Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tyrrhenian Sea

Tyrrhenian Sea
August 7th, 2008
coordinates 39 59.932N,015 25.721E

At least from the water side point of view, Italy lives up to it's romantic visions of terraced hillsides and fertile grounds, villas hidden in between the larger towns of apartments and hotels and the drier rocky mountains. The water is much warmer than the Ionian Sea at a balmy 82 degrees and the air a very warm 90 degrees with just enough humidity to make you wish for a bit more wind. The hazy days make way each afternoon for ominous thunder clouds over the land that occasionally create enough
noise and even visible lightning to make you think they might get to you, but they don't. The smaller more quaint, quiet and yet untouched towns look much like Greece with their colorful red and purple bouganvilla and geraniums, perched on blue covered porches and doorways.
August, we have heard, is when all of Europe goes on vacation, and we would have to add to that, they all own a water craft of some sort and flock to the sea. They race out at sunrise and don't retreat until sundown, which is near 10:00pm. It is wonderful to see them take advantage of the time they have to share together and the resources at their feet.
We have managed thus far to avoid the expensive marinas and found plenty of comfortable and safe anchorages to lay our own hook.
We had the fortune of making our way through the Straight of Messina with the current rather than against. It can get up to 4 knots in there. Homer wrote of Odysseus in the Odyssey, fearing the great sea monsters here. Scillia had long legs that sucked vessels and sea creatures right up into the sky and Charybdis swallowed them down into the ocean. In truth is it possible that water spouts could have occurred in the straight when the winter storms and gales are howling seeming to suck them into
the sky. There was a whirl pool, the guide book states, under the town of Scillia created by the strong currents could wreak havoc on unwary ships but in an earthquake in 1783, changes the underwater topography lessened it to menacing eddies.
From Messina we made a bee line to Stromboli Island, home to yet another perpetually active volcano. It experienced a large eruption in 2002-2003 that caused a large strip of the western side to slide into the ocean. Flowing and spewing lava and ash into the sky and sinking into the water as well, helped to create a 10 meter tsunami that covered the shores of Stromboli itself and Sicily. Today it sends out mild smoke signals at regular intervals visible during the day and exciting fireworks displays
of lava and red hot boulders at night. The island, still inhabited enjoys it's fame and runs a very nice little tourist industry of it's own there. Understated but getting the job done, you can take day time and evening hikes to the crater's edge to view the show. Free to anchor there, we were happy to watch from the water.
Back to the main land we have dotted our way up the coast as we head toward Naples. Our stay last night at Punta di Degli Infreschi was a very popular spot with the locals for a day get away with fun caves to swim into and explore. Likely 40 some odd boats crammed themselves in this cove for a delightful stay only to find the Ohana Kai Klampets already on a mooring there hanging all their laundry out to dry. Lovely. Upward we go toward Naples, Vesuvius and Pompeii.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A huge hello to you all! I am one of the commanders of motovedetta Coastguard of fiumicino who had the pleasure to know the day of 16 August 2008. We hope to continue serenely your adventure. And wind behind!

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