A Journey’s End

Each journey must come to and end and this one has drawn to a close. Although are final destination was meant to be Cagliari, due to other commitments and unsettled weather we complete our journey in Palermo. Massimo will continue the journey to Cagliari when weather permits. Even so, we did well on our voyage which started on the 31st of March and ended with our arrival in Palermo on the 8th of April.

A wonderful experience of sailing, visiting new places, culinary delights and above all friendship. Another set of memories stored and never to be forgotten adding to the wealth of ones I already have. Thank you to all the crew and Capitano Massimo, who made it possible and a really relaxed and safe passage.


Capitano Massimo
First Mate Marta
Our Chef Stefano
Instructor Ricardo
The Real Boss Arba

8 days of sailing and 521 nautical miles, here is a brief synopsis of our trip and places visited

31st of March – Start of voyage from Vieste

2nd of April – First port of call to stretch legs and refuel – Santa Maria de Leuca

3rd of April – Milazzo

4th of April – Vulcano

5th April – Lipari

7th April – Salina

7th April – Filicudi

8th April – Palermo

And onto Palermo

We left our Jetty at 0530 as planned and weighed anchor only to find a rock being pulled with it. It was the six we of a football, when we tried to remove it it sparkled with phosphorescent lights from creatures that were attached to it. As it was still dark we could see their glow very clearly. Rock dislodged we stowed the anchor and motored out of the bay and into open water and a wonderful dawn and a new day.

We engined, motor sailed and sailed toward Palermo, a 65 mile journey that we must do today to miss bad weather and catch flights.

As we approached we saw huge rain squalls over Palermo, fortunately we missed them, being a few miles out. As we arrived at this busy port, the sun was shining and large cruise ship was leaving through the entrance.

Rain Squalls over Palermo

Cruise ship leaving as we were entering the Port of Palermo

Our new home for three nights


Waking up in Palermo in a lovely marina, ” Si. Ti. Mar Palermo@, only €45 per night for a 46 footer. We walked into town for breakfast, which soon became a walk through the most delightful parts of Palermo including the Cathedral, Churches, Monuments and parks.

We visited , Ballaro market where we bought all our ingredients for spaghetti vongole, which we will have this evening. We stopped in a basic eatery for lunch of seafoods, squids, sardines, anchovies and all the trimmings. All at local prices, but 5 star quality.

I have certainly seem Palermo in a very different light to when I first visited a year ago. Such a vibrant city, full of life and culture and energy. Wonderful and certainly worth a visit for a few days.

Here are some photos and video of our experience


We left Salina and set sail for the island of Filicudi some 15 miles away.

The wind had picked up to a modest 14 kts and we sailed to within 6 miles when the wind dropped and we then motored the rest of the way.

Arriving, we found a pretty old and battered jetty to which we anchor moored. This is the first time we tried this and it seemed pretty straight forward reversing whilst laying out the anchor chain’t and then attaching stern lines to the jetty.

At about 1800 and took a walk to the town about 1.5 kts away, unfortunately all up hill and about a third of the way up the volcano. We found a bar/restaurant which we entered through a door and it was empty, that included the owners and or staff. We waited 5 minutes and after calling out several times decided to leave. We could have helped ourselves to the many bottles of wines and spirits on display as the place was totally deserted.

In the fading light we made our way down a steep walkway/path and back to Arya and a wonderful risotto prepared by Stefano.

The island is pretty sparsely populated, but worth a visit in calm weather, for pleasant walks and fantastic views.

Early to bed tonight as we have a 0600 start tomorrow for Palermo.

Arya against the Town Jetty

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Spot Arya


Up at the crack of dawn, well 0700 actually, and set about preparing Arya for our next leg. Today we are setting sail for Salina, for a lunch time stop, and then onto Filicudi.

We arrived at Salina at 1100, after mainly sailing the 6 or so miles. A warm welcome, from the local and when we radioed ahead to ask for berthing instructions and prices for a short stay, were warmly surprised that there was no charge.

The island is wonderfully quite and at the time of our visit, absolutely no tourists, a total contrast to Lipari.

Wonderful quaint local shops, restaurants and drinking places. Local children playing the the town square and no iPhones or iPads in sight. A truly wonderful place. I wish we had more time to stay. A great place to distress with wonderful walks, wildlife and fauna.

Sampling the local wine

Local children having a late breakfast

Narrow streets of Salina



After breakfast I took a trip into Lipari on a motor scooter Stefano had hired to drop some washing off to a local launderette and also replenish our food supplies for the next few days. We even managed to negotiate a great price for fish from a local fisherman.

Negotiating with the local fisherman

He even gutted our fish

Later we met up with Marta and Massimo and took a leisurely walk to the old harbour and an Obsidian shop, and purchase a piece for my growing stone collection.

The town is absolutely beautiful, with narrow, charming streets, beautiful churches and full of jewellery and souvenir shops, not to mention many many restaurants. We choose one and treated ourselves to some fantastic pizzas. We then moved onto a patisseries, where I had been the previous year with Ed and Bill and had a cannoli.

Finally a walk back along the shore with greatly views of the bay to do some maintenance on Arya.

The old harbour

Our marina – Porto Pignataro

Lipari as seen from our walk back

Milzzano to Vulcano

Our first real overnighted was spent in the small town of Milzzano.

We woke in the morning and Stefano went to town to do the usual food shopping, whilst the rest of us spent leisurely time enjoying breakfast and coffee.

Massimo and I then walked into town for fresh bread and were magnetically drawn to the local Chandlery. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to walk into the old town as we decided to make way for Vulcano, some 24 miles away and after a wonderful Lucy of Spaghetti Vongole we slipped lines. Disaster struck as Massimo was taking Aria out. Just after slipping lines a huge increase of wind caught the bow and started pushing Aria sideways down the narrow alley and towards other yachts. I took the helm and managed to get her stern into stern into wind by letting the wind do the work of swinging the bow around. This allowed us to reverse Aria out of the alley, directly into wind. Disaster averted, we set our sail and set course for Vulcano.

Marta at the Helm

A fantastic sail in winds of up to 29 kts and we sailed the entire journey and in the north west side of the island “Porto di Ponente”, where i had visited some year ago. Life is funny, I would have never thought that I would ever be here again, let alone so soon.

We anchored in 20kt southerly winds and the anchorage was calm with no swell and after our usual culinary delights, presented by Stefano, we retired to a very peaceful night.


This is my second time in Vulcano, but it is still as beautiful as I remember it. The only two differences are the company and the climb up seemed a lot harder this time around. Anyway Marta, Massimo and I managed to make it to the summit and around the entire crater perimeter. Certainly a lot easier descending rather than ascending.

Stefano stayed at ground zero and we joined him on our way down.

We then walked into town and into a lovely restaurant called “La Forgia da Maurizio”, run by an extra friendly Italian, who spent 20 years in Indian. Fantastic food and hospitality. We ordered Pasta Caserecce with Fish and pomodorini and were given free appetisers, obviously help down with the local white wine. In fact the food was so good that we ordered an additional plate of fried anchovies.

Back to Aria on our tender and then we sailed for our overnight destination of Lipari,”Porto Pignataro”. Four tacks and we were in, and just before the rain.

Our plan is to stay on board tonight and relax.

And on to Messina

Massimo took over watch at about 0600 and I went down for a sleep. Waking up at 0900 for breakfast i was told that 10 minutes after i went down a pod of Dolphins appeared.

There was only 6kts of wind and so we motor sailed. We were watching the weather closely and as we approached the southern most point of Italy decided to travel onwards and through the straits of Messina. The wind and tides were in our favour and we had good northerly tides until 1800

So, decision made and we set a course for Messina. About, 10nm from the Straits, we contacted Messina VTS on channel 13 and were then transfer to channel 10 where we made our intentions clear. We declared that we were going to pass on the Sicilian side and head north through the straits. We also gave our vessel length and number of souls on board. We were asked by VTS, to continue monitoring channel 10 for the duration of our passage. About an hour later we were called by VTS and asked to give our position.

Going through the straits is straight forward and far less dramatic then some stories you read on the web. In fact, navigating the Solent, Southampton Water and Hurst point is far more challenging. So in my opinion, navigating the Messina Straits is a walk in the park.

After mooring and securing Aria we headed into town for a meat feast

And tomorrow Vulcano beckons

Heading South

So our journey continues and we decide to press on and head towards the Straits of Messina. Our logic is to try and get there before the high winds begin, which are forecast for Thursday morning ( 4th of April ). This puts us in a more favourable position to decide our next course of action, which we hope will be to head through Messina and onto the Aeolian Islands. If we are held up in the Messina area we will have options to explore a bit of Sicily.

It’s 0108 as I write this and we are motoring onto Santa Maria Di Leuca, about 12 nm left to run. We have approximately 1/2 a tank of fuel left and I have suggested we pull into this marina to fuel up and get some provisions and top up our water tanks.

So that’s the plan. Sorry, no photos of this part of the passage as no infra red camera ?, but I did manage to squeeze in a shot of the sunset and our home made Pizza, that Stefano made for our evening meal.

Another Glorious Sunset
Home made Pizza – Delicious