Category Archives: Sail Blog 2013

TRAPANI AND THE EGADI

The unstable weather is continuing. A Mistral has been blowing hard for several days. Even down here we can feel the force with 20-30 knots of wind.

Trapani with the Egadi island in the background

Trapani with the Egadi island in the background

As soon as we pulled in to the marina in Trapani we got an email from Max on  yacht  “y2K”.  His wife Alessandra, being on their boat, had reported that an HR was coming in to the marina. Max who was in Milano sent us the welcome message. Later in the weekend we had a nice exchange of experiences in the cockpit of Bella Luna.  You can follow their adventures here.

Marina Levante, Trapani

Marina Levante, Trapani

We liked Trapani. It is a mixture between run down houses and really nice looking houses.  On Saturday we visited the historical Aragonese village, Erice.  It was built up on a mountain for best protection. In Greek times the place was known to mariners for its temple of Aphrodite and her courtesans.   We took the cable car up to the mountain and spent all day exploring.   There are more than 70 churches  and a castle ruin.   Different religions are represented as different nationalities have been in power. We enjoyed our day  in the cooler air.

Cable car to Erice

Cable car to Erice

Erice was easy to defend

Erice was easy to defend

Street view

Street view

Musician asking for money

Musician asking for money

The Horse whisper

The Horse whisper

Lazy dog taking siesta

Lazy dog taking siesta

Monestery

Monestery

Sea view from Erice

Sea view from Erice

Art work in Erice

Art work in Erice

On Monday we went out to the Egadi Islands.  First night we anchored in a south cove off Island  Levanzo. It was a wild night with NW gust coming down the hillsides.   Not that much sleep.Sunday night we had  storm.   It was nice to still be in Marina Levante in Trapani. It is a small but friendly marina. They look after you and the boats.  As we were wide awake and up checking, we saw one of the guys walking the docks in the middle of the storm at 0100 in the pounding rain and lightning.

In the morning we got an email from Max saying go to Favignana as it is better with NW winds and would be more comfortable.   We sailed over the strait  between Levanzo and Favgnana and experienced the biggest waves this season.

The anchorage was much better, but the wind increased and clocked to W.  We could see that we were dragging and had to re-anchor, as the anchor was not properly set in the grass. The second time went better.

Then a charter boat arrived with several guys.   They come in with the Danforth anchor full with grass. Drop it and plow more grass in to the anchor. Then they look at us and think it must be better holding close to them so  they drop the anchor quite close, and 6 naked men jump in the water. The boats are dancing around their anchors, as the wind is 24 knots with higher gusts.

I checked the  weather report. It is not a difficult decision to lift the anchor and sail into the Sicily straits.   We get a fast down wind sail to the south coast and drop the anchor behind the large harbour  breakwater of Mazara Del Vallo,  Sicily’s  biggest fishing harbour. Although the winds remain, the waves are insignificant.    As we are anchoring at sundown, we hear the loudspeakers of the mosque calling for prayer.

We enjoyed a  good night sleep.

SOUTH SARDINIA AND CROSSING TO SICILY

After Olbia we changed our plan and cruised down the east side of Sardinia.

In Villasimius we anchored in a nice bay outside the Marina.

Next day we spotted another Swedish boat. It was Synapsen, with Michael and Maria.  Check out their Blog. As we have not been spoiled with Swedish boats I took the dinghy over and they immediately invited us for coffee.  Later in the evening we had them over for Happy Hour. As Michael and Marie is on the same type of part-time cruising as us it was nice to be able to exchange ideas.

Next day the wind was forecasted to come from the West.   Synapsen was going o Cagliari to pick up their daughter. We were planning to cross s to Sicily. In the early morning we woke up to numerous thunderstorms.

I checked the weather for the crossing and decided the Cape index was to high. Cape index is the probability for thunderstorms and lightning.  Wind and waves are O.K. But thunder is not our cup of tea.

Instead we sailed over to Cagliari and anchored. Next day we went in to Marina del Sol in Cagliari. It is a bit tired looking like the company car. But they are very friendly and do everything to help.

Marina del Sol company car

Marina del Sol company car

Friendly Marina del Sol

Friendly Marina del Sol

 

In town we had a nice lunch at a local restaurant. The restaurant owner and the Chef was standing smoking in-front of the restaurant when we arrived. First the owner was a bit reserved. He was not accustom  to tourists in the restaurant.

When we asked for the menu he said, “we only serve fish” That is O.K. we replied. Then he relaxed and became very friendly.

Soon the local guests came in and he puts on the TV. There was some news about Mr. Berlusconi.  The restaurant owner was very animated when he declared his liking of Berlusconi. One of the guest made thumb down for Berlusconi. Then the fight was on. The guest left the restaurant in frustration for some minutes, but was soon back. In the end they all had a good time. That included us that got good food and entertainment.

