Termini Imerese and Santa Marina Salina

Termini is the next stop out of Palermo, the old town Termini is around the port within city gates, the modern Termini Alta is high on a bastion wall and has wonderful views out over the sea and the lower town.  There is train service, which makes it a good port for crew changeover.

Termini has a very large port and they are upgrading all the facilities and putting the smaller boats in a marina closer to the rocky beach and creating an entertainment district with discotheques and bars in the area. Still work to be done there, but a nice jazz bar on an old boat.

There were views to be seen and so we began our walk up the hill, viewing an old Art Deco hotel, we walked over and peeked inside. It had seen better days but was a lovely old hotel.

San Calogero and Termini Imerese
San Calogero and the vista from Termini Imerese

There was a switchback road with stairs and so we began our climb.  This is a very workaday town, not really a tourist tidy town.  Nonetheless, Termini Alta had a wonderful charm, a lovely walk along the bastion, looking over the port and the mountain, San Calogero which overlooks the town.

The big surprise was the Via Roma, a  long flat-stair case street, that links the two ‘stories’ of Termini. There is a Sicilian photographer, Michele Salvo, who captured it in 1920, you can see it here: http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1941363

Via Roma
Via Roma

We were walking down this beautiful street between homes and we turned a corner and all of a sudden we were in the shopping district. Shoes and clothing shops were everywhere, the side walk was about six inches wide, cars had a bit more room. There were surprises around each corner.

The next morning we had a full ten hours of motor sailing to take us the Aeolian Islands.  We had planned to anchor in Isola Filicudi but the anchorage would have been exposed to the sloppy swell, so we decided to press on to Isole Salina.

A New Zealand boat preceded us into the marina, so we waited until they were tied on and then moored stern to next to them.  There were three  lovely Kiwis on board C’est Ma Vie, owned by Graeme Duncalf, with crew Neil Strom and Brian Reid*, all ex-Cherub sailors. [It is everything I can do not to make Cherub jokes, restraint is a necessary part of valour. It is Italy, there are cherubs at every turn.]

We had drinks on board C’est Ma Vie to watch the sun go down and the Super moon come up.  There was a discussion of where we all were going and where both yachts had been.  Then Graeme said, ” I have friends in Sydney, from my Cherub days, The Wilmots and also a bloke named Geoff Davidson.”  We laughed. When I said who did you sail against Jamie or Bobby, he said “Actually Janine and Mandy”

Our Kiwi neighbours
Our Kiwi neighbours

It is hard to explain how good it was to be speaking English [of sorts]  and also good to share stories about The Wilmots and Davo.  Graeme said he had both his legs, because Davo warned him off swimming or windsurfing in Middle Harbour because of all the sharks. I had to tell Graeme about Davo saving me from the Killer Goanna one Christmas holiday, so we agreed Davo knows about dangerous animals. Crikey, there might be a job for Davo in TV.

Super Moon rising over Lipari
Super Moon rising over Lipari
Morning scene at Santa Marina Salina
Morning scene at Santa Marina Salina
Morning scene at Santa Marina Salina
Morning scene at Santa Marina Salina
Stromboli in view, hard to believe it is almost 50 km away
Stromboli in view, hard to believe it is almost 50 km away

Ciaobella, until Lipari.

*PS note the change of surnames for Brian and Neil. Our wonderful neighbours, John and Jenny, who are originally from NZ, emailed to tell us we had the surnames wrong.  They identified Neil and told us what a top bloke he is.  Two degrees of separation.

Sicily: Favignana and San Vito lo Capo

The first thing we noticed about Favignana, an island 7 kilometres off the coast of Trapani, is the crystal clear water. We look at the plotter, which tells us we are in nine metres of water and we can see the bottom. The clarity is beautiful. We are in Italy’s largest marine reserve.

The beach in the harbour at Favignana
The beach in the harbour at Favignana

Many of you will say that you have never heard of Favignana, but if you read Homer’s Odyssey, in a bid to extract yourself from high school, you will know it as Goat Island. This island was the last stop before the Cyclop’s island and was full of goats, which fed the big O’s crew for awhile.

View of the tuna cannery & township of Favignana
View of the tuna cannery & township of Favignana

From the 15th Century, the island was famous for it’s tuna catches and fishermen. In the 19th Century, a wealthy industrialist, Florio built a major tuna cannery on the island, bringing prosperity to the small island and its inhabitants.

Painting of tuna fishing of the past
Painting of tuna fishing of the past

The Arabs were here in the early Middle Ages and they brought the ancient fishing technique called Mattanza, trapping scores of bluefish tuna.  They seemed to be on very long flat boats and they had enormous anchors to hold them fast.  When they switched to long line boats, many of these anchors came onto the beach – a veritable anchor’s graveyard.  Behemoth anchors rusting in silvered wood on the beach near the marina.

Anchor graveyard
Anchor graveyard

We were here on a Sunday, so we weren’t surprised at the number of people riding bikes, scooters and eating gelato even before passeggiata.   Just before sunset, a ferry  came in and engorged a large number of tourists, back to Trapani, home and work on Monday.

Isola Formica, we passed this on the way to San Vito Lo Capo - it is part of the Isole Egadi, and was also the site of a tuna cannery
Isola Formica, we passed this on the way to San Vito Lo Capo – it is part of the Isole Egadi, and was also the site of a tuna cannery

Monday found us on our way to San Vito lo Capo on the Costa Gaia, one of Italy’s most beautiful beaches. San Vito explodes with colour as you approach the beach before turning into the marina.  Brightly coloured umbrellas, beach towels and cossies across the light sand beach animate this patch of Sicily’s coast.

The beach at San Vito Lo Capo
The beach at San Vito Lo Capo

Unlike most of the ancient ports we visit, San Vito lo Capo seems to have been developed in the early 1950’s.  The main street reminds me of Coney Island without the rides, lots of lights, souvenir stores and Havianna stores up and down the street. We will explore a bit more today.