday and Wednesday ready for sea trials on Thursday and luckily to our great relief all was well; celebrations with friends and Prosecco ensued!  T & M decided to leave on Wednesday so as to explore Etna and Syracusa before leaving for home.  We felt rather embarrassed that they had come to see us and had had no sea time, however they have explored Sicily and we have all enjoyed a holiday together.

Las Vegas for early evening drinks and a meet up with Dave and Lindsay who had just flown back from UK having taken their cat back home. Drinks and BBQ the next night; it’s all too social  - at least seven of the overwintering boats will meet up again in Crete for next winter, what a gang.

We mustn’t forget Australian Matt and his engineering skills used to such good effect sorting out our engine coolers etc.  He hopes to set up a business with a website coordinating all the various aspects of boat management within the marina - good luck.


Friday 27 MAY        €50 free water/elec

At last, slipped 09.30 to cheers from pontile due.  We will miss the company and the staff at Marina del ?????We had a lovely run westwards to San Leoni.  Our VHF call was answered immediately and 3 staff on the pontoon to help us in.  Again we were given the incorrect head rope, they never seem to get it right.  Soon after we were moored up the wind rose steadily, a bit choppy.  The marina supplies water hoses and boarding boards for each yacht, a nice touch.  However the staff go off at 18.00.

San Leoni appears a relatively prosperous town with many detached houses, not seen before anywhere in Italy, many with very strong and locked gates - is there a burglary problem here I wonder. The park bordering the sea has at intervals tennis courts, a roller blading park, beach volley ball, mini football, etc giving lots of exercise outlets for the young.  The roller blade park was fascinating, there is obviously a club with uniform kit and an instructor, children of all ages.

We had a beer at quite a smart cafe/restaurant.  Lots of business men happy to have soft drinks or coffee, hardly any alcohol.  Could we adopt this in the UK??

Saturday 28 MAY        €40 free water/elec

Slipped 09.00, dull, a bit of a lop, wind varied but never more than force 3 - just right for a long day, at one point the visibility went right down, nav lights on, we assume there was rain on the mainland.   Arrived MAZARA  16.30. A large harbour with quite a few trawlers but not as many as Heikel led us to believe.  One or two fishing boats, a merchantman or two on the horizon and birds with us all the way, I think little Storm Petrels and larger Petrels or Shearwaters, beautiful long wing spans, skimming the waves.

Two marina operators, Lega Navale and Adina.  We are with Adina which is closer in and shallow.  We had a rather tricky entrance to our mooring just as the wind got up; again we were given the wrong head ropes and someone, not marina staff, wrapped one of our stern lines around a hose, instead of taking hose off tap let go our line!!  We put on an extra spring in case of very strong gusts in the night.  The best marina wifi we have come across.

Sunday 29 MAY

Still a strong wind.  We had a good explore of this lovely city, beautiful old buildings, piazzas, up to our eyebrows in Baroque.  The mayor who is a ceramicist, decided that as the city was rather impoverished, he would use ceramics to differentiate his city from others, to use as a tourist attraction; there are small wall plaques everywhere, the street names are often ceramic and huge painted urns, all great fun.

The large fishing fleet is much depleted, the other industry is ship breaking though how much revenue this brings I am not sure.  To man the boats and to work on the ships there is said to be a large north African population, there is certainly a mosque, it was good hearing the Muezzin again.

Had our usual Sunday lunch out this time at the Osteria Scopari in Via Scopari. A lugubrious Fernandel character owning it.  First cous cous for me, the sauce not as flavoursome as could be, otherwise delicious.

Walking back we found the old church which is exhibiting the Satyr found by trawlermen, first a leg then the body, an amazing story.

Monday 30 MAY

Slipped 09.00 but returned after half an hour, the wind too strong for us especially not knowing if it would increase.  Spent the day doing useful things and some shopping.

Tuesday 31 MAY

An early start to make certain we arrived at MARSALA in time to meet up with Peter and Julian who were coming by train from Trapani.  A silly boatman directed us to an impossible mooring, the adjacent boat had a line at right angles, almost impossible given the tight turning space, all we did was infuriate the owner and disturb his sunbathing beauties.   Eventually went alongside as we were not staying long.  

Lunch on board with P and J, then off northwards toTrapani; in case the wind got up, no time to visit the Egadi Islands.  Before entering the port you must call up the harbour master for permission or incur his wrath and a hefty fine.

TRAPANI €70 per night, free elec and water (non portable)

We were taken on a tour of the town by our expert guides.  Another once very elegant city ravaged during the war by both sides of the conflict.  Some lovely old buildings,  many being restored, high end shops, cafes an d restaurants.  Out to dinner at La Dolce Vita in  Via Egadi.  Good though Mike got one of his choking fits on spaghetti would you believe.

Wednesday 1 JUNE

A quick shop at the nearby fish and veg market, so much shouting and haggling, we bought two mackeral and some prawns.

P & J picked us to go back to their house about 45 mins up n the hills at Buselo Palizzolo; a modern house with lovely large central courtyard and a new area of garden Peter is developing. The front garden with olive trees has a view to die for, I think they can just see the sea at Castellammare del Golfo.

After another lovely lunch we went on very windy and partially collapsed roads to THE TEMPLE AND THEATRE AT SEGESTA.  We missed visiting the temples at Agrigento, but can’t believe they can be as beautiful as Segesta, its lonely position on the edge of a quarry with a backdrop  of trees is sublime, the building massive and architecturally perfect, 3rd C BC, the family of ravens think so too.  By paying €1.30 you get the bus (or you can walk, (16 mins down) up to the Theatre where plays and opera are still performed each summer.  It is quite small only holding 3,200 people.

Another perfect Sicilian day.

Thursday 2 June  REPUBLIC DAY €40, elec and water (non potable)

Slipped 09.45 having first informed the harbour master of our intention.  Light wind but a lumpy sea as we passed M. Cofano and Capo S. Vito, brilliant scenery.  Arrived CAPO ST. VITO  a holiday village and Marina.  Efficient.  Flat roofed Arab influenced architecture.

Mike thought he would try and free our log, but even in a wetsuit and not yet attuned to swimming, thought better of it.

We explored the town, very busy and noisy as a public holiday, but all so friendly.  Drink at Cafe de Savoie (named after an early king of Sicily).  It was very busy and the numerous staff were excellent and very good tempered, moving chairs, hurrying up orders etc.  Then on the table set around the umbrella poles delicious looking food was set out, all you can eat for €8.  Bought a tiny sewing machine which looks like a stapler and a mobile phone case for Mike, all the stalls manned by men from Bangladesh.

Friday 3 June

Stayed another day.  Lovely and warm with just a gentle breeze.  Painted my new basil pot navy blue and later planted it in new compost.

P & J came down for a swim and lunch, very brave of them.  They often come to the far beach which is quieter but does have a cafe, excellent sand.

Saturday 4 June       €40 per night, elec/water          non potable. Only 1 elec          pylon on pontoon.

Slipped 09.00 into a calm sea, good viz and arrived at CASTELLEMARE DEL PORTO  at 11.30.  Lovely scenery, no harbours but probably anchorages; the villages appear more cohesive and more expensive perhaps.

P & J on the quay with a bag of pine nuts we had asked for.  A quick granita at the nearest bar so they could sign our visitors’ book, surly waiter who tried to keep Mike’s change - never a good idea.

We gather the town has changed out of all recognition in the last few years, for the better, but hope they will be careful with developments. There is a very upmarket deli but beer difficult to find except by walking miles up hill!

The black and orange “Noah” designed rib came in; we had seen it yesterday in San Vito di Capo. Very cool and elegant, big communication systems  and appears to have a small cabin, shower etc the headroom must be very limited, father is very laid back and friendly, mother and 3 children.  For all that no where to hang wet swimming things and nothing to hold onto when travelling fast. We Googled it, made in Italy and has travelled 6,000 miles from South America for sea trials.

Sunday 5 June

Out for breakfast above the little park and its war memorial. We met a Canadian who was born here and whose family emigrated in the 1950’s.  His grandfather’s named on the War Memorial.   We had a good discussion re the Referendum, their opinion we should stay in; discussed their new Prime Minister and generally put the world to rights - a really nice man and wife.

Most of the main streets are car free and beautifully paved, very Italian and elegant.  I love Sundays, a very gentle pace, only old men out, the women at church then home to cook.  Another surprise is the number of young men pushing the pram, I am sure Englishmen are more reluctant to do so.

Monday 6 June       €80 per night, water/elec

Slipped 08.35 for Palermo, a lovely day, a gentle breeze and S/S 1/2.  Though the navigation programme was really playing up so much so Mike had plugged in his tablet as a backup.  We were just off T??????, Mike was about to do the engine room inspection when the port oil warning light went off - it is always a scarry thought when this happens.  The engine room was full of smoke and oil everywhere - a seal had blown on an oil filter; on a later inspection we found that someone had fixed two seals where there was only room for one.  Mike managed to get the filter back on and had sufficient oil to fill up and we continued on our way into Palermo Yacht basin where we were met by the ever efficient ????.  A lot of soaking up of oil from under the engines and in fact from everywhere, a great pity as the engine room was spotless as were Mike’s overalls!!

The marina is huge, fishing boats at the town end, a rowing club, schools canoeing, you can just see the large ferries and cruise ships coming and going.  At this stage in the year no smell and a street cleaner fishing out debris; perhaps the description of a rather run down marina is a thing of the past.

Tuesday 7 June

Caught the 10.00 CIT bus from the  Piazza G Cesare in front of the main train station to Monreale Cathedral about 35 mins. Free access but a €6 charge to cloisters etc.

It is strange that for a building so famous, there are few direction signs from the bus stop.  However once found, WOW.  It is magnificent, almost impossible to take it all in, so much gold and the mosaics depicting passages from the bible in such detail, Eve in a huff, Noah building his ark etc.  The garden cloister area is lovely too in a simple way, the columns beautifully decorated.  

The return bus was on time, 12.30.  I got off at the Piazza Independenza Mike had work to do.  I went to the Cathedral.  Very ornate on the outside in red sandstone (?) with quite a plain interior.

I thought I might have done some clothes shopping, however, too hot, tired and shops beginning to close for the afternoon.  Back to boat for a snooze before going out again to find meat for supper, a Carrefour to the rescue.  Feet hurt!

Wednesday 8 June

Taxi at 04.30 for flights to London, Alitalia to Rome/London City Airport.  Good flights, pleasant cabin staff, we had never been to London City Airport which is undergoing a makeover, some people had said it was rather dreary.  Anyway very quick to Bank by DLR.  

We were meant to be picking up a part for the Boat Log, however there had been a real mix up, it had been sent home, then another sent but not arrived at the little depot in Cornhill on time; no idea what will happen to it now.

A quick walk to Mincing Lane to meet Mike’s Navy boss for a lovely lunch at Balls Brothers, really good to see him again.  I must say the City of London is a glamourous place especially on a sunny day.

We had just left to walk to Liverpool Street Station for Stansted Express when the heavens opened, very lucky to find a taxi.

Stansted Airport really is the pits and so are our fellow travellers.  A large bag repacking area has been set aside for all those who don’t understand the security rules for 100ml tubes of this and that, and yet once at the actual security area we are still held up by them.  Then you have to walk at least15 mins to one’s flight gate through the duty free shops, with anything like luck you might spy a gate number.!!  Alitalia and City Airport seemed so civilised tattoos, no kiss me quick T shirts, just smart Italian business men and women.

Our nice taxi driver was at Palermo airport to meet us, home about 10.30, a rather exhausting 12 hours.  We shall have to do better with our travel insurance in future.   

Thursday 9 June

Mike finished cleaning the engine room and buying more oil - he has such good things to do.  I went food shopping and found a very good cafe with gentle piano music playing, and importantly to me a patron who could point me in the direction of a butcher.  I found myself behind the marina in the rather dodgy Vucciria area, (we had found ourselves in another part of this area on our previous visit to Palermo) lots of graffiti and derelict buildings, but a new sewer being laid and new paving, the butcher was excellent with piles of tripe and another tray full of strange offal I hadn’t seen before; I bought boring old pork chops, chicken and meat balls; the  greengrocer very good too in a back street way. I went back to the cafe for a granita, delicious €2, sometimes €2,50.

Friday 10 June   €100 but gave us a discount to €80!!, water/elec

Very sad to be leaving Palermo, a much maligned city but one which is pulling itself up from years of neglect and mismanagement; you might gather from reading this log during 10 years, we like the rather edgy cities.

