Thursday, June 18, 2015

Viba Valentia; Cetrara; Scario and Salerno

 This will be a brief posting.  It is late and we have an early day tomorrow.

After Scilla we motored up to Vibo Valentia and stayed at the the Marina Stella del Sud for a few days.  What a gem!  Why have we not heard about this place from any other cruisers!

Coastal sailing along west coast of Italy
This is a small family owned marina situated right in a nice little town.  I think it would be a perfect place to winter as long as one does not require a lot of other cruisers for companionship.  The young man who assisted with our docking lines invited us to share in a lunch of freshly caught tuna.  What an experience!  It was so much fun!  Father, uncle, grandfather, sons, cousins, even babies -- a true family experience.  With typical Italian animated hand movements and loud voices while smiling the entire time.   Grilled fresh tuna and grilled peppers with nice wine and Prosecco and homemade Lemoncelo (I now have the recipe!).  It was a blast!  

Our main nav computer failed while motoring north from Scilla.  Bill pulled out one of our back-up computers and we continued onward.  Bill then took apart the broken computer and did trouble-shooting as far as he could diagnose with the limitations of being on a boat. Then he packed it up and shipped it back to the manufacturer in the states in hopes that it can be repaired.  We continued onward.

Scario, Italy
Next stop was Cetraro.  We had planned to anchor a bit farther up the coast but the swell was awful and anchoring would have been miserable rolling all night long.  So we tucked into the marina at Cetraro.  Nothing special there; just a place to tie up behind the secure walls of a marina and we moved onward the following morning.

By then the swell was dying down and we opted to anchor outside the tiny harbor at Scario, a picture postcard little village.  It was lovely.  The first night anchored there was calm and wonderful.  The second night was so rolly that neither of us slept well.  No strong winds up in the huge bay but lots of swell caused by the 30-knot winds offshore outside the capes on either end of that huge bay.  Funny how the large bays on the western coast of Italy can remain low wind when it is howling offshore of the capes.

After  a sleepless night we had the anchor up and were underway by 0530; destination Salerno.   Swell outside the capes was still pretty large and as we rounded the last cape south of Salerno a squall slammed us hard.  Actually, a cell moved in over the mountains on our right and another cell moved in from the sea on our left and when the 2 cells converged winds kicked up to 40-knots and rain poured for a couple of hours.  Just as it started to get bad, Bill looked at me and played the little game that we sometimes play.  I was the one at the helm so I got the questions.

Him:  "Look at me.  What would you do if navigation computer failed now?"

Me:  "Steer 350 magnetic."

Him:  "Okay; and what if engine failed also?"

Me:  "Turn hard to port and furl out the genoa and head out to sea."

Got those right so he did not ask me any more questions.  Sailing requires that one be prepared for the 'what ifs' at all times.

Cloud formations
The rain and wind diminished and we continued to the new Marina D'Arechi about 3 miles south of Salerno.  We would have preferred to go to Porto Nuovo but there was no way to contact that marina.  And no way to contact the Porto Turistico at Salerno.  So we went to the expensive new marina and were sadly disappointed when they assigned us berthing docked stern-to against a very high concrete dock.  This was not appropriate docking for our sized boat; it was meant for a larger and higher motor yacht.  Plus, this marina is very isolated.  There was nothing nearby.  It was not completed yet but did not have pre-completion pricing.  It was the most expensive marina we have stayed at in Italy thus far.

We caught a taxi and went to check out Porto Nuovo.  I found the ormeggio who had a section of dock that could handle our sized boat.  There are 8 ormeggio concessions within Porto Nuovo.  There are no contact phone numbers published in the sailing guide books for the various ormeggio concessions.  I have no idea how a boat is supposed to come in here and find out where to go to dock.  Using the taxi was the only way we could figure out how to get in there and where to go.  I walked around talking to anyone found on the main dock and soon found a guy who called a woman who spoke English.  She said their dock could accommodate our 16-meter sailboat and gave us a discount on a week's stay for 500 Euro.
If anyone is coming here, you can call Madiarosa Autuori at +39 339 843 2719 and arrange berthing.  If one speaks Italian, you can hail VHF channel 8 for Ormeggio Autuori and request berthing.  See?  Is that really so difficult?  Why couldn't the sailing guide book provide that information!!!  (Instead, we paid 47 Euro for a taxi to find that out.)

Finally baked Bill a birthday cake.
Only 10 days after his birthday.

This morning we motored over (in large swell and 38-kt winds!) and docked at Ormeggio Autuori in Porto Nuovo.  This is a corner of the large commercial port has wonderful long breakwater.  We like it here on this floating dock much better than the far-nicer more isolated marina with their too-high concrete dock.  

We immediately went to the central train station and bought tickets for the train to Pompeii tomorrow morning.

Time for a little sight-seeing!

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