Capitano'sBlog 8th November ALGHERO
The last entry was rather peculiar in that we were in Ostia (near Rome) and about to set off for Sardinia but I had got so far behind in my blog that I hadn't managed to cover most of August so here goes. To add to the confusion you will have to go back to the September download to get some of the relevant pictures. Good Luck!!!
We picked up Brian Cavenett in Fiumicino (12th August) and then had a proper visit to Rome. This time we chose the "fast" route by taking the bus to the airport and then taking the train to Rome. Brilliant! Previously it had taken us 21/2 hours to travel about 10 km this time it took us 2¾hours and was 3 times more expensive. Ooops! There are now illuminated large fibreglass pillars replacing the missing ones at the Forum. Progress? We had lunch at a wine bar, which wouldn't sell wine by the glass. Overall however we had a good day doing the tourist thing and being August, the Romans were on holiday so it was fairly quiet.
Back to the boat and off to Anzio, which we liked, and next day down to San Felice Circeo. Nice spot below Mt. Circeo(541m).Onwards to Gaeta which is an interesting place but dominated by a US Naval base.
Next day (17th) we tried to go to the island of Ponza. No hope, headwinds and big seas made us turn back to Gaeta. On the following day we tried again. Same story so we diverted South to Ischia. We went into Ischia harbour/marina which was packed but the helpful ormeggiatore found us a spot four boats out from the quay, helped us with our lines and then announced that it would be 100€ per night. Ridiculous, but it was getting late and there was no obvious alternative.
Next day (Sun 19th) we went to Castello d Ischia which is where about fifty other boats go for Sunday lunch. It's this Italian thing. They really like close proximity. In a restaurant you could be sitting in splendid isolation but the next Italian to come in will sit at the next table and talk loudly on the mobile phone. It's the same with anchoring. The Italian boat will come as close as is possible without causing problems (at the time). Anyway we went off to Procida where we anchored in the bay at Corricella in comparative isolation. This is an interesting place as the town straddles the hill with houses being built like LEGO half on top of one another. Next day we went round the headland to the other half of the town (Procida) and went into a rickety marina. Hector did a shore trip here for a couple of hours and returned with hus fur covered in sticky willow burrs. This was surprising as we were at the end of a long concrete pier and couldn't work out where his adventures had taken him! He slept all the next day.
Next day (21st) found us back in Ischia on a mooring at Lacco Ameno.Moorings are quite unusual in these parts but the story is that the Authorities wanted to use the Harbour more profitably for yachts so laid moorings to get the local fishing boats out. However, the fishermen would have none of it so the moorings are there for the free use of yachts. That evening we linked up with Jan's cousin Inger who gave us excellent hospitality although it was our first meeting. There was to be later connection with Inger if you read on. Next day we circumnavigated Ischia (all of 21miles) on a grey windy day and anchored up in the south bay at Chiaolecca. We then began to think of getting Brian back to Rome airport by the 26th so we headed North to Ventotene. This turned out to be one of our favourite places. The harbour was carved out of stone by the Romans who incorporated harbour steps, mooring bollards and storerooms into the carving. There is a great sense of history about the place .
On the 24th we tried to get to Ponza (third attempt) but were beaten back by strong winds and big seas. We then decided that Brian would have to take the hydrofoil from Ventotene to Gaeta and then go by train to Rome. In his usual resourceful way this is indeed what he did and got safely home. Meanwhile in Ventotene we seemed to be making friends at a great rate. We were tied up next to David and Wendy (Sea Walker), across the harbour were Denis and Sandra and we met up with Franco and Joss . In conversation it turned out that Joss and Inger were best friends and a phone call was promptly made to firm up the connection. We had a nice dinner on Franco's boat and reciprocated the invitation to them for the following evening. To cut a longish story short , Denis's friend Angelo was added to the list and then two American girls (Lisa and Shadow) were also included making the grand total up to eleven. Anyway it was a good evening with a certain amount of wine drinking and general merriment (see photos).
We eventually got to Ponza, which was spectacular with rock pillars and a lovely anchorage to the east of the town. We went ashore in the dinghy and were most disappointed. The town was scruffy and raw sewage was discharging into the harbour. We set of next day for Fiumicino but as we approached the Italian mainland the wind increased, as did the seas so we diverted to Porto Roma (Ostia) where we were promptly storm bound for three days. A strange place: modern marina with lots of shops in the middle of nowhere!.
On Sept 1st we set sail for Sardinia in blustery conditions and had a brilliant sail across to Sardinia (Cannigione) in 23hrs. We anchored in Cannigione and then the rest of the storm arrived . Force9 was forecast but we didn't experience any thing more than 35 Knts (Force8 gale). We were in a good spot with a sandy bottom and shelter from the land but others did the usual dragging thing. Met up with a French Canadian (Jean Langlois) in a tidy steel boat (Nobilis).
Our next destination was across in Corsica to meet up with Ian Galbraith and Riitta on the 11th September. This we did and they joined us on a nice sail to Bonifacio through the passage de la Pintarella. These narrow channels are safe enough in calm weather but they are shallow (3.5metres) and in the clear water you can see the rocks that you are not supposed to hit!. We then went up to Porto Pollo and explored the "loch".(Propriano and Campomoro).
Last lap coming up!. Off to Stintino in Sardinia ,which we like a lot, through the Fornelli Passage (nervy again) and so to Alghero which is where we are now.
We are in Marina Club Aquatica which is run by the excellent Fabrizio. In the first week there was a big party, to celebrate the local patron saint, which involved food drink and fireworks. We have now been here about five weeks and have settled into the routine. The medieval town is very attractive, the pizza takeaway is 5mins away and good Sardinian wine is 3€ per bottle, Anne is learning Italian (intensively), I am working on the boat (incessantly). The temperature is usually about 20C with blue skies so life is good.
Ciao Ciao Amici, Hugh and Anne