Adventures of Berkeley East

30 September 2017 | Ischia, Italy
21 September 2017 | Procida, Italy
20 September 2017 | Naples, Italy
16 September 2017 | Capri, Italy
14 September 2017 | Galli Islands, Italy
12 September 2017 | Amafi Coast, Italy
10 September 2017 | Salerno, Italy
07 September 2017 | Palinuro, Italy
05 September 2017 | Cetraro, Italy
04 September 2017 | Calabria, Italy
29 August 2017 | Ustica, Italy
27 August 2017 | Palermo, Sicily
24 August 2017 | Cefalu, Sicily
17 August 2017 | Aeolian Islands, Italy
11 July 2017 | Capo d'Orlando, Sicily
04 July 2017 | Southern Italy & Sicily
19 June 2017 | Montenegro
01 June 2017 | Croatia
01 June 2017 | Italy
26 May 2017 | Parma, Italy

And the sun sets on another great season in the Med

30 September 2017 | Ischia, Italy

October was quickly approaching, time to take Berkeley East into her winter marina. One more week afloat, what should we do? We have been known to cross oceans in just a weeks' time, and from our position in Procida, Italy, we could easily sail to many places in seven days, and seven nights. Sardinia, Corsica, Ponza, Greece and back, even Turkey, the possibilities were endless; our heads were spinning. We decided to go eight miles to the Italian island of Ischia and make a plan.

Ischia is yet another volcanic island at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands, roughly six miles by four miles. The island is almost entirely mountainous (the highest peak is Mount Epomeo, at 2,585 feet) and well known for its thermal spas with hot springs and volcanic mud. Just another Italian island.

We had thought that summer was over, but when we awoke in Ischia, there were local Italian boats everywhere. We heard loud, enthusiastic calls of "A -MER-I-CA!" Upon poking our heads out of the cabin, cameras were snapping, people were smiling. It was wonderful, just another Italian island. We were quickly becoming enamored with Ischia, and its residents. Soon we felt we could spend the entire week there.

A few days later, we had explored the north side of Ischia on foot. All along the seaside promenade, through the heart of the island's center, into the back roads to the main port. The island is lush and green, with 21 miles of beautiful coastline. The day ended with an impressive 20,000 steps according to Fitbit.

Built between the 14th and 17th centuries, the Aragonese Castle is the most impressive historical monument in Ischia. It rises out of the sea atop a rock, detached from the rest of the island, but for a footbridge. Most of the events and battles on the island took place there. Two towers watched the movements of enemy fleets; fortified walls were added to defend the inhabitants against the raids of pirates.

After hearing about the recent earthquake in Ischia, the nearly 400-foot ascent through the castle's tunnel was a bit eerie. But being Californians we are used to shaking ground and falling brick, and the tunnel looked indestructible, we hoped it was.

Upon exiting the castle, our attention was captured by a large gathering of scooters, Vespas to be exact. It was the XXX International Vespa Historical Recording Meeting (rally).

Vespa is an Italian brand of scooter first manufactured in 1946. It is often thought as more of a lifestyle due to the passion a Vespa owner has for their ride. Many people spend years modifying their scooters, travel around the world to display them, and dress for the occasion. One of Vespa's first marketing slogans was "La Dolce Vita"-"The Sweet Life."

Lacco Ameno, the town which we were anchored near, sits at the foot of Mount Epomeo, facing the sea. There was something about this town that just spoke to us. Perhaps it was the Fungo, a mushroom-shaped rock standing in the waters of the bay. Or maybe it was the relaxed atmosphere. Or the happy people.

On day four, when we reconvened about what to do with the remaining days of our last week, we decided to stay in Ischia, anchored off Lacco Ameno. But as quickly as we had made our decision, the weather changed so reluctantly, we began a circumnavigation of Ischia to find shelter.

The south side of Ischia in Sant' Angelo was completely different. The dry, brown landscape was reminiscent of Mexico. The town was a small fishing village cum tourist town. We watched buses arrive and people walk down the hill. Unimpressed, we waited for the weather to give us an opportunity to go back to the north side, but that never happened, and our final days of the season were spent in Sant' Angelo.

We were disappointed for a few hours, until we saw the sun set. It was absolutely stunning. And each day, as Berkeley East swung differently with the wind, dusk became more and more amazing.

On our final morning, we were annoyed to be awoken by the boom of fireworks. The Italians love fireworks like we have never seen before, they even set them off during the day. They were celebrating the patron saint San Michele Arcancelo with two days of events. And while the morning launch was simply noise and smoke, in the evening the sky lit up with no less than 20 different fabulous fireworks displays.

The next day we lifted the anchor one last time for 2017 and sailed to Gaeta, Italy, BE's winter home. Last year, Berkeley East wintered in Fano Italy, just 94 miles and a 2-1/2 hour drive from Gaeta. In contrast, we sailed BE about 2,000 miles over six months with the same start and end points; a much slower path, but certainly a more interesting one.

