While we were anchored in Vulcano’s Porto di Levante to seek shelter from gusty westerly winds (up to 35 knots), we met Aylin and Goeran from Cantana 3, a Hallberg Rassy 35 under Swedish flag (www.cantana3.com). Those two are the first real cruisers we have met since our departure. Goeran made a 6-year circumnavigation starting in 1993 and currently they are exploring Italy. It was very interesting for us chatting with them about their experiences all over the world.

We left Vulcano on Tuesday 11:00am with a westerly breeze that lifted us conveniently over the still considerable swell. At least for the first 15 nautical miles. Then this breeze faded away and left us in the swell without any pressure in the sails. The rolling and pitching was so horrible that we were forced to use the engine for about 10 hours before arriving in Cefalu on Sicilly. Under engine Pitufa was a bit more stable again, but unfortunately the rumbling of the engine is so loud under deck, that the person off watch can’t find much sleep anyway… At last we could find some sleep in this anchorage well protected by a long breakwater.

Protected from all directions but east, we woke up to face easterly winds carrying already choppy whitecaps into the anchorage. The plan to go to town for some sightseeing and shopping had to be canceled. We lifted anchor and set course for the island of Ustica under full sail.

The 60 miles sailing to Ustica, an island 30 miles North of Palermo, was relatively easy. Except for about two hours at night when we were becalmed, we had favorable winds. First from the east, turning south. Then from the north, turning east again.
We arrived at Ustica in the morning and tied onto a buoy, which wasn’t a simple operation in the confused swell.

Now we hope for a few days of diving and exploring the island – if the wind is gracious enough to allow it ;-) , because there aren’t many protected anchorages around the island. A few metres away from shore it’s still 50 metres deep and almost the only possibility to stay is to tie to a buoy on the leeward side of the island (which changes constantly).

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