Capo d’Orlando – Cefalu – Palerm o – San Vito Lo Capo - Trapani

Sat 21 Sep 2019 11:42

Well we and especially Georgia, Bobbi and Angus did enjoy Capo d’Orlando. With our berth close to the newly developed marina complex boasting three good restaurants and a decent supermarket, as well as a number of smaller specialist shops and the beach just behind our mooring there was not much not to like. Unfortunately Georgia only had one day here as she had to return home on Monday (5th August) evening but they had a lovely last day on the beach and Bobbi did very well with the fins, mask and snorkel I bought for her. There were a few tears as they said good bye to mummy but they were soon tucking into pizzas at the marina pizzeria.

We rented a car the following day and drove inland to explore the mountainous hinterland. Beautiful well wooded countryside with tiny villages perched on mountain tops and in verdant valleys. Back at the marina we opted for the sushi restaurant which was very good and after several lively games of Maltese Cross (dominoes) we were all ready for bed.

Lynn went to the beach the following morning with the children whilst I got the headsail covers on and washed down the boat. Reversing that in the afternoon, I took them to the beach leaving Lynn doing domestic chores. And so the week pleasantly progressed a mixture of beach and boat jobs so that by Sunday 11th, the day Charles, Gemma, Tilly and Felix were to arrive Pamarzi gleamed inside and out.

Pretty manic with eight of us aboard but good fun and the first time all of Pamarzi’ cabins have been occupied. It was great having a couple of days with them all but all too quickly it was 08.15 on Tuesday the 13th August and Lynn and I and Bobbi and Angus were boarding the taxi to the airport for our flight home. We have so enjoyed having them on board and hope that they will come to join us again next year.

After three quite busy weeks at home where we saw work starting on the retiling of the front verandas and work set up on various other Meadscroft projects, we returned to Pamarzi on the 1st September to find our friends David and Charlotte Harvey-Jones parked next door to us. Drinks aboard their boat Team Jones that night and then a run through heavy rain to the sushi restaurant. During supper David told us of his ‘knock down’ and admitted that it had been his error that caused the boat to ‘round up’ when he was on the fore deck, very nearly depositing him in the sea. He just managed to save himself but cracked two ribs in the process and his sails were quite badly damaged, a salutary lesson.

Everywhere much quieter now that the Italian holiday season is over but the weather remained very mixed with some strong winds to the south, where we are going so it was not until Thursday the 12th that we were saying our good byes to David and Charlotte. Peter the owner of Oyster 575 People Sea who we had had a very pleasant evening with earlier in the week and Bruce on Evenstar who we had previously met in Rocella Ionica. We cast off just before 10.00 and motored out into slight seas and a gentle breeze and by 15.30 were tying up next to Cinderella 4 an Oyster 825 in Cefalu marina.

Lovely to be back here moored in the same spot as three years ago. Once all the boat jobs had been completed we walked up and around the massive rock that towers above the marina to Al Faro a favourite restaurant where we dined on sardines and sea bass and half a bottle of Grillo and were entertained by three kittens prancing after flies on the canvas awning, their dancing silhouettes appearing rather like an old black and white cartoon.

We went into the old town next morning and breakfasted in the square in front of the wonderful Norman cathedral built by King Roger II around 1151CE.  Lynn stayed in town to ‘do the shops’ whilst I returned to Pamarzi. Chatting with Maria the skipper/owner of the boat on our portside, Babalu, she asked if I knew an Oyster called Juno. We of course remembered Paul and Caroline Frew and Maria said that she had heard that Paul had been ill. I sent him an email and was saddened to learn that he has indeed been seriously ill but he told me that he is recovering well. They are such a nice couple and all fingers are crossed for Paul’s complete recovery and true to his adventurous style they are sailing across to the Caribbean with the ARC this November in their new catamaran Hera.