The movie set

21 September 2017 | Procida, Italy

One of the things we enjoy most about Italy is the architecture. At first glance, towns often look like drab, unappealing boxes but at sunset, the dull and dreary come to life creating beautiful pastel paintings. But the island of Procida was a surprise. Its architecture is alive all the time with a wild, almost cartoon-like feel.

You can't help but smile when you see the waterfronts. And that's exactly what we did when we pulled Berkeley East into Cala di Corricella and we saw a cliff of brightly painted fishermen's houses, built on, and into, the rock in a pretty bulging, vertical jumble. We hadn't seen anything else like it before.

The entire island of Procida has a picturesque shabby charm about it that has been featured in more than 30 films, including the Italian classic "Il Postino" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

Located off the coast of Naples, Procida is the smallest island in the Campanian Archipelago, with 10,000 residents squeezed into less than two square miles. We spent time exploring the island, but we were always happy to return to Berkeley East, as the islands interior paled in comparison to the view we had from BE.

Ciao Bella!

20 September 2017 | Naples, Italy

We had been anchored off Naples for four days, thinking about how many times we had heard it described as grimy, gritty and tattered. Just the week before, friends from home said it was too rough for their taste. Yet, there we were, in Italy's third-largest city, and its beauty mesmerized us. Ciao bella, hello beautiful!

Like much of Italy, Naples' historic center is a Unesco World Heritage Site; its archaeological treasures are among the most important in the world. But compared to its siblings of Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan, Naples seems unappreciated.

Perhaps part of its allure to us is the view from the water, as most everything looks better from the sea. But we explored the entire city, and still found an incredible, beautiful gem.

It seems that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Vessel Name: Berkeley East
Vessel Make/Model: Hylas 54
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA
Crew: Larry & Mary Ivins
About: We quit our jobs in July of 2007 and began our adventure, sailing the US east coast in the summers and then spending our winters in the Caribbean. In 2010 we sailed across the Atlantic and will be cruising the Med for the next few years.
FAQ Q: Did you go to UC Berkeley?

A: No. The name Berkeley East came from a ferry boat, "the Berkeley", that we met on over 30 years ago in San Diego. The East came as a result of seeing the boat being built in Taiwan. There was 30-foot Chinese symbol on the wall behind her during [...]
Berkeley East's Photos - Caribbean 1500 2008 (Main)
Photos for blog post
15 Photos
Created 2 August 2016
18 Photos
Created 17 May 2013
Extra pictures for Croatia
12 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
Venice June 2012
20 Photos
Created 12 July 2012
Tuscany trip summer 2011
30 Photos
Created 18 July 2011
Pictures from June 2011 - The Ligurian Coast of Italy
29 Photos
Created 29 June 2011
Wardrick Wells - Exuma Land and Sea Park May 2009
11 Photos
Created 4 May 2009
6 Photos
Created 22 April 2009
20 Photos
Created 21 April 2009
24 Photos
Created 19 April 2009
Pictures from our trip to Los Testigos, Venezuela - March 2009
5 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
4 Photos
Created 28 March 2009
Pics form the 2008 Caribbean 1500
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Created 26 November 2008
Octopuses Garden – Highborne, Exuma Cay, Bahamas
15 Photos
Created 22 May 2008
4 Photos
Created 22 April 2008
13 Photos
Created 28 January 2008
Chistmas 2007 in St Maarten with other crusiers and Mike and Linda (frends & meighbors from CA)
6 Photos
Created 28 January 2008
5 Photos
Created 23 December 2007
5 Photos
Created 21 November 2007
3 Photos
Created 5 September 2007
4 Photos
Created 28 August 2007
7 Photos
Created 28 August 2007
6 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
10 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
In early July 2006 we made a quick from Sydney, Australia to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to check on the construction of our Hylas 54. She was a little behind schedule, but the build quality was excellent.
4 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
4 Photos
Created 17 July 2007
After 28 days aboard Sigrun Bolten from Taiwan, Berkeley East arrived in Port Everglades Florida. Mary and I helped unload her and motored up the river to be hauled and rigged. We where joined by our friends and next door neighbors (from CA), who were in Florida cruising from California to the Caribbean.
5 Photos
Created 17 July 2007

Profile & FAQs

Who: Larry & Mary Ivins
Port: San Diego, CA

Our travels


April 2017- Return to Fano, Italy

May 2017 - Touring Italy and waiting for boat parts

June 2017 - Croatia and Montenegro

July - September 2016 - Tyrehenian Sea, Sicily & Sardinia

October 2017 - Somewhere in Italy then fly home to Charlotte

Vbr/> Berkeley East's Winter port 2016/2017 - Unknown