Elaine’s last day.

We returned from Rome as we arrived, by train and bus, but on the return journey there were a lot more people and the carriages we full, with standing room only. The No. 01 bus passed by a supermarket, so we jumped off and did some food shopping to replenish our stock for our 130 mile jour my to the Maddalena islands.

After returning to Arctura we prepared ourselves for a farewell meal for Elaine. In a local marina restaurant. A truly fantastic meal consisting of a Spaghetti Vongole starter, and Fresh Turbot, whilst Ed and Elaine had Sea Bream. All served by a charming Bangladeshi waiter, who filleted the fish perfectly and looked after us like royalty. And so off to bed for a early start the next day.


Arriverdverci Roma.

Up at 0600 as Elaine had a taxi booked for 0700 and Ed and I needed to push off early also for our 130 mile drip across the sea of Tirenno and onto the Magdalena islands. We left at 0800 and motored for 2 hours before getting goods winds. The trip was uneventful apart from a distant thunderstorm at around 1500. We settled into our usual 3hours on and three hours off, with Ed cooking some pasta dish for lunch and and evening chicken in Parma ham with salad. Full moon and the usual accompanying planets of Jupiter and Venus.

Moon light sailing

Some radio activity at 2140,of the French Navy asking ships for assistance, but the was some 30mile of and nearer the Corsican coast.

The 0300 watch was started  and a large passenger vessel passed us on our starboard side. Night sailing is so much fun and is so easy. It’s easy to spot ships a far away as 12 miles or more and it becomes apparent very quickly whether there is a risk of collision. Mast head lights and navigation lights are remarkably easy to spot.i solitude of night sailing is wonderful, with thoughts rushing through your head about how many times these sea have been crossed by our ancestors,exploring, trading or conquering.

The heavens  above me were joined by two more distinguishable planets, Mars and Saturn and although not as bright as Jupiter or Venus, they were clearly visible.

A breeze of 8 kts allowed Arctura you sail at a steady 3 kts to our new location of Maddalena .

Thr stowaway

At approx 0500 my senses were focused upon a strange gushing noise in the water. At first I though it was my imagination, but after another 2 minutes there it was again. Yes, Whales. I couldn’t see them at first as it was still dark, but as they came up for air more often I could make out dark shadows breaking the surface of the water. I got my iPhone and snapped a video and although not too clear you can just about make out their outline and certainly hear the rasps of exhaled air as the talk their next breath. Fascinating and wondrous. An amazing feeling being surrounded and visited by these great creatures.

And after all this we arrived at Tahiti beach in the Madelenna islands for a well deserved rest and swim in turquoise waters.



And so we ventured into Rome. A short walk followed by a No. 01 bus ride to the train station all for €1.50, a bargain. The journey take about an hour a fifteen minutes, but it’s worth it.

We had some lunch and then onto a tour bus to explore. Just the feeling of how this centre of an Empire must have been like in its hay day is unimaginable and yet it’s easy to get drifted back in time and be one with the Romans at the hight of their power and well established structure and society. I hope these photos show the feelings I experienced.






And so to Rome

An early start today, as we have a 60 miles journey to Rome. Ed and I are up at 6 o’clock to prepare Arctura and weigh anchor. We left Ponza at 06:45 and engined out of the bay and our home of two days.

No wind and no fish for the entire 62 miles. We engined the entire way accept for a couple of hours where the wind picked up to 8 kts and we had a respite from the drone of the engine.

We arrived at Porto Turistico di Roma at 18:17 and after a rest and shower headed into the marina complex for a pizza and a beer.

Arctura in Porto Turistico di Roma

Another day dawns in Ponza

A lazy start at our anchorage in Ponza. The morning consisted on flying the drone, pottering around on the tender and eventually I made some spaghetti Vongole from our previous days purchase. By all accounts it was fantastic, but I only ascertained this by the silence and enthusiasm it was eaten in. Joking aside they were pretty good Vongole as supplied by our Gaetan fishmonger.

Nothing better than eating al Fresco.
Vongole ala Ricardo

After the obligatory siesta, we took our tender into Ponza for cakes and coffee.

Ponza Harbour
A fellow Englishman.

Returning to Arctura and I’m back to the galley to create a Crazy Water Sea Bream, this is becoming a theme ?⛵️??

Another Ricardo creation -Crazy Water Fish. Sea Bream – Lightly fried and then steamed in tomatoes, garlic, chilli, parsley and the obligatory olive oli.


Passage to Ponza

Our final day in Gaeta was spent gettting supplies for 3 days a sea, 2 at anchor in Ponza and then a one day crossing to Rome. We started with the obligatory Edward breakfast on Cakes and coffee in a delightful pasticceria just opposite the marina. This was followed by buying some clams and sea bream from and equally delightful fishmonger. He couldn’t do enough for us, literally checking every clam whilst his assistant gutted our fish.

Our fishmonger adding his final touch of free parsley to our cleaned clam

We continued our trip into town to get the local speciality, Tiella. This is a pizza that’s more like a pie, with filling and a top crust. We bought two, one with squid and one with fresh anchovies, to be consumed for lunch on our 35 mile crossing to Ponza.

We met true owner with Paula, who came from Edinburgh to Gaeta for a holiday in 1985 and has never returned.

Paula, the owners wife at the counter of Pizzeria del Porto Gaeta.

And so back to the boat and we started our sail to Ponza. With no wind to speak of and any that we had was head on we engined all the 35 miles. Arriving at 18:00 in the pleasant bay of Frontone, just north of the town of Ponza on the east coast. We watched as the sun set and the stars and the planets came out, first Venus and then Jupiter, in this delightful setting 35 miles of the Coast of the Italian mainland.


Our morning started with woderful sunshine, a total contrast to yesterdays rain. We took a stroll to the marina office and then the local sailing club for a Croissant and coffee before walking into town to visit the castle. Unfortunately,the castle and most other attractions such as the grotto were closed, so we headed back into town and a local restaurant. Gaeta is a lovely city, but extremely quite and most places are closed or appear closed. Perhaps its more lively in the hight of the season. Personally I found it tranquil, beautiful and peaceful.

The town marina
Gaeta Cathedral
View over Gaeta Bay
Narrow street dwellings
Gaeta as seen from our walk
Wonderful swirling pools.

Baby Octopus for lunch.


A cracking sail to Gaeta

After a light breakfast we set sail to our next destination of Gaeta, a city half way up the Italian western coast. We weighed anchor at 11:25 and within the half hour were under full sail and close hauled heading to our destination. The wind was stronger than expected and eventually we had to reef the main, put away the genneka and unfurl the genoa. Fantastic sailing and Arctura was cutting through the building sea like a knife through butter. Unfortunately, we sailed through some pretty big rain showers, but managed to arrive at Gaeta in one tack and into our destination marina, just north of the peninsula. The whole 36nm voyage taking us just over 6 hours.

After mooring up I made a sepia alla griglia with a salad and some prawns that Elaine had marinated earlier. A fantastic meal although Ed would have wanted more, perhaps next time we’ll get double. Quite a job however, of cleaning and preparing it !! And so fed and watered off to bed after a exciting sail and we’ll see what the morning brings in our exploration of what seems a wonderful city.

Our first sighting of Gaea from the sea
The trip so far – probably our half way point. Distance traveled to date 522 nautical miles.

At anchor in Procida


We anchored up at about 16:50 and settled into our pleasant anchorage with only one other yacht for company. We anchored close to the breakwater, in 5.5 mtrs and could clearly see  “Lampara”, the restaurant where we had a meal the night before. But tonight was the night for eating on board and so Ed and I set to work cooking the fish we had bought a few hours before.

“Lampara” just under the Castello on the right

There is nothing more wonderful about sailing than sitting under anchor and watching the world go by, eating home cooked food and having a glass of wine.

Our home prepared fish supper


After our meal and as night fell we were rewarded with a wonderful display of a lighting storm over Capri.



Only 2 miles North East of Ischia is the smaller island of Procida. This was recommended to me by my very good friend Carolyn. As we arrived at its shore we saw the pretty multi colours of the towns and fishing villages. We decided to stay at the marina on its northern edge “Marina Di Procida” a friendly modern marina with electricity and water. We paid €95 per night, but there is an extra cost of €1 per shower. There is also WIFI avaiable, although at the usual slow stream rate of marinas.


After the usual 2 hour of boat cleaning and filling of tanks and general boat maintenance and cleaning that can only be done in marinas, we then ventures to one of the recommended restaurants. A one kilometres walk to Marina della Corricella and a lovely resturant called Il Maestrale. Great sea food as usual.

Oh dear – another Spaghetti Vongole

We then took a walk to Marina Chiaiolella on the south eastern end of the island, a 6.5 kilometre walk. The streets and island was as described in the guide books, a normal working island, where the inhabitants go about their usual day withou bothering about tourists. This in my point of view is the Italy i was dreaming of, un spoilt and based on the life of the inhabitants rather the invasive tourists.


We caught a local bus back to the marina at a cost of €1.5 per person and after a brief siesta made our way to “Lampara” a fantastic resturant overlooking the harbour of Corricella. Great food and especially a fantastic Tuna.



La Lampara Ristorante – our evening venue
Corricella At night

The next day was spent replenishing our supplies at the local shops and fish markets. We waited until the fisherman cam in, about 15:30 for the fresh produce to arrive. The next blog will hopefully the delights we prepared. We slipped lines at 16:00 and sailed the 1 mile to Corricella harbour and anchored up for the night.