We had four lovely days in Tropea in the end, enjoying relaxing and exploring the old town on the cliff above us. Compensating for the exorbitant cost of the marina (worse to come!) we only ate out once, but had a great evening doing so. The volcanic cone of Stromboli was only 30 miles away, but hidden almost the whole time we were there. However the evening we went into town to eat, there it was, dominating the skyline and insisting we sat down for a drink to watch it and the sun setting beside it. The eruptions and lava flows are on the other side and would not have been visible from that distance anyway, but it still made an impressive sight. We found a great little restaurant in the old town (in English “The Wolf & Grape”) which treated us to some really fantastic local fish (including carpaccio of smoked swordfish – amazing) in a great setting.
Before we left we chatted to a couple of other cruising crews, including a French and Scottish couple on board a newish Amel 54, one of the great world-girdling cruising boats. They invited us for drinks and that turned into an impromptu supper cooked by our French host. We had a great evening enjoying their hospitality and their obvious pride in their boat and its toys. The supplies on board included 40 bottles of champagne and the bilges were also stuffed with wine bottles – definitely the best type of ballast!
Alas, the weather didn’t favour a night sail around Stromboli, so we opted for a long day (14½hrs, 85nm) along the mostly featureless coast to Scario, tucked under the next headland (the Cilento coast). To fit in such a long day we had to leave before daylight (cast-off at 04:55). Although we were expecting some good sailing winds, we hadn’t expected the accompanying rough seas. For the period the winds were strong enough to sail in, the chop was enough to slow the boat right down and we had to use the engine to give us enough speed to arrive before dark. What a bore. The day was made somewhat more interesting by AIS and VHF contact with the two boats we had made friends with, who had also headed out early in the same direction. Fortunately we arrived in the tiny harbour of Scario with plenty of daylight left, as it seemed to be under construction. The obvious places to moor were strewn with huge concrete blocks and rusty old chains and in the other possible spots we couldn’t find any mooring ropes (despite trying several times to pick up promising ones which turned out to be unusable). We moored briefly alongside one of the big concrete blocks before being told by a friendly local that they were all being lifted into position underwater at 7 in the morning! We finally found a good spot alongside the breakwater near the entrance, and as it was free, stayed 3 nights!
Scario was a very pretty little place and was more like the Greek experience with its town quay and waterside cafes. The bells in the elegant church tower chimed the hours and quarters so you always knew what time it was even in the middle of the night! This region is close to the heart of mozzarella country and we bought some of the finest pure buffalo stuff from a local shop. Needless to say, we also had some good pizzas in the local eatery, and very reasonable they were too.