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Cruising with HappyCat
Sail to Croatia

A great 26 hour sail, almost straight North, with winds between B 4-6 usually in the right direction. On my watch I was entertained with huge bolts of lightening in the distance ahead. I was reassured by J that the storm was miles away and we would never be in its path!

Brindisi, IT

We pushed on up to Brindisi 47n.m. with a nice southerly wind B4-6. Tried to anchor just N of the city, but were promptly informed by a coast guard boat, that it was not permitted. Easily got a free mooring on the public quay. Worked out really well for a strong wind & messy seas had developed, and since our next move was across the Adriatic, we needed some calmer seas!

Another ancient city larger than Otranto. We enjoyed our 4 day stay in Brindisi, the daily milling of families, friends along the quay at sundown, before dinner with gelatos in hand. A grand Ave. with palms, flanked by once stately homes, now apartments & ground floor boutiques. A very well presented museum with, with wonderful ancient relics, like the remains of this large bronze figure.

Also met Andrez, & family, from Slovenia. Shared Ouzo, they had just sailed back from Greece, with us whilst giving us some helpful tips along the Dalmatian Coast.

Lecce IT

Took a nice bus ride to Lecce. Coffee with a biscuit, turned out to be three sinful biscuits with a chocolate sauce, a nice mid morning dessert! Plenty of lavishly decorated churches and buildings using the local limestone. A wonder through the streets, and main cathedral, than back on the bus to Otranto. Happy to be back at Otranto that evening. Nice dinner at a corner unpretentious little restaurant.

Otranto, IT

Here we were instructed to check in, our first time in Italy. Otranto proved to be a great port of entry, nice young officers, with broken English, and after lots of forms hand filled and carefully rubber stamped, we were good to go!

We tied to the public quay (51 E.) right in front of the Capitaneria del Porto.
OTRANTO is small medieval town, well preserved after centuries of conflicting tribes and cultures. Lovely polished stone narrow roads, most only for pedestrians, takes you through the city. A sense of old world charm prevailed.

The morning walk, to see the elderly citizens wading in the shallow waters of the clean harbor, in stoned protected areas, clearly on a daily routine.

On our second morning we witnessed the heavily escorted arrival of a 45' sail vessel loaded with 50, mainly women and children, from Tunisia. For 3 hours our neighboring coast guard jetty was swamped with troops, generals, vans vessels and helicopters. We thought we were getting a visit from the President!!

Another reminder of how fortunate we are to be where we are at, and not in a situation like the refugees!

Sail to Otranto

Midday next day we headed off for the ~115n.m. sail to Otranto. Predominantly a great sail, with a bonus of full moon. James caught his first fish!! As far as the bottom step! A nice looking tuna.... ☹ Just under 24 hours, we arrived at mid day, and took a line at the public quay in front of the customs office.

Capo Rizzoli IT

Desperate for some fruit, we dinghied in and walked the sleepy hamlet to a small super market. We noticed that most homes were only partially finished constructions, yet lived in. As if the money ran out, and as long as a few rooms could be made sound, that was good enough. Nice friendly, sleepy feel to the place. Isolation. One is after all at the 'sole' of the boot of Italy.

Bova Marina IT

We left Taormina with intention of traveling through the night to Capo Rizzuto, but seeing that we were in no real hurry, anchored outside the beach resort of Bova Marina. We were alone in this endeavor, but holding was good, and early next day sailed the rough ride to Capo Rizzoli

Taormina, Sicily IT

Taormina is well worth the visit with its easy anchorage. The well preserved stately homes and grand hotels perched on the cliff face, the beautiful stone pavers, and grand balconies. And yes, a few very nice shops.

Also a good base for the airport of C as we experienced when driving Felicity to the airport, though we would recommend that you leave an extra half hour to your journey in case you miss the turnings as we did in several occasions, can one say the road markings are not Sicilians forte?

Taormina, Sicilly

We headed for Taormina, passing through the Messina Strait with calm seas & no winds. One instantly felt the force of the current, even in these conditions. We were impressed by the large mountainous landscape of Southern Italy, & an impressive road contouring the sides via bridges and tunnels, as only the Italians can do.

Night fell as we passed Messina, and it was before mid night that we arrived to Taormina, and we got ready for our first venture at anchoring at night. But George, from 'Yacht Hotel' talked us into taking up a mooring. Was it his fluent English kindly giving us tips as to how to get Felicity safely to the airport at Ciababina that made us feel obliged.? Well George has now taken over an area under the Northern cliff face with 20 moorings, and charges far too much for his offerings. The next day we dropped out mooring and anchored along with other boats, in the large bay.