Slipped 09.00 but nearly a calamity as the port head rope didn’t sink but got caught on the cleet, great shrieking from the shore alerted us.  

After that a peaceful trip to CEFALU until we realised the port water tank was dry; bother a leak, but soon mended; this is why Mike is keen to change all the plumbing, it is probably original and not as good as once it was, like us really.

Two dolphins though didn’t look quite right, or may be tuna swam and leaped about us for a short while - do tuna leap?

Arrived circa 13.30, efficient boatman, or he would have been if he hadn’t spent vital minutes on his mobile. Very useful here the port and starboard head ropes are different colours which must make life easier.

As it is the Queen’s official 90th birthday we dressed the ship overall much to the amusement of the French and Spanish around us.

€100 for a manky rock and roll mooring, though Mike did get it reduced to €80.  What on earth will we be charged once up in Sorrento area? I feel a second mortgage coming on.

Mike walked around the headland to the village and another wonderful Norman mosaic decorated cathedral.  I was busy replying to Mum’s solicitor to tie up the final aspects of her estate, tired too.

Late afternoon a large motor yacht came in, all quite normal, but at night is lit up like a fairground - really tacky, the crew must feel quite embarrassed.

Saturday 11 June

Slipped 08.55.  A beautiful day, we could actually sit out on deck both together.

Arrived PORTOROSA 16.30, called up Ch 9 and were given a berth at the entrance together with the charter yachts; mayhem, being Saturday yacht changeover day and all hands on deck.

We were a bit curious as thought we would be in the main marina but were told there was no room.  The adjacent buildings were semi derelict, the restaurant closed, the only cafe was next to the huge swimming pool and beach. Also we couldn’t be given the cost of our stay until Monday 09.30.  We managed to buy two beers from the beach cafe and the evening was saved.

Sunday 12 June

Launched our dinghy to go shopping, too far by foot.  The main marina is based loosely on Port Grimaud in France where householders have their own mooring.  It’s quite attractive, masses of large sailing and motor yachts.  We tied up at a bridge and clambered up a ladder.  Just around the corner was SEA SONS, Maria and family to greet us.  Off to the shops, Salvatori popped in too, he had biked round to our boat to find us not there.

We  were just leaving for supper when the boatman came to ask if we wanted to move because of the wind, no thank you, but we put on a long midships line just in case.

We had a lovely bbq on board with Salvatori and family and David.  It is exactly one year since we met in Salina and is also the end of our circumnavigation of Sicily which we have loved.  We have visited so many beautiful sites and cities.

Riposto and Etna,

Syracuse/Ortigia and Piazza del Duomo,

Licata and La Madia 2** Michelin restaurant

Palermo and Casa del Brodo on via Victor Emmanuel, broad bean and fennel soup.

7th floor bar and restaurant of Ibis hotel

Fabulous countryside and so much agriculture

Piazza Armerina, trattoria who gave us lunch even though they were closing, B & B decorated in armorial style.

Villa Romana del Casalis, best mosaics in the world

The terrible bus station at Gela where waited for 3 hours with no where to sit.

Gelati, Granita, canoli, Lipari Malvasia wine


Meeting friends and lunch at their house outside Trapani

Sagesta Temple and theatre. The most beautiful temple in the most wonderful setting.

Oval Sicilian oranges

Monreali, more best mosaics!

Supper with Christian and Caroline his wife, after our Aeolian cruise.

BBQ with friends on their boat, once in Lipari, once in Portorosa.

Walking around the coast of Lipari.

Sicily is a wonderful mix of the best architecture, awful shabby concrete buildings, the worst rubbish, friendliest people.  I hope in the rush to attract tourism the most important sites don’t get overburdened.

Monday 13 JUNE

We missed at least one hour of calm weather waiting for the office to open.  We were eventually charged €81 per night, they charge €10 per night for water and elec, however Mike got this reduced as we had only used a miniscule amount of either.

Finally set off at 10.00, and made good time to GIAO TAURO, a large container port ( the proud boast it is the largest in Mediterranean Europe, not sure whether Genoa would agree) with yacht basin adjacent.  

After some confusion as to where we should berth we were met by a whistle from a white uniformed Guardia Costiera officer and shouts from a group of men that we should come alongside the fire ship, only the instructions were not quite clear, we ended up with men clamboring around the fence to take a line.  Everyone very cheerful, we were given strict instructions that one of us must be on board at all times in case fireboat is required.

After Mike had presented our papers and a discussion about the Navy, we were invited to supper in their Mess at 19.30 drinking water only.  We duly turned up, Mike having written a dit ready to present them with the 2nd RNVRYC burgee (another of the 3 is in the Mayor’s office in Guluc, Turkey).

After introductions we settled for supper using paper plates, glasses and plastic cutlery, for macarroni, beefburgers and salad, fresh fruit cut with a metal knife.  Once the chief of boarts arrived beer was forthcoming.

Mike gave his speech and presented the burgee to the delight of all, one of whom videod him, it is now on Facebook and or Whatsapp!!   Suddenly a bottle of Proscecco appeared plus ?? And a liquor.  Interestingly no-one drank more than a thimble full.

Photos taken and we left.  I am sure not many people have had this privilege, it makes up for the times we have been buzzed by them.

Tuesday 14 June

We are staying here to avoid the forecast wind and rain; so far it is a bright sunny day and not too much wind though by 13.00 it had risen together with black clouds.  Next door great activity on the fireboat fitting new head ropes with the aid of the diver; lunch break at 12.45 and at 16.30 still no sign of a return though they have left their on board crane dangling in a most un seamanlike manner. Around 1.00 they returned.

Mike has gone to town to buy a birthday card, came back very hot with oranges and an apple gateau, however it is a one horse town.

Wednesday 15 June

My birthday again, not pleased to be getting so old!!

It took us some time to leave as we needed to give the Commander our photograph of donated burgee and explanation, however all the gates were locked and no one could understand what our request was.  Eventually a key was found and ????bearing a boxed plaque with the local Gudia Costiera’s insignia in enamel, really nice to have.

10.00 slipped for VIBO VALENTIA into a good 2m high swell which subsided as we turned the headland into a very pleasant trip.

We squeezed into a tight spot between immaculate motoryachts, again Mike did a brilliant sternboard.  Very helpful and efficient boatmen.  We are here for a recce, as we hope to leave boat here for the winter; there are two ???, we are with ?????run by a Canadian Angela and Italian ??? .  It appears a very efficient set up, printed wifi instructions and security door no. Instead of the usual scruffy piece of paper. The pontoons are kept very tidy, I don’t think Mike will be able to do works there as in the past.!!

€40 per night inc water/elec

Hot and out to dinner at Rosa?? Upstairs in an airy dining room, definitely a family run business, toys and children around.  Food quite good though my risotto was too salty,  Very reasonably priced.

During the night the wind got up for about 3 hours, it felt like the Sirocco.

The scenery along the coast is lovely, very green, range upon range of hills and mountains, the villages and towns appear more cohesive in contrast to Sicily.

Thursday 16 June

I was in a sulk and slept most of the morning after shopping, too fat, too hot!! However we got a call of “Mike, Mike” and there was John P who had walked past the boat several times but not recognised her white stern.  He went off to get Pam and we had a good catch up, we had been in email contact but hadn’t managed to meet up for a year or two.  They are on their way to Spain with a view of selling their boat.

Funny thing they had been in the same restaurant last night but at the other end and had joined up with another couple and so too engrossed to notice us.

I got out of my grumps.

Friday 17 June

Slipped 08.45 into a very calm sea. Mike felt something amiss with the steering, we stopped so he could inspect, nothing caught in the props, whatever was wrong righted itself.  We arrived CETRARO around 17.00. A rather spread out village dominated by an ugly Guardia Costiera building.       €40 water/elec

The mooring very lumpy, we all had difficulty getting on and off our boats.

Out to supper with John and Pam at ????Rosa to which we had been directed by the owner who came to the pontoon on his bicycle.  My fish was the best I have had but prices for Antipasti around €15 we thought expensive.  The cozzi (mussels) big and juicy.

Again around 22.00 the Sirocco came, very very gusty, then died away.

Around the cape, scenery again sparse and rocky.

Saturday 18 June

We stayed another night, a lovely day, we actually re-covered two of the forward cabin side panels, very easy, I don’t know why we had put it off so long;

Sunday 19 June

Slipped 09.15 for a rather unpleasant run to MARATEA € latterly in the rain, a very tight mooring for us but a delightful harbour which was dominated by Vulcatrix???a Maltese registered charter yacht, about 150 metres; as far as we could tell the only passengers were a rather elderly couple, not sure if I didn’t see them on a large yacht last year.

