Michael Hughes and Ger White
Fri 12 Oct 2018 21:30
So what have we been doing?
Over the winter we spent 4 months on the hard at Manoel Island. Apart from normal servicing of equipment, anti fouling etc, we fitted a further solar panel on top of the davits, some work on the running rigging and headsails, installed new batteries and extended the spare parts store.
We launched off in early April and Ger and I sailed from Malta at the beginning of May, an early departure to get to Syracuse on Sicily where we spent a couple of days in one of our favourite places. This was followed by a lousy day on passage up to Taormina, largely under engine and into a strengthening (not forecast) wind which kicked up quite an uncomfortable sea. But at least our anchorage was sheltered.
We then sailed through the Messina strait and picked up a mooring in Scilla for the night. We were the only boat and had the only mooring laid—we were very early in the season. And then we sailed on a lovely sunny day across to the Aeolian Islands, where we spent ten days cruising Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea and Stromboli. It’s a lovely area to cruise in settled weather such as we had. We did climb up the volcano on Vulcano, smoking away, but decided against climbing the much higher and more active Stromboli—preferring to watch its puffing of lava from the boat before dawn.
Then passage to Salerno with an overnight stop at anchor on the way. A reasonably priced marina, and easy train connections to visit Naples, Pompeii and Paestum. And then we meandered along the Amalfi coast, with overnights in Amalfi and Positano and then onwards to Capri and Ischia for a spell. Michele Moran joined us in Ischia in early June and we sailed to Ponza. We spent about a week at anchor there. Much less touristy because it’s much further from the mainland. A good anchorage and a nice little town.
Then an overnight sail to Sardinia, making landfall at Santa Maria Navarrese. We spent about a month in marinas and anchorages working our way south to Cagliari ( where Michele left us in late June) then along the south coast to Carloforte, north to Alghero and Castelsardo and finally across to the Maddalena Islands. By this time we were in high season and a lot of boats around but the Maddelenas would be great cruising off season.
Across to Corsica, landfall at Bonifacio—a spectacular place to moor. We then worked our way via anchorages to Ajaccio, where we were joined on 20 July by Alex and Kirsty with whom we spent the next week sailing the west and south coasts of Corsica—-including another visit to spectacular Bonifacio.
Ger had to head to London for a week, so Alex stayed on board to make the 48 hour passage from Corsica to Majorca—-a somewhat boring passage in flat calm, no wind and engine all the way. And so in Majorca on 2 August we were joined by Andrew, Emma, Tilly and Sebby-cruising the south and west of the island: including Andraitx and Sant Elm. After Andrew and family had left, Ger and I sailed up to Soller where Aidan and Bridget joined us, sailing in Majorca for a couple of days and then across to Ibiza and Formentara.
At the end of August, we sailed from the Balearics to Valencia. We left Simanderal there for a couple of weeks while we visited London and Malta. In the second half of September we worked our way south, via Denia, Alicante and Cartagena to Almerimar, where Simanderal is moored while we again make a quick visit to London.
And we return to the boat tomorrow, 13 October.
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