Stretto di Messina
Catching up on a few days
Saturday 18th August
A day of sail (pump!), paddle, sail, reach land for a break, sail, paddle, sail - to cut off the corner of this particular gulf. Max wind for the day about 4 knots.
Tropea looks beautiful in the evening light, and part of me says I should sail into the port to make a proper visit possible, but the secluded beach just short is a much simpler option for overnighting. I opt for an evening of anonymity.
Sunday 19th August
An early start again. Nearby storms move the air and allow for welcome cheap miles to the end of the point. What's the point? I jokingly ask myself, again. Turns out this one is Capo Vaticano. Beyond, the wind is truly on the nose and dying. I duck into a beach, but am unable to find a parking spot that will be shaded for long, and clear out when the sun begins beating on the sail once again. After an hour with the paddle a breeze fills in. Fantastic scenery passes by quite quickly now. Hills lush and green. Lining the next gulf is another long beach... a container port... more beach. With wind the miles sail by.
Panino stop at end of the beach stretch, clear the small boat and jetski chaos to a cliff section. Run out of wind. Paddle to Bagnara Calabra porto. At the entrance a catamaran is moored. The South African captain and crew invite me on board for a beer. End up staying the night. The pylons guarding the Messina Strait are visible from here - have been getting closer for what seems like weeks. Tomorrow I will surely pass.
Monday 20th August
Sail after coffee on breeze from nearby storm, that dies. Paddle. Breeze returns on edge of storm. Bolt for safety of shore. Find myself at Favazzina, eating pasta with staff from Lido Luna Rossa, under the downpour. Something of a hotspot for long distance travellers apparently, round the world bicycler Rory Macleod stopped here last year.
Under clearer skies struggle the remaining mile to Scilla. Very pretty place. Meet last night's hosts again, and a family who had seen me in Cavaliere, France, just over a month ago.
Despite options for staying - and terrible wind - want to push on, to at least find a launch point with visibility of the strait. Keep hearing of the multiple dangers of this stretch of water. End up sleeping on a beach under the pylon on the mainland side. Closer to the entrance of the strait I could not be.
Tuesday 21st August
Away before 7am, wind lasts for maybe 200m. Paddle. Smooth and rapid progress with no effort, the current helping. Glassy water moving at an easy 3 knots. Thread my way between ferries coming and going from the port. Pleasant and uncomplicated through the stretto - no fuss or sea monsters!
Continue with paddle until past port of Reggio - lots of plastic crap in the water here - sadly no longer a surprise to observe. Beyond, find some headwind to sail as far as Punta di Pellaro - Wind and Kitesurf centre Kiteloop. Nice place here on Italy's windiest corner. Good feel to it - open to wind and sea. Meet people and discover shared friends and contacts from previous stops. Explain the same things to lots of different people! It's no bother, really. Really! Wait here long enough to make moving on a silly idea. Enjoy a view of Sicily's Mount Etna, and nice hospitality into the evening.
A significant day, passing from the Tyrrenean Sea into the Ionian.