The crossing Trapani and islands

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Thu 25 May 2017 07:33

Our second crew arrived last Thursday in Cagliari, Sardinia having flown out of Stanstead at an unearthly hour! 24 hours to recover and then on Friday we sailed to the south east corner of Sardinia round Cape Carbonara and found a relatively sheltered spot to anchor just round the corner heading  northwards. Several other boats at anchor  there too. 

Before breakfast on the Friday whilst still on the pontoon( in fact I was still in bed)  in Cagliari there was the most almighty bang and the boat rocked violently and the bow /anchor had been hit by a charter boat going out of its berth two boats away. We are not sure exactly what happened , no apology and thankfully no damage to us but maybe to them as we have a jolly big anchor. So first bit of excitement.

Still quite windy from the north west so a mixture of motoring and sailing  to our anchorage around Cape Carbonara . Good anchorage In a wide bay. There weren't many people on what looked like to be a nice beach/resort though red flags up everywhere owing to the wind. We were sitting in the cockpit having sundowners when David noticed or rather had been watching a guy on a paddle board and decided he was in trouble trying to paddle with his hands but going backwards heading out to sea - an offshore wind. Apparently he'd seen him fall in twice but he'd managed to get back on the board . We quickly put the dinghy ( it normally sits in Davits on the stern )  in the water and he and Andy ( who unfortunately fell in trying to get in the bouncing dinghy off the stern  but managed to climb in again ) raced off to the guy who was still drifting out to sea. They got him into the dinghy a Chinese guy very cold ( had neither wetsuit or buoyancy aid on and  water same temperature as Cornish water in the summer- not hot) language was a. barrier  but they got him into the dinghy towing the paddle board and got him back to shore where several people were watching but nobody seemed to be doing anything about rescuing and one guy ran down to thank them we think for returning his brand new paddle board but again language was a problem. David and Andy returned to the boat wet and cold but soon recovered with hot showers and another beer and supper. We really couldn't understand why the guy was out and we think he may well not have survived if David hadn't been watching and rescued him when they did. 

So after all that excitement we then had to try and work out when the best time would be to cross to Sicily ? The next day or the one after that but it seemed to be wind or no wind so we left the decision until the morning. After a good nights sleep ( thankfully it was a calm anchorage) and breakfast we decided we'd go. Lot of wind lot of swell but not as bad as the previous crossing more like we'd experienced crossing the Atlantic and we were averaging 7.5-8.5 knots with just the Yankee up. The wind continued all night and we only motored for about the last hour and half. The stars were unbelievable - moon didn't rise until 3.00am and we saw several shooting stars . During the day we had seen a number of turtles swimming in the opposite direction and   by the end of the crossing 9 in total . We saw only one other ship at night no other yachts - the ones anchored with us had all gone up the Sardinian coast.

At 5 in the morning as the sun came up we saw a lump rising out of the sea and it was the first of the Egadir Islands which is where we were going to drop anchor. For some reason we thought they would be flatfish Islands - definitely not. We dropped anchor in the harbour of Isle Maretimmo at 7.45 so just under a 22 hour crossing. 4 very tired people - but showers and a decent breakfast helped to revive the spirits. The harbour was small and the houses around it were white, square and flat roofed with blue windows and doors and all seemed to be piled on top of one another . Reminiscent of Greece or Africa we couldn't decide. Whilst we were there a ferry came In unloaded a few cars loaded a few and some passengers and off it went quite quickly. We have now discovered a very active ferry service between the three islands and mainland Sicily - Trapani.

The anchorage though was very rolly not as sheltered from the northerly wind as we'd hoped  so we decided to head for one of the other islands in hope of finding a calm anchorage . This was meant to be Favignana but in the end we changed our minds and decided that Levanzo would be more sheltered . Good choice -  excellent anchorage only two other yachts there. In order to try and keep awake we decided we should go ashore and hopefully find a Gelateria. Rocky shore-  interesting landing onto very small beach to be confronted by one very large nude tattooed individual and another bloke who was very vocal but did help us pull the dinghy  onshore. We made a hasty retreat over the rocks and up onto the road and had a leisurely wander into another village made up of white flat roofed houses and several ferries came in and out too whilst we were there - we were relieved we hadn't anchored in the harbour. Yes the was a Gelateria in a bar come cafe so that was good. Ice cream here so yummy going to have to be very careful ;-) 

Supper back on board and a very early night for everyone. Good sleep had by all  and 3 of us went for a swim the next morning - water temperature up a degree - now 17.7 . Certainly refreshing . Clear water with plenty of fish around. Andy also went diving and did some cleaning of the hull and barnacles off the propellor which was great. Dive gear in need of some overhaul so he spent sometime doing this for us and checking the compressor and is going to send something out with Tanya which needs replacing. 

We then set sail for the other and largest of the three islands Favignana. Bustling little harbour. Again the little white houses but this time some more impressive buildings and a large number of large sheds which had been part off what had once been a  very active Tuna Fishing Industry. A guy  who  had already been over to see us in the previous anchorage to say 'use our moorings' - reminiscent of the boat boys in the Caribbean came out to escort us in along with another guy competing  In a rib who was trying to get us to go to his moorings in the harbour. So we moored onto the harbour wall stern in - now getting better at doing this and not quite as stressful as it has been ! 

Again another walk through a busy town - lots of people on bicycles - the island is shaped like a butterfly - the wings very flat and the body mountainous apparently a tunnel goes through this to join the two wings together. We found a restaurant one of many and made a booking for the evening and a Gelateria where we succumbed! It also had a good supermarket not that we needed anything but as we shall return here useful to know. The restaurant was a good choice and well frequented and it was lovely to be able to sit outside. It is warming up although  the wind is still quite chilly. 

The next morning we left early as Steph and Andy were flying out of Palermo in the evening and we needed to find our mooring at Trapani boat service - a marina right at the end of the port . David had already been in touch with them from the  UK as it had been recommended as somewhere we could leave the boat over the summer from another Oyster owner. We also needed to find out how to get from here to Palermo  airport. In the event the marina staff have been extremely helpful ordered a taxi for S and A for late afternoon and helped us generally sort ourselves out. We are actually tied up to the wall of the lifting bay which makes getting on and off the boat a challenge and a leap. It's a very active boatyard as well as a marina with a lifting crane above us. There are 3 in the yard and cranes all around us and during the day lots of work going on getting boats ready for the season. We are happy to leave the boat here over the summer and it will be lifted out. 

Coming across our Nespresso machine took a leap across the cabin on a freak wave and no longer worked and the microwave also decided to pack up so yesterday after crew had left we went on a hunt for replacements. In the  morning after we got here we had walked into town and also went to investigate some other marinas. Trapani is a very busy town/port  with a lovely old town on a spit out into the sea and in the distance there is a mountain which I will come back to. Apparently it too was very badly bombed during the Second World War so also extensive rebuilding. We had a good lunch out in the old town before returning to the boat for Andy and Steph to get ready to depart. 

After walking a long way we found a large superstore having been told where to go by a girl In a kitchen shop we'd found en route and found a replacement nespresso machine. They also had microwaves but we needed to check the measurements. After two visits yesterday  ( we have walked miles ) to the superstore, we needed to check measurements very critical,  we now have a replacement microwave which David has fitted - not without some difficulty. So the boatyard washed the boat outside for us yesterday the water tanks are being refilled as we eat breakfast , we need to go back to the lovely fruit and veg shop we found yesterday to replenish stocks and we shall head off out later today back to the islands and do some more exploring and walking and even hire bicycles  ( having read the guide books now we have a better idea of what there is to do )  and find some quiet anchorages hopefully and then we might head down the coast to Marsala before returning here In a week to pick up daughter Tanya and family who are visiting for 4 days over half term.

Just before I finish in the midst of microwave hunting etc we decided to visit the mountain which has a cable car going up it and a Norman castle on top. We managed to find a bus which dropped you off in Erise at the bottom of the cable car which goes up to 2000+ feet. Again not having read the guide book what we didn't expect was a whole town with very narrow cobbled streets , shops, restaurants churches etc etc. We didn't have a lot of time for exploring but had a quick walk round and certainly the views from the top are impressive over Trapani and the surrounding flat countryside toward Marsala in one direction and Palermo the other. A good view of all the salt pans near Trapani and 
out to the islands. Another visit definitely required again with more knowledge.

Trying to get wi fi out here both in Majorca, Sardinia and here in Sicily does seem to be more of a problem than The Caribbean hence the irregularity of blogs. This marina is the best yet so bear with us and its possible I will not update other than our position until we're back here In a weeks time . We are now booked to return to the UK middle of June.

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