Arrivederci

We’re ready to say goodbye to Italy and head to Spain. But before we leave we wanted to spend one more night at anchor. After five days in a marina in a big city, being at anchor again is serendipity. We found a lovely bay just 15 NM south of Cagliari with clear water for some snorkelling and swimming. Tomorrow we set sail for the Balearics. The wind forecast is good, not perfect in terms of direction but we’ll take it as it comes. I’m already looking forward to another couple of night sails!
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Cagliari

We’ve been in Cagliari since Monday. It’s an interesting city, a mixture between ancient history and modern city living. We enjoyed visiting the historic centre and its beautiful cathedral set within very old city walls. Apart from some sight-seeing we spent the rest of our time doing maintenance and fixes to the boat, catching up on schoolwork and enjoying having shore power (watching movies, getting lots of laundry done …). We’re staying in a small family-run affordable marina and yesterday the marina was visited by three huge dolphins who were hunting fish. Beautiful to watch.

Our next stop is the Balearics which is approx 250NM away so it will be our longest crossing yet. We are waiting for a favourable weather-window and hope to get going in the next few days.

 

 

Cagliari Old Town

Cagliari Old Town

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Sardinia

We’re nearly in Sardinia, just a few miles off the coast. The most exciting part of the trip for all of us was definitely catching a fish. It was around 5pm yesterday (just in time for dinner!) that we noticed the fishing rod was bent and started pulling it in to discover a tuna at the end of it! The boys were screaming with excitement and got a bonus biology lesson. Seathan gutted, cleaned and filleted the fish and we had a delicious supper and a few more meals in the freezer. I went to bed at the same time as the kids (9pm) and Seathan did the first night shift. I prefer to do mine after a little sleep so when he woke me at 2pm I didn’t mind . It’s quite magical being out there on your own under the moon and stars while everyone else is asleep. I listened to some music , figured out which stars were which with the help of the skyguide app and only saw two other ships. I love the moment just before sunrise when everything becomes light again. Apart from spotting several turtles, today was pretty uneventful. We did schoolwork in the morning, had spaghetti carbonara for lunch (quite appropriate as we are heading towards capo carbonara !) and we cleaned the boat while the kids played with Lego. And now we’re all looking forward to anchoring in a nice bay, going for a swim and then an early night!

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we’re off again

We’re off to Sardinia! Bye bye Favignana! We enjoyed being here for a few days and yesterday explored the island which has some beautiful bays and a rugged coastline. It should take us between 24 and 36 hours to get to Sardinia depending on wind speed and direction…

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Favignana

We’re in Favignana and will be staying here for three days until the wind dies down a bit … After many calm days it started blowing hard early this morning. Our next stop is Sardinia so we want to pick a good weather window for our crossing (which is approx. 175NM). We were anchored in the bay last night but now we’re safely tied onto a pontoon with 3 mooring lines, 2 stern lines and a spring line, so we won’t be going anywhere. According to the weather forecast it is going to blow very hard on Tuesday and Wednesday (and from the wrong direction) and then it should die down again.

Favignana is a lovely little town so we don’t mind staying here for a few days to enjoy the last of Sicily and to have a rest before our next crossing! Christophe and Valerie recommended us a local restaurant which looks great and we will go and try it tonight!

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Jellyfish

We had a minor first aid situation on board yesterday. After arriving in Capo San Vito we all went swimming and jumping of the front and the back of the boat. As we came out Tyrii was stung by a jellyfish (even though we hadn’t seen any as we went in). We cleaned and disinfected his leg and he was very brave! This morning all seems fine again with his leg !
Today we are heading to the Egadi Islands. We are planning to stop at Isola Favignana before our crossing to Sardinia.