Mike has a feeling there is something wrong with the starboard water pump!!

Monday 20 June   asked €100, we pay €60 x 4 nights, water/elec/fuel

Purchased all the distilled water the little shop stocked.  Slipped 10 ish.  Definitely a seal gone, port engine only.  Decided not to visit SAPRI, POLICASTRO OR MARINA DI SCARIO as too small to mend the pump,  Neither did we think our proposed destination of ACCIAROLI suitable.  Turned to MARINA DI CAMEROTA.  The wind got up, the swell rose, the navigation system gave up and for the first time ever we came into a harbour by sight.

Purely by accident the place is delightful, the yard a little disorganised, we may or may not get the pump fixed but spare parts are ordered , we will hope for the best.

In hindsight which is very easy, you might wonder why we didn’t order a 2nd one whilst still in Licata having the other one fixed.

Tuesday 21 June

Mike spent the morning with a translator making certain the boatyard were able to do the necessary work - yes we think.

This is a splendid place, shopping really easy, a well stocked small supermarket, good fruit and veg, also butcher all in the Piazza St. Domenica area.  Found a splendid Cantina.  Mike had his hair cut.  All is well.

We will be spending some time here, the part is on its way but probably Monday/Tuesday, 27/28 before it arrives.  Probably no chance of meeting up with David and Mandy, we had thought of hiring a car and going over on Sunday but they are now busy.

23 June the great Brexit day, what will happen - deepest gloom on awakening on 24the, whatever will happen, I doubt the Brexit campaign really thought through the consequences but of course good things will come about.

Saturday, Mike finally got so fed up with his Tim Modem he caught the bus to Polinuro,bought the modem but at 16.30 he still hadn’t returned, he was hoping to cadge a lift, otherwise 11km walk.

Finished another piece of little cardigan, it will be ready for the birth.

The weather is alternately very hot, cloudy, thunderstorms.

Sun 26 June

Very hot, out to lunch, however decided the restaurant in the Piazza del Dominica was empty and would be too expensive, we tried the Slow Restaurant on the front, that was even more so, wine at €20 and food equally so.  There are two Cantina on the main street where food is cooked in bulk just like a motorway cafe really, but cheery staff and pleasant places to sit outside.  

Here and in Maratea are a large of number of very pretty newly built small day boats, beautifully finished, one maker is Fratelli, we will find out more about them.

On our way up the coast we have passed from Calabria, into Basilicata and are now in Campania province; unless you know Italy very well, these last names aren’t well known  to me at least.

The boat people here excellent, friendly and efficient and we finally agreed a total price of €450 for 9 nights

Wednesday  29 Jun

After a very frustrating but pleasant 8 days in Camerota we slipped 10.45 having fuelled €1.44 per litre

The coastline is varied, steep cliffs to the sea giving way to sandy beaches; the villages look delightful and have been well fortified in ancient times. in fact we are now in ACCIAROLI €, very pretty from across the harbour, we will explore better in the cool of the evening.  

Looking at the shops, this is very much a tourist village, centrally anyway, not many selling food which is important to us.

We found a pleasant bar which turned out to be owned by the owner of the boat next to us in the harbour, however the charge of €5 per small bottle of beer didn’t endear him to us.

So far no one has spoken to us about Brexit but have teased us about losing to Iceland in this year’s Euro competition which has dominated our social life, first Vienna 2008, Greece 2012 and now 2016.  We would be better keeping up with rugby in the southern hemisphere and cricket v Sri Lanka in England.

So far on this Italian west coast we have encountered only 3 British owned boats, it is expensive but very lovely and not too crowded as yet.

Another lonely Dane, a pleasant fellow came alongside.

Thursday 30 June

A very gentle run, 14.30 arrived SALERNO, Porto Nuovo AZIMUT not EDIDIPORT as recommended, however they are next door one another and both seem very pleasant; from a security point of view Azimut may be better as one enters through 2 security doors, but Edidiport has a bar.  Both have numerous and clean rubbish bins.

€140 for 4 nights, water/elec

A quick explore found another ancient city, a Duomo with painted ceiling but rather hefty columns and some mosaic work with a strong Moorish feel.  The town had been damaged by an earthquake in 1980 and damage still visible.  Along the water front and just one street back are fine old building.  In via Garibaldi not only is there a splendid wine shop but across the road a cigar shop.

A new ferry/cruise ship terminal designed by Saha Hadid, not sure if it really works, looks better at night.

Friday 1 July

 Quick visit to the Tourist Office to find our buses to Sorrento tomorrow, a map of Salerno and also the Sorrento peninsular.  A very crowded bus Mike had to stand until AMALFI, a child in front of us was sick, luckily I had a spare plastic bag, never travel with children without an old icecream box.

What a splendid scenic peninsular it is, a tortuous road, sheer drops to seaward, buses passing one another with centimeters to spare. Definitely not for the faint hearted, gorgeous swimming pools set into the cliffs, lovely gardens, but I wouldn’t go to AMALFI for a holiday.  We changed buses here, onwards to POSITANO though we didn’t see the town closely, local traffic only,  The town did look more up market.  Over the col and down into SORRENTO which is quite different, a mixture of Cannes and Nice.  We had been intending to meet up with some friends here, bringing boat into the harbour, very lucky we didn’t as there really is no space.  There are some very smart hotels with private beaches, lovely gardens and the best pizza bar we have encountered.  Everyone sits on and at benches, huge hams hanging from the rafters and generally a lovely smell of charcuterie, cheese and coffee, all eat off plastic plates with plastic cutlery and the pizzas are the tops.

Train to POMPEI,  another scenic route across the peninsular with VESUVIUS looming over us; finally a very rattly bus back to Salerno.

Saturday 2 July

I spent a morning shopping in Salerno, Mike also though his was for windscreen wipers and degreasing fluid; mine for baby clothes and a bag for myself.  The baby clothes were really difficult, unlike in France where every other shop is either a pharmacy or a baby clothes shop.  Anyway I eventually found one having rejected clothes made in America and France, I discovered what I’d bought was designed and made in Spain!!

Across the pontoon is a delightful couple she Dutch and both bilingual and very kind to us, they even bought us a pizza.  During the evening Italy were playing Germany, it was fascinating listening to the roars from the crowd in the bar, “was it a goal” no, then 1-1 and finally a penalty shoot out which Germany won.

Sunday 3 July

Much to the consternation of the boating fraternity here, we went to NAPLES for the day. They thought it far too hot.  However by walking in the shade, having lunch at a shady bar, we had a pleasant day.

What a city, so much rubbish, particularly in Piazza Garibaldi, the first place so many travellers see, you might think the authorities would concentrate their efforts here.  Since coming through here in the pouring rain in 2015, much of the development for the metro and underground shopping mall has been completed; probably only another year to finish the whole square.  Down one side of the square particularly is definitely the province of the immigrant fraternity selling all things you probably don’t want.

We found the bus to Piazza (R2) Municipali where we had intended to hop on hop off a tour bus, but at €22 each for a long tour it didn’t appeal.  For some reason my hip/leg has been playing up, walking becoming tedious.  Of course we went into the Centro Storico and found a very pleasant bar and opposite a pasta cafe, we ordered our pasta con vongoli which was brought across to the bar - best Sunday lunch and only €8 each.

So much graffiti, such narrow streets, so many impoverished buildings, so many churches; the town felt quite like Taranto though obviously much larger, the graffiti quite anarchic. Walking through some of the very narrow streets I was a little wary unlike Palermo which in contrast feels pretty suburban.  There was quite an armed presence as a result of the recent suicide bomb in Baghdad.

Back to Salerno on another good train, only 35 mins.

Monday 4 July

Another lovely day at sea, we coasted along having a good look and arrived in AGRIPOLI where we were able to use the “green” quay which is free for the first 48 hours, it is the furthest point from town and probably uncomfortable in any wind.  However the town appears delightful, exploring later.  The first boatman hoped we would follow him to a paying berth, we stuck to our guns and were rewarded by the marina officials giving us permission.

We took the dinghy across the harbour for shopping and found a Spar.

Later a ferry came in which apparently does a run from Amalfi, Salerno, Castellabate twice daily in summer.

