Cruising from Rome to the the anchorages of the Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie) Sicily 

170705 2 Sicily Rome Marina

Porto Turistico Di Rome Marina from the air 

170706 2 Scott and BeK arriving Katherine Rome170707 2 Day trip to Rome - The Collosseum170707 18 Day trip to Rome - Hop on Hop off bus Fontana di Trevi

Continuing to share the mediterranean experience we were excited to be joined on the evening of the 6th July by our youngest son Scott and his girlfriend Bek. Both taking the opportunity of a university semester break to join us.

We had sailed from Scarlino a few days earlier to the Porto Turistico Di Rome marina located in Ostia near the mouth of the River Tiber . The harbour was a convenient distance from the airport and had the added advantage of a regular train service to the centre of Rome. 

The pilot book described the marina as being in sharp contrast to the neighbourhood of Ostia which “was” in the 1970’s rather seedy. Well we would like to contest that not much has changed from what we could see to this day. Despite the neighbourhood appearance we have to comment that the marina staff were very welcoming, helpful and the boat secure. Cant ask for more than that. 

Day 1 onboard for Scott and Bek we headed into Rome. A local bus followed by the train then the metro, saw us arriving at the Colosseum just on an hour and a half later. Stepping out from the station to see the Colosseum was rather surreal not to mention the crowds of tourists. We had organised a two hour walking tour of the Colosseum before heading over to the Roman Forum. Unfortunately the heat of the day just made walking the Forum a little unbearable and we opted to head for the Hop On Hop Off Bus which as always proved a great way to get an overview of the city sites when time is limited. Photos taken at the Trevey Fountain, italian pasta for lunch at a local cafe, another lap on the bus and it was time to head back to the harbour.

170707 1 Day trip to Rome - Graffiti and trains

Not one carriage could we find without “Artwork"

170708 5  Isle Ponza this boat has had a bad day170708 4  Isle Ponza a flotilla of boats

Saturday 8th July saw us motoring out of the harbour over a glassy sea, not a breathe of wind to be found. By early afternoon the afternoon sea breeze set in to finally make for a nice sail to the Pontine Islands, a group of five islands lying some 60nm south of Ostia. We chose to anchor off Ponza Harbour the largest island in the archipelago. Being so close to Rome the island is popular in July and August and overflows with boats. Given it was a Saturday the harbour was certainly overflowing. We sat out on the peripheral of the anchorage in 13m water and watched the spectacle of boats jostling with each other for space further in. We also witnessed for the first time a boat that had obviously come in contact with another boat sporting a large hole in its bow. It did not seem to be impacting their enjoyment. Despite the prettiness of the harbour the continuous flow of craft, large and small made for a very rolly anchorage and we all agreed trying to paddle board in this bay would be risking ones life. Better to move on. 

170709 1  Tranquility at Ponza early morning

Departing Ponza anchorage early morning - the only time there was calm. 

Streets of Pompeii 

170710 1 Tour of Pompeii

Next port of call was Marina DI Stabia situated conveniently close to the ruins of Pompeii with the backdrop of the volcano Vesuvius. 

We used a a local walking tour company to guide us around the grounds of Pompeii for two hours before venturing off ourselves for several more hours with map in hand.

Pompeii "Once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city, Pompeii was buried under meters of ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The preserved site features excavated ruins of streets and houses” 

170710 16 Tour of Pompeii Roman Baths170710 36 Tour of Pompeii Villa dei Misteri Frescoe

Because Pompeii was consumed by soft ash the city was literally frozen in time. Our guide indicated that there is still to date at least one third still buried beneath the soil waiting to be discovered but a conscious decision has been made at this stage to ensure the preservation of what has been uncovered. 

We have seen a lot of Roman Ruins throughout Spain but Pompeii brought together the full image of a working city in Roman times. The cobblestone streets with stepping stones, thermal baths with ornate carvings, shop front houses with cooking pots the equivalent of our take away store today, and houses with intricate mosaic floor entrances all gave glimpses into what Pompeii must have been like almost 2000 years ago. It was hard to believe that the artwork or frescoes that adorned the walls of many of the houses had not been restored and yet still held colour and clarity.

Since visiting Pompeii we have also learnt that a lot of the artefacts recovered are held at the Naples National Archaeological Museum. If we were to return to Pompeii then I would be making the time to include a visit to the museum in Naples to complete the experience.

