John and Eva on the M/Y 'Destiny'. Contact Us Phone: 0044 (0)787 222 69 65 or 0033 (0)620 719 335

DESTINY DIARY 2015 - Tour de Sicily and the Amalti coast.

Eva's Photo Gallery.
'Destiny' had been in Marina di Ragusa (Sicily) for eight months. It had been a long winter although we did break it up with a visit over the Christmas and New year period, celebrating with the other liveaboards, who spend 12 months on their boats and visiting Sicily by car. We had driven down through France and Italy and for once, were able to see something of the 'interior' away from the coast. We stopped off with my cousine Annie, who lives in Tuscany and who took us to visit the wonderful city of Perugia. Afterwards we drove down to the south and crossed by ferry at Messina to the island of Sicily. It was good to have the car which allowed us to really get to know the area around Ragusa. Early in the new year, we took the ferry back to Genoa and came back home the easy way. A good trip and an interesting and different holiday season.

This winter we'd done little work on 'Destiny', only a good scrub and some light painting outside. The biggest job for John was to change the engine mounts which were getting a bit tired and then realigning the engine with the propeller shaft. Before we could leave though, we (when I say we, I mean 'he') had to clean the propeller and the bottom of the boat which were pretty foul after the entire year in the water. I'm told that the water was still very cold! I took his word for it!
Ragusa Marina MRYC Marina
Ragusa Marina. Royal Malta Yacht Club marina.
Time to go - 2015.
On the 1st of June , we said our goodbyes and sailed south to Malta, where the plan was to lift out and antifoul the bottom and have some varnish work done. The weather was ideal for our first 50 mile trip, very little wind, a beautiful sea and sun, but the water was still a fresh 18°, so it wasn't yet time for T-shirt and shorts, at least not for me!

We arrived in Malta just before 4p.m. and moored the boat at the Royal Malta Yacht Club Marina. The berth had been reserved through our friend Matthew Ferrugia. It was nice to be back in Malta, we both like the place very much, and are even thinking moving to this little island one day. We met up with our friends George and Fran on Zarafet who had left Ragusa before us and were having a major refit done on their boat at the Manoel Island boat yard. It involved removing the mast and changing a toilet!! We also met up with old friends Vince and Debbie who live in Malta and kindly took us around shopping and helped refill our foreign gas bottles.

Malta is a very good place to get boat parts, and stock up with drinks for the summer, plus, they speak English. We also arranged with Daniel, who fitted our aft deck roof last time we were here, to have varnish work done in October rather than now, it already being June. We also decided not to lift out and do the antifouling so that we could get away sooner. That meant that we (or 'he') would have to do a lot of bottom scrubbing through the year, but I felt that that wouldn't hurt him.
Malta RYC Tourist Gozo
Happy hour in the RMYC. The Hop-on Hop-off in Gozo.
At the yacht club, we met some other cruisers, Ric and Helve from Tasmania on their motorboat 'Tangaroa' and Roland and Constance from New Zealand on their sailing boat 'Restless', so had some good ‘happy hours’ together.

On June 7th we left the yacht club and spent the night on anchor near Comino Island, and went over to Gozo marina the day after. The marina had changed a lot since we were here five years ago, being much modernised and more gale resistant. One of our resolutions for this year was to take more time to visit inland. So we took the hop-on/hop-off bus to tour around Gozo. It was fun to play ‘tourists’, and see more than just the coast.
Mgarr Harbour Ta' Pinu Sanctuary Ramla BayGozo
Mgarr Harbour. Ta' Pinu Sanctuary. Ramla Bay Gozo
So, having spent 10 days in Malta and Gozo we decided to return to Sicily and wait for Zarafet to be ready to join us in a cruise around Sicily. So we sailed north again and dropped the anchor in Syracuse bay on the east coast, one of my favourite places. We were happily surprised to meet ‘Tangaroa’ and ‘Restless’ also anchored in the bay. As well as meeting up in the evenings for happy hours together, we rented a car and visited Etna and Noto - except John who stayed on the boat not feeling well (at least that was his excuse!).
Restless and Tangaroa Happy Girls Curious
Restless and Tangaroa chatting. Laughing girls with their.... ...cruising bums!
Montée Etna Palazzo Ducezio Santi Nicola
On the way to the top - Mt. Etna Volcano. The Palazzo Ducezio in Noto. The Cathedral Santi Nicola in Noto.
We also found the time to play tourist again in Syracuse, which I now know very well having walked through the city to visit all of the museums. We saw an interesting Da Vinci exhibition and strolled through the old stones (Greek and Roman amphitheatres and another necropolis). I took a lot of pictures of the old town and its narrow streets and made a connoisseurs tour of the ice cream shops.
Greek Theatre Ear Dionysius Museum Syracuse
Greek Amphitheatre at Syracuse. The Ear of Dionysius - Ancient Prison Hanging out at the Syracuse Museum.
Finally we received the news that Zarafet had left Malta and were going straight to Licata, so on June 28th the weather being favourable we left the comfort of our mooring to set out to catch them up, heading west along the South Coast of Sicily. Our first stop was back to Ragusa Marina, where the girls at the reception were pleased to see us again and let to us spend the night there free, a very generous offer for Sicily. We also met up with Matthew and Alfie, our Maltese friends who were racing in (and eventually won) the Malta-Ragusa regatta.
Prop Clean Up Mast
Swimming down to clean the hull - again. Sorting out the lights at the top of the mast.
Next stop was San Leon where we caught up with with 'Zarafet'. We took the opportunity to visit the famous Valley of the Temples (Greek) at Agrigente. Fortunately we had a guide for the visit, which made the whole thing more interesting and understandable and she even married George and Fran, dressing them up in authentic ancient Greek wedding outfits. She also took us around the Olympian sanctuary of Zeus and the remains of the temples of Héraclès, Héra, Dioscures and Harmony. (A lot of stones for just one day and it was just a trifle warm - Ed)
Concordia Temple Juno Temple
No Madam, we came to see the temple. Juno Temple.
Maries Temoins
George and Fran renew their vows. George is already looking forward to the honeymoon.
The following day we rested our feet and moved onto Sciacca, which we had enjoyed when we visited on the way back from Tunisia a few years ago with Phil and Margaret. The city is famous for its ceramics, which decorate the staircases and the tiled ceramic pictures which are mounted on walls throughout the town. I really enjoyed walking around Sciacca.
Sciacca Ceramic Sciacca HighStreet Sciacca2
Sciacca ceramics. Sciacca town centre decorations. Sciacca - view of the harbour.
We needed to make a fuel run to Tunisia and since G & F hadn't been there, it seemed like a good idea to go together. It's not far from Sicily at this point, maybe 150 miles. So from Sciacca we went to Hammamet via the island of Pantelleria. We had seen a documentary about this volcanic island and were looking forward spending a few days to visit, but what a disappointment. The mooring in the port was chaos (very limited anchoring outside) and the people weren't very friendly, it just seemed that they only wanted to empty you wallet. Furthermore all of the interesting places were closed or inaccessible by car. We did rent a car though, to tour the island. John was driving, George was navigating by iPad! We ended up on a very narrow stone track, with George saying 'the main road was just over the crest of that hill', unfortunately, the crest of the hill, though not far, was up a vertical goat track. George, Fran and I had to continue on foot whilst John drove his ancient Fiat Panda up a hill that a Land Rover would have blanched at. When we got back the owner of the car had the audacity to suggest that we had damaged his car - as if? But that clutch won't last much longer. We did have a good laugh about it later over a beer though.
Panda Panta Pantalleria Lac
Pantallerian Land Rover - see text. Pantalleria lake view.
Not withstanding that the governments were issuing warnings because some nutter had gone on a shooting spree at a tourist resort, on July 6th we went on to Hammamet to top up with diesel ( €0.65/Litre). We felt that to not go was giving into the terrorists. When London, Madrid, Tel Aviv or Boston had been attacked, nobody stopped the tourists from going to those cities, so we decided to support the Tunisian's just a little bit.
We had been there 5 years ago, before the revolution, what a change since! Hammamet is a huge holiday resort town, but now with only a handful of tourists, all of the hotels were empty and the businesses were really struggling to survive: a very sad situation, it was Ramadan as well, which didn't help.
Our customs clearance went well this time, they didn't want any whisky or T-shirts and I didn't want to give any money. We were moored at the end of the marina, near the restaurants, it wasn't ideal as all the locals came out at night after Ramadan and there was a lot of loud local music until early.

