Bova, Soverato, Crotone...
Wed 22nd August
Morning at Katanhouse, Punta di Pelarro. Derig the sail for a service: the cam rollers are flat spotted, so the cams put increased wear on mast. Rotate mast so that wear is on a better protected part.
Sail away ahead of an approaching thunderstorm. Quite windy. Upwind - with good breeze - always noisy, wet, jarring, and eventually cold. Push on for 8 miles before the storm gives up the chase, allowing a break to don drysuit.
Around dusk, a brief alien visit - the hum and red LED of a drone, maybe 2km from the coast.
After sunset, reach beach of Palizza Marina, where local drone pilot and windsurfer Bruno shows up, apologises for intrusion, and offers invitation to visit Bova: a mountaintop town I'd noted whilst sailing.
Wonderful and fascinating. Bova is centre of the Greek Calibria, where an ancient form of the language maintains a foothold. At 850m the air is clear and cool. Both the open sea and mountain-tops provide the sense of openness and freedom that I crave. And also a sense of vulnerability - that brings with it awareness. I could stay all night. Bruno and wife Daniela are perfect guides.
Thursday 23rd August
Morning brioche and cream/crushed ice thing. Nice. Another day crashing upwind. Sleep on beach at a place called Bianco, which has a slightly rough feel to it, but my landing site nearly 1km from the lidos is another world from the town itself, and I enjoy a peaceful evening and night.
Friday 24th August
No shade, so opt for an early start. When wind dies - without energy or enthusiasm for a paddle - stop at a town, and search for a bin. Rubbish everywhere, but no bins! Not much culture of responsible rubbish disposal round here. When single use plastic is as much part of the environment as roadside vegetation, a few extra bottles, bags and fag ends really make no difference anyway. I don't lob my contribution with the rest on principle, but do sense the temptation.
When the day breeze fills in, again it is strong and on the nose, and soon builds a short chop to plough through. When the wind drops - it really drops - leaving just the chop behind. I've reached Riace Marina. Here will do - not that I have any alternative option - and it is a likeable place too, with bins, and some fame for the greek bronze figures that were found here. Third consecutive ~20nm day.
Saturday 25th August
A lumpy sea and no real wind make sailing unpalatable until the afternoon. Painful upwind progress for a while. Eventually becalmed (wind not sea!) at next town. Rest on the water next to beach: no energy to face the landing, and better to be in position and ready...
An approaching storm brings enough puff to get round the next headland. The rain flattens the sea; makes the next miles more pleasant.
Near evening the wind swings offshore. The mistral arriving? Decide to close on land rather than cross the next gulf. Am tired and don't want a battle in the dark. The sails at Circolo di Vela Soverato tempt me to shore. The stop isn't intended as definitive, but I meet lots of nice people who assume it is, and eventually - with sun plummeting towards horizon - let myself be content to stay. Home cooked dinner with sisters Beatriz and Francesca and family, including Italy's "first ever windsurfer", maybe...
Sunday 26th August
The sisters - and papa - arrive early with croissant and matching wetsuits (papa forgot his suit). Always nice to have company, even if only for 100 metres! A few miles downwind - crossing this gulf and cutting the corner of the next - significant wind building.
Stop for a hello with the Soverato windsurfers (on tour today), and bolt a croissant - before rushing away to get round the Cape before wind becomes too much. It's lively, but I think back to some of the in retrospect pretty horrendous Cabo roundings of Galicia, and know that I am in control of this one.
A few miles beyond the Cape, a gentle breeze blows from the opposite direction.
The strong wind brought some new slot flusher woes to the board. Know how to fix that. Visit a greek column thing whilst the glue dries.
Sail the remaining miles to Crotone and am met on the water by Fabrizio from the Lega Navale. Gear stored in the windsurf centre and a bed to sleep in. 45nm+ day. Crotone very nice. Was home to Pythagoras - who invented the triangle, a shape later perfected to become today's pizza wedge.
Monday 27th August
Pretty windy. Headwind of course. Midday BBQ with Fabrizio and friends, but conditions are not bad enough to let me relax, and when the wind dips a little decide to pull on drysuit and start sailing. Once clear of the city the sailing is nice. Feel like I am doing good speed. Maybe the now-repaired slot flusher had been partially hanging off for a while... A few miles up am called in for a stop by some kitesurfers. Nice hello and olive-oil drenched vegetables (technically my second lunch). Am told that the Hobie Cat brothers (remember them? they are heading up the Adriatic already...) stopped here! Excellent. Love coincidences like that. Head out for more miles of thoroughly enjoyable sailing - beautiful coastline this - and reach Marina di Strongoli and a good beach sleeping spot. Only 11nm to the good (those zigzags...), but they all count.