We had just enough wind today from the right direction to raise all sails and kill the engine for awhile — just perfect! We did not have as much patience as others when the wind dropped off in the late afternoon, and we motor-sailed into Agropoli, arriving just after 5:00 p.m. The “marinas” here are privately operated floating pontoons which are over-priced and offer no services other than water and electricity. At least in Amalfi, they gave a different price if you didn’t need water and electricity. The dockmaster here couldn’t have been more different than what we experienced in Amalfi, and after our surprised look about his requested fee, he said, “They would charge you double on Capri.” Agropoli is no Capri, but it was the most convenient place for us to leave the boat for an inland visit to Paestum, the ancient Greek city which is now an archeological site.
Here’s a photo gallery of Leg 1 of our cruise through Southern Italy and Sicily:
Another day of motoring in no wind, this time across the Bay of Naples, around Cape Campenella, past the Galli Islands (Siren Islands) and along the beautiful Amalfi coast to the port of Amalfi. A thick haze prevented clear views of Naples and Mount Vesuvius, but the calm weather allowed us to pass closely to both Capri and the small islands which are thought to be the ones where Odysseus and his crew encountered “the song of the sirens” during their voyage. Lisa did not have to tie David to the mast, however, she did keep a close eye on him as he sat on the bow to admire the view of the islands and to listen carefully for the siren’s song as we passed.
We had a brief but lovely sail along the coast of Ischia and then anchored among three other boats beneath the Aragonese castle in a small bay created by the causeway which connects a rocky promontory to the main island of Ischia. Once the hook was down, we had to turn our attention to a couple of final maintenance tasks which didn’t get completed before departure from Gaeta. It should be no surprise that we put-off cleaning out a waste discharge hose for the head (toilet) until it was absolutely necessary! We took care of the dirty deed right away, and a short while later, we were celebrating another job done by washing the boat and ourselves down with the new deck/cockpit shower we installed over the winter. All of this was just in time to watch the moon rise over the island of Capri in the distance. We shared a bottle of Greco di Tufa (one of our favorite white wines) and enjoyed the peacefulness of being at anchor once again.
We awoke this morning (7 May) in a tiny port hewn from the volcanic tufa during Roman times on the island of Ventotene, about 30 miles from Gaeta. After seven wonderful months there, we scraped the barnacles off the bottom and set sail for another cruising season in the Mediterranean yesterday. We’re headed south toward the Bay of Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Aeolian Islands and Sicily. At least that’s the plan for the first part of the season. In addition to our ongoing Phoenician history project, we’re following in the path of Odysseus by visiting Greek settlements in the west (Magna Graecia). For the moment, we’re enjoying this quiet little island, a place where Caesar Augustus banished his daughter Julia, before we head for the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples next.
Date: 5/3/09 (Sunday) Location: Gulf of Gaeta, Italy
We left the dock and went sailing today — except not on Gyatso — instead we were guests aboard Aorangi, our friend Jayne’s beautiful S&S Swan 47. Base Nautica Flavio Gioia (our base for the past winter) hosted a regatta this weekend, so we went out to watch the start of the race and to give Aorangi a sea trial after being hauled out last week. Our Italian neighbors in the marina, Enzo and Franca, were also aboard along with Jayne’s neighbors, Mauro and Francesca. The race was suspended for a brief time due to a thunderstorm. We dropped sails and returned to port just in time to enjoy a fabulous lunch aboard: frittata, panini, salami, buffalo mozzarella, fava beans, pecorino cheese and a sampling of local wines. What a treat! Back onboard Gyatso, we are preparing for the diver to scrape the barnacles from our propeller tomorrow. Hopefully all will go well with the underwater inspection, and we will be underway again this week.