Tuesday 26 August 2014


We leave Ischia behind as we sail north towards Rome, a large swell running from the south, pushing us on our way. We stop briefly for lunch on the remote island of Ventotene, and swim in the deep clear water before motoring the last twenty miles to Ponsa. From our last visit I know that a long southerly swell creeps into all the anchorages so I head straight for the port and anchor in the protected main harbour with twenty other yachts who have also been here before and experienced the Ponsa roll.  Once the ferries stop for the night the water is thankfully calm and the wind dies away; a blanket of hot and humid air settles over the boat.

Ponsa is as nice as we remember it. A small island, only three miles long, running north to south, its only town and harbour in a bay at the southern end, protected by a headland that reaches out to the east where the swell bursts its energy against the rocks.  A series of hills shapes the backbone of the island with miniature limestone cliffs rising out of the sea, gleaming white even in the dark. Ponsa is only sixty miles from Rome and at twenty knots, only three hours from the capital in a fast motorboat. In August there are many that make the pilgrimage to the picturesque coves and then magically disappear at night, leaving a community of yachts anchored peacefully in the bays.

Entirely at the mercy of the swell I am pleased that the latest mistral in the Bonifaccio straits has altered the direction of the waves, bringing large rollers into the bays on the west coast, leaving our side of the island calm and sheltered, with a gentle breeze holding our hatches into the wind which funnels down through the boat and cools our cabins.

Having been on the move continually for the past two weeks we decide to stay on the island for a few days before we face the heat and bustle of Rome.  We kayak in the clear water, eat ashore in the attractive port and catch up on the important business of reading, sunbathing and swimming with the easy company of Jamie and Lucie. Yet another mistral is developing in the Gulf de Lion, so I decide to leave a day earlier than planned to catch the last of the southerly breeze. We bring up the anchor in the dark as quietly as we can and creep out of the anchorage as the lilac sky of dawn turns to crimson, the start of another hot day in the Tyrrhenian Sea.


  1. The dreaded Mistrale hey.... Mighty powerful thing! I remember the one Dee & I sat out in Olbia last year... Yikes!!! Xx to you both. B&D

  2. Aha - the canoe has arrived... What's next? Wake / knee boards - there's lots of space along those guardrails!!! So envious. Even dirty Napoli looks amazing! Gill

  3. I blame the Duncans for this new addition. You will be pleased to know that i have buried it deep in the bilge in the forepeak. I doubt it will ever emerge.