We enjoy an early morning walk/jog on a track overhung with trees, by a farm with its orchard, vines, corn crops and cows with their bells jingling.

Later we have a surprise visit from a man and his daughter and her friend who swim out to the boat. They come on board for a cup of tea, and are soon joined by his wife. They are yachties themselves who have sailed a lot of the Mediterranean so are very interested in Impulsive and our trip. Their daughter is planning to come to Australia on a university exchange program so we hope we see her there. They invited us to contact them when we arrive in Rome.
The family from Rome swimming back to shore

It is 20n.miles north along the coast to anchor at Oligastro under Punta (Pt.) Licosa. This is another small resort town, and pleasant to walk around and have dinner. The tiny church here has a service at 6.30pm and it is lovely to hear the church bells followed by hearty singing by a very enthusiastic congregation who overflow to the many chairs outside.


We take advantage of the calm weather forecast and head directly to the Amalfi coast. The marina is usually full at Amalfi, and very expensive so we can anchor outside if necessary. (We had planned to moor at Salerno marina and catch a train to Pompeii, so we will postpone this land trip).

There is just enough wind to motor sail with both sails up for the 30n.miles tracking slightly west of north. This is a lovely passage over the bluest of waters which you can look down into from the bow of the boat and see the light refracting. It is spectacular coming into Amalfi by boat seeing the colourful houses cling to the cliff faces, often looking like a wedding cake, and surrounded by steep, terraced mountains.
Amalfi - wedding cake effect of houses
The Duomo dome is glistening with its green and yellow tiles in the sun. It seems amazing we can anchor just 100m. off-shore from this well known sophisticated resort along the Amalfi coast.

This used to be a strategically important and strong maritime town. It is one of the 4 powerful Maritime Republics which in the Middle Ages (839-1135AD) established productive relationships with other people, and especially with the Orient.

We want to make the most of our time here so go ashore for lunch, sitting looking over the marina.

The Duomo is a most impressive building with its sumptuous baroque interior dating back to C18. St. Andrew, Jesus' first disciple, features here rather than Christ himself. St. Andrew's bones are in the crypt. The Cloisters of Paradise are the ancient cemetery for the noblemen of Amalfi, built between 1266-8.

It is great to have some quiet time on the boat, swimming off her stern, and drawing the marvellous scene ahead of Amalfi.

We venture ashore again for dinner at the family run Trattoria San Guiseppe. It is very difficult to find amongst Amalfi's many narrow alleyways.


An early morning walk starts the day, followed by coffee and lemon custard filled croissants at a waterside cafe while we try our hand at capturing the wedding cake effect of some of the houses.
Views of Amalfi from above

Soon we leave for Positano, another favourite place for tourists on the Amalfi coast we have really been looking forward to seeing. It is wonderful again to approach from the sea with the sun shining over its multi-coloured houses set against the backdrop of high mountains. The tourist season has obviously dropped off in this area. We are able to get a mooring easily and there are not many visiting boats. The man on the neighbouring boat and manager of the moorings are both very welcoming and friendly. There is still a large number of ferries coming and going though, as in Amalfi, which set up constant large swells.

We have never climbed as many steps as we have here. We are trying to find a recommended tratorria, and after climbing up many stairs and lots of walking discover its 10ks away so give up and have a delicious lunch with wonderful views at nearby Cafe Positano.

We travel by dinghy tonight to the recommended trattoria, Il Pirate at Priano. This is quite an adventure to a trattoria set on a narrow rock ledge and only 3m above sea level. It has to be one of the most romantic restaurants we have ever been to, especially as they light the candles and the nearby evening lights come on.

We talk to the proprietor, Rino, who bought this area on the mountain years ago and gradually set it up as it is today. Now there are other family members involved, eg. a cousin runs the hotel they built.

Last year there were huge seas from the south that wiped out much of their trattoria, eg. they had to replace china and wine. He also explains how expensive real estate is now along the Amalfi coast as no new building is permitted - only approved renovations.

The trip back in the dinghy in the open sea is quite something! The sea is calm, though and we appreciate having this stronger dinghy and motor or we could not have contemplated doing this.

Rino tells us his life long dream is to sail around the world, so we invite him to the yacht in the morning. He is very busy tomorrow with a full booking of 100 people (we were lucky to strike a quiet night with only a few people), so we are not too hopeful.

When we get back to Impulsive we have a taste of the locally grown Malvasia wine from Lipari.


We ring Sam Macaw for his 6th birthday. We are always sorry to miss these occasions.

Then we set off to Nocelli, a small mountain top village. This initially involves a walk along the coast with spectacular views, and then a climb up 1700 steps. This number doesn't look much on paper but it certainly is to do it. We enjoy seeing the attractive houses built into the side of the mountain with their lovely gardens and the occasional swimming pool. They all enjoy these views.
Views from the walk to Nocelli (Positano)
Many of them have orchards and vegetable gardens. It is interesting many are starting their pruning.
View of the Duomo from the walk

We came back down to Positano via another route. It is fascinating to see the engineering feats managed here with the road and tunnel constructions high up on the side of the mountains. It all looks impossible.

This exercise takes 3 hours and is so rewarding as it really gives us a better feel for the place.

Early afternoon we track further west along the Amalfi coast to moor in a marine reserve. This is a beautiful little cove but has no moorings and we are not permitted to anchor in this reserve.

We track a short distance west across to anchor off the east coast of Capri in another beautiful and isolated place. The waters are turquoise and sheer rocks rise straight up out of the water. As dusk falls all the other boats leave and we are the only ones left to enjoy this treat of nature.


When you sail into Taormina
You can anchor just off the shore
You take the bus to the old hill-top town
With its arches and lanes to explore.

You are not the only ones here, of course
The crowd bustles up and down
You can idle and watch it all go by
With the painted, miming clown.

When we sail south to Aci Trezza
We tie between fishermen
Mandie flies in from England to join us
And make us feel younger again.

The man at the bus stop called Bruno
Is our self-appointed guide
Of the buildings and squares of Catania
While Mount Etna stands smoking beside.

At Siracuse we tie on the old town quay
Alongside some vast power boats
The passegiata (evening stroll) comes right beside
To inspect everything that floats.

We go on a tour to the old baroque towns
At Nota we sample granita
There's Ragusa's tiled dome and the heights of Scicli
After chocolate and lunch at Modica.

Further south down the coast's Marzamemi
We sail with a gentle breeze
They just fit us in at the end of an arm
It's August and often a squeeze.

To enjoy the old town La Balata
We ignore spray paint desecration
Then we round Cape Passero to let Mandie off
At the downtown Pozzallo bus station.

You must find time to visit Marsala
Garibaldi's the place to dine
Walk the limestone paved streets, see the tapestries
And then taste some local wine.

And why not then try the Isole Egadi?
Favignana's a tourist-strewn town
But slip off to tiny Levanzo
You can jog, have a swim, just slow down.

As I sit here and write this the wind has died down
The rocks are now bathed in soft light
Life's decisions don't seem very difficult here
So we stay for another night.

When you go to Trapani be sure to arrive
On a Sunday, to hear the church song
Then walk the town streets, find a good place to eat
And delight in the town sing-along.

The singing and stage seem part of life here
The hymns could get you to mass
And as well as good singing the town square produced
A tiny Maria Callas.

We motor-scoot up to the Erice town
Walk its beautiful stone-paved streets
Then we tear down to San Pantaleo
Whence Phonecians beat their retreat.

When we drop anchor just off Scopello
The wind comes up from north-east
We must shelter at Terrasini
(25 knots of wind, at least).

It drops next day and we head further east
To Isola delle Femmine
We do some boat chores, swim, paint and walk
How better to spend a day?

The mafia must be on holiday
When we tie in Palermo's port
The old town is grubby but it grows on you
There are no signs of crime to report.

Our highlight is Monreale
With its fabulous biblical scenes
Done in gold trimmed mosaics, and Christ presides
Looming large,with his lit face serene.

The market exudes its enticing smells
And the sounds of strife and laughter
The veggie man wraps in a paper cone
The gadget man has the magnet we're after.

