Sunday, 27 June 2010

Procida to Ponza

Ischia Castle Bill, Liam, Mark, Sam, Andrew, Clare, Amanda and Annie BBQ on Gone with the Wind Harbour front at Ponza The dinghy park
The Yacht Park
Clare, Annie, Amanda, Liam, Mark and Andrew
Pizza in Ponza
Hi from Clare, Procida to Ponza Sunday 27th June 2010 PLACES I HAVE FORGOTTEN We spent four nights at Procida, which is an island not far out from Naples. It is very old and dilapidated with paint peeling off nearly every building. Apparently we came here in 2005 but I have no recollection of the place. I didn't take any photos back then, and now we have left Procida I realize that I didn't take any photos this time either. I guess that says it all. When we arrived at Procida, the North West wind was blowing and forecast to increase so we tucked away safely on the south east side of the island. The anchorage without the wind was subject to sea swell and we rolled continuously for the duration of our stay. About the only consolation was that daily reports on the ship's radio revealed that many other yachts on the east coast of Italy were experiencing the same conditions.

NOT VERY FRIENDLY The Procida beach was roped off for swimming and I think the rule in Italy is, no anchoring within 300 meters of the shore. The Coast Guard came around and booked the boats inside the zone. Fortunately it wasn't us but we watched the all too familiar procedure. The Coast Guard pulls along side and requests the ship's papers; they then disappear below and return with a hefty fine. No consultation, no explanation and I guess no refunds. We were booked like this in 2005 for anchoring in a restricted area and the fine was $200 - thanks for coming.

So after watching this episode, we went ashore for a walk and took with us a small plastic bag of rubbish. We were stopped by a local fisherman who, although couldn't speak English, got the message across that to bring rubbish ashore would cost 10 Euros. I thought "great the rubbish came from your supermarket" but no point arguing, next time we came ashore we hid the rubbish in our backpack. NEXT ISLAND NOT MUCH BETTER We all moved three miles to the next island of Ischia. Both White Rose and Eye Candy took their dinghy ashore only to find that the beach was roped off making it impossible to land. Ischia looked just as dilapidated as Procida so Andrew and I decided to go back to our boat and forget it. White Rose and Balvenie decided to make use of a small water taxi to go into town and back.

The good news is that after six nights of rolling, the anchorage at Ischia was flat calm. The rain clouds had disappeared and the sun was shining. We gladly spent a very peaceful afternoon and evening enjoying simple pleasures like the warmth of the sun and a bed that didn't move. CRUISEHEIMER'S DISEASE We left Ischia at midnight and sailed 55 miles to Ponza arriving early Wednesday afternoon. We anchored on the east side of the island in flat calm and clean water. We swam and sun baked and then had a wonderful farewell dinner with Bridget and Peter on White Rose. They left early the next morning for Rome but with a bit of luck we should catch up with them in Sardinia in the next few weeks.

On Thursday we enjoyed a little piece of summer but we had to move the boat three times to shelter from the swell. We spent the morning on the east side, the afternoon on the west side and the evening on the south east of the island. However the maneuvering was worth it to achieve total peace and calm.

Ponza is a tourist island with a number of ferries, tripper boats and many yachts. We were here in 2005 with Andrew's daughter Sarah and friends. I think I should be concerned because, like Procida, I can't remember a thing about this place either. Yesterday we went into town and Andrew could remember where all the shops were. He even said "Look don't you remember, that's where the kids bought the swimming noodles?" l don't know what planet I was on in 2005.

(As I am typing this newsletter the wake from power boats has us rolling so violently that I am holding onto the computer and checking to see if anything in the cabin is about to crash to the floor).

CHANGING OF THE GUARD Our American friends Sam and Bill on "Blue Banana" have been here with us along with "Balvenie". Last night we all had drinks on "Balvenie" while waiting eagerly the arrival of Annie and Liam on the Australian catamaran "Gone with the Wind". No sooner had they dropped their anchor, they joined the party. After drinks we all contributed towards a good Aussie BBQ on "Gone with the Wind" It was a great night with lots of laughs and some serious guitar strumming and singing. "Blue Banana" left this morning for Rome and so it is up to "Eye Candy", "Balvenie" and "Gone with the Wind" to carry on the tradition of friendship at sea.

The following morning the six of us gathered on "Gone with the Wind" and collectively provided cappuccinos, home made scones and peach slice for morning tea. Eye Candy then left the anchorage for the day to seek calmer waters away from the boating traffic. It is a long week end in Ponza and as you can see from the photos the boating Italians are out in force. Unlike us, they are used to anchoring large boats close together. The small motor boats and dinghies are parked in rows along the beach. It looks like a car park, quite unbelievable. We all went into town last night for authentic Italian pizza, yum yum. The pastry is very thin and it has two to four ingredients for the topping. You certainly don't see "Pizza with the lot" like we have in Australia. We enjoyed being in the Italian community. The outdoor restaurants were busy and the kids played on the beach. A soccer ball ended up going through an open door of a souvenir shop. I guess it wasn't the first time, as the female owner just shook her finger at the kids and returned the ball. EVENTUALLY SARDINIA So far this year the weather has been pleasant with temperatures in the high twenties. We still have the doona on the bed which is really quite amazing for the month of June. The water temperature is around 23 degrees and there have been a large number of jelly fish. Andrew got stung yesterday whilst swimming over to see "Balvenie". I get in the water to cool down but I get out pretty quickly.

We will probably head out for Sardinia early tomorrow morning. It will be an overnight sail as we have 150 miles to cover. We are looking forward to this leg as to all reports Sardinia is very pretty and the anchorages are good. We are looking forward to getting to the east coat of Sardinia and away from the ocean swell. Love CANDY xx ---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see: