August 21, 2015

Heading to Gibraltar– Trapani (Sicily) to Villasimius (Sardinia)

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The african high pressure on the Mediterranean Sea starts weakening mid August, exactly when we decide to leave Trapani. Cold fronts from the Atlantic start getting their influence on Italian seas bringing strong winds, gale force, rough sea and pouring rain.

The first time we try to cast off is August 15th but as soon as we approach the island of Levanzo we fight against a terrible sea from West – waves more than 2 meters high – and against strong winds. We have to sail about 150 nautical miles with these weather conditions and honestly it is not appealing at all. We are not in any rush after all. We decide to go back to Levanzo where we pick up a mooring ball, enjoy the rest of the day and the gorgeous view, well protected in the bay of Cala Fredda.

The next morning the weather changes again. Wind shifts quickly southwesterly and increases to Force 7 bringing heavy, black clouds. We leave Cala Fredda as quick as possible as it is not protected from any southerly winds and head to Cala Rossa in the Island of Favignana, a fantastic bay very well protected in this case. We drop our anchor just in time to get few showers, then we wait till the thunderstorms are over.

The wind is finally weakening, however westerly swells enter the bay and our anchorage become very rolly. There aren’t that much bays or anchorages protected from strong westerly swells in the Egadi archipelago so we decide to sail back to Port of Trapani and drop our anchor in the dedicated area, close to Colombaia. It’s about 10:30pm when we finally get in the Port, we have dinner while watching fireworks !

We wake up the next morning refreshed but the moment we get out in the cockpit for breakfast we have a bad surprise: our new outboard vanished. We realise by the footprints and the blue varnish on our stern that during the night someone boarded Y2K and removed the outboard. We are quite disappointed and embittered. This means waste of time as we have to report the theft to authority and, above all, a waste of our precious money. And thanks God we decided to pick up our little old Suzuki 2.2 in the end, otherwise it would have been even worse.

The weather is still unstable but apparently there is a chance to cross to Sardinia between 18th and 19th of August as wind should shift to South. Finally we leave the Port of Trapani at midday of the 18th, on our way out we meet Michela and Riccardo of “Clandestinoabordo” and Antonella and Stefano of “Cautha” for a final goodbye.

We also say goodbye to Trapani, the Egadi Islands and Sicily, and so our new “Adventure” begins. We set sails and route to Villasimius, Sardinia. In the first part of our crossing the wind is really weak and we keep motoring. Just few miles out of the Island of Marettimo we get a nice southeasterly breeze so we can stop our engine and sail nicely downwind for most of the night. The wind starts shifting south, then south west and then dies. We go on motoring.

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There are thunderstorms on our left running fast south, we can see the lightnings and hear the thunders but luckily none is crossing our path. The sky is clear, there’s no moon and we just relax in the cockpit looking at a spectacular bright Milky Way.

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It’s 4am when we get few showers but it doesn’t last and it’s clear again after a couple of hours. The updated weather forecast on VHF is quite disappointing. Apparently gales and thunderstorms are all over the Mediterranean but the grib files of our area are definitely more cheering. We will get a west - north west wind closer to Sardinia.

We are finally getting to Cala Giunco/Villasimius and as forecasted we sail upwind against 20 kt westerly wind and increasing. At midday of August 19th we finally drop our anchor in the stunning clear waters of Villasimius. It has been a long time, we are back to Sardinia.

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