'Destiny's' dirty bottom was becoming a real drag, literally, so we negotiated a price of €300 with the boatyard to have her lifted out for a quick cleaning and John wanted to make a check of the prop shaft bearings. We arrived at the yard at 8.00 AM, but it took an hour of long discussions and three trials before Destiny was finally lifted. Some functions on the travellift weren't working! so compromises had to be made. Then it the pressure washer that didn't work, so in the end the job wasn't great, but better than nothing and John and George succeeded in putting some antifouling on the engine and generator inlet grills.
We had to fill up with fuel. We wanted about 3000 litres - 3 tonnes, enough for the next 18 months cruising. Although we had organised beforehand, the guy at the station told us we had to wait for an hour for the delivery truck, because he didn't have enough, but it was 3hrs before the truck arrived and we started filling the tanks. After all of this the marina had decided to change our berth to a remote corner - we discussed forcefully and eventually by 6 p.m. we were finally back on our original berth. What a day.
Dirty But Hamamet Beach
Scrub my bottom! Hammamet Beach - the only tourist.
We had planned to visit the south of Tunisia, but were advised not to for two reasons, one,the heat- it was now July and temperatures were in the high 30's and the desert would be hotter, and two, Ramadan - always brings out the best in terrorists. So we went into Tunis city for the day to the Bardo Museum. We took the train to Tunis and then a taxi to the museum itself which is located in the ancient apartments of the Beys of Tunis Palace, next door to the parliament house. The museum was empty when the four of us arrived. A young student was assigned as our guide, a very nice and knowledgeable man who took us through the entire museum to see all of the various exhibits. We admired the fabulous collection of Roman mosaics collected from the archaeological sites at Carthage, Hadrumetum, Dougga and Utica. The museum also houses a large collection of grimacing masks, terracotta statues and sarcophaguses. Even then we didn't get to see everything.
The guide also took us to the room where the terrorist attack had happened the year before and showed us the bullet holes still on the walls - he was there when it happened, but was unharmed. The decorations of the old palace were also impressive, but the mosaics were the best of all that we have seen so far in our travels.
Bardo1 Bardo2 Bardo5
Bardo - palace entrance. Bardo - Baptism bath. Bardo - beautiful ceiling.
Later, outside and back in the city proper, what shocked me most was the barbed or razor wire installed around the French embassy in the centre of Tunis, you'd have thought the country was in a state of war! We had lunch (not easy during Ramadan) and then took the train back to Hammamet and the day passed without event.
Cooling Feet Mexican Train PirateF
Cooling off. We love 'Mexican train'. Fran's friendly pirate.
On July 15th the weather being fine for getting back, we left Hammamet for Kelibia, which is on the point nearest Sicily. We had decided that we really didn't want to go back via Pantelleria and it made for the shortest hop across. We arrived in a very dirty port, and the only mooring place we found was alongside an old fishing boat with Zarafet on the outside of us. An old man helped us tie up, and the customs representative was waiting for us on the quayside. We tried to clear out of the country because we wanted to leave early the next morning, but he told us that the office was open 24hrs so we would need to clear out in the morning.
Back on the boat again, the old man that had helped us asked for payment in ‘whisky’ and money which we gave him. A mistake because at the end of the day the real ‘harbour master’ came and asked us to pay! 43.65DTN for the ‘privilege’ of mooring alongside a dirty fishing boat. Did I mention the fun it was trying to get ashore across this old boat in the dark? This was the end for us in Tunisia, it had to be, we were out of whisky! I'm afraid that I don’t think we will be to back soon to Tunisia in hurry... unless we need more fuel.
Kelibia Castle Kelibia
Kelibia Castle. Kelibia Harbour - Destiny and Zarafet in salubrious surroundings.
At 4:45 we cleared out and the customs and border police came on board to do the exit formalities. We set off for Favignana, the largest of the Egadi Islands which lie off the western most point of Sicily. We arrived late that afternoon.

It was nice to be back anchored in clean, clear blue water, although still a fresh 20°. These islands are the paradise for Italian tourists, but not very welcoming for cruisers. How do Italians get so many friends and family into one small boat? You almost never see an Italian boat with only two people aboard - what do they think of us? No friends? B.O.?
The islands were nice, but not organised for people like us. When we went ashore, John had to leave us because restrictions didn't allow dinghies on the beach and in the harbour they wanted 20€/hour to tie up - that's more than for 'Destiny' and then you'd get water and electricity!! Nonetheless, we stayed for 3 days, because the anchorage was so nice - John never did get to go ashore! Their was no point in visiting the other islands so we went straight on to Trapani, apart from anything else we were in need of fresh food.

