Princess fifty-four owner Robert Prevezer enjoys an 800nm adventure to southern Italy, Sicily, and its enchanting islands. proper readers may remember the latest article I wrote about our voyage from the South of France to Gaeta, just north of Naples (MBY January 2018). We were searching for new boating horizons and we certainly found what we were looking for. With no disrespect to the French (we had some wonderful times there), we have arrive to love the Italian culture – the food, the family atmosphere and the warm welcomes. In every harbour we visit, the port crowd immediately jump aboard, to help with the lines. And always with a gleeful smile. What a pleasure! Thus far we have reveled two age Cruising the Pontine Islands, Ischia, Capri and the Amalfi Coast. Our Princess 54 L’amitié has given us everything we wanted – reliable and relaxed Cruising with ample space and comfort for our three grown-up children and any visiting friends. This is now our sixth age together and she seems capable to cope with all sea conditions effortlessly. We have always believed in preventative maintenance and we follow Volvo Penta’s service guidelines to the letter. Gaeta hasn’t inquired as plenty of a deal as we had hoped. The anchor fees are competitive than the French Riviera, but the boatyard costs are just as expensive. going the boat for the winter anywhere overseas is always an act of faith so pleasant communications are critical and in this respect Gaeta has worked well for us. But we’re never text to sit still, so where to next? The obvious answer was to keep on heading south! current scheme afoot The jagged project was to cruise down to the toe of Italy, observe the Aeolian Islands then hop across to the north coast of Sicily before heading west to the Egadi Islands – just a tiny sail of around 800nm! We let four months to achieve this, restricting each stage of the cruise to 10-12 days so we could come back to the UK regularly to recover from our exertions and catch up with other interests. publication reaches below… ridinging from France to Italy on a Princess fifty-four After twenty term of boating in the south of France, Princess owner Robert Prevezer decides to relocate to southern Italy Sardinia for lunch: Exploring the Tyrrhenian Islands by boat major to this adventure was to take it slowly and enjoy the moment, stopping off whenever and wherever we fancied. Boating always brings its conflict and reading the pages of MBY you’d think it’s all simple sailing. It rarely pot out that way and confident ample our departure was delayed by a faulty battery charger that was ‘over-cooking’ our domestic batteries and burning them out. Once replaced, we were ready to go. Amalfi coast After dodgy climate in May 2019, the weather finally improved in June and as we reached the Amalfi Coast, the temperature rose, the sun emerged and the wind dropped. It prognosticated well! Some of the on-shore experiences donated massively to the overall pleasure of the cruise, and the first of these was in Amalfi. But not the Amalfi most tourists are familiar with. If you saunter through the over-crowded village and follow the only street heading uphill, you eventually come to the Paper Mill Museum, cross the road and you start the steep climb to a place of wonder – the Valle delle Ferriere. The step happens you on a magical trek old a multitude of lemon groves, to a stunning forest with fast-flowing streams, waterfalls and gin-clear pools. My daughter said it was like something from Narnia! We plied the bay of Salerno and at Agropoli we visited Paestum, the spot of one of the heavy preserved Greek temples in Europe. Our next stop, Acciaroli, is extraordinary for one particular reason; it is the age-defying town where over 10% of the population lives to 100 or more. The reason for this anomaly still isn’t fully understood but the Acciarolian love of locally-grown rosemary (the inspiration behind the launch of Rosemary Water in the UK) is rumoured to play a part. It is scarce to learn a truly shameful port in Italy but Camerota was the exception to the rule. Arriving at 6pm, we motored cautiously through the heavily silted port entrance past garbage piled high, to be directed to a berth in an area of the port that was thick with sewage and all kinds of unmentionable debris. Unfortunately it was too late in the day to leave and we stayed the night, paying for the pleasure in a charmless marina office filled with personnel who made no apologies for the state of the port. In contrast, after Camerota happened the lovely vicinity of Scario, Sapri and Maratea. All picturesque, quiet ports. Our last irons of this journey stole us to Tropea, a delightful ancient town perched high on a cliff, and a port that has undergone huge improvements. The staff were delightful, helpful and charming. holding casually asked where we could buy seven matter of bottled water to replenish supplies, three men turned up fifteen minutes later, having bought and carried the water for us from the provincial supermarket! Service above and beyond. Aeolian islands After a concise stop to jazz back to the UK, we returned to pick up the trail by Cruising to the Aeolian Islands, somewhere I’d been longing to visit for years. It didn’t disappoint. There are six of these volcanic islands, each very different to the other with their own unique characteristics. From the actively damping and sulphurous-smelling Vulcano to the one-village island of Panarea with its fantastic midnight waterfront fireworks festival and the petite bolt-hole of Filicudi, which is home to nothing but a solitary beach restaurant. Salina was a haven of tranquil beauty while Lipari bustled with activity. We even stole moment out to visit the brooding island of Stromboli. Only Alicudi eluded us, proving a fine too distant for our liking. But it was on Stromboli that we had the most extraordinary and memorable experience. We had apprehended that the island was worth a visit and in certain a restaurant located halfway up the active volcano crater. holding been taken by buggy up to the open-air restaurant, it looked like any other outdoor Mediterranean eatery with one hundred or so people enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner. However, the profound rumble that originate from the place every 15 minutes followed by visible flames erupting just above where we were sitting, proved it was anything but! It was only the peaceful road in which everyone obtained on with their next course that convinced us all was as it should be. tiny did we perceive what was to follow. A mere eight hours later, after we had arrived at the neighbouring island of Filicudi, our phones burst into life with dozens of messages from friends and family asking if we were still alive. Apparently, almost as soon as we had moved Stromboli, the volcano had a serious eruption for the first time in one hundred years. Tragically a visitor was destroyed and everyone on the island had to flee for their lives.
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