Friday, 8 July 2016

Taormina

We slip quietly out of the port of Lipari just after dawn, our bow slicing through the flat, mirrored surface of the lazy morning sea.  The Aeolian Islands slowly merge in our wake, then fade and disappear into the haze.  We are heading for the Straits of Messina, a strip of water just a mile wide that separates Sicily from the Italian mainland, where the currents run fast between the Tyrrhenian Sea in the North and the Ionian to the South. We plan to catch the last of the south-setting current to push us down the East coast of Sicily to the famous hilltop town of Taormina.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Filicudi

A deep ravine cuts a jagged line down the steep slopes to the waters edge where a cluster of pastel-coloured houses nestle above the shoreline, each one framed in white stucco, a gallery of water colours on the shore.  

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The new season starts


The mountains of Sardinia lie low on the horizon, the morning haze softening the harsh silhouette of jagged peaks and plunging cliffs; a single clump of white cumulus cloud hangs over the land, the only feature in the powder-blue morning sky.  As we leave our anchorage, a light wind pushes us slowly east towards Filicudi, an island in the Aeolian group, off the north coast of Sicily, where we plan to make landfall tomorrow.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Queensland, Australia


The wind has come up again; blowing over 30 knots as we approach Hydrographers Passage, the pass through the Great Barrier Reef.  We identify the westerly cardinal buoy and the tower marking the opposite side of the channel. This is the finish line for our last leg of the World ARC and we cross the line in the lead, around seven hours ahead of the nearest boat. As we close the pass we can see white water breaking on the reef and then we are though; inside this huge reef but still a hundred miles from the coast of Queensland.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Vanuatu

Silver threads of rain glisten in the glow of our deck lights as we ghost into Port Resolution bay. It is pitch black with no moon. We follow the waypoints on our chart to take us between the reefs and into the shelter of this deeply indented bay.  It is very unsettling anchoring in a shallow bay at night with no ambient light and reefs and shoals on all sides.  I kill the engine and the silence is profound.  This is the island of Tanna, in Vanuatu, devastated by a hurricane only a few months ago and we are here with much-needed supplies for the villagers.