San Vito Lo Capo – Trapani – Sci acca – Licata – Our Sicilian Hom e

Thu 3 Oct 2019 14:40

We left San Vito Lo Capo around 10.30 on Friday 20th September and set a course for Trapani. It was motoring all the way until we were approaching the sickle like promontory that gave the harbour its name back in Grecian times. There the wind increased to twenty knots plus and the sea became very choppy as we approached the harbour entrance. The port of Trapani requires that you radio them before entering whether you are a private yacht or a cruise ship. I was questioned as to our last port, number of passengers aboard and their ethnicity, captain’s name etc. etc. But they let us in and did not send a SWAT team out to intercept us! We made our way across the choppy harbour to the marina, Vento Maestrale and had a tricky mooring in the twenty knot plus cross wind. By the time we had set our lines, connected power cables and completed all the other docking tasks the wind had dropped completely. The marina is right next door to the fishing fleet’s harbour but very few of the boats were going out and thankfully there was little noise or smell.

We walked into the old town that evening admiring some of the wonderful Baroque architecture as we headed to one of our favourite restaurants that we remembered from our last visit here three years ago. Osteria Bottalucia, minimalist décor and a limited menu but the veal fillet in a red orange sauce absolutely delicious accompanied by a bottle of Frappato a Sicilian red grape variety that makes a perfect match with lighter meat dishes. Pleasantly sated we strolled back to the boat through the quiet streets lined with ancient trees whose thick, knobbly boles make them reminiscent of trees in a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

We spent five nights in Trapani waiting for the strong winds to abate but we enjoyed our time there and our exploration inland in our rented elderly Fiat Panda. Outside the sprawl of Trapani we found a delightful agricultural scene with olive groves, vineyards and many fields of yellow, ripening melons. The temple of Segesta was very impressive, built by the indigenous Elymian people around 420 BCE it is sixty one metres long, twenty six metres wide and is graced with thirty six massive, Doric columns. It is thought never to have had a roof as an invasion put a halt to the building work. We returned to Trapani via the well-known wine town of Marsala. An unremarkable place but the coast road to Trapani ran alongside the still actively worked salt pans and gave charming views across the shallow waters to the Egadi Islands.

We finally left Trapani on the 25th September and sailed out into a fairly substantial swell on course for Sciacca an eight hour voyage that saw us docking at Circolo Nautico II Corallo marina just after 16.30. A catamaran docked next to us an hour or so later and the owners Steve and Lynda introduced themselves and invited us over for drinks We had two very pleasant days in Sciacca, again waiting whilst strong winds blew through and dined both evenings ashore with Steve and Lynda swapping cruising tales and family histories. They told us that they will be crossing the Atlantic with the ARC later this year and we were able to tell them of our experience of the crossing we did in 2007.   

We were getting ready to leave Sciacca on Friday morning but as we started lifting the tender on the powered davits one of the cables snapped and sent the rib crashing back into the water. Thankfully no damage was done to the rib or Pamarzi and after some careful improvisation with ropes and winches we managed to raise its two hundred and fifty kilo bulk up to the davits and got it secured with the locking shackles and belly bands. We arrived at Licata just after 15.30 and after completing the docking procedures Lynn took the Ship’s Papers to the office to complete the formalities whilst I took the port side davit apart to replace the wire, an oily greasy task but a couple of hours later we had fully working davits again. An unremarkable supper ashore in town was followed by a blissfully peaceful night.

A quick trip into town the following morning to purchase a few provisions and cream filled croissants for breakfast before we hoisted the tender and slipped our lines to set off on the last day’s sailing for this year. The trip to Porto Turistico Marina di Ragusa was virtually wind less. Wind less that is until we came to dock. We radioed ahead and the ever friendly Saro came out in a tender to guide us through the narrow channel that has been dredged to allow boats of our draft to gain entry to the marina. First call was the fuel dock where we topped up our tanks with six hundred litres of diesel whilst Porto the yard’s Labrador looked on and then on to our usual berth on M pontoon. The cross wind made berthing a little more difficult but we were soon safely snugged in with all lines set. Rudi and Sabina aboard Wasabi welcomed us home and Sam and Florencia our guardianage team came aboard as we were dressing for supper. We had arranged to meet Robert and Denise (SY Invictus) and their friends Shoshi and Michael at Stasera for dinner.

And so the boat work and socialising gets under way for another year. Lots to do to prepare Pamarzi for the winter and to schedule the necessary maintenance jobs that will be done by various craftsmen both local and those we fly out from the U.K., it’s hard work but the socialising with our many friends and fellow yacht owners make it such fun if even more exhausting.

However after seven years of this cruising in our beautiful boat that literally gives us the freedom to go anywhere in the world we choose, we have never lost sight of the fact that we are very fortunate to live this life and we sincerely hope that we will be able to continue to live it for many years to come. One of the unexpected pleasures is the sheer number of friends we have made whilst cruising and meeting them and getting to know them has undoubtedly enriched our lives.

We have not decided where our cruising will take us next year. Tunisia that we missed this year is a high probability and Cyprus and Israel are also possibilities but there are so many places to explore and some we would like to revisit in the Mediterranean that I think we will remain in these waters for at least another three years. But for now it is back to the boat jobs in their never ending variety.