The forecast predicted a couple of hours of wind mid-morning which we thoroughly enjoyed despite heading in totally the wrong direction. Listening to the waves lapping against the hull whilst we enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee just can't be beaten. As predicted just two hours later the wind died out and we were back to listening to the engine whilst we corrected our course and concentrated on fishing.
This time we deployed two lures, one with squids and the other with the 'Finnish Minnow' but yet again no catch. The captain is feeling a bit despondent, questioning and constantly reviewing the length of the line through to the weights and lures. It's keeping him out of mischief as he trawls through online sites desperately trying to find an answer or a reason as to why we still haven't landed a fish. We remain hopeful of a catch before the season is out though.
Dramatic cliffs, impressive viaducts and beautiful sandy beaches stretch out all along this part of the coast and by the looks of things there is now ample space to find a sun bed or a spot to lay a towel. You can tell it's September though because we even spotted an empty beach. In the distance the remaining Aeolian Islands lead the way jutting out like stepping stones towards Sicily that will be our home for the winter.
The fishing village of Scilla is located just at the entrance to the Straits of Messina, a stretch of water that separates Italy from Sicily. We decided to take one of Giovanni's mooring buoys because the anchorage is reported to be foul. A rib approached and we were introduced to Fernando, Giovanni's nephew who tied us bow and stern to one of his buoys given that the swell finds its way into the harbour. The mooring cost €30 and included a 24-hour water taxi service. We've never seen such crystal clear water with such a variety of fish, including a small tuna that briefly chased a shoal of fish around the harbour... fantastic. There are fish in the Med after all!
Fishermen's cottages line the water's edge, some with their own boathouses. Staircases wind up to the village that has only one lane running its length. A rocky promontory provides views straight down to the harbour and a terrace on the other side provides views over to a castle, down to the beach and across the Straits to Sicily. It's a lovely place with bars and restaurants and quaint narrow, cobbled streets. Slipways are full of small colourful boats, the same boats also fill the harbour which we felt had a Maltese influence given their bright colourings.
Scilla is proud of its fishing heritage, specialising in catching swordfish. We were fortunate to see this unique vessel, called a 'passarelle' moored in the harbour. It's huge, comprising of a tall watchtower and a bowsprit far longer than the boat itself. We can only assume that fishing for swordfish is done in calm weather given the momentum at the top of the immense lattice steelworks. Apparently the swordfish rest on the surface during the day enabling the fishing boat to creep up and harpoon the unsuspecting fish. It seems a bit unfair but this method obviously works. Swordfish is naturally the top dish in the local restaurants.
Scilla is our last stop on mainland Italy before we transit the Messina Straits where we'll be faced with huge whirlpools, strong tidal streams, eddies and a six headed monster - we can't wait!
Scilla by night with Stromboli in the background
Total distance this season: 942.33 nautical miles