Siracusa? Messina? Aeolian Islands? Sardinia? Mallorca?
31 August 2014 | Porto Petro, Mallorca
The plan was to do an overnight passage to Sicily and, from there to Sardinia, stopping for a few days after each passage. The final destination was the Baleares, where we were planning to spend few weeks pottering around and catching up with other cruiser friends that we have met in Sicily last winter. We had not decided if we were going to the north or south of Sicily. The northern route was shorter but meant we had to go north through the straits of Messina, which often has strong northerly winds. So, it was going to depend on the weather forecast.
Leaving Crotone, we had all intentions to sail over to Siracusa in the east of Sicily, about 150 nautical miles, but, half way there, after another look at the forecast around Sicily, we decided to go through the Messina Straits and maybe stop somewhere on the north side of Sicily - the mileage was about the same as going to Siracusa. With the current on our favor, we went through the Straits of Messina early in the morning, earlier than we had anticipated. We decided to continue to the Aeolian Islands which we had really enjoyed last summer. We got to Lipari at lunch time. We had thought on staying in the islands of Lipari or Vulcano for a couple of days, but the forecast looked good to get to the south tip of Sardinia so we decided to continue West. It was going to be just a couple of nights.
While refueling in Lipari, Mark found out that Stromboli had been spewing lava for the last month. Do not ask me why we love volcanos so much, but we could not pass the opportunity to watch lava streaming down a volcano side, despite that sailing north east to Stromboli was going to add another 35 miles to our trip to Sardinia.
We got to the north side of Stromboli late afternoon. With the sun still up, we could not see lava and were a bit disappointed. The four of us hung about in Por dos cockpit, passing binoculars around, searching for the lava. Yes, we thought we could see something reddish! There were definitively lots of rocks coming down the slopes! Night arrived. What a beautiful sight! The lava was glowing red, two thin rivers of it, slowly moving down the slopes. It was hard to tear us apart from this place, but there were 300 miles ahead of us to the bottom of Sardinia, so, off we went a couple of hours after dark.
We left Stromboli on Wednesday night, and, by Friday late afternoon, we were off Sardinia's south tip. Sailing in close to get a cell signal so we could have another look at the weather forecast, there seemed to be a storm brewing in the south of France that was going to come our way and possibly pin us down in Sardinia for longer than we wanted. Why not continue sailing to the Baleares Islands? After all, it was only 260 miles. We could be there by Sunday evening, way ahead of the storm, and closer to our cruising friends with kids. Alec and Roan were all for meeting Elliott from Neptune II earlier rather than later. So we continued on.
Sunday around 6 PM we picked up a mooring in Porto Petro, Mallorca. Sailing is a funny business; you put your sails up and you never now where you will end up. We had left Crotone on Tuesday morning with the idea of a quick overnight, 150 miles, to Siracusa. Five days and 762 miles later we were in Mallorca :-)