Tag Archives: Italy

La Dolce Vita – Cruising Italy

10738941328_IMG_2406From Licata we began to slowly make our way north along the Sicilian coast anchoring off small towns and eating simple pasta dishes alfresco in the cockpit at sunset.

Siracusa was a a wonderful stop for a few days. A snug comfortable harbour with a fascinating town. Taormina was also another highlight, life seemed simple and particularly sweet anchored in the pretty bay below the town, with the silhouette of Mt Etna in the background, days spent exploring the streets and eating buckets of gelato!

IMG_3420.JPGFrom Taormina we crossed over to the heel of the boot. Roccello Ionica turned out to be a great surprise, both an affordable marina with great pizza sold by the length and nearby was another great little town.

Settling more into the swing of cruising life and feeling more comfortable with sailing Blue Dancer our Moody 425 we started to enjoy ourselves more and more. The engine was behaving another big bonus!





Arriving in Italy

After having been delayed by several weeks with repeat mechanical issues and bureacractic hurdles we eventually pulled up anchor just before sunrise in Gozo and said a fond goodbye to Malta. Sailing in that magical morning light we were excited at the promise of a new country and a new chapter awaiting us at the end of the day.

Motoring out of Gozo while waiting for a breeze to fill in the boat suddenly slowed and shuddered.

‘Oh no…I think something is on the prop’ I instantly put the engine into neutral and went to the back of the boat to have a look. I couldn’t see anything, so I put the boat into reverse for a bit hoping to back off a net if indeed we had hit one and then back carefully into forward.  We began to make way happily again hitting our 6 knot cruising speed under motor. Crisis averted! (we thought).

The rest of the passage was uneventful, some motorsailing, but the breeze did fill in the afternoon. Just as we sighted Sicily we were greeted by a pod of dolphins. Always a welcome sight!

As we approached Licata in the late afternoon we entered the harbour cautiously keeping a wary eye on the fish traps that crowds its entrance. As the boat slowed I felt that vibration again that points to something not right being right. We debated the merits of diving on the prop but in the end we figured we were still making way and would be at the dock shortly so continued.

As we approached the dock I slowed the boat and put her into reverse ready to back in Med style between the Catamaran Arakai and a large steel yacht Mediterranea.’ As I started to back, while steadily increasing revs the vibration magnified and I reached a grand speed of 1 knot in reverse.  ‘ Motore Problema! ‘ with the help of the great staff at Marina Di Cala Del Sole we eventually managed to get tied up incident free.

Feeling pretty downcast I sat in the cockpit looking across at the town of Licata, feeling generally sorry for myself and wondering what madness made me decide to bring my family here to the other side of the world sailing on a 25 year old boat with a clapped out engine.

Yet it actually would be here in Licata that we would begin to find ourselves, get to know our boat a bit better and start slipping more into the wonderful cruising life.


(Please excuse the fact that we are a bit behind on our blog posts!)

Aoelian Islands on a Beneteau 411

Ok I have been meaning to write this up for a while now…….but you know the drill life gets busy something happens at work etc and it well hasn’t happened…..

It is winter here now though and well amongst the cold(well ok cold for us) I needed a reason to think warm happy thoughts!

Last year enroute to a family celebration in the UK and desperate for a bit of break my wife and I decided to charter in Italy, we were keen to get a taste for the Med, eat some good food, drink some good wine and do a bit of sailing. Our romantic break away however became somewhat less romantic when my parents decided it also sounded like a good idea and decided to join us! We all get along and so what the heck the more the merrier.

We chartered with Sunsail out of Tropea…….a charming little town set on the side of a cliff.

The view from our hotel……

Our first destination was the ‘jet set’ Island of Panarea. The seas were Med flat and there was very little wind so we motor sailed the 35 Nm across to this pretty little island. Not feeling in a Marina sort of mood we dropped the hook in a pretty little bay around from the town.

and explored the island on foot…

From Panarea we headed across to small the hamlet of Rinella on the Island of Salina.

Swimming/Snorkelling around all the islands were great, the water surprisingly warm despite being the end of the season.

Outboards are sooo outrated. We thought we would do our bit to help Italy meet it’s emission targets.  
Truth be known after all the cheese I needed to exercise!

After a round of drinks at the only bar in town, we found a local and amazing little Pizzeria for dinner.

After Salina a short sail, past Lipari and we were anchored off the Island of Vulcano.

An island created by a now extinct volcano, we decided to give the mud baths a miss, but found it to be a pretty interesting if also ‘fragrant’ place to wander around.

With a less than favourable forecast, we decided to head into the fairly protected harbour on the Island of Salina. The storm that ripped through the islands as we sat down for dinner confirmed that we had made a good decision.

We found the high Piers and gangplanks that are the norm in the Med a great Sobriety test!  

Our last night at anchor was once again back at Panarea, where after getting up early we did a circuit of the impressive island of Stromboli to see the active volcano that dominates the Aeolians.

A walk to the top of this Volcano is high on most people’s agendas, however with swell, deteriorating conditions and no sheltered anchorage we gave the island a miss, determined that we would see it next time.

Lumpy seas gave us a exciting passage back to Tropea, where one last night of Pizza/Wine and Limoncello made it easier to forgive this strange sea we had just met…..

Oohhh the Food!!

We will definitely be back to this part of the world….the sailing here is so different to what we are used but the places, the people and scenery are amazing.