Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Aeolian Islands to Agropoli ... June 2010

09 - 15 June 2010

***Another beach, another party - we love Italy***A few puffs of smoke from Stromboli at dusk***How many times have we watched the sun set in the west at sea??***It doesn't actually look too rolly out there***

Three boats leaving the same anchorage, heading for roughly the same destination, well there aren't too many sailors, particularly ex-racers, that wouldn't automatically call that a race!!

We left the island of Lipari with White Rose and Eye Candy. We were all heading for somewhere on the Italian mainland, via the active volcano of Stromboli. The plan was to arrive at Stromboli after dark and potter around in circles and admire what is supposed to be the worlds oldest lighthouse as it blew its top at frequent intervals, with red hot rocks being thrown out and tumbling down the mountainside and sizzling into the water (at a safe distance from the boat!!) So off we set with a southeasterly forecast of around 15knots, should be a good overnight downwind sail. Balvenie in predictable style was the first to start sailing, the wind was only just filling in and of course it was coming straight from Stromboli, so while we sailed off in the wrong direction and tacked our way north we lodged a protest against the others motoring straight on!

As we were approaching Stromboli big puffs of smoke spurted out the top every 15 minutes or so. Dusk turned to absolute darkness, it was a new moon and, as a good friend would say, it was as black as the inside of a cow. We could barely make out the shadow of Stromboli as we arrived, neck and neck with White Rose, but where was Eye Candy? A quick radio checkin confirmed their position 8 miles northwest, further protests were lodged for them missing Stromboli up close and personal, and cutting corners! It was show time, there were spurts out of the top, all bright red for a couple of seconds, but at that point we were busy putting two reefs in the main, as we were getting bullets through from 6knots to 28knots and we couldn't see them coming, not a good thing with full sail up. All in all it was a huge disappointment, boats last year just couldn't pull themselves away from the brilliant display, but that was then and this is now. Never mind - been there, done that , but didn't get the photo!

With Eye Candy way out in front so therefore now disqualified by us, we headed north, and eventually made landfall at the small town ofScario. We had motored the last 6 hours as the wind had died completely however it had left a very very lumpy sea and finding a flat anchorage was impossible. We anchored off Scario and initially sat with our bow to the swell which wasn't too bad, but then we went beam on, gunnel to gunnel, this was no fun at all. Eventually we decided to go into the small harbour and tie up for the night, we wanted to enjoy Italy and if it meant paying for harbours, well we would just have to do it. As it happens our arrival went unnoticed, we slipped in, tied up had a stroll ashore, a lovely dinner out with White Rose (who were still out at anchor but with a stern anchor also so making things a little more bearable). There was no harbourmaster or office to pay so next morning we let the lines go and slipped out just as quietly as we slipped in. Maybe tying up in Italy wouldn't be so expensive after all!!

We motored north, no wind but still in some rolly seas, around a couple of headlands, flattening out a little after each one, then we tucked right in the northern side of Cape Palinuro, an almost empty anchorage, clear water and most importantly - no roll. Palinuro town was quite an amiable sort of place, with hardly a mention in the Lonely Planet it was well off the international tourists radar, it had a beachside holiday feel to it. An enjoyable stopover to relax, watch the beginning of the Football World Cup and hunt down another WIND shop. Yes, you have guessed it, the trusty dongle which hadn't worked in Vulcano due to no signal, but then also didn't work in either Scario or Palinuro where there was a signal. You may think we are obsessed now with the internet but really we are not. However it is like anything, when you can have it and you have paid good money for it then you want it to work!! We found an excellent assistant who spoke English and after parting with more money were back in working order.

We got back up to date with boat jobs, watched some football, did some swimming then ran out of excuses to stay in this great calm spot. We headed 30 miles further north, the seas a little rolly but there was enough breeze to allow a pleasant sail on this sunny sunday afternoon to Agropoli.

Cruising Info for Scario and Cape Palinuro:-

Scario at anchor .. 40 03.26N 15 29.92E outside harbour, 8m mud ,would be great with no roll
Scario Harbour .. We tied right at the beginning on the left, laid mooring lines, nudged bottom getting into berth (so around 2.3m) fine once in. Water and power did not work where we were but did further into harbour. Boats a few days behind us went in and paid 35Euro per night inc p/w 
Cape Palinuro North .. 40 01.957N 15 16.723E 12.5m, sand. Much better protection than it looks
Communications:- Signal for WIND, Vodafone and TIM
Provisions:- Small deli type store at Scario on waterfront. Palinuro had small supermarkets and everything you need
Money:- Scario didn't notice ATM. Palinuro in main street but maximum 200Euro
Formalities:- still none in Italy

No comments: