Will and Oli were due to arrive in the evening of the 27th so Julia, Krysia and I spent the day exploring Palermo. After a decent burger and a wifi session, Krysia introduced us to the phenomenon of Pokemon hunting. Armed with her Iphone she lead us down obscure streets in search of curious augmented reality creatures –a sort of urban treasure hunt, although the treasure was a bit lost on us!
Later on Will and Oli arrived and we spent a third night in the marina at Villa Igiea. In the morning we refuelled and set off for San Vito Lo Capo. Our crew now five strong.
For five hours we motor-sailed west, cutting the engine whenever there was enough breeze. We heard from Brendan and Adam that the beach was overcrowded but fortunately from the boat the scene was much improved. Bright turquoise water showed clear sand patches for easy anchoring. We had a swim, prepared some food then moved bumblebee closer to the shore and took to the tender.
The town of San Vito Lo Capo caters for a large influx of Italian Tourists but still manages to feel quite authentic. Will had his birthday coming up the next day and we found some good present shopping amongst the usual tourist tat. A local recommended Frish as one of the towns hotspots, so we set off to see what this watering hole had to offer. Not much! It turned out to be a fried fish shop with friendly staff who had no idea how to make the drinks on their own menu!
From SVLC we rounded the coast and sailed goose-winged downwind to a sheltered bay on Isola di Levanzo, the nearest of the Egadi Islands. We stayed briefly for a swim and supper before making our way to Trapani, back on the mainland. We had strong northerlies and a bit of swell for the return, making for a spirited sail. Oli took the helm for a fair bit of the crossing, keeping a close reach and riding the waves well. The light began to fade and it was dark by the time we made landfall at the large commercial harbour. We helped ourselves to a vacant berth in a quiet marina at the far end of the harbour.
That evening we welcomed Katie, our sixth crew member who will be helping us cross to Sardinia a few days later. Despite being close to midnight, Julia and Oli nipped into Trapani and somehow emerged with a birthday cake for Will.
The next morning we left Bumblebee securely moored and went off in search of Erice –a medieval hilltop town accessed from Trapani by cable car. Julia and I had visited Erice a few years before but still can’t get enough of the spectacular views and maze of tiny streets.
We returned back to Trapani after lunch as it was time to say farewell to Krysia. We made sure she caught her bus to Palermo, while Julia went back up to Erice to retrieve her phone! After topping up the water tanks and washing down the decks we set off back to the Egadi Islands.
Our destination this time was Favignana, the southern of the three islands. It was getting late so we took a mooring buoy in a sheltered bay on the south east coast. The wind picked up so we spent the evening down below after converting the saloon bed back into a table for supper and a few rounds of Dobble. The Egadi Islands are a carefully regulated marine reserve with certain rules about anchoring. In many of the bays you are obliged to lift your anchor at sunset and take a mooring buoy to protect the beds of Posidonia grass below. There is some irony that the Islands used to be the scene of Tuna fishing and canning on a huge scale.
The next day saw us circumnavigating the island. We pulled in at another bay on the south side and dropped the anchor. We intended to hike up the hill to a ruined fort, so took to the dinghy armed with hiking shoes and mixed optimism. While hunting for the base of the 300m hill it became apparent that the midday heat would be a problem. The decision was taken to explore the main town instead.
Back onboard a few hours later we continued around the island and had a leisurely sail back to Trapani. Will took the helm as we passed between Levanzo and Favignana, cruising with a steady broad reach through the wind shadow of the northern island, then somewhat caught off guard as it picked up again soon after. We took a berth in the marina next door to our previous spot, which turned out to be a much better run affair. Early the next day we saw Will and Oli onto their bus to the airport and returned to Bumblebee for a bit of cleaning, organising and an oil change.