Wednesday 1st May - Friday 3rd May (Happy Birthday tomorrow Ems!)
The Aeolians are dramatic jutting out of the sea 35 miles of the Sicilian coast. They get their name from the Greek god of the Wind, Aeolus and the story goes that he gave Odysseus a bag of winds but his curious crew opened the bag up and all the winds came out keeping him from returning to Ithaca. Hence the slightly dodgy winds around them sometimes. But we were lucky with a flat calm sea.
There are two volcanoes still active, one on Stromboli and one on Vulcano (supposedly the workplace of the god of fire). We had a lovely bubbling mud bath (once you get passed the sulphur smell which seemed to linger on us for days!); a bumpy anchorage one night (so we swapped bays) then decided to walk up the volcano. Its a lunar landscape, one minute scoria - grey dust the next red sand and lots of sulphurated hydrogen steaming out in places. Fantastic... Never been up a Volcano before...
We get to the rim of the crater after about an hours hard uphill walk. Then noticed that the good ship Pleiades was floating out to sea (with Wilson and Friday onboard) .. You can imagine the feeling in our stomachs... Martyn literally ran down the mountain and saved the day. Luckily she wasn't floating fast, but it was a horrendous feeling. We had already moved anchor once... Fellow travellers beware... (you can see her going sideways on the right in the pic!!)
But the quadrupeds were oblivious and several drinks were consumed in relief by the crew!!
Vulcano is a cool and cute place tho, despite the smell. Its incredibly lush and full of flowers. Real holiday feel to it. Although the beaches are black sand which always seems strange as people seem to stand out more (especially larger citizens). Its easy to imagine the ancients sailing around here and believing in gods of fire etc. Martyn did manage to get up to the rim in the end too.. No wonder he is getting so skinny.
tomorrow off to the Straits and Scilla and Charybdis!!
Sunday 29th May
Long lunch and exploration of Cefalu. Very appealing medieval town with narrow streets and old fishermen's houses (not just for old fishermen tho!) along the sea, now turned into restaurants over the water. Austere Cathedral with golden mosaics and Romanesque towers, built by Roger the Norman, sits in a lively square. Perfect for watching the Sprezzatura!! Could spend another day here. In fact we did
Monday 30th May.
More of the same. Very picturesque and safe anchorage with short walk around steep promontory to the town.
Tuesday 31st May
Cefalu to Capo D'Orlando 34 miles.... Roasters today. Not a whisper of a breeze. 10 boats at anchor All heading out to the Aeolian Islands or like us to Capo D'Orlando. Motor all the way. Didn't even put the main up (cos Friday asleep in it!)
Off to the Aeolians tomorrow and Volcano Island. The islands are actual volcano peak and two are still active.
So v excited.
Another lovely chute sail back to Terrasini. Told off for anchoring this time.
Met a Belgian who had caught a 35Kilo tuna between Sard and Sicily. Got to rethink our fishing tactics.
Dropped Louis off at Airport and watched him take off from the sea enroute to Cefalu. 46 miles of surfing.
Back to San Vito for kite festival, anode changing on the prop (Keel Haul Kate under the keel) and more games of Tablanette (now renamed Trapani!). Water finally warming up 21degrees.
Louis' Marine Geography book said the discs I'd seen before were "by the wind sailors" jellyfish (how else would they sail!?)
I'm Keel Haul Kate I am
and sailing the seas is my plan
not to work til you drop just to buy a new top
but to catch tuna instead....hopefully......
Spent a lovely week with Louis including a rainy sightsee to the walled Norman hilltop town of Erice and a seaside tuna station at Scopello. Beautiful craggy outcrop setting. Weather perked up for couple of cruising chute sails. Lush... Plus some turciops truncatas (Flipper and his mates) just for Louis.
Caught a hydrofoil over to Levanzo from Favignana. Managed to get alongside the quay wall (no spondis!!) Met two friendly baby seagulls, a very kind octagenarian (killing a rat! not so nice to the rat) who gave us water, showed us his one bed house and cried talking about his dead wife(nah!) and a snake. Dusty hot walk.
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.