Cefalu is a medieval town
That is beautifully preserved
We anchor off Porto Vecchio
But the swell spoils the sleep we deserved.

Now we're off to explore the Isole Aeolie
Filicudi's the first place to stop
We find a free mooring and run up the road
Almost, but not quite, to the top.

At Salina the boatman insists that we move
(But the mooring turns out to be free)
An Australian flag doesn't help here as much
As it did back in the Aegean sea.

At Lipari the boatman restores our faith
In the friendly Sicilian way
A welcoming smile is all that it takes
For us to be willing to pay.

We bathe in the Volcano thermals
We walk in Lipari's rain
We soak up some archeology
We stop at our cafe again.

Panarea's a tiny car-free isle
As if Greek, it's white and blue
We enjoy a drink at the Raya Hotel
As the lightning flashes through.

The water out here is a marvellous mix
Of all the blues in the pallette
It's a joy to dive and swim in it
(an American would sell it).

Stromboli gives us a farewell display
As it belches smoke and fire
As we sail away to the mainland coast
It sends smoke ever higher.

August 2008


A lunch time salad:

2 slices of watermelon per person
Wrap each slice in smoked salmon and place a small piece of mint on each one (squeeze lime juice over the smoked salmon).
Serve with caprese (sliced tomato, bocciccini and basil) Cos lettuce with thinly sliced carrot and cucumber and Italian parsley for decoration.

All the ingredients are fresh from the market, except for the smoked salmon which was bought in Sri Lanka and had been in the freezer. The freezer on the yacht is excellent.


Favourite recipe this leg:

Pasta dish

Toss still warm soba noodles in light vinaigrette dressing with a packet of local "pasta" herbs from the market (take out some of the chili according to taste - it can be harsh on dry lips)
Toss through: cos lettuce
cherry tomatoes
goat's cheese (or fetta)
arrange hard-boiled eggs on the top


Anchorage s.e. coast of Capri

We up anchor early to come round to the n.west side of Capri to see its famous Blue Grotto before the crowds arrive. We are unable to find it looking from the yacht, even though it is marked on the chart but shows as slightly off the coast. We continue on further to anchor outside Marina Grande. A berth here can cost $A360 per night, so we are delighted to still have a calm weather forecast so we can anchor outside.

We find an excursion boat back to the Blue grotto. The entrance to this is so small and low we have to lie down flat in the small row-boat to enter it, so no wonder we were unable to find the opening.

The colours in here with the rays of sunlight refracting through them with such clarity range from sky blue through to turquoise.

Strangely, we enjoyed the trip around the island seeing other grottos and landmarks, and some homes of the rich and famous, eg. Sophia Loren and Georgio Armani.

Late afternoon we try to organize a scooter to do some exploring and to book at a recommended restaurant up in Capri town. Ross has asked around and decides that the scooter hire is over the top here. It proves to be a good decision. We take a taxi ride up to the main town and quickly see you are taking your life in your own hands to tackle the narrow, winding streets and the Italian drivers on a bike. The bikes cannot be ridden through the pedestrian streets of the town down the cobbled narrow streets with every possible designer shop known. (Ross doesn't enjoy shopping but I am very spoilt here - actually my only clothes shopping for this leg of the trip). We enjoy the long walk along the mountainside by many grand mansions and hotels, and their gardens, looking for this particular place. We find Villa Brunelli perched up high and looking over the most spectacular views down to the sea and some of the coves on the south side of the island, and are able to secure a table for later with this view.

We find a stair route back down to the port to take the dinghy back to Impulsive. Later we take the funicular back up to Capri town to go to dinner at Brunellis, which is a great experience, and delicious.


It is impressive that a rubbish collector comes past the boat each morning, as in Positano.

We try another form of transport this morning as we set off in a bus for Anacarpri, another mountain top town.

Villa San Michele up here is an original historic villa with the most breath taking views of Capri, the Sorrento peninsular and the Bay of Naples. Between 1896 and 1907 it was the home of its Swedish creator, court physician, and writer Axel Munthe. The garden, with its long, curved pergola is stunning and a joy to walk through.

Another bus trip takes us to the Faro (lighthouse) where we begin a coastal walk to the 4 fortresses. This is a 3 hour walk and is punctuated along the way with beautiful tiles depicting the local flora, fauna and fish with illustrations and descriptions. The walk itself has amazing views and highlights the colours of the seas here. The walk gives you a better idea of Capri rather than just remembering it for all its tourist shops.

This takes us to the Blue Grotto where we catch a bus back to the port. We admire the bus drivers on how they manage and judge passing other vehicles on roads obviously not built for buses. They are all polite to one another and seem to know who should give way to whom.

We have had a wonderful time in Capri after expecting it to be very busy and glitzy. In contrast to this it has been very manageable.

The next two islands we visit in the Bay of Naples have been recommended by the Roman family we met recently at Cape Palinuro. Mid-afternoon we leave for Procida, the first of these. It is a very attractive, small harbour and marina at Chiaiolella. This is our first marina stop for 12 days and decide to go in because it is a safe place to leave Impulsive safely to do a proposed day trip tomorrow, and she needs a good wash down with fresh water. The cost is rather exorbitant but well worth it. There isn't much here but the long beach is very popular for holidaymakers. There is a very friendly atmosphere here.

Stuffed zucchini flowers are popular with the local cuisine here. They are such a treat in Australia it is amazing to find they sold at street stalls in parts of Italy.


We catch an early bus to the port of Procida. We like this noisy trip across the island, rattling along the narrow, winding, cobbled streets past the pastel houses. Fortunately, we just make it in time to take the hydrofoil to Naples. We decide it is easier to do this to explore Naples and Pompeii than bring the boat to Naples which we are warned is very busy.

After arriving in Naples we happen upon a guide/ driver to take us to Pompeii. This is an excellent option as we were walking to the train station to get to Pompeii. It will be a long day anyway and this will make it more manageable. We are at Pompeii before 9am. so beat the heat and the crowds.

Pompeii, rising on a plateau of Vesuvian lava, is an ancient city dating from the end of C7 and so well preserved since the eruption of Vesuvius in 79A.D. There is so much to see with its architecture, sculptures, paintings and mosaics.

It is very moving to think of all the lives lost here, especially when you see a few plaster casts of the victims of the eruption.

Our guide drives us to see the major landmarks in Naples so we can find our own way back after lunch at a restaurant he recommends looking over the waterfront near the old castle. We try a Nepalese pizza, as this is where pizzas originated. It is extra good, and well washed down with a glass of the local white wine.
The old castle - Naples

Our guide explains how expensive real estate is in Naples. For young married couples both need to work just to rent a 2 bedroom apartment. He surprises us when he says he is 74 (he seems much younger), retired and doing this job to boost his pension. He finds out which cruises are coming in each day and goes down to meet them to find his clientele. He explains we are lucky as there are only 2 cruisers due in today. Yesterday there were 5 and the whole place, including Pompeii, were very crowded.
We have been warned to watch for pickpockets, especially in Naples. We take precautions but don't experience any problems.

This afternoon we wander for several hours to see the Plazza Del Plebiscito with the palace and the Palazzo Reale, the Chiaia and Santa Lucia areas with their up-market shops, and Spaccanapoli area, ie. the old town and student areas.

The return trip on the ferry includes a view of the Q.E. 2.

We spend time at Port Procida when we get back. It is a lovely small town with its faded, pastel coloured houses, and has an attractive, popular, small pebbled beach nearby where we enjoy a quiet relax as the sun is going down. Port Procida
We have a simple dinner looking over the port before we catch the bus back to Impulsive. This trip is a real local scene. We are all packed into this small bus like sardines and every time the bus stops and starts we all lurch forwards and back. Every time it comes to a stop people have to get out to let people off. The driver copes with all this as well as managing the driving in the traffic and the narrow streets.


Our run/walk this morning takes us across the footbridge to Isola Vivara. This crosses the bay of Vivara which is one of the old volcanic craters of the island. This island is a nature reserve where birds are protected.
Footbridge to Isola Vivara

Now we head towards the largest island in the Gulf of Naples.



We're less than 200 miles from Rome
You'd expect a tourist zone
But we anchor at Cape Palinuro
And end up being alone.

A family swims out from the shore
And comes aboard for a chat
It's one of the pleasures of yachting
To have unscheduled visits like that.

When we anchor at Oligastro
It's Sunday. The church bell rings
The square outside the church is packed
The congregation sings.

Amalfi and Positano: such names!
As exotic as names can be
Yet we're sitting not 200 yards offshore
Having just wandered in by sea.

At Amalfi have warm fish salad for lunch
With a golden glass of white wine
See St Andrews Duomo, sketch the wedding cakes
Go to San Guiseppe's to dine.

From Positano it's only 4 miles
To Il Pirate by sea
Take the tender there and dine on the rock
And come home carefully.

When you're feeling a bit energetic next day
Walk the staircase built from stone
To the top of the hill to Nocelle
It will show if your legs were in tone.

There's still no wind and it's calm at night
So we anchor on the east of Capris
20 metres away from the sheer rocky cliff
In a baby blue-turquoise sea.

"You have to visit Capris at least once"
That's what the pilot book states
We think we could come back here again
Though there's work to be done on dates.

We anchor just off Marina Grande
We find Christie's bathing suit rack
We eat memorably at Villa Brunella
We walk the 4 forts track.

The marina at Chiaiolella
Is a safe place to leave the boat
The cafes are spoiled by scooter noise and fumes
But the run to Vivari is not.

We rattle by bus to Procida town
We do the tour of Pompeii
We enjoy a long walk through Naples
As well as the pizza café.

We anchor next day at Ischia, on a
Special anniversary day
We dine and dance on Impulsive
Six chef's hats, at least, I would say.

We tour Ischia by scooter
And discover St Angelo
So we come here and anchor. In the morning light
The pinks and ochres glow.

At Ventotene the Romans carved
The harbour from the rocks
Then the lighthouse was built and to finish the scene
There are pastel building blocks.

At Ponza Island we anchor again
Near a wind-carved limestone bay
It's calm and private and also avoids
The fees they want yachties to pay.

There are pastel coloured buildings again
The sea's as clear as you could wish
I have hundreds of helpers to clean the hull
In the form of colourful fish.

We are on our last leg; we have 60 miles
To finish the voyage to Rome
We think Italia is wonderful
But we're also thinking of home.

September 2008



We head west for 3 n.miles sailing to Isola Ischia in the Flegree group of islands to anchor off the beach outside Porto d'Ischia. This is a very colourful scene with all the beach umbrellas organized in groups of their different colours along the beach. The beach is packed with people lying in the sun, swimming and children just romping having fun.

Late afternoon we take the dinghy inside the port and have a stroll around the town. The port is very attractive, even though it is so busy, and is difficult to get a berth in. We have decided to anchor outside tonight anyway after 2 nights in the marina. It's lovely to have the feeling of space and quiet. We cook a delicious dinner on the boat.


This is another lovely place to swim off the back of the boat. In fact, we decide to have a relaxing time and stay here another night. Ross listens to the weather report on the HF radio and checks the weather grid on the sea mail on the computer and all looks clear for the next few days to take us through to Rome. We have a day or two spare in our schedule to allow for winds against us.

A motorbike excursion on the island is great fun. It is risky but Ross drives carefully as we strike some Sunday afternoon traffic on the way back. There are several other attractive ports, lush vegetation rising up towards the mountainsides, thermal springs and houses nestled in with their white, rose or Naples yellow washes. Along a major cliff top are some grand mansions. The highlight is Sant'Angelo D'Ischia, a small port on the east side, joined to Ischia by a narrow sandy isthmus. The harbour is at the base of the steep cliff faces. The Roman family we met had recommended this place. It is a gem. We decide to return here with the yacht.

Back at Porto Ischia looking at the other boats we find a large motor cruiser with a couple on their way to Hamilton Island. We are always pleased to see others flying the Australian flag.