170712 4 Scario Township from the anchorage

The quaint town of Scario 

170711 8 Scario Andrew Scott Bek Corinne and Francois

From Pompeii we continued south to the quaint town of Scario where we were reacquainted with Corrine and Francois from Paradigme. Both boats were in Cartagena in March, the Balearics in April and crossed paths through Corsica and the Bay of Naples. So three months on we finally managed a dinner together ashore. 

We enjoyed two nights on anchor in this bay with just Paradigme and Katherine. The holding was certainly solid going by the amount of mud that came up with the anchor on the morning of our departure. 

170713 10 Sailing with Paradigme to Stromboli Sicily

Sailing to Stromboli - The lighthouse of the Mediterranean 

170713 11 Stromboli Sicily the ferry that nearly took us out on anchor170713 14 Sunset Stromboli170713 32 Sunset Stromboli

A long days sail brought us to the Aeolian Islands. An archipelago that lies 35 miles north of the coast of Sicily. Each of the seven islands are peaks of volcanoes with Stromboli and the Gran Cratere on the island of Volcano still remaining active.

As we were approaching from the north we planned to anchor at Stromboli and to set off on sunset to motor around the North west side of the island to view the volcano. We discovered that Stromboli tours are obviously popular and as sunset approached a number of tour ferries began to crowd the bay whilst they waited to collect their patrons from the shore. Be it fortunate or unfortunate one of these ferries dragged anchor. Before we knew it they were less than two meters of our bow. Thankfully they crossed without contact but its as close as we ever want to see a Stromboli Express with its huge ladder hanging off the back ever again.

170714 5 Stromboli by day

Expectations were kept controlled as this was mother nature we were dealing with and no guarantees of “fireworks” could be made. Well mother nature was in her finest spirit. We were rewarded with a beautiful sunset over a tanker as we motored out. Then as we rounded the North West corner Stromboli could be heard to rumble and a flash of red seen firing into the air. We were treated to several such displays until the darkness of night and the swell of the ocean made it too difficult to catch the colour on camera. 

As we motored back the light of torches could be seen zigzagging down the mountainside. The three hour hike up the side of Stromboli would have definitely rewarded the walkers with a memorable display. Had we been able to afford the time for another day on Stromboli it is an experience we would have all liked to have undertaken. 

Though it was very special to anchor off Stromboli the ocean swell made for an uncomfortable night and on first light both boats (Katherine and Paradigme) were pulling up anchor and heading for a more sheltered bay off the island of Panarea. 

(The walking track can just be seen above the vegetation line) 

170714 10 Panarea Birthday Celebrations

Birthday Celebrations 

170715 1 Ice-cream van on the water Panarea170716 14  Island Lipari Punta Della Crepazza Scott and Bek


Two nights on anchor in Panarea off Punta Torrione we were joined by boats of all shapes sizes with equal amount of water toys. The ice-cream boat visited daily as did the local fisherman selling fresh fish - if only we had five boats to share the tuna with then we could have brought some. It was huge. 

Lee's birthday was celebrated onboard in the company of Francoise and Corrine who cooked traditional Brittany galettes for dinner. Delicious.

It was great for Scott and Bek to hone their paddle boarding skills and simply to enjoy chilling out. 

Before heading into the marina at Capo Di Orlando on Sicily we spent the last day drifting down past the islands of Lipari and Volcano. Stopping for a swim, paddle board and to enjoy the contrasting scenery of the islands.

Capo Di Orlando is a new marina that had only opened in the last few weeks. Conveniently located to the Aeolian Islands we are sure that in the future it will not be empty of large boats as it was on our arrival. 

170718 1 Capo D Orlando Marina

Capo Di Orlando Marina

170718 8 Driving through Palermo for the Airport Madness170718 8 Palermo Airport Scott and Bek heading home to AUS

So before we knew it it was time for Scott and Bek to return to Australia. Not before an interesting drive to the airport via the streets of Palermo where driving was almost a sport. Two lanes became six, cars came up the wrong side of the road, cars would park up to three deep blocking lanes, scooters ducked mirrors to weave between the traffic and he who dared to turn across the traffic without looking definitely won. 

What a contrast to travelling on a boat. 

(Click for more photos) 

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain