Dates: 07/07/09 – 07/16/09
Distance: 19 NM
Before we could get underway today, we had to untangle the mooring lines which had become wrapped around the base of the mooring ball overnight. We took on 300 liters of fuel on the quay near the ferry docks and motored our way to Marsala, keeping well offshore due to the shoals along this coast. We spent eight days here before making the overnight passage to Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia on 15 July. The marina is located just across the street from the famous Marsala wine producers, so we took tours of two facilities, one making fortified wines (Florio) and the other (Donna Fugata) making innovative wines from traditional grapes of Sicily.
One day we set-out, despite the heat, to visit the archeology museum. The long, hot walk was worth seeing the remains of the only Phoenician ship recovered to date. Next we wandered back to the marina through town hoping to find a bite to eat. We were worried that we had lingered at the museum too long and might not be able to find anyone serving lunch. Just as we were about to give up, a woman walked by and invited us to her family restaurant down a narrow alley. We obediently followed her to what turned out to be a charming family-run place. We were the only customers for a late, mid-week lunch. We felt bad that we might be interfering with their afternoon riposo (rest), but they didn’t seem to mind. It turned out to be one of the best meals we’ve had in Italy so far. David’s fish couscous was done to perfection, and Lisa’s white bait over pasta was delicious. When we declined dessert at first, they insisted that we try to special cake of this area known as cassata. Served with their sweet Marsala of the house, it was truly memorable.
In Marsala, we met-up again with French friends Pierre and Christelle of Caramba who were nearing the end of their cruise this year. We visited the Phoenician archeological site on the island of Motya on the same day, but they were able to weather the hot sun more than us. Having visited Tunisia before, Pierre shared helpful information with us, including advice about crossing the busy shipping lanes off Cape Bon which we appreciated a few nights later.
Here’s a photo gallery of Leg 3 of our cruise through Southern Italy and Sicily: