Saturday, 26 October 2013

Voyage Sicilia Part 3 - Puglia, prettier than it sounds

I'm really liking Italy. It has surprised me.  Or it had surprised me - until we started the crawl down the coast from Monopoli to Brindisi when the landscape, from 2 miles offshore, started to remind me of home (that being the West Midlands) with the icing on the cake being Brindisi which definitely gives the Black Country a run for its money.  I'm being rather cruel towards the Black Country on this one.

In typical fashion, I'm now days behind in keeping this up to date though I do have an excuse this time.  The days have been long, hours weird, moorings rolly and head fuzzy so I'll do a potted history until we reach the good bit.

Friday 18th October 2013 - Trani to Monopoli
Horrible quartering sea left behind from the big blow of the previous days but no wind to speak of so had an 8 hour nauseating slog.  Monopoli looked like a dump on arrival, was helped in by a fishermong (surprisingly helpful) and when I went exploring, I disappeared through an archway in the harbour wall into pretty whitewashed streets and a buzzing centre with market etc.  All very nice.  And the mooring alongside the wall was free.  Not much space though if more than a couple of boats in.
sunrise sailing, coffee not G&T

Horrible quartering sea, both dogs got sea sick particularly Mollie who, like us humans, appeared to want to take the easy way out

Sunrise from Monopoli

Looking down at MB in Monopoli harbour

Monty B (second in) on harbour wall in Monopoli

Lots of stuff like this hidden in the backstreets

The town revealed itself as we sailed away to Brindisi

Saturday 19th October 2013 - Monopoli to Brindisi
Not much to report - boring landscapes, Brindisi a dump, crap moorings alongside with constant washes from ferry which crossed the harbour every 15 mins or so and moored just next to us.  Moved to stern-to moorings the next day (wind forecast on nose so stayed in harbour) but washes just as bad. Had a pizza and beer afternoon on town promenade which was quite nice. Had weird pain in foot all day which really hurt then disappeared completely when I woke up the next day....strange.

Monday 21st October 2013 - Trafalgar Day (apparently) - Brindisi to Otranto
Another nothing day, coastline dull, motorsailing for 8 hours. Arrived Otranto mid afternoon which was great as we were anchored off for first time since arriving in Italy and water crystal clear so got to have a swim, fab.  Too knackered to go into town but may as well as rolly night with swell coming into harbour so not great sleep.

Tuesday 22nd October 2013 - Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca
Planned to leave before sunrise but thick fog rolled in just before we left so sat tight until 0920 which put THE PLAN back by 2.5 hours.  Grrrr.  Interesting landscape, reminiscent of Derbyshire in some ways, lots of soft limestone hills and gulleys.  Arrived in Leuca to be greeted by a miserable, unhelpful sod of a marinero and (we'd been warned) a rock n rolly well entering the harbour.  Side on, more rolling around, more headache.

THE PLAN involved arriving at Leuca around lunchtime so we could have a restful afternoon then go to bed about 8pm so we'd be fresh as daisies when we got up at 2am to start our overnight passage from the heel of Italy, across the Gulf of Taranto to the foot.  However, of course that didn't happen and we ended up on the go until gone 8pm.

I was pretty anxious about the whole overnight thing.  I'd avoided it by taking the short route over to Italy - but now the time had come.  The last time we were at sea at night on Monty B was the horror journey of 2007. Something my brain was now hard-wired to ensure I would never repeat.  But I'd chosen this weather window - and it looked pretty damned perfect.

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