Roman theatre Cagliari

Roman theatre Cagliari

Cagliari Street

Cagliari Street

Next day we planned to go back to Villasimius and anchor and sail to Sicily the following day.  In the beginning we had to motor, but soon the wind came from SW with 15 knots. When we came to the anchorage we changed the plan and continued to Sicily.  Wind was stabile SW 12-20 knots and we had a fantastic sail, logging between 8 to 8.5 knots for many hours.

Around two a clock in the morning we could see heavy thunder & lightning over Tunisia. Soon the storms came our way. We could track them on the radar and  we understood that we would sail straight into them if we continued with the same speed.   This was not forecasted in the weather reports.

We decided to step on the break for a while. As there was not much wind we furled in the sails and drifted for two hours.  6-7 storms passed just 2-3 miles in front of us.

At daybreak the forecasted NW wind started to clear the air and we continued against Trapani, Sicily with the Blue sky behind and heavy clouds in front of us.

Thunder ahead

Thunder ahead

The last 2-3 hours in to Trapani were a bit boring, as the waves had started building and the wind from dead behind.

Weather is very unstable at the moment, much earlier in the season than normal accordingly to the locals.  But as we are not on a schedule we have no problem adjusting the schedule in order to stay out of trouble.

 

SARDINIA – NE COAST

We arrived back to Sardinia from Corsica to meet our friend Miguel in Porto Torres.     We decided to make a quick detour and cross back to Corsica to visit Bonifacio and it was well worth it!     The combination of the beautiful natural harbor’s vertical sides of white limestone and the medieval wall around the town and citadel makes this a very unique and splendid place to visit.    The evening lights of the town reflect off the white rocks surrounding the harbor.   Magical!
Bonifacio entrance

Bonifacio entrance

Bonifacio

Bonifacio

Bonifacio by Night

Bonifacio by Night

Returning back to Sardinia, our first anchorage  was the French Island  of Lavezzi as this was highly recommended to us as a day anchorage.    This proved to be very special indeed.       It was  crowded when we arrived but were able to find space and later when a tour boat arrived full of anxious people wanting to spend time on the beach, the private boats refused to move so the tour boat could not come in and retreated.

Lavezzi

Lavezzi

We learned that the Rolex Mega yacht race was starting in Porto Cervo in two days which explained seeing so many racing yachts.   As we sailed along the east side of Caprera Island, many were out practicing.   We stopped for a coffee break in a anchorage called Cala Coticcio which the locals call (Tahiti Bay).   Beautiful water, great snorkeling and quite crowded.  Here we were approached by the marine park reserve authorities.   Roland had ordered our permit online which is a cost savings.   Those who were anchored there without a permit paid 40% higher.   They had a credit card machine with them.
Cala Coticcio

Cala Coticcio

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

There are so many wonderful places to anchor in this area and we enjoyed them all.   One anchorage turned out to be a perfect location to watch boats pass by.   We all commented it was like a ring side seat at a boat show.    Who could guess the length, who could guess the brand,  what country does that flag represent?
Mega Yacht passing our anchorage

Mega Yacht passing our anchorage

We arrived in Olbia at a small marina and were happy they had space for us.
Here we rented a car to get Miguel to the airport on the west side of the island.   We took a long day and drove into the mountains.   Roland and Miguel were mountain goats, climbing rocks to get the best view for photos.
Miguel rock climbing

Miguel rock climbing

The next day Roland and i took the car to Porto Cervo to view the Rolex Mega Yachts.  Walking the dock was almost the feeling of being in a art gallery for boats.   The pristine conditions, the size of the rigs, the multiple sail bags that must be hoisted on board, the number of crew and the expenses……    I only hope while walking around in awe, I did remember to close my mouth.
Porto Cervo

Porto Cervo

J-Boat,  Velsheda

J-Boat, Velsheda

To heavy to carry!

To heavy to carry!

It was time to move on but we needed to get some fuel at the marina.    As you will see in the photo below, this is Italian class even at a fuel pump.   This lady owns the station and arrives each morning in her skirt and pearls.    She insists on pumping the fuel and will not accept assistance.      The day prior Roland had questions for her about bio diesel, which Miguel translated.    She could not answer direct but did her research and called Miguel back later in the afternoon.   Class and good service!

Top class fuel service in Olbia

Top class fuel service in Olbia

As we left Olbia with the next anchorage in mind for the evening, our intention was to leave the next morning for Naples.    Part of cruising is the ability to change your mind at the last minute.   We decided it was best to continue south along the Sardinian coast then cross to Sicily.