We think we are having a simple dinner ashore but find they are still charging high season prices! It is lovely sitting by the harbour, people and boat watching.


We get back around to Sant'Angelo D'Ischia for breakfast anchored just outside the tiny port here. We enjoy some time ashore and then a swim off the boat before leaving in a westerly direction 21 n.miles to Isola Ventotene. The forecast suggests a 16kts wind coming up on the nose by 3pm (and often it is stronger than is forecast), so Ross wants to be there before this change happens.

Anchoring offshore here is difficult but it is very amusing to see Ross fully dressed leaning over the stern swimming board with his goggles and snorkel on looking under the water to find some sandy bottom without too many rocks.

It would have been quite exciting to go into this historic little harbour which was dug out of rock by the Romans. The port was built for the galleys and has several galley sheds also cut out of the rock.

Ventotene has a history of people who were exiled here, including Nero's wife as requested by his then mistress.

We really enjoy this island wandering around in the early evening and later sitting in the busy town square watching all the locals catching up on their news of the day. We have dinner on a terrace overlooking the sea watching the moon coming up with its reflections shining over the calm sea.

Unfortunately, there is a strong swell when we return to Impulsive but we still manage to have a reasonable sleep.
Leaving Ventotene


With a similar forecast to yesterday we leave in good time to track 35 n.miles just north of west to Isola Ponza. Again, we anchor outside in a small cove opposite a beach. There are other yachts and some large cruisers here. The clear turquoise waters are sensational to swim in here with colourful small blue fish that seem to enjoy the company.
Ponza viewed from the anchorage here

We only have 60 n.miles to go to Rome and excellent weather forecasts so we can have 2 relaxing nights here. Ross takes advantage of these conditions to scrub the hull of the boat. This is not a job to do in a marina with many other boats close by and not the cleanest of waters. The coating the hull had when Impulsive was out of the water in Phuket contains lead (apparently illegal to apply in Australian waters) has kept the hull in very good condition.

We seem to get many small fiddly jobs done without being under pressure for time.

Ponza is a very attractive town with its shop fronts, restaurants, and few hotels and houses set around the harbour. Houses rise up above with their colourful washes of rose, pinks, ochres, white and even blues, set amongst its productive green hills. The local red vine is highly recommended.

Because Ponza is relatively close to Rome it is a popular summer resort and we are advised that prices are extremely high here during July and August and then they drop. We discover the tourists have dropped off but not the costs eg. for dinner.


Today is very relaxed. We even have time to read.

We take a dinghy ride to explore the next few coves to explore the eroded rocks and cliff faces which have been naturally sculptured into fantastic shapes.

We go ashore later and enjoy another explore here and our last delicious (grilled baby calamari) dinner out in the islands. We notice the evenings are closing in much quicker now and there is definitely an edge on the night air.


We are greeted today by the most beautiful sunrise as we leave at 6am in a west of north direction for Rome. Daybreak is getting later now. Breakfast is interrupted by a visit from dolphins playing at the bow of the boat.

This trip is 60 n.miles and the conditions are flat calm. It's really lovely out here for our last day at sea for sometime.

We have some difficulty finding the marina we are booked into near Fumare Grande River. There are a few language problems and various names used for the same place.
As we come in it is welcoming to see the Henrys waving to us from Sweet Chariot (another Buizon) who we last saw in Larnaca marina in Cyprus. We catch up with their travels over dinner.

We have the next few days ahead to prepare Impulsive to leave her for the next 7 months. What a wonderful wealth of experiences we have had and now we are excited to be going home.

Favourite appetizer recipe this leg:

small zucchini thinly sliced
small eggplant, thinly sliced and allow to rest with a sprinkling of salt
2.5 strips of red peppers

Lightly pan fry (spray pan lightly with oil) above until tender, then set aside to cool on towelling.

On individual plates arrange the following to display their colours to advantage
- some of the above with freshly chopped Italian parsley and ground pepper; some fresh anchovy fillets in a small kos lettuce leaf, and a small serve of caprese salad each ie. sliced tomato with bocciccini cheese and fresh basil.