29th July 2010
passage through the Straits of Messina was uneventful with the exception of
the tide and the whirling of the water in certain points close to the sea was
calm. We had to watch out for lots of ferries serving the mainland with
Sicily that go fast and very frequently. We met also some freighters, two
container vessels, a tanker, a bulker and some work-boats. Although we did
see fishing boats we were not lucky to see them trying to catch swordfish. These
boats, called Passarelle, have a very tall tower like a mast about 20 meters
high where two men can sit, one is steering the boat and the other one is
a spotter. They also have a gangway like a bowsprit about 30 meters long where
the chaser (harpoonist) is sitting.
spotter from the tower directs the skipper to the location where the swordfish
lie. The fish are harpooned by hand by expert throwers, using the harpoon
Strait of Messina acting as a barrier between Ionian and Tyrrhenian Sea is
characterized by strong tidal currents very rich in nutrients, zooplankton
and other nekton populations that exist on the surface. Here swordfish is able
to swim toward the surface and to concentrate in zones where the food is
abundant and where currents and water masses create turbulence. The swordfish
comes from a depth of 300-400 meters within few minutes and before diving again
stays on the surface for about an hour. This is the period that swims
superficially and the boats operate.
searching found out that this technique was known since 2200 B.C. and described
by the historian Polibius.
very nice to be able sailing close to the coast to be able to be connected with
3G, use the internet and have a good internet speed. You can even get Google
earth and see places you are next to and cannot know details unless you have a
good connection. Even see details of the coast! it is great but unfortunately
not possible when you get away from the coast.
we passed the Strait we decided to have a swim about 30 meters away from a
beach south of Reggio di Calabria, anchored in deep water and before leaving we
had a light dinner and updated the blog. Now it is the time to start out passage
to Greece, it is a very pleasant evening and we plan to sail in a while in
order to arrive in Strophades islands early in the morning of the next day, The
wind is very light and seems it will be a nice quiet crossing of the 280
nautical miles then another 40 to Pylos for clearance. So have a nice
night wherever you are !