In Trapani we found a boat yard right at the end of the harbour for only €30/night with water and electricity. Walking distance to the town and quiet at night – much more reasonable than the marinas and we could run the air conditioning as much as we liked at no extra charge. Zarafet being a catamaran couldn't get in unfortunately and anchored out in the entrance way for a couple of nights before diving into a marina for the last night. When you cruise in Italy, it's always about cost/night especially in August.
Trapani HighStreet Sicilian Ceramic Arrivee Trapani
Trapani Town Centre. Sicilian Ceramics shop. Trapani town and port.
John was not particularly inclined to visit this city, thinking it was an industrial port/city but he's changed his opinion. Trapani is a very nice town, known for its saltpans, marble, tuna fishing, coral art and Marsala wine. Much of the old city dates from the later medieval or early modern period and we enjoyed strolling through the maze of old streets and along the avenues looking at the city's historic baroque mansions. The city is also an important ferry port, with links to the Egadi Islands, Pantelleria, Sardinia, and Tunisia. It also has its own airport, but much of the town's economy still depends on the sea.

We took the cable car up to Monte Erice overlooking the city of Trapani. They say that you can see Tunisia and the Egadian Islands on a clear day, but not on the day we went. Erice is a medieval village located on the Eryx mount at 750 metres above sea level. We enjoyed the fresh air after the hot and sticky air in the city and walked through the maze of cobbled streets and staircases until we found an ice-cream shop!
At the top of the mountain, we admired the remains of the Venetian 12th century castle originally built by the Norman's and once the site of an old temple dedicated to Venus. The place is enclosed by walls built from the bricks dating back to Elymes in the 8th century BC.
Chiesa Madre Venus Castle FetJ Erice
Chiesa Madre Cathedral. Venus Castle in Erice. A couple of bloody idiots.
Our Japanese friend Yoshi on “Cavok” joined us in Trapani and found a space alongside us in the boat yard. He was cruising with two friends from Japan whilst his wife Etsuko was in Japan. I invited them for a spaghetti dinner and in turn they cooked us a Japanese dinner for us the next night – both were wonderful evenings full of chatter, reminiscences and wine.
Whilst we were in the boat yard we witnessed the arrival of a coastguard ship coming to the adjacent quay to unload their cargo of immigrants that had been picked up at sea somewhere - seeing them there it really comes home to you. Sad story.
Spaghetti Dinner Leaving Trapani Emigrants
Spaghetti Dinner with Yoshi and Co. Legs eleven - Leaving Trapani Coastguard ship bringing in immigrants.
Having 'done' Trapani, its museums and gardens, it was time to continue our tour of Sicily. We sailed around to the north coast and dropped anchor in San Vito Lo Capo, it was great to be at sea again and be able to swim in a 26° water. The water here was so much warmer than the Egadi islands that we had come from. We had our first BBQ on Zarafet and as usual George was the perfect host. Fran announced that she had been offered a job in Abu Dhabi and their son Luke was coming out from Australia to help George on the boat if she needed to leave suddenly, so they needed to get close to Palermo airport.
So next day, July 25th we stopped south of Scopello for a lunch break and a swim, then went onto Castellammare, dropping the anchor just outside the harbour wall. Zarafet went in to the marina to collect Luke from the airport. The following day we also moved into the marina and ended up staying for two more nights.