A strong NW made us stay in Taormina before making our way around the 'Boot'. Not a bad place to be hunkered down. On our first day we beached the dingy on Lido Puerto Rico, a stony beach and rather than wait for the bus, proceed to walk up the hill! It was around 17:00 and about 34. Not a good idea! We were totally soaked and flushed by the time we got to the top. Mercifully we cooled our wrist with the fresh water at the entrance to the gardens. ( as we descended with our rental car later that evening, and descended and descended, we realized just how much we had climbed!)

Lipari, Aeolian Islands

We took in a good viewing of Salinas I was straining to see the crops of capers, and carried on around to Lipari. We were hoping to try anchoring, even though we knew the waters were deep, but we were lured into taking a berth in one of the various floating finger pontoons. Which was just as well, seeing that a bit of a wind picked up through the night. We were amazed at the amount of fruit and produce that was available from little shops to carts, selling succulent summer stone fruit. Our visit to the Aeolian Islands was fleeting, but the beauty of the dramatic volcanic Islands, with vegetation adamant on making its presence, along with clusters of communities wherever viable was unique. On our exit we stopped alongside deep Vulcano for a dip in the warm deep waters.

Sail across to Sicily

A good start to the ~260nm sail, with positive winds, but within a couple of hours it was on with the motors, and a combination of both through out the rest of the journey. At one point through the crossing the sea became a mirage. So flat, not a drop of wind. What a difference to do a night sail in the middle of summer, the extra hours of day light, the warm air, the calmer seas!

Villasimious, Sardinia IT

A quick gentle sail to Villasimius, our final stop in Sardinia. We anchored in probably the most pristine water we have and will ever see! Fine white sandy bottom, through out the whole bay. 10mts. deep and you could see the ripples in the sand below.
We spent 3 days here, said good bye to Bailey, and with Felicity, at mid day on the 19th. headed East to Lavezzii, Sicily.

Cagliari, Sardinia IT

After a few nights at Carlo Forte and a night at Malfatano, we arrived at Cagliari, where we fueled up in the tiny marina Picola di Pieta. Unknown to us, a large beer festival took place that night, with hordes of people descending upon Poeta beach. We were happy to have chosen to stay in the marina, a little quieter than the bay, and HC was some what a novelty to the onlookers. For once we were the big fish in the pond!
Amazingly, the next morning as we ran the coast before 8, the beaches were spotless, cleared from the nights festivities, and families were arriving staking out their place on the beach.

Carlo Forte, Sardinia

We carried on South, mostly motor sailing, stopping at Golfo di Oristano for a night, before heading to Carlo Forte. A quick anchor for lunch and swim along the beautiful unspoilt coast line of Costa Verde, well worth it.

Isola Piani & Stintino

We inevitably did a lot of motor sailing particularly as we headed down S. stopping as before in the beautiful anchorage of Isola Piani,
Sardinia is a great place to have friends and family on board. You can always buy beautiful Italian produce, and especially delicious ready made pasta parcels, which we seemed to have quite often!

Bonifacio, Corsica

Once again in Bonifacio, our final visit. We at last got smart and anchored and tied off in the last inlet on your left. There are even steel loops for you to tie off on. Its free, and a lot quieter!

Felicity & Friends

Felicity, James's daughter and her 3 friends were our last visitors to be picked up from OLBIA, and once again we headed N than W to Piani, and down the W. coast of Sardinia, with our final spring off towards Sicily from Viallasimius. We kept monitoring the weather, hoping for SOME wind.
Summer had finally decided to kick in what a vengeance, and within a week, had gone from 24- hot 34! With no wind and flat warm 28-31 seas.

Olbia, Sardinia

As we headed towards our final anchorage, we stopped into Porto Cervo. I wanted to show Kimberly, an interior designer, this gorgeous interiors shop. We were warned by another sailor, that just picking up a mooring bouy could cost us a couple of hundred Euros. We made sure our visit was quick! Saw lots of huge super yachts, unbelievable!
We anchored the following night near the ferry terminal to main land Italy. A nice quiet anchorage, and a fitting farewell sunset..

Golfo di Arzachena, Sardinia

As we approached our anchorage in the golf we spotted a Kiwi flag on a Lagoon 440! Our first Lagoon and our first Kiwi sailors in the whole time sailing! Whilst I went ashore with Kimberly and Bill, James had a good catch

Bonifacio, Corsica

On our way to Bonifacio, we experienced a close encounter with a ~55' motor yacht, the yacht obviously on auto pilot, and the skipper intent on filming the approach to Bonifacio missed side swiping us by less than a meter as we swerved sharply away! We had thought it was an official rapidly making its way towards us. Another lesson learnt!

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Who: James Joll & Marina Jackson
Port: Napier, New Zealand
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