I like a simple plan and this year I want to sail into Venice, and so I have booked a month in marina Vento di Venezia in the summer. Greece has been my home for 21 months and my final stop will be to anchor at the tiny island, Othoni, off the north coast of Corfu. We had to motor from Corfu to Othoni and anchored inside the bay in front of the only town, Ammou. Up with the sunrise we left Othoni, and Greece. A light southerly wind soon picked up and I pulled the cruising chute out to sail along beautifully. As the wind strengthened I dropped the cruising chute and rolled out the genoa, and soon registered 6.8 knots boat speed. This was a day to remember as we reached the Italian coastal resort of San Foca di Melendugno. However, our next passage up to Brindisi was all under motor in very calm conditions. Brindisi itself was great…a beautiful old town, a lively harbour front and a party atmosphere for the start of the annual Brindisi – Corfu sailing regatta. Once in a while I stumble across a jewel of a place that I have never heard of before. I left Brindisi and very nearly passed Monopoli on my way to Bari. BUT, having sailed all day I moored in the big harbour at Monopoli and discovered a beautiful old walled city….and for the third time met Jack Sparrow, an Austrian sailing instructor and pirate! Then, our passage up the Puglia coast to Bari, where the remains of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) are kept in a crypt in the Basilica….and an extra day in Bari because a photography exhibition of the David Bowie Heroes concert in Tokyo was on display in the Norman fort. The Puglia coast has many delightful surprises, and the harbour at Trani proved to be very lively and very noisy. I’m enjoying the east coast of Italy more than I thought possible, and the next town of Vieste gave two firework displays in one evening of events. While the Adriatic had various gale warnings our planned sail from Vieste to Termoli was just cloudy and both lively and fast. Just how fascinating is history!…in 1943 British Commandos made a secret and successful landing at Termoli to gain control of local airfields for allied aircraft to use as a base. Today, Termoli is a great seaside resort with a beautiful old town. The passage to Pescara started badly as working boats entered the marina at 5am, and then continued in the same vein as we motored all day into a strengthening wind between gas fields and fish farms. Then I nearly ran aground entering Pescara marina….phew! I watched the Pescara 70.3 Ironman race and the memories of triathlon racing came flooding back, and then I remembered that I’m a sailor now, not a triathlete! The sail up to San Giorgio posed a question…why did I have to search for every ounce of wind on passage only to find it gusting when trying to moor up in the marina! San Giorgio was the recommendation of Claudio who I met in Termoli, and the town and its beach were a beautiful place to spend the longest day of the year. The “perfectly planned sail” up to Ancona turned out to be motoring in calm conditions and searing heat! The most expensive marina visited on the east coast of Italy, and probably the best. The city was a long walk from the marina and worth every step. All is now ready for the longest passage….. 124nm to Venice. Exactly 24 hours of sailing and motoring to reach my main destination of the year, and to greet me were dark skies, howling wind and heavy rain! Ciao Venice!
I had booked a month in Vento di Venezia marina on the island Certosa, and the diary will continue in “Venice and Florence”.