Since ancient times, Castellammare del Golfo has been an important fishing port, it's also known for being the birthplace of several American mafia celebrities! It was a long way from the marina to the town, but I was pleased to find good baker, butcher and decent vegetables.
With Luke finally on board Zarafet, our next stop was Terrasini. We had to use our own anchor to moor to a single pontoon with no facilities and then the guy wanted €120! Ha! I told him we had only paid €50 in Castellammare and that’s what I was going to pay or we'd leave, I won. (She's a bully - Ed)
Scopello Castellamare San Vito Lo Capo
Scopello. Castellamare. San Vito Lo Capo or Mondello bay.
We moved on to Mondello bay - it was beautiful during the day but during the night, a cacophony of disco music made it hell, what a shame, we almost up-anchored in the middle of the night. Tired, we left early the following morning, passing Palermo without stopping and dropped anchor again in the small bay of Santa Ellia.
Beautiful water! We had a late swim at 10 o'clock before going to bed. We stayed two days before continuing along the north coast and reaching the small town of Celafu, located in a natural bay and below the towering rocky headland of La Rocca. It reminded us of St Tropez. There is a big harbour in the town and we anchored just inside, to be able to swim in the cool spring water coming into the harbour. We walked to the town and enjoyed the winding mediaeval streets before going up to the Norman Cathedral. This is tourist land with a capital T, but enjoyable all the same.
Celafu Harbour Celafu
Celafu harbour........... ...........and town.
The following morning after an early swim we continued on to Santa Agata di Militelo, and again anchored inside the harbour. We happened to arrive for the Celebration of St Agata, there were bands playing on the promenade ashore and in the evening a procession of boats of all sizes, one carrying the statue of St Agata and another the band, sailed through the harbour where we were anchored. We joined in with our boat horn for the general cacophony of appreciation. Later there was a firework finale ashore. That was our last stop on the Sicilian mainland because we were going to head up toward the Eolian Islands.

The Eolian islands are the group of volcanic islands just off of the north east coast of Sicily, so we had to visit them. The first and nearest island is, of course, Vulcano Island and we found a spot to anchor in Porto di Ponente harbour on the north west corner, unfortunately by the end of the afternoon the wind had come up and with it an unpleasant swell, so we up-anchored and went around to the other side of the island in Porto di Levante. We were not the only boat to be looking and although the bay is large, it is very deep (30 meters or more) and the suitable areas are quite small and quite busy. Eventually, after half an hour of searching we found a spot next to the islands water delivery barge. There was a very strong smell of sulphur and the water was bubbling under the boat. Somebody had told us, that all of this volcanic action was good for the boat and that any fouling we had on the bottom would drop off - we found out later though, that our particular barnacles thrived on the stuff - so much for hearsay.
In the morning, we went ashore to see if we could get up the volcano, but the taxis were asking crazy prices and even then we had to walk half a mile to the crater. It was very hot, so we had a coffee. John had to buy the T-Shirt though! It really is only a tourist place but we were surprised at how many houses there were. I suppose the shops and business people have to live somewhere, but I couldn't help but wonder about the rates for house insurance!
We decided to move on, it wasn't a good anchorage, too many boats in too small a space. Zarafet agreed and we went north to find a better place. We went past Lipari without stopping, it's an island for the rich and famous and not really an anchorage.
Panaria Sunrise Panaria John Panaria
Panaria Island. Zarafet in the Sunrise at Panaria. Watching the birds in Panaria.
Next up is the small island of Panarea, the smallest and most fashionable of the Eolian's. We have never seen such a big anchorage. It's a a great long sandy shelf lying just off and in the lee of the island. There were all sorts of boats, big and small, sailing and motor, old and new, rich and poor, it was quite a sight and because it was so big the boats were reasonably spaced. We found a nice spot with clear water to swim in. The following morning I woke up at 6 to see the sunrise, it was so beautiful with Stromboli on the horizon. I took lots of pictures. In the afternoon we took the dinghy ashore to the town of Panarea, a picture-perfect village with white houses, colourful bougainvillea and narrow lanes. There are no cars on the island, only golf carts for transport and electric bikes. The boutiques looked more like a museum of expensive items, but I enjoyed seeing it.
We stayed for an enjoyable couple of days but it was very busy and had noisy disco music during the night. It's probably better to come out of season, not in August. George wanted to see Stromboli at night, but John wasn't so keen as there is very little space to anchor on that island, so we agreed that we would pass up on this visit and rejoin them later the following day. Zarafet left at 2 a.m. on the 6th to go via Stromboli, but we slept in and left at 8.00 for the Italian mainland.

We had agreed to go to Vibo Marina bypassing Tropea and arrived at 16.00 just before it rained. We had contacted Marina Stella Del Sol, and upon arrival two charming marineros came on board to moor the boat, wonderful! For once, I had nothing to do except watch fit young men do my job! Luverly! The marina is run by Angela, an Italian/Canadian lady who is very friendly and welcoming. There is a bar and restaurant, (with the best cold beers that you can imagine - Ed) and even a washing machine - luxury. Zarafet had already arrived. Stromboli was a damp squid and they didn't see any ‘fireworks’, just a puff of smoke. George was very disappointed.
Vibo Sunset Vibo Fete
Vibo marina with the sun setting. Dancers at the Fiesta in Vibo.
There were a lot of thunderstorms over the next few days so we stayed a week in Vibo. We also got to like the town and the people. Angela took Fran and I off to the hairdresser, we both came back with much shorter hair, looking younger and prettier! John and George worked on the boats helping each other, John doing the electronics and George the welding, a good team. I took advantage of the big washing machine and did a lot of cleaning and heavy washing such as bed covers, towels and mats. We also met a Andrea, a skipper on a big catamaran in the next door marina and his wife Matea, a very friendly couple.
George and Fran told us that they had decided to change their plans, instead of sailing across the Atlantic and back to Australia, they were going to sail back to Turkey and base themselves there. This winter they would probably winter the boat in Greece, before going on next spring. We understood their decision, and we were sad to leave their company. We had a celebratory last dinner together and Zarafet left early on August 13th for Cleopatra Marina in Preveza. The end of an era. iSad
Farewell Drinks.
A farewell drink to good friends - note, the smart new haircuts.
Since we had committed to be back to Malta for the winter, we didn't want to go on to far north but we didn't want to head back yet. On August 14th we left Marina Stella Del Sol and went north along the Amalfi coast. Our first stop was Cetraro where we dropped anchor outside of the harbour near to a Nordhaven 'Southern Star' that was heading up to Rome. That evening we met the owners Robbie and Jo, they are heading back to the US and are selling their boat, having sailed, so far all the way from New Zealand.
Amalfi Sapri Ogliastro
The Amalfi Coast in the grey. Sapri Harbour. Ogliastro
The next morning it was cloudy but still very hot and humid. We continued our route north on the Amalfi coast, everything was grey, the sea, the sky, the mountains and the beaches. We wanted to stop in the pretty port of Maratea but there was no space for us, so we went on to Sapri. The marina was very busy with Italians on holiday and we were the only foreigners in town, but they were very friendly and gave us a bottle of local wine to welcome us.
Sapri, is a brand new marina with a fancy architecture but empty shops. That first night, there was terrible thunderstorm, we had to rush to close all the windows and ports which had been left open because of the heat. We stayed the next day waiting for the weather to clear. There was absolutely nothing in the marina, and the town is miles away so we spent the day with a good book.
We were glad to continue onto Scario, we liked the sound of the name so wanted to go there. We stayed on anchor outside the harbour and went ashore for some fresh food and stayed a couple of days relaxing. It was cooler now after the rain, but the sea still delicious. Our next stop was Palinuro, a very pretty bay surrounded by high cliffs and caves. We anchored under the cliffs, then moved 3 times before we found a reasonable and quiet spot. The place was heaving with little Italian boats, even on the pedalos there were at least 4 or 5 people, then there were the small barca ferrying people from one beach or cave to another. We had to put the floppers out just to stop the boat rocking. We spent a lot of time in the water to cool down. At the end of the day everybody went and we were only 4 boats left. The entire bay was transformed until 11 O'clock the following day when they all came back and it started all over again.

We went north to find a calmer place and stopped in Ogliastro. It turned out to be not as pretty as Palinuro and a lot more noisy at night, as well as a swell. Since some bad weather was forecast we continued north towards Salerno.
Palinuro Richman Toy Palinuro Beach
Palinuro. When you've got nothing else to spend your money on... Palinuro Beach.
We called Autuori marina to arrange for a berth. They were very friendly and helpful and as we approached the marina, a young marinero came on board 'Destiny' and by the time we were mooring, I had 3 charming young Italian men helping again – so sat back and admired – more luverly!
After having spent ten days at anchor, the fridge and freezer were empty! So it was time to re-stock. We met with Maria-Rosa, the marina lady, and negotiated with her to stay for 5 days for €390 (the daily price was €120! - so did we get a deal? Still expensive.
The pontoon that we were on, was not very protected from the wash of the boats, ferries, crew ships and cargo ships coming into the harbour, but luckily the weather was good with no wind at night. Since we were only a few kilometres from Pompeii we had to go there. We thought of hiring a car, but the tourist office suggested to take the train from Salerno to Pompeii. It took only 45 minutes and cost €4.40/return/each! a lot better than renting a car.
Salerne Vesuvio Pompei
The port of Salerno from the gardens. Vesuvius as viewed from Pompei.
We arrived in Pompeii at midday. For lunch we decided to have a pizza and found a place that looks nice enough, but we were in tourist land and the two pizzas with a bottle of water cost us €20, because you are being charged €4 just for the pleasure of sitting in the restaurant.
We arrived at the site at 13:00, the entrance ticket was €13 each, but we were given a map. We didn't find any guide service so equipped with the map and what I had downloaded from the internet we started our visit. We entered through the ‘Piazza Anfiteatro’ and to the side was, indeed, the Amphitheatre and on the other side the Palestra Grande. Inside the Amphitheatre was a modern wooden structure where copies of the mummified bodies found on the site were exhibited, weird! Didn't/couldn't see much of the theatre itself though. The Grand Palace was just a very large empty courtyard, no notices and no information.
We walked on up the Via di Castricio, where most of the access to the old buildings was closed. The Via Dell’abbondanza was like a building site, scaffolding in front of the buildings prevented you from seeing anything and from walking on the sidewalks, so you had to walk on the big Roman cobblestones and uneven ground making it very dangerous – I did fall.
There were very few ‘road signs’ and no notices, everybody was going around with maps, like playing some kind of treasure hunt game! Sometimes you came to the end of a road that was closed, so you had to turn back and start again. Walking in a maze would have been easier, but at least there were plenty of fountains with fresh water to quench your thirst.
We reached the forum and the temples, another pile of old stones with half a dozen columns standing. It was 4 p.m. when exhausted, we left Pompeii and in all that time, the few interesting things that we saw were 3 tucked away houses with painted frescos, one mosaic, the Forum baths, the Caserna dei Gladatori and the Tearto Grande.
Pompei was a big disappointment to us, but I don’t regret our visit as it is on the bucket list places to see. Personally, I think that Ostia Antica, south of Rome is a lot more interesting.
When we reached Destiny my ‘pedometer’ indicated that we had walked 15km! (I didn't need telling that - Ed).
Pompei Pompei Fresco
Casts of the Pompei mummies. Pompei's Frescos, not him, he moves.
In Salerno we walked through the typical old narrow streets and grand avenues with plenty of boutiques. We visited the 'Art Galleries' which is housed in an old palazzo and displays the works of local artists. With difficulty we eventually found and visited the 'Papi' museum dedicated to ancient surgical and dental instruments – made us glad to have been born in the 20th century. In the afternoon we walked up to the Minerve gardens on Plaium Montis which is a medieval garden of medicinal plants on three levels divided according into the medical humours of the time: hot, cold, dry and humid. The view over the city from the garden was wonderful.
We also took the opportunity to eat a lot of ice-cream. It had been relaxing time although we did a lot of walking, now it was time to leave and get back south to Malta for mid September.

However, I wanted to see the famous town of Amalfi, a real tourist place just south of Capri. We didn't stop, we just sailed past majestically before turning around and heading south.

On our way down we dropped anchor outside Ogliastro Marina, where we had stopped on the way up. By now it was the end of August and most of the Italians had gone back to work. It was suddenly a lot quieter and we had the place to ourselves, wonderful.
Then in was back to Palurino, then onto Scalea where during my wake-up swim I found an inflatable mattress and a floating inflatable chair drifting by. Just what I wanted, I swam after them and claimed salvage! We returned via Cetrato, before arriving back in Vibo Marina on September 4th.

The trip along the Amalfi coast was great, especially on the way back when it got quieter. We'd seen very few other boats and even fewer foreign boats. Apart from some thunderstorms the wind Gods had been kind to us and we'd enjoyed some pleasant cruising. The scenery had been spectacular, there are long sandy beaches covered with hundreds of parasols and deckchairs of different colours, with high mountains and valleys of lush forests in the background. It's all very green but, this coast should be visited out of the tourist season (August) to be fully appreciated.
Sunset Eolians
The best picture of the year - 'Sunset over the Eolians'.
We stayed in Vibo, with Angela for a week. Outside of August marina prices tumble in Italy, to our great pleasure. We wanted to repaint the bridge deck windows before the varnishing in Malta. The weather looked stable, so we attacked the work. It sounds like an easy job, but they had to be completely dismantled to do it properly, so it took us 4 days. We also did a few other 'winter' jobs whilst we had the time. It rained on one of the days we were there, so we went off to the local shopping centre for the duration.

September 12th, we said goodbye to Vibo and headed for the Messina straits. We stopped before Messina at Ste Maria on the south side of Tropea peninsula, which was pleasant and quiet but not really protected if the wind had come up. That evening we saw a beautiful sunset with Stromboli in the background and I took the best picture of the year.
We had tried to work out the tides in the straits, because they run quite strongly, up to 6 knots! We left at 8 O'clock and had the tide with us at midday, which gave us a magnificent speed of 9.5 knots over the ground, but it didn't last for long and soon we were against the tide and crawling along at 5 knots. In The Straits the water is very deep and there are underwater cliffs, which create numerous eddies and whirlpools which can cause small boats a lot of problems. We didn't have any problems and arrived in Taormina at 5 p.m.
Taormina has a reputation for being a really nice place, but we didn't like it much. There was a lot of swell coming in to the bay (we put the floppers out to stop the rolling, but some boats weren't so fortunate) and the water was dirty.
The following day we moved across the bay to Naxos which had less swell, but still wasn't very clean.
Taormina Etna Naxos
The famous bay of Taormina. A Smoky Etna over Naxos.
We stayed in Naxos for two nights and then moved on to Brucoli, which was wonderful. There is a little bay just north of the town, that has gardens coming down to the waters edge and the water was crystal clear. There were so many fish in the water that it was like swimming in an aquarium. We stayed for 3 days because it was so quiet and peaceful. In the time we were there, no other boats other than fishermen came in to the bay so we were completely alone. You can search for a long time for a place like this.

Finally on the 18th of September we went back into the big bay of Syracuse. Although it was still quite early in the season, we had agreed with Daniel, the carpenter, that we would be ready for early October. Now our plan was to ready the boat for the winter and lift out in 10 days time.
Whilst we were in Syracuse we met a few people that we knew from last year who were going back again to Ragusa for the winter and were waiting for the end of the month when their contracts would begin.
It was blowing a bit whilst were there and although it didn't cause us any problems, John did manage to find somebody to rescue who was being blown onto the sea wall. We had planned a 'laundry' day in the marina - that's a day when we go into the marina and use their power for the washing machine and to stock up with heavies from the supermarket, but the wind on the pontoon was such that we had to move off by mid day, fortunately we had done the laundry and got the shopping in, so we only paid a half rate.
After that, we moved across to the far side of the bay, which was a lot calmer and as it turned out, the water was cleaner which allowed us to swim. On the 26th, jobs being up to date, we left for Porto Palo. We had passed P.P. several times on our trips back and forth to Malta, but had never stopped. Roy and Jessie, some Dutch friends from Ragusa told us that it was a good and useful stopping point, so we gave it a try.
Anchorage Syracuse Ortigia Syracuse Bynight
An Anchorage at Syracuse. Ortigia. Syracuse By Night.
It was a good anchorage and there were at least a dozen boats waiting to move on. The forecast was for bad weather in a couple of days time, so the following morning, we got up early and headed in the last of the fine weather to Valletta. We had a good quick crossing with a nice breeze to blow us along and arrived at Manoel Island boat yard marina at about 3 O'clock Sunday afternoon. We had arranged, through Matthew, a place on the pontoon, but as usual there was a bit of confusion and we ended up moored up against the quay at the yard, no problem, except when the tide went out, we bumped on the bottom - not serious enough to cause an issue, we just moved forwards a couple of meters where it was deeper.
Monday we spent removing the sails and dinghy and generally sorting things out, and then Tuesday we lifted out (a lot more organised than Tunisia!) for the winter.
It didn't finish there - I found us an Apart/Hotel just up the road, whilst John stripped the bridge deck for varnishing. Everything and I mean everything down to the smallest fitting had to be removed and stored. Hopefully, by the time you read this, it will all be finished - We'll let you know.

On Thursday, October 8th, we flew back home. Next year, we are thinking of the Balearic's and perhaps Morocco for the winter - but things can change.

Leaving Bye Bye End of the Evening
So long, Good Bye, Auf Weidersein, Good Byee.

My new hobby, over the past couple of years, has become photography.

So if you haven't had enough of us yet there are more pictures from this years cruising here.

I've also added some of my favourite photos to share with you here.

I hope that you will enjoy them as much as me.
New Hobby
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