10 August 2010
On approaching Marsala, a man in a RIB came out to see if we were entering the harbour. We said we draw 2m which he declared was no problem. As we followed him in, another RIB came up to us with two youngsters in, also seeking our custom. They were quite harassing: buzzing the boat, looking as if they might try to climb aboard and so on, so we determinedly stuck with the guy who got to us first.
He took us to the very new marina/dock that has been established on the inside of the easternmost breakwater. It only opened in July and shows many signs of being a start-up venture. The very smart new wooden pontoon is criss-crossed by the lines, which lead back to rings on the old harbour wall, making it a marathon of hazards. Added to this, both the electric pods and water are on the inside of the pontoon. The water is unnervingly shallow: the least depth we saw was 2.4m, and at least one large motor cruiser decided it wasn't enough for them. There is no specific office, but rather a bunch of ormaggiatori, who take lines and talk a little English, but who send 'the girl from my office' to take the money and give you a receipt. There are no showers or other facilities. And it cost us EU60!! Incidentally, it is also the first Italian port which has requested to see a passport as well as the boat papers.
So, maybe we should have gone with the bumptious youths, who we think were touting for the older pontoons, known as marina Lillibeo, and operated by a local club. We'd tried ringing them to no avail, and couldn't find the comparable prices, but they certainly had an ablutions block.
From either quay it's about 25 minutes walk to town. We went in, glad to stretch our legs, and had a nice dinner. We even managed to get some Marsala. But, to be honest, we wouldn't bother to return. It's quite sweet, but the marina is way overpriced. It's also a very smelly harbour, between fish, rubbish, sewage and sulphur. Another time, with a calm night, we'd anchor off, if we wanted to stop at all.