Sunday 20 July 2014

Egadi Islands

We have been living a Spartan existence. Since leaving Cagliari a week ago we have spent not a single Euro.  We have been at anchor ever since, eating aboard from our supply of fresh produce from the market, and our dwindling supplies of San Miguel and Prosecco.  After a few days in Villasimius in southern Sardinia the forecast is good and its time to head for Sicily.

Our crossing from Sardinia is perfect. The wind obediently moves aft of the beam as forecasted and from mid afternoon we have eighteen knots from the south-west on our starboard quarter, reefing down during the night to keep our boat speed down to eight knots and reaching the small Egadi island of Maritemo in time for breakfast. Maritemo is a bleak and windy place with towering cliffs plunging into inky blue sea with a tiny harbour suitable only for fishing boats and after a quick breakfast we sail on to Favignana, the largest of the Egadi islands.

We motor around the whole island looking for shelter from the swell from the west and the predicted wind shift to the north.  We pick up a buoy in Cala Longa on the south coast next to an Australian ensign. I dinghy across to Sandro, owned by Gary and Ludmilla from Sydney. We have a gentle two days at anchor in their delightful company, listening to the Wimbledon final on internet radio, sitting on the aft deck in our splendid new bright orange deck chairs, followed by dinner of Tartiflette and salad on board Sandro.

Weather forecasts around these islands seem wildly inaccurate. Although forecasted to veer to the South we motor sail into a solid twenty knots from the North as we round the dramatic point of San Vito lo Capo on our way towards Palermo.  After a long day bashing into the big sea we take cover behind the breakwater in the marina of Castellammare del Golfo where the temperature soars and its 32 degrees Celsius at six in the evening.   The marina is in the process of being extended and we are handed brand new lazy lines that have been laid that very day.

It is a hot windy evening and we open all the hatches to let in the breeze.  We are awoken in the night with gusts of hot air being hurled down the mountain into the marina.  Juno is big for this marina and the lazy lines are anchored too close to our bow, giving us very little mechanical advantage as the wind blows us back against the dock. Our rib is in the water behind us acting as a big fender, but when another gust forces our transom over the rib we decide to move it rather than see it crushed.  I move the dinghy and Fatty replaces it with fenders. We sit in the cockpit and watch as Juno is pushed back hard against the fenders. I am still not happy so I start the engine and for about an hour I hold Juno off the dock with the engine in forward gear until the last shrieking gust howls through our rigging at 48 knots, then for no obvious reason dies completely and calm descends. It is five in the morning and dawn is breaking. Nervous crews like us, sitting in their cockpits on high alert, raise their eyebrows in solidarity and disappear below to sleep.   

1 comment:

  1. One always thinks that trouble will arise out at sea, but so often its when you think you are safely attached to the land!
    Great to see you both at w/end. Paulus