My brother David’s sixty fifth birthday today, 14th September and we sent him a e-card which he seemed to appreciate. Whilst preparing to leave a young chap came across to our pontoon and asked if we remembered him. He was Michael one of the marineros from Odyseas marina in Meganissi in the Ionian islands. We chatted for some time and learnt that he was on his father’s boat and that they too were going across the pond on the ARC this year.

It was an uneventful motor sail to Palermo, the winds were very light but there was an uncomfortable rolling swell on our beam all the way. We had booked two nights berth in Si Ti Mar marina and were welcomed by Orlando one of the owners when we arrived just before 16.00. The marina is in the old harbour right in front of the most ancient part of the city and deep within the now large harbour complex that hosts many ferries and cruise ships. We learnt from Phil and Norma on Minnie B on the other side of the pontoon from us that Phil had got a ticket for a performance of La Traviata at the world famous opera house on Sunday evening and we decided to visit the Teatro Massimo and hopefully obtain a couple of tickets for the evening performance the following day. We ate that evening at Bokum Mixology a quirky sort of place dimly lit with deep leather armchairs around low tables, and lots of ‘objet daft’ decorating any available space but the offal ravioli was delicious, as was fillet steak accompanied by a bottle of frappato, a grape we were not familiar with but which we will order again as it is somewhat lighter than nero d’avola and goes well with the very young beef/veal served in this part of the world.

On Sunday morning after a light breakfast we set off we set off to explore and firstly to find the theatre. It did not disappoint, what a magnificent building but sadly the only tickets available for  La Traviata were in the back of the ‘gods’ with no view of the stage. We declined these and set off to visit the cathedral. Another stunning building dating back to 1185, an amalgam of Norman, baroque and gothic with a bit of arabesque for good measure! A climb to the roof up a narrow spiral stairway left Lynn struggling for breath but afforded wonderful views across the oldest part of the city. Lunch in a shady square restored us and we made our way back to the harbour for a relaxed afternoon aboard.

Boat washing for me next day whilst Lynn returned to the city to ‘do the shops’, returning in the afternoon laden with carrier bags and eager to show me her purchases. That evening we found Gagini a superb restaurant that reminded us of Pellegrini in Sibenik, Croatia. After an interesting plate of ‘amuse bouche’ we ate a delicious dish of lamb chump accompanied by a side dish consisting of a pair of lamb cutlets  all cooked to perfection and served with homemade bread. Expresso, petit fours and a glass of Pantalerian pudding wine followed whilst we chatted with a mother and daughter from Ireland seated at the next table.

After saying our goodbyes to Orlando and Phil we left around 10.30 for San Vito lo Capo arriving around 16.00. No sooner were we med moored in the small marina there when along came a young chap brandishing a silicone light of the sort we have on board. We immediately recognised him as Joel the very pleasant Portuguese fellow that we had met in Rocella Ionica where he was completing the purchase of his boat. He was proud to tell us that he had now purchased his own set of lights,  we really should have taken out a distributorship on those things! We had arranged to meet Dave and Luda of Bobcat here, we know them from Marina di Ragusa (Dave is American and Ludmilla is Russian, an interesting mix!) and we had seen their catamaran anchored just outside the harbour wall as we arrived. They joined us for drinks that evening aboard Pamarzi and we dined together at a buffet place in town that they had recommended.

We have decided to postpone our trip across to Tunisia, the weather does not look favourable for a crossing and even if we did find a window to get across after this weekend’s fronts have gone through it will only leave us a few days to explore before crossing back to Malta and on to Marina di Ragusa and if weather held us up it would throw plans back home askew. So we will go across early next season and spend as long as we want there.

Today (Thursday 19th) is Luda’s birthday and we invited them over to Pamarzi for a celebratory drink late afternoon. They brought some delicious cakes, so it was tea and cakes followed by prosecco and a fun afternoon chatting about a myriad of subjects. We dined aboard that evening on sausage and mash and will sail tomorrow to Trapani where I have booked a berth in Marina Vento Maestrale for four nights where we can shelter from the forecast front coming through over the weekend.