Cefalu

After a gentle day’s sailing we arrived in Sicily yesterday. We visited Cefalu, a historic town with a cathedral dating back to Norman times (12th century). Today is another calm day and we are cruising along the north coast of Sicily. There’s not much else to report apart from the fact that we are really enjoying Italy, the weather, the food and the sailing!image image

Salina

We arrived in Salina this afternoon, a beautiful green lush island in the Aeolian archipelago. This group of islands are all peaks of volcanoes of which two are still active (Volcano and Stromboli). Aeolus was the god of the winds and it was he who gave Odysseus the contrary winds tied up in a bag, but near Ithaca his sailors opened it believing there was a treasure inside and yet again Odysseus was flown away from his homeland. 
 
We sailed from Scilla to Volcona and then to Lipari where we were welcomed by massive fireworks. There was some sort of annual festival and we had front seats and watched the fireworks from the comfort of our boat. It was also super busy with Italian tourists (we didn’t see any other foreigners). We then sailed on to Panarea and spent a couple of days relaxing in a beautiful bay and yesterday afternoon we sailed to Stromboli. We timed it so we arrived there by evening and it was truly spectacular to see the lava stream out of the volcano. We anchored at night time and left again this morning to Salina.
 
It feels like a real holiday cruising the Aeolian islands and before we head over to Sardinia we also want to stop in Sicily. We’re feeling quite happy with the miles we have under our belts so far (approx 900 NM since we left Turkey).
 
I asked Tyrii what he thinks about our new lifestyle and he said it is both wonderful and not wonderful. What is not wonderful is not having wifi all the time and what is wonderful is the snorkelling, the food (pizza, pasta) and the sailing and the fact that he doesn’t get seasick (he got seasick a few times in the past but seems to be totally ok now!). I think that sums things up nicely!
 
Boys drawing volcanoes

Boys drawing volcanoes

Fireworks in Lipari

Fireworks in Lipari

Approaching Stromboli

Approaching Stromboli

Lava

Lava

Stromboli

Stromboli

Stromboli

Stromboli

Scilla

We had a very productive pit stop in the marina. We cleaned the boat and had a good sleep and ate some amazing food. The little marina restaurant served the most delicious lunch: spaghetti a la vongole, mussels, veal steak and the juiciest lobster I ever ate (for only 12 euros!). In the evening we went to get some pizza and were astounded to see approx 1000 (yes one thousand) people seated outside the little restaurant for dinner. It had turned into a true food factory and all the locals were eating there.

We left Rocella Ionica at midday and sailed for 30 hours to arrive in Scilla at 6 am, a picturesque swordfish fishing village with a imposing rock fortress. The sea was very calm with little wind until we hit the straights of Messina where the wind built to 22 knots with tidal changes and whirlpools everywhere and much traffic. Quite an experience!

We also were greeted by dolphins twice yesterday, once in the afternoon and once at night . They swam around the boat and showed us their tricks.

Today we are going to explore the town and the fortress and tomorrow we are heading to the Lipari Islands just off the coast of Sicily.

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Scilla

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Leaving the straights of Messina behind us

Swordfish fishermen

Swordfish fishermen

Italia

We’re in Italy ! We got here a bit faster than anticipated so had to slow down and stand off until sunrise as we didn’t want to make our approach at nighttime. It was quite a challenging crossing. The first 18 hours were very relaxing. We cooked dinner and had a quiet night. Didn’t see a single boat all night. In the morning the wind started building which was ok as the boat handles it well. The swell however was extremely uncomfortable and coming from two different directions. The wind kept building so we put a couple of reefs in before sunset. The second night was rougher than the first. We saw a few big cargo ships and lightning around us in the distance. I did a shift from 1 until 4 am and managed to tack the boat twice on my own and feel quite proud of myself! We sailed into Rocella Ionica at 9 am, a lovely little marina. We tied the boat up and now we are having a little celebratory beer! Bit crazy at 9 am but we feel we deserved it!

We are very happy to be in Italy, it’s one of our favourite countries. We love the food, the culture, the language. I asked the kids what they think about Italy and Tyrii said it’s the best country in the world because it has the coolest cars (Ferrari , Lamborghini ) , the best food (pizza) and volcanoes which are pretty awesome. Aeneas is mostly looking forward to seeing a real volcano! Stromboli and Vongole here we come!