Saturday 14th May
Skip and first mate did a guided tour of the tuna factory which was fascinating and immaculately preserved, but in Italian so only grasped half the gen. Then after some lunch and siesta squash we strolled to a fishing village across the island. Lots of mini mokes and bikes for hire. Italian regatta arrived (went from just us to 19 boats! Parked/anchored everywhere. Alongside the quay wall was popular and free).
Sunday 15th May
Had to wait for a boat to leave to allow us depth to depart. But soon caught and whizzed past the Stevedores (in a forty year old steel ketch) from Barcelona (7 of them had very kindly shared their special Barcelona Cava with us last night). Romping sail which ended up with two reefs and half a foresail. Once we turned the corner at Capo Vito the sea was really kicked up and we had gusts of 40 knots across the deck. So motor sailed to the calm of Castellammare del Golfo. Pleased to tie up next to some Swedes heading to Sardinia. Blew a hooligan all night.
Monday 16th May
Still blowing old boots, but safe and secure in Castellammare del Golfo. Pretty port next to miles of surf spread beaches. Lovely fish meal on the quay courtesy of Rick.
Tuesday 17th May
Hired a car to visit the local Elymian Temple at Segesta. "An incomparable awesomeness" is the description in the tourist guide and despite the 'colonial' eloquence it is tremendous. (Remember the difference between Doric, Ionic and Cointhian columns Jasp? Useful school lesson that one!!) Built by exiles from Troy two and a half thousand years ago but never completed, it looks slightly inapt in the lush vine strewn countryside. Like an abandoned film set. A short walk up another hill they have uncovered an amphitheatre, A medieval castle, surrounded by muslim houses and mosque and church. Stunning countryside too. Rolling patchwork hills. Beautiful.
Along the coast we found a newly built and as yet unoccupied marina at Balestrate then after a long pasta lunch we deposited the sausage thief (forgiven but not forgotten by the skipper! Tee hee) back at the airport.
Anchored in Terrasini fishing harbour which is closest to Palermo Airport. The man from Havana arrived safely (Rick) laden with gifts of bacon and crumpets. We went for a very palatable bottle of wine and rustico pizza. Already an improvement on Sard cuisine - bless.
Wed - set off on a stressless sail across the Golfo de Castellmare to San Vito again. Lovely calm anchorage off the beach and an opportunity for skip to clean our prop.
Thurs - another 25 miles sail around the Capo back towards the Egadi Islands. Dodgy depth on the entance to a very small marina. Friendly staff had to nudge us into a berth with a rib. Favignana is a lovely little town with a fishing harbour one side and a massive dissused tuna factory the other (which has been renovated but still has an anchor graveyard and loads of history)
Out for more pleasant sicilian fare and then back for a lovejoy moment or was it a mount joy or mount gay? (very welcome gift from Basil the Auzzie)
Friday - hot walk up to the Aragonese castle. magnificent views from the top and back for a paddle and deserved siestas.
Hot, sunny and calm day. Motored with fruitless fishing between the islands and along beautiful Sicilian coast to the Capo San Vito. Holiday brochure town (Arabic/Norman church) with dramatic backdrop and turquoise bay.
Berthed in a very clean, friendly but slightly pricey marina. A german sunsail boat took our horseshoe lifebuoy out trying to park. (Martyn managed to turn a profit out of it tho!) Then another decided to have a naked shower on the pontoon, much to the chagrin of the berthing master. Wilson and Friday had a friend back to the boat... And then growled at the other cat all night.
Off to Terrasini to pick up Rick tomorrow.
Explored part of the island of Favignana on foot. It is a vivid one road island, five miles by two with half flat pastureland and beautiful coastal flowers and the other a craggy, barren thousand foot hill with an Aragonese castle ontop. Chilled out, watching the sunset over the neighbouring island of Marettimo.
Bit rusty but here goes!
Thursday 5th May
After a day and a half of blowing old boots we made the break and headed out from Cagliari (which felt very odd after nearly six months). Luckily the sea was not still whipped up and we had a very swift passage towards Sicily.
First half motor sailing with buzzes from several pairs of dolphins, lots of sunbathing turtles and hundreds of very odd sailing discs is the only way I can describe them. They were transparent, about the size of a 50 pence piece and had a semi circular sail vein that stood proud of the surface. Jellyfish possibly. Might be the reason for so many turtles?
Richard and Ruth in Waveney Harrier left in the early hours instead of our lazy 11am. 25 hours later, few passing ships, a very starry night with shooting stars and satellite watching (obligatory) we arrived very tired at the Egadi Islands West of Sicily. Found Ruth and Richard in a sheltered cala (Cala Rotonda) and had a celebratory beer and siesta on Friday afternoon.
Drinking a toast to Paul who is 30 today!! Happy Birthday Paul. Will organise a dolphin fly past in celebration when you come out... promise x
Last party in the gazebo at Marina del Sole on Saturday night.
Sunday was the 355 annual festival for the Saint Efisio. It entails a massive procession which takes several days to bear the Saints effigy from Cagliari to Nora (about 20 miles away) Traditional campidano carts called traccas are pulled by impressive and thankfully docile oxen followed by 3500 people in traditional costume and 300 horseback riders. A feast of colour and pageant. Plus singing and Sardinian pan pipes (launeddas) Another amazing festival.