Levanzo to Palermo
18 July 2013 | Sciliy
Having been trapped by hundreds of Ribs (see previous post). We had left Argonauta in the bay with three other yachts and gone round the corner to the next bay to visit the town of Levanzo. After a quick look round we returned at about 11:00 hrs. to find ourselves hemmed in by day boats so were forced to spend the day unable to get out.
We left Cala Dogana the following morning. The day was flat calm and as we lifted the anchor at 06:00 the sun was just coming up over the horizon. We motored for most of the morning in calm seas, seeing the island disappear into the distance and Trapini pass by on our Starboard bow. A very large cruise ship was entering the harbour and we were glad we wer'nt anchored in there that morning. By midday the wind arrived and we sailed round the top of Sicily and spent the night in a large bay of Carini, a very busy tourist resort. The beaches were crowded with people and in the middle sat a rather strange building on stilts it looked like a cross between Brighton Pier and the Taj Mahal. As the sun set it glowed orange in the evening light. The next day we went ashore by dinghy and discovered it was a private beach club and upmarket restaurant. We did some shopping finding a butchers & bakers in the town square but as most of the premises were given over to tourist tat there was little to interest us following our initial wander round by 12:00 we were back on board and spent the rest of the day dropping in & out of the water to keep cool.
The following day we sailed round the headland to Palermo. This is the capital of Sicily and the harbour is a big commercial one with container ships, Ferries, Cruise ships coming and going al the time we had to keep a constant lookout as we approached. There were several marinas detailed in our pilot book and though we tried calling various ones only one spoke English sufficient that we could make ourselves understood so we booked a berth at that marina. We don’t know if it was the cheapest or most expensive as we never got to find out the others prices. It was however the one tucked right in the farthest reaches of the harbour and so consequently we had to pass all the other marinas as we went in as we did the all shouted at us gesticulating we should moor with them and getting angry when we went passed. One even launched a small boat out to us trying to make us go into their marina. The advantage of our final berth was that we were right in the middle of town so had very little to go to get to the centre and the supermarket. Jackie did a near perfect stern-to berthing manoeuvre despite the fact she was panicking all the way in!
We got the bikes & panniers out and went to stock up on supplies at the supermarket something we hadn’t really done properly since Sardinia. Once back to the boat despite the horrendous heat we set to doing the washing. Three weeks worth! The marina did not have a laundrette but an agreement with a laundry business ashore, they would collect and return the following day but as it was after 12:00 the next opportunity for them to collect would be tomorrow and then return the day after that. As such we pulled out our little single tub washing machine from under the front berth. We have dragged this piece of kit al the way from the UK and never used it till then. It consists of a oversized bucket with a motor on top and a clockwork timer. The principal is you put in your washing and water with detergent set the timer for 6 mins and leave it agitating the clothes. Then you drain the soapy water out fill with clean fresh water and repeat to rinse repeating this till the soap has been removed. Then you have to hand wring the clothes before hanging them out on the rails & rigging to dry. As it can only take a limited amount of clothes each time it is quite a laborious business and we had five loads that was at least 15 fills & empty's. Makes you appreciate automatic washing machines! All went well till the last wash when Jackie managed to pull the hose that drains the thing off and soapy water ended all over the cabin floor so cleaning the floor and bilges followed. In this heat we were exhausted.
Once the heat of the day was over we cycled into town to do some sightseeing. The centre of big commercial towns all seem to be pretty much the same and whilst there were some magnificent buildings and fountains the shops seemed as in the UK the same as we had seen in Sardinia. One interesting event we witnessed however was a 'Funeral'. Apparently the local authorities have ceased spending on the arts in the current economic troubles, as such the Palermo symphony Orchestra was being forced to disband. The orchestra and their supporters had arranged a protest march through the town in the form of a funeral. There was a hearse and the coffin carried on the shoulders of six pawl bearers was a Black double bass whilst the rest of the orchestra followed playing funereal type music. Probably the best music I’ve heard at a funeral. The Cabinari were out in force in full riot gear to police the parade and this seemed rather overkill for what was a very clever and witty publicity stunt for the orchestras supporters.
The following day after topping up the water tanks, (again not filled since Sardinia) we left. We made our way round the next headland and found a very nice rocky bay ( Capo Zafferano) with a small beach surrounded by the most amazing '& Expensive' houses & villas we have seen. This was obviously the posh end of town. What they thought of our little craft sat out in front of their view, we never found out. We stayed on board that night drinking in the view and the red wine.
Next day we were heading to find volcanoes!