When Three becomes Two
01 May 2014 | Arenella near Palermo
We left our last anchorage after being ‘moved on’ by the Maritime Police and we headed off towards Palermo. We had a lovely sail across calm seas and averaged around the 7 knots mark. The guide books advise not to visit the marinas in the centre of Palermo due to theft and dirty conditions, so we anchored off just south of Arenella. Once there we relaxed over lunch and made the most of the sunshine. Late afternoon we took a trip ashore intending to have a drink on the terrace of the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea, which apparently is a must when visiting this town. Not all went to plan.
We entered the grounds of this 5 star hotel and hesitantly found a table on the terrace of classy establishment. Paul decided that before ordering a drink he fancied a walk around the grounds, so off we went. Paul raced ahead towards the pool where some bikini clad women were basking in the late afternoon sun. Hayley and I had the opinion that this was a tad invasive so we walked back to the terrace and waited. After a while Paul had not returned so we decided to have a photo session by the terrace wall. This was fun and we got some great shots but after a while there was still no sign of Paul and we became concerned and set out to find him. Well it is a grand hotel but the grounds are modest so we did not consider this would take too long. How wrong can one be? In spite of a thorough search of all the gardens, swimming pool, tennis courts and asking numerous waiters we could not find Paul. Hayley tried to explain to the staff our situation and that we had arrived as three but now we were two. Obviously they did not completely understand and smilingly told us that was fine our table could be adjusted from three people to two! After further explaining they suggested perhaps Paul could have taken a room with ‘al fresco’ dining? I thought that if he valued his head he better not have! We were uneasy to leave the hotel without Paul as we did not know the town. Unfortunately all three of us had left our phones on board. Considering by now an hour and a half had passed Hayley and I took the decision to widen our search to the small town. Before we left we gave instructions with the hotel staff to tell Paul if seen, that we would meet him at the tender at a certain time.
We walked the empty streets, no sign of anyone let alone Paul, who by now I would gladly hug despite the situation. Hayley suggested going back to the tender to see if Paul was there. When we arrived at the boat yard, the chap there made us understand in a mixture of Sicilian tongue and sign language that we could not leave our dingy where it was and we had to move it ... right now! Well so far my one and only solo attempt with the dinghy ended in me being rescued by the local marina staff, so even though Hayley had not taken charge of the dinghy for a long time it was she who was elected to move us to a designated mooring spot. All went quite smoothly although I will keep some details between Hayley and I as Paul might read this and I would not want to raise his blood pressure too much. It was at this point that Hayley also agreed that she would hug Paul if we found him. Just as we were about to round the corner, we heard shouting in the distance...Ness!!! Hayley!!! We both looked up and saw a figure on the marina pontoon waving frantically at us. Yes. It was Paul. We had found him...at last. After much talking and explaining and a group hug, we all went back to Paradise and all agreed to be very content with a drink on Paradise.