Departure: Port de Sollér, Mallorca, October 8, 12 am Arrival: Pollença, Mallorca october 8, 10 pm Nautical miles: 47
Our departure from Port de Sollér was not pleasant, just getting out of the bay was a swelly mess and even though the exit is quite wide, it still felt a bit nerve-racking passing the cliffs with waves hitting them with dramatic force. But we had to leave, if we waited just one more day we’d miss the window to cross to Sardegna via Menorca. We sailed to the edge of the island in order to make the next day’s crossing to Menorca as comfortable as possible.
Departure: Pollença, Mallorca, October 9, 10 am Arrival: Cala Mitjana, Menorca, October 9, 7 pm Nautical miles: 41
This was definitely one of those times where we cursed our heavily weather-dependent mode of transport, as we would have loved to explore the island and anchored in its gorgeous bays. At least we got to enjoy the beautiful bay of Mitjana for our night anchorage and a view of the lovely coastline as we sailed past the island.
Departure: Cala Mitjana, Menorca, October 10, 7 am Arrival: Carloforte, Sardegna, October 11, 9.30 pm Nautical miles: 216
Long-distance sailing isn’t always as happy and fun as we may make it out to be – often it is a struggle and a logistical nightmare. That’s why it’s important to appreciate and embrace the good moments, so you can find the motivation to keep going. We truly needed that after our second longest passage from Menorca to South Sardinia. Although rather short, uneventful and in the end successful, a combination of confused seas and shifting winds during the first night drained our energy and made it a bit miserable. Shorter than the Biscay, but it felt miles longer. We kind of recovered by the second day, but were very happy to arrive in Sardinia and get a good night’s sleep.
The next day everyone’s moods were back up following a walk for Kai, a nice sail along the lovely Sardinian coast, and allowing ourselves to just fool around a bit and appreciate the moment.
While in Sardegna we anchored in Atioco, Porto Pino and Malfatano – all beautiful bays and we can highly recommend sailing the south coast of the island (again we had to wait out some thunderstorms and heavier winds). Before getting ready to cross to Sicily, we sailed to Cagliari for provisions and some stereotypical Italian food and drink – pizza, spritz, gelato and cappuccino with brioche.
We did one extra night in Medentis before commencing our crossing to Sicily. We initially thought we’d start with a night sail, but the wind wasn’t too promising and the bay was completely calm (something we’d come to appreciate highly as it can be a rare find in the Med).
Departure: Medentis, Sardegna, October 17, 9.30 am Arrival: Vulkano, Sicily, October 19, 11.30 pm Nautical miles: 290
The days were getting shorter and we now barely had 12hrs of daylight to sail. When sailing one arguably gets more in touch with nature, this also affects one’s sleeping pattern. We are great sleepers, which doesn’t come handy on long overnight passages, during which we are basically a zombie boat with AIS and lights. The full moon however was a great treat, giving us plenty of light and energy, lifting the spirits during our 2 night sail from Sardinia to Sicily.
As we arrived by the western edge of Sicily and got an updated forecasted, we decided to keep going, as we were now racing to make the next window to cross to Greece and had to leave Sicily again in less than 48 hours. We therefore decided to aim for Vulkano in the hope of a calm anchorage for a good night’s sleep.
Departure: Vulkano, Sicily, October 20, 9.30 am Arrival: Reggio Calabria, Sicily, October 20, 6 pm Nautical miles: 48
We were really sad to miss Sicily entirely and not getting a chance to explore any of the volcano islands. To add insult to injury we learned that Harrison Ford was filming the new Indiana Jones at one of the bays where we thought we’d have anchored, if only we had had the time.
We’d heard other sailors describe the treacherous strait of Sicily, but we did not take them seriously and who do you think ended up looking like complete a-holes? Just guessed it! We did not check the tides, but headed straight in, and surprise we ended up battling the craziest currents we’ve experienced so far. We went almost full throttle with our challenged engine trying to pass in between the ferries and not kiss the harbour walls, and eventually we made it through – but we wouldn’t recommend this course of action.
On the plus side (read sarcasm) we arrived in Reggio Calabria which pretty much turned out to be the worst marina ever! It was 50 euro, no amenities and super bad location in regards to do food shopping (we had to walk on what was pretty much a motorway to get into the city). We suppose the high price was due to it’s location right next to coast guard etc. – a high security level might be necessary in Reggio Calabria from the look of things.
We couldn’t wait to get out of there. But at least we managed to do the shopping, refill water and diesel (even for these small passages we prefer to be fully stocked on all provisions just in case) before commencing our passage to Greece.