Voyage of Traveler / Blog

August 3, 2009

Traveler Postcard From Venice, Taormina, Amalfi, Sorrento and Capri

Buon giorno,

We loved Venezia!  We sailed Traveler into the Lagoon of Venice, something we’ve been looking forward to for many years, while playing Dean Martin’s “Mambo Italiano.”  We were able to berth Traveler at the prestigious San Giorgio Yacht Club, located directly across the Grand Canal from Piazza San Marcos and the Doge’s Palace–a fabulous location–thanks to our Italian former crew member Filippo.  We all especially enjoyed getting some beers and take-out pizza and then cruising and sight-seeing around the narrow canals, crowded with gondoliers.  I stood while driving the dinghy, with gondolas in front and behind us, and sang, “That’s Amore.”  Kellie and her friend Priscilla then wandered and explored around Venice while Barbara and I enjoyed a wonderful operatic concert in a 400 year old church–which we just happened upon while on our dinghy ride in the canals.  Priscilla had to return to the US, but we had a great time cruising from Dubrovnik to Venice with her.

From Venice we sailed south down the Adriatic Sea, well off the east coast of Italy, and stopped for the night at Vieste, located on the “spur” of Italy’s boot.  We stopped here to get some rest and to take shelter from some rough winds and seas (it blew 30, on the bow, with gusts to 40, and after we were safely in the harbor the wind briefly hit 50 knots.) Vieste is probably the most charming place on the east coast of Italy, hosting an old walled town high on a hill with narrow winding streets.

From Vieste we sailed when the wind was good, motor-sailed when it was light, and then had to sail the last 30 miles or so tacking into the wind and against a two knot current because our engine died (again!) to Messina, Sicily.  In Messina, we found a good mechanic who fixed the engine.  The new exhaust elbow we had installed in Turkey warped at the flange allowing raw exhaust to blow in to the engine compartment, fouling the air filter so badly that the engine stalled.  What a mess to clean up.  While we were in Messina (the NE corner of Sicily), we took a train down to Taormina.  Loved Taormina.  Really a gorgeous, delightful place, situated high on a mountainous shoreline, overlooking the Messina Strait.  Mt. Etna graced the background.

After Messina, we stopped at the island of Stromboli, Europe’s most active volcano, for a swim, a BBQ’d fish dinner and to see the natural fireworks of the volcano, which erupted every five to ten minutes and was spectacular at night.  We left at midnight, taking watches, and motored north to Amalfi, arriving there and anchoring just before dark.  We dinghied in to the town for gelato and a walk around, and found it to be very charming, crowded and alive, well into the night.  We had engine troubles, yet again, and had to sail without the engine from Amalfi to Sorrento, even though there was light wind and an adverse current with confused seas around Punta Campanella.  With four miles to go the wind died and the current was pushing us backwards.  We put the dinghy along side of Traveler and had the dinghy, with its 8hp Yamaha outboard, push Traveler.  Barbara, Kellie and I each took turns in the dinghy, which was tough duty due to the choppy sea conditions.  We finally arrived in the Marina Piccola at about 11pm, and somehow found space along the wharf to tie up in the packed little harbor.  This time the problem was the sensor at the bottom of the fuel filter developed an air leak so air was getting mixed in with our diesel just as it was entering our engine, which caused the engine to stall.  We finally got this problem fixed and now the engine is running well. In Sorrento, we met up with Michael’s mother, Chris, and stepfather, Bob Kays. Together, we rented a car and saw the ruins of Pompeii.  Then we all departed Sorrento for nearby Capri Island.

Capri is amazing, one of the best islands we have seen, not just in the Med but anywhere in our world travels.   We anchored, swam, cliff jumped, explored three grottos (Blue, White and Green) by dinghy, went into Capri Town just in time for a gorgeous sunset, some shopping and to enjoy a fabulous Italiano dinner with much chianti at a restaurant on a cliff overlooking the sea and the harbor below.

We (Michael, Barbara, Kellie, Chris and Bob) are now headed for Ponza Island (40-54N, 013-06E), which is midway between Capri and Rome, to do some swimming and snorkeling along a rocky shoreline, and then dinner and to spend the night. Next stop, Roma, where Barbara and Michael will celebrate the fourth (!) anniversary of their first date.

Livin’ the Dream, Italiano-style,
Michael and Barbara
with Kellie, Chris and Bob

1 Comment »

  1. My gosh…I can’t believe it’s been 4 years. How time flies…

    Comment by Louise Losson — August 29, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress