Hope's and Howard's Sailing Adventures

Atlantic Cruising on board Mazu

Sicily – The Southeast

Siracusa was definitely worth exploring more, with its history almost covering three millennia. Most recently during the allied sea and air invasion in July 1943, its harbor was a major strategic target for Montgomery. Patton went after Licata. Siracusa was founded by the Greeks around 733 BC and was the birthplace and home of Archimedes.  Apparently Da Vinci plagiarized some of Archimedes ideas. There is a nice museum with working.. Read More

Sicily – The Ionian Coast

The Strait of Messina separates Sicily from the toe of Italy.  It is narrower at the northern end (barely 1.5 nm) and wider at the southern end (about 7 nm).  It also separates the Tyrrhenian Sea from the Ionian Sea and has a reputation, dating back millennia for fearsome whirlpools and winds whistling down the mountains that border it (e.g. Scilla and Charybdis in The Odyssey).  Interestingly, the eddies in.. Read More

Vulcano

It seems the Mediterranean summer weather pattern of northeasterly winds is settling in, as we experienced during our passage from Sardinia to the Aeolian Islands off the north coast of Sicily.  Unfortunately the wind was a bit on the light side, especially as we were sailing downwind on a SE-erly course so, while we enjoyed some leisurely downwind sailing, yet again, the engine assisted us more than we would have.. Read More

Cruising Sardinia

After being in a marina in Castelsardo our next stop, after about 5 hours of mainly motor-sailing was Porto Pozzo, where we picked up a mooring ball (€25/night). PP is on a long rocky inlet, with the small town at the southern end.  We had a very pleasant meal in an up-market restaurant overlooking the bay the first night of our two-day stay there. Our next port of call was.. Read More

Sardinia – and entering Italian waters

The 35-hour passage from Menorca to northern Sardinia was benign, perhaps a little too benign in fact because we ended up using the engine somewhat more than we wanted …. for almost 21 of those hours.  Better that way than too much, I suppose.  It was a moonless night so the stars were shining brightly but the phosphorescence was lovely, maybe fewer but larger bursts of light than we have.. Read More

Menorca

Sadly our time in Menorca is drawing to a close, having been here for a week now.  Our first couple of days at anchor in the beautiful Cala Galdena (pictured at top) were quite relaxing.  Our anchor held well even with some fairly strong gusts on occasions, still our GPS position remained on our original dot, taking wind direction into account.  A cautionary note, beware of forecasts in this region.. Read More

Farewell Mallorca, Hello Menorca!

As we hadn’t managed to circumnavigate the island, we decided to rent a car on our last day in Mallorca and do it by land instead.  In fact, it gave us another dimension of the place and in many ways was perhaps better than doing it by boat …. but we both agreed that we prefer traveling by sea, especially after the nth roundabout. We headed northwest through Artà that.. Read More

Mallorca – the Coast facing SE

From Cabrera we had a pleasant enough sail with a bit of motoring to Puerto Petro.  The highlight of the passage was being accompanied by several, what we think were, bottlenose dolphins for a while.  One in particular seemed to hang around longer than the others, swimming off and then returning, rolling over to show his lighter colored underbelly as he approached our bow.  The water was so beautifully clear.. Read More

Islas de Cabrera

We had our best sail so far this year from Palma to Cabrera, a lovely reach in bright sunshine with one reef in the mainsail and adjusting the genoa to maximize our speed while not stressing us or the boat.  We tend to reduce sail early as it usually results in a much more comfortable ride while barely losing any speed.  We were often doing well over 8 knots so.. Read More

Mallorca – so far

We had good downwind sailing across from Ibiza in the company of an American catamaran, Sweety, with Tony and Shannon onboard whom we were in touch with on VHF.  While we had thought we would make Camp de Mar our first stop, upon reading the guide book and reviews on Captain’s Mate (a great app managed by the Cruising Association), we decided to opt instead for Santa Ponsa, as did.. Read More