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Back to Italy

May 16, 2019

We left Malta with light winds and motored most of the way to Siracusa, Sicily, where we had visited last year. We anchored in the bay and endured three days of a Sahara sand storm that completely covered Italy, Greece, and us in a fine gritty sand. The boat and rigging were a mess and we were continually washing the boat and solar panels. The cars in town had to use windshield wipers to see.

Friend  Natalia introduced Sandie to the clothing store Antica Santoria and the art of binge shopping. After three days of shopping Sandie spent two days finding room on the boat for her purchases. But she looks nice. The rest of our time was spent at the archeological museum and eating incredible paninis.

We were ready to leave Siracusa when someone stole our outboard motor propeller and fuel tank; fortunately, the dinghy was locked. It took several days to replace them before we could head north.

We anchored one night at Naxos at the base of Mount Etna with a beautiful view of Taormina. This is a very touristy area and it was obvious that tourist season was beginning. Etna blew a bit of smoke as we were departed for the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily.

The Aeolian Islands are volcanic with Stromboli being the most active and famous. High winds were predicted so we chose Isola Lipari to wait out the weather. We spent two days in a very rolly anchorage before the weather front passed and we could continue exploring. We anchored off Lipari town under the castle and visited the charming village with its walking streets and marked up prices; another sign that we were in tourist season although we had yet to see warm weather.

We visited Isola Volcano with its steaming caldera and spent a night in a scenic anchorage on Isola Panarea before heading to Stromboli. This volcano is continually active and is noted as the oldest lighthouse in the world because ancient mariners used its fiery glow as a navigation beacon. We anchored off the village and planned to leave for the mainland at 4:00 AM, first passing the NW face of the volcano to witness the legendary fireworks. But Stromboli had started spewing out a large cloud of smoke the night before which obscured the view. Disappointed, we continued on to mainland Italy.

We worked our way up the coast to Salerno, “Gateway to the Amalfi Coast”. We had driven this coast last year but now we had a chance to see it from the water as we leisurely sailed along. It is impressive by both land and sea with its villages clinging to the steep rocky cliffs. We continued on to the Isle of Capri and spent an uncomfortable rolly night under the sheer cliffs.

We were having trouble with our mainsail and felt that it was time to replace it. We checked into the Marina di Stabia south of Naples and arranged to have our mainsail shipped to a sail loft in Palermo where they are making us a new one. We have a couple of weeks to burn with the boat moored safely in a marina, so tomorrow we head to Rome by train. We will spend a few days there before renting a car and exploring Tuscany, Florence, Pisa,… Hope the weather improves!

Siracusa

 

Aeolian Islands

 

Almafi Coast and Capri

From → Travel

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