Friday, 25 June 2010

Island hopping in Italy ..... June 2010

22 - 24 June 2010

***Mama's home cooking, dining ashore with Peter and Bridget in Ischia***More fortresses - headland at Ischia***And another fort across the way at Procida at sunset***Get your do-up here!!! Waterfront Procida***

The low passed by and headed for Croatia so we moved on from Procida just a few miles to the island of Ischia. Squeezing in the tiny permitted anchoring area was not so easy but once settled the vista of the Castello on headland made the move worthwhile, ashore the island was green and lush and looked lovely. White Rose and Eye Candy had arrived before us and had gone ashore, only to come back a long time later having not been able to find anywhere they could leave their dinghies. White Rose had organised a water taxi so we got ready pronto and joined them for an evening shore excursion. Ischia is said to rival Capri for its natural beauty and it really was lovely, many trees, flowers, pedestrian areas and many Neopolitans looking seriously glamourous relaxing in all the cafes and bars. We found a cute little restaurant promising Mamas traditional cooking (Mama looked about 90!), the service, company, ambience and atmosphere could not be beaten, just a shame Mama had never learnt to cook!!

Early next morning we were awoken by two elderly fisherman, quite possibly Mama's husband and brother, through sign language it seemed they wanted us to move so they could lay their nets in the anchorage. Bleary eyed I explained as politely as possible in my non existant Italian that we were in the designated anchorage area and that we would be staying there, they looked at us in amazement and eventually rowed away - we went back to sleep!

Time to head ever westwards however the wind did not come out to play and we motored 26 miles in some rather lumpy seas out to the next island of Ventotene. Its a small island lying north/south and not providing great coverage, but there was no wind forecast so we found a spot in what we thought was sand amongst 17 other yachts, dropped and set the anchor. We jumped in for a swim, there was the most fish life we have seen in the med, the surrounding area is all marine park and what a difference it makes it was great to see life under water again. We also noticed we were on rock not sand, but hooked nicely to a big boulder and not likely to go anywhere. By dusk we were the only boat left at anchor, all the others had gone into the tiny Roman natural harbour which looked like it would only fit about 4 boats, conditions were pleasant albeit a little rolly so we stayed at anchor, and didn't even go ashore to the small village..

We awoke at dawn, bouncing up, down and sidewards in choppy seas. A 15knot breeze had filled in from the northeast, with a fetch on it all the way from the Italian mainland. We started lifting the anchor immediately, dreading the moment it would snag on the rocks. We should have had more positive thoughts as it came up without a problem, Italy continues to treat us well. We cleared the island, put the sails out, bore away and had a very pleasant downwind sail 24 miles ever westward to the next island of Ponza

Cruising Info for Ischia and Ventotene:-

Anchorages -
Castello d'Ishia (Southern Bay): 40 43.694N 13 57.760E 9.6m weed and sand, zoom chart right in to see the non anchoring area. We paid €2.50 each, each way for the water taxi. Other boats did manage to find places to leave dinghy but its not very easy
Ventotene: 40 49.756N 13 27.854E 9m sand, weed and rock. We couldn't tuck in any closer as it was all buoyed off for swimming areas. There were about 20 yachts in the Roman harbour, bit lively coming out into the nor'easter as its a tiny entrance. Good half way point to Ponza but wouldn't stop there again, maybe further down around the island a little would have been better.
Communications - No WIND signal for dongle in either, poor Vodafone and no TIM on phones Money - ATM's on Ischia
Provisions - Good supermarket on left side on main road in Ischia towards main town
Formalities - no, no,no

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