August 29th

The last several  days have been very nice (Since leaving the bay of Naples) – We left Tore de Greco at about 5pm after cleaning the boat doing last minute laundry and filling the tanks. Fresh water, unlimited as it is when you spend $100 for the night, is probably our biggest luxury and we take full advantage- we all ‘shower’ until we’re squeaky clean, we fill every vessel  possible and clean clean clean all the salty surfaces. 

We motored across the bay of Naples around the point (Punta Campanella) and found a spot to anchor near a restaurant. We anchored in the dark with no issue and went to be happy to be away from the Naples area.

For the next few days we worked our way up the Amalfi coast, which I have to say is likely the most beautiful  edge of land we’ve seen thus far- Imagine sheer cliffs (ala California) but studded with little villages and towns. The houses were literally carved right into the rock face with what must be ladders to get to them. Breathtaking.  We spent several nights in Positano and Amalfi, with snorkeling and sightseeing inland (Ravello). It seems that this is where the celebrities from Hollywood come on holiday – pictures abound in the artists studio’s.  We missed Ben Stiller by only a few weeks.

Just before lifting the anchor and setting out for Stromboli, we checked our email and found our neighbors tree had taken Hurricane Irene’s gusty suggestion to take a nap on our house. Disaster! Fortunately Ivan, Shelly and their girls were uninjured, but we can only imagine the sound and trauma. So now we will be remodeling our sunroom while in Italy and Greece. 


August 25th

We’ve now finished our educational series on Roman history, culminating today with a visit to Pompei. I’m sure the kids will be pleased. We’ve dragged them out in 95 degree heat almost daily for the last week to look at rocks, rocks and more rocks. At night we fill them up with Youtube video’s on volcanoes, romans, and ancient civilizations.  We’re pretty sure they’ve both gained a lot from the experience as evidenced by their new boat names – Gramicus and Aethani. They also want to be Gladiators now instead of warrior Ninja’s.

We started in Gaeta on Aug 17th – After hitting the mainland after a month of Island hopping, it was nice to be on a continent again. We took the train to Rome and spent a very hot day sorting through the ruins of the Pantheon, Forum, and Coliseum.  We went back to Rome (after a rest day) to walk through Vatican city. We climbed the copula of St. Peters cathedral, and toured the crypt where most of the popes are enshrined. While we’ve seen plenty of beautiful churches so far this trip. The Basillica in Vatican city is definitely the most opulent.

After Rome we sailed to the Island of Ischia and anchored at the base of a castle (Aragon) that was built in 500BC, then later added to in 1500AD. The area is rife with volcanic activity which we saw by snorkeling through Fumarella’s (Little bubble fields trickling up CO2) Very pretty experience – like swimming through a diamond field.

From here we decided to make our way into the Bay of Naples (against the advice of other sailors) so that we could get close enough to Pompei and Vesuvius that the day visits would not be as taxing on the kids. We spent one night in Baia and were able to snorkel through an underwater city that has been buried for 2000 years. (They experience negative Bradyism here – which is a sinking of the land due to volcanic activity, as opposed to positive Bradyism or heightening…) Of course we ‘didn’t know’ that we were supposed to have a park guide before swimming around this archeological site, so we got away with a free tour.  We ended up getting kicked out of Baia (coast guard) and left late at night. Fortunately we found a completely secluded cove about 6 miles away, which was a crescent shaped bay about 100 meters around with a narrow opening. I was nervous, Janet was not – so we snuck in and strung a stern line and settled in for the night. It was extra special as there were cave ruins around the shore that we explored.

From here we motored past Naples to a town called Torre (Tower) de Greco on the east end. Dirty, dirty, dirty. We paid a modest $110! for a single night and were crammed onto the end of the dock with barely enough room to jump ashore. That’s okay we had all the water we could use, and we had electricity which meant we could plug in the air conditioner.  Can you say miracle of modern times!

After berthing up, we immediately jumped on the train/bus to climb mount Vesuvius. Great experience  for the kids and precursor to seeing Pompei  the next day. Advice- before going to pompei, watch all the youtube video’s and do a google maps walkthrough.


August 15th

After crossing to Sardinia (1.5 day crossing in calm seas) – we spent the day snorkeling in 30 feet of crystal clear azure blue seas. We left at 0200hours to make for the island of Corsica (Bonifacio, France) We arrived at about noon and anchored in a cove just outside of town. (20EU) Amazingly beautiful town with the old town (1300 years old) at the top of a bluff overlooking the sea. The channel entrance was insanely busy with dozens of yachts, including super-yachts with helicopters on deck having to turn and back down the channel as it is only 100+ meters wide. Has anyone heard that French sailors are nuts?! This was the busiest harbor we’ve seen, though of course this is the height of the season. We were warned.  We ended up staying several nights, to avoid a NW Gale.  We hiked to some remote beaches and toured the old city- complete with drawbridge.  Of course the best part was the crepes- with Nutella and banana. 

From Bonifacio we motored to a small island called LeViza – not much more than a rocky outcrop about 6miles away. Packed full of day sailors for the crystal clear snorkeling and rock beaches warn smooth. From here we went back to Italy (Sardinia) and anchored near Isla Madelena in a national park. More snorkeling etc. We finally picked up a USB stick for internet access and left for Ponza (Pontine Islands) late on the third night.

Ponza is 160nm from Sardinia- Only a day and a half at sea but it felt like a very long crossing?  Worth the trip though as the island is beautiful and covered in caves formed by the volcano that build the island chain. It’s only about 30 miles from Rome so it was incredibly crowded. We were able to find a good anchorage none the less and spent several days swimming and expoloring the caves and swim-through’s. August 14th is a huge holiday in Italy (ie: July 4th in the US) and so we were kept dancing in our bed until 5am by the disco on the beach (about ½ a mile away).  ZZZZZ


August 4th 

We left Puerto Soller on July 28th after a wonderful week on Mallorca.  On our way up the coast we stopped in Cala Colobra, a small cove with sheer cliff walls, a stone beach and tunnels though the cliffs to a lagoon and open field behind. Absolutely stunning place to visit, as evidenced by the ferry loads of tourists arriving every 20 minutes. It was very nice to be happily anchored in the bay away from all the foot traffic.  We left in the afternoon and spent the night in an unprotected cove further up the island. Not much sleep because of the rolling seas. Happy to leave for Menorca early the next day.

On Menorca we stayed one night in Cala Coves, which was yet another spectacular cove. Surrounded by 6000 year old burial caves and even roman ruins (an alter with inscriptions) From here we made for Mao on the NE side of the island. We spent a week in Mao, getting a new anchor chain, renting scooters to explore the island and generally relaxing. We also met Harry and Jane in Mao, a wonderful cruising couple who’ve been sailing (Cormorant) for the past 14 years! 


July 21st - Mallorca

After a few days in Formentera and Ibiza, we're now on the west coast of Mallorca in Soller.  Tomorrow we'll take the vintage train into Palma and see if we can find some mallorcan pearls (Only to look at- Janet assures me...) 

We had a rough night in Ibiza (tucked into a small cove with 10 other boats) when a gale sprung up and we started slipping a little on the anchor - So we took turns on anchor watch and managed to hold our ground till morning when we left for safer waters... The beach and photo's made it all worthwhile. 

We've been on Mallorca for a few days now - quite beautiful.  Spending our time in more secluded bays (Cala's) as opposed to the busy city ports. 

Spain is very different from the US if only due tothe fact that the clocks are all screwy. It's now 10pm and the dinner rush is starting! Kids are playing in the park (Till midnight even). Of course the entire town takes a 3 hour lunch break every day between 2 and 5. 

We plan to syay here for several days and explore inland a bit, before leaving the north side and Menorca.