As expected in the evening, the very quiet promenade became crowded with keep fitters, fishermen, strollers etc. and a father and his very loud and verbose son.

Tuesday 5 July

Off reasonably early to find the bus or train to PAESTUM an ancient Greek city a few miles north of Agripoli, the finest Greek ruins in Italy - I am afraid that having seen SEGESTA on Sicity, all temples fade in comparison!!  We had a rather frustrating time finding said station and an even more irritating walk back to the boat, partially our fault as we hadn’t a map and partially my hip/leg was excruciatingly painful. On the way back we found a good cafe selling street food very cheaply.

By the time we returned a delightful Neopolitan couple and boat were alongside.  At that point Mike’s glasses slipped out of his pocket, again, he having just mislaid the case.  He spent a time swimming around but eventually called a diver who found them in minutes.  Next door were our interpreters, in recompense they came for a drink.  

Both from Naples, both are medics with tropical diseases as their speciality and have lived in countries all around the world where medical aid is needed.  We even discussed Brexit.

A rather noisy night with nightclub across the bay and again the noisy boy and father, a late arrival beautiful ketch.

Wednesday 6 July

A late start, slipped 10.45 for a quick run to SANTA MARIA DI CASTELLABATE said not to have much space for yachts, but since our pilot was written the harbour has had a revamp making plenty of space. €40 inc water/elec.  Not many elec pylons, but helpful Ormagiatore.  Like Camerota this harbour is run as a cooperative, the set up appears very successful.  We have found a good amount of civic pride up and down this coast.

We actually arrived in time to do some shopping before afternoon closing and in the process stopped for a beer but were so taken with the restaurant/bar we stayed for a one course lunch - perfetto.  It appeared a favourite with passing business men.

Two small supermarkets, PO, travelling fruit van. Hotels

Thursday 7 July to Tuesday 12 July

For the next few days we have travelled slowly to discover all the very little harbours in the area

OLIGASTRO for a swim.

SAN NICOLA (AGRONE) , a holiday resort with one hotel, no separate restaurant that we could see.  We had a beer at the very local bar.

MARINA DEL CASAL VELINE, free, not water or elec.  Lunch at ROBERTO’S Rest.

Delicious fish, a low key well run place.

SCARIO - very pleasant boatmen in bright red polo shirts and bright blue shorts.  We asked for a price per night at 1300 and again 16.00, no office, eventually at 19.00 we were told the fee was €100, not at all pleased, paid €50.

A picture postcard village, busy with the lower beau monde.  A late night concert, noisy of course.

In a huff we left early, a pity really as we were looking forward to a delicious espresso con cornetto!

SAPRI - anchored in the very wide bay and had a lovely day, swimming, lazing.  At night a very hectic and noisy bingo game was taking place, perhaps that’s why no one else was at anchor.

Watched, new to us, amazing system of jet skis and water jets to lift a man about 20 feet into the air.

CETRARO again, the fee now €60 Mike walked miles to get beer and food.

VIBO VALENTIA for the winter




27 May left Licata        €

27 May San Leoni    50 inc water/elec

28 May -

30 May  Mazara    40 Inc water/elec. V good WIFI

31 May Masala very briefly whilst waiting for friends, no charge, but didn’t like it

31 May -

1 June Trapani    70 inc water/elec, non potable

2 June -

3 June Capo St. Vito    40        “  “

4 June -

5 June Castellemmarie del Porto  40 inc water/elec, non potable

6 June -

9 June Palermo    100 but discount to €80, water/elec

11 June -

12 June Portorosa    100 plus €10 per day water/elec, but        discount to €80

13 June -

14 June Gioai Tauro    free, with Guardia Costerie

15 June -

16 June - Vibo Valentia    40 inc water/elec.

17 June

18 June Cetraro    40  “        “

19 June

20 June to  Maratea    

21 June-

28 June to Camerota    100 but discounted  to €450 per 9 nights

29 June Acciaroli

30 June to

3 July  Salerno    €140 per 4 nights

4 July t0

5 July  Agripoli    free on “green” quay

6 July  Santa Maria di Castellabate

8 July  San Nicola (Agroni)

9 July  Marina del Casal Valine

10 July Scario     €100, reduced o £60

11 July Sapri     at anchor

12 July Vibo Valentia    For the winter

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