Scopello and Castellmara del Golf

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Tue 13 Jun 2017 08:12

Having left the north end of the peninsula and our mammoth walk at San Vito we had a good sail down the coast admiring the odd little bay and small development in the Reserva de Zingaro which is certainly stunning mountainous scenery coming right down to the coast and it would seem the road only goes part of the way to a car park which we spotted which either led down to a cove or presumably one could set off for a walk in the reserve.
Our destination was the bay at Scopello which was quite full when we got there with small motor boats and tripper boats but we were able to find space to anchor. On our approach we couldn't see the bay as there is a row of limestone rock spires ( Faraglioni) a couple of which had ruined castles on top . The guide books all say very photogenic and indeed they are. Once round these on the shore are the remains of an old Tuna factory but this has been turned into a private property where you can rent small cottages / rooms and there is no beach but a hard area ( lots of old anchors lined up and the old Tuna fishing boats In a shed ) where people pay to come in and sit under umbrellas and swim from the shore. Plenty of people were swimming and snorkelling both from shore and boats including ourselves. Unfortunately one was not allowed to go ashore. By the evening we were the only boat left in the bay and most people had departed from the shore too which was lovely and we had a relaxing evening on board watching the sun go down and the moon come up - quite magical. A good nights sleep in calm waters and an early morning swim and snorkel before the boats started arriving.

We wanted to get ashore though and visit the town of Scapello on the ridge above us. Getting ashore in Sicily is proving quite problematic. In general you are not allowed to anchor within 300 metres of the shore ( David has just picked an email up from Mednet whereas someone was fined €350 for anchoring too close to the shore in Sardinia and wanting to know what the rules are in Italy - unclear it would seem ) or use an engine within a designated beach ( most decent beaches ) and nowhere are you meant to anchor within 100 metres. It would seem that most of the foreshore is private like the Tuna Factory above or where hotels are on the foreshore. So we decided to leave the bay and also it was a Saturday therefore we suspected it would be very busy and motor down the coast a short way to see what we could find . We spotted a beach a short distance away again full of umbrellas, large car park behind and it just didn't appeal also too far from Scapello. And in any case no one was in the bay not even small motor boats which were coming out in their droves from where we are now Castellmare to either anchor under the cliffs or head to the Tuna Factory . On the way we had spotted a small cove with several people already on it and I'd spotted a couple of cars parked above on the road so we thought must be a way to get onto the road and then we could walk to the village. So we anchored off and rowed ashore - this got round the engine problem and we pulled the dinghy up onto a very pebbly beach and asked a young couple whether Ok ( in our best Italian of course - the girl spoke good English thankfully) and they seemed to think we were alright. In the corner of the beach were a group of men in their birthday suits - we ignored them and they us! The girl was also helpful in telling us how to get to the town. So we set off up the path and then walked round the edge of a vineyard and out onto the road. Another long dusty road with no shade but we made it uphill to what was a very pretty and small ancient town based round the 18th century Manor House (Baglio) fortified with a high wall inside which there were several restaurants and souvenir shops. The houses around were all white and little cobbled streets and again many restaurants . We eventually found one overlooking the bay and had a very pleasant sea food salad . After that an ice cream and then a further wander before finding a footpath back down the hill and onto the road and walked back. This took us above the Tuna Factory and we noticed that there were tables set out In a courtyard at the back which we hadn't seen from the water and it looked like it was being set up for a wedding? . On our way back to the boat we bumped into the young people from the beach and they asked had we found our way and seen Scapello so it was nice to report yes and that we'd had a good lunch and explore. The yacht wa still at anchor thankfully - we had spotted it from the village and the dinghy still there and the men were all in the water this time - was hot! By this time though the wind and swell had got up so a challenge getting back onto a bouncing yacht from the dinghy. It was mid afternoon and we could see the bay and the Tuna Factory so we watched for everyone leaving before heading back in for the night.

Well yes there was a wedding and we spent the evening listening to Jazz Music and people watching through the binoculars. Fascinating - a Sicilian Wedding reception - beautifully dressed women and men mostly in varying shades of blue suits. Several young bridesmaids and page boys in cream with sage green sashes running around and then the bride and groom arrived in a mini moke to much applaus and cheering. She had a lovely dress of very pale sage green and the bodice covered in white flowers I think - we were just a bit too far away even with binoculars. As the sun went down it was quite magical - waiters in dark green serving champagne, the whole foreshore dotted with candles and fairy lights and jazz being played by a small group. The usual bridal and group photographs being taken - there was also a drone taking photographs - - shame we can't find out more as there would be some good ones of the yacht. Likewise a lot of people were taking photos of us. This lasted for about two hours until they all disappeared into the courtyard and finally the bride and groom were the last to leave the foreshore and we could hear the roars as they entered the area behind which is what we had seen from the hillside. I woke up at 12.45 and the music was still playing . Unfortunately for us again the only boat but unlike the first night the swell was quite bad so not a good nights sleep. So we left quite early before anyone arrived in the bay and before anyone really appeared on the foreshore and motored down the coast to Castellmara del Golf where we are now in the marina on a pontoon. Coming in we were accosted by two different boat boys ( very reminiscent of The Caribbean) wanting to go to their spot - very difficult but David had spotted another Oyster on a pontoon so said we were going there which we did. No one on board but we knew if he was ok then we would be too. Quite a large harbour which is overlooked by a much modified Saracen castle and cream, white and terracotta buildings tumbling up the hillside. The harbour is behind quite a large sea wall and relatively calm except for the motor boats arriving back in from their day out and a few yachts arriving in but hopefully tonight will be a better sleep.
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