From Darsena Traiano/Fiumicino to Malta

We have now arrived at our winter place in Malta and have made ourselves at home here, i.e. we have located where we buy food and other things we need. Malta is a fantastic island teeming with history and culture which we will explore and tell you about before we carry on with our adventure.

 The leg from Fiumicino to Malta took us 42 days and covered 879 nautical miles. We have made ourselves more and more at home in Windy and have stowed and re-stowed things as and when we have felt the need and found more practical solutions. The strangest thing is that when we have done this we always end up with more space… We are very particular about how we dispose of rubbish. And this does not mean chucking it overboard!

 Generally we have experienced that the further south we have traveled the less people care about their environment. There are exceptions of course. We found that people in Italy were very nice looking, dressed in the latest fashion, had the latest cars and naturally mobile telephones. At the same time they walked very carefully in the evening, during their evening promenade, so as not to ruin their shoes in the dirt. A family was fishing on the pier and I was happy to see the woman gather all the rubbish into a plastic carrier bag, tie a knot in it and … then she threw the bag into the sea!  The sea is full of rubbish and not least PET-bottles in various sizes.

The responsibility of improving our joint environment lies heavily on all of us.

 But now to our experiences during this leg:




Mainland Italy


On the 7th August we said goodbye to Vincenzo, our nice host at Darsena Traiano. But before then we went on an outing to Rome. It felt safe to leave the boat in the charge of Vincenzo as he sat by the pontoons all day keeping an eye on things.



The cost of getting into Rome surprised us greatly. We caught the bus to Ostia Lido Nord where we caught the Metro to the centre of town. The bus trip lasted for about half an hour and was for free and the Metro, which lasted about the same time, cost us €1 each. When we got out of the Metro we were standing right outside the Colosseum.




Colosseum, which really is called “Anfiteatro Flavio” was begun under Emperor Vespasian´s reign year 72 and was finished during his sons reign 80 AD. The building held more than 70 000 people and each level consisted of 80 arches. When you stand admiring this building you start thinking about the football arenas of today where thousands of people support their teams ( Come on Elfsborg!). Although during the time of the Colosseum other competitions were held… It is a fascinating building.




After wandering around in the basking sun for a while the rumblings of our stomachs made us look for a restaurant. We found this nice one on a side street behind the Colosseum where we had a lovely lasagna with some nice wine. The fan bought at one of the tourist stands came in very handy.




The next sight we wanted to see was Fontana di Trevi, but first we passed the Pantheon. Pantheon is the only pagan temple that is still almost intact in Rome. It was commissioned by Consul Agrippa 27 BC and was dedicated to the guardian deities of the Emperor. After a fire the temple was rebuilt between 117 and 125 AD. Today it hosts the tombs of famous people like Raffaello and the Kings of Italy. We carried on with our walk...



We took a short cut through some buildings and arrived at Gepetto´s workshop and who do you think we found sitting outside if not Pinocchio!  He was very quiet this day and didn´t  have much to say, so his nose didn´t grow at all. It looked as if Gepetto was working on a brother for Pinocchio who was ready for a bike ride.






We were studying and reading our map, but we still found it difficult to find the fountain. Talk about navigation! We reached this big monument in honour of Victor Emmanuel II  designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in order to celebrate the unity of Italy 1870. The construction started 1850 and the inauguration took place 1911. The grave of the Unknown Soldier is here. We now realized that the directions on the map were quite contrary, i.e. if we read right this meant that we were actually going left. We had seen a lot of tourist scratching their heads during the day. It didn´t take long to find the fountain now.



When envisaging Fontana di Trevi we imagined a big fountain with a lot of space surrounding it and Anita Ekberg splashing about in it. Now there were tourists thronging between the houses and when a man took his shirt off to cool himself, whistling police turned up to tell him to put it on again. We didn´t glimpse Anita at all, but the fountain itself was a magnificent piece of art created by the architect Salvi (1735) and decorated by several artists of Bernini´s school. It is said that if you throw a coin into the fountain you will be returning to Rome…




We now felt like returning to Windy after a sweaty and tiring, but interesting day. We visited a bookstore first to buy a few more books. The journey back was just as easy and the cost was the same. The impression of the day was that wherever you looked you saw traces of history and ruins. A fantastic history easy to get engrossed in.




We planned to divide the Italian coast into manageable stages and if the places looked interesting, stay a bit longer and find out more. The next goal was Anzio. We had a little bit of wind, but not a lot, so we motor-sailed in glorious sunshine. It was still blazing hot, but out on the water there was a pleasant breeze.


The guest harbour described in the pilot book turned out to be a private one. We couldn´t stay there – not even for one night, so we carried on to the communal quay. This one was free of charge, but we had to report in at the port authorities. No problem. After a quiet night we cast off and looked forward to the trip to Ventotene.



The harbour entrance to Anzio is well marked, both on the charts and on the water, with a green buoy and the pier stretching out to the sea. What wasn´t marked was the sandbank that was there… So there I was at the helm steering while Mike was putting the stern anchor away. We were doing good speed in the middle of the “canal” and went straight into the sandbank. The boat stopped abruptly – but, I didn´t. I slowed my flight down with my arm around the main sheet so that I didn´t fly into the companionway and cabin. But got bruised black and blue on the cockpit locker. Luckily there were no bones broken. The worst thing that happened was that I split open the skin on the inside of my arm. To our relief the boat was fine,. A bit shaken up we reversed, steered towards the green buoy, almost got caught again but got off and were out of the harbour. So if you are going to Anzio – make sure of going as close to the green as possible!


The promised NE wind came from the SE instead so we had it straight on the nose. After having tacked for seven hours we decided to put the engine on and go to Circeo instead of Ventotene. I started to feel rather beaten up and looked forward to some rest.




Circeo, which is a mountain, looks like an island from the distance and we had to check several times that we were going the right way. Circeo has actually been an island at one time and according to Plinius and Ovidion has been a Holy Island where people built a temple in honour of the Sun Daughter. The guest harbour is just around the corner…




It is a very narrow channel between the sandbanks into Circeo – but it is well marked. No problems at all. There were people milling about amongst the boats and pontoons, but nobody answered our VHF call or showed us a place to moor. We saw and empty space and took it. When we had tied up we went to look for the harbour office. We asked people, but they didn´t know where it was. Strange, we thought… When we eventually found it we were told that the price for one night was €60 incl. of electricity/water. We reacted very strongly. This was not appreciated The showers and toilets were below standards (closed in the evening). We decided to stay one night anyway.




The next day I felt straight away that I was in no shape to continue our journey. We needed to stay at least one more day. It was painful to pay another €60. I felt stiff and was aching all over. So what do you do then? Well, you take your washing out for a walk!  We packed our washing, which Mike carried, and went out looking for a launderette. We were directed to one place after another and at long last a woman told us that the launderette was in the next town.






The walk did the world of good for the body and we saw some pretty sights. We took the washing back to the boat where Mike washed it by hand whilst I was nursing my wounds. Circeo is a very beautiful place and the history is interesting. The ruins are from Roman times and the Knights Templar together with the families of Caetani, Orsini and Borgia have also lived here.  There is a museum with fossils from the Neanderthal  people who inhabited the caves. We decided to stay no more than two nights here as it was so expensive – otherwise we might have stayed longer and found out more about the place.



As we carried on towards Ventotene the next day the weather was sunny but becalmed. We travelled the whole leg on the engine with the autopilot on. Mike was sitting on the bow cooling his feet whilst I was fanning my arm which didn´t want to heal. It was +35o C so I kept my arm in the shade as much as possible without a bandage and “aired” it so that it would dry out. It took about a week. The worst thing was not being able to swim…




Ventotene is an island 30 NM from Circeo and taking this route you avoid the bay of Golfo di Gaeta. The island is small with a harbour cut out of the rock by the Romans. This spot is popular with boats from different countries. Whilst travelling along the main land we were often the only foreign boat in the harbour. Outside of Ventotene harbour there were a lot of boats swinging on the anchor. We were offered a mooring along the ancient wall, without access to electricity/water for the price of €50. We cordially declined this offer and went outside to swing on the anchor.



It was nice to see “foreign” sailors and it seemed as if Ventotene was a stop-over place before carrying on elsewhere. The next day there was a huge swell and both Mike and I felt a bit queasy so we quickly had our breakfast and were on our way.





A good breeze was blowing so we hoisted our sails and connected our wind rudder. A note in the logbook: “Everything is working perfectly and we are sitting here thinking: This is the life!” We were now headed for Capri where we intended to stay – no matter how expensive – to see the sights, go to a restaurant, etc. We were in other words planning a “romantic” evening…




The island looked quite built up and the traffic in and out of the harbour was intense. As we got closer we saw that the ferries were coming one after the other causing a lot of swell straight into the guest harbour. We saw a sailor swinging on the anchor outside the harbour and went to take a closer look. Just as much swell there. After some deliberating we decided to carry on.

We were a bit disappointed but didn´t like the look of it at all. Later we have heard from other sailors that Capril is very expensive.



We carried on towards Amalfi. The countryside was magnificent with greenery on the mountainsides. As we got closer we saw that it was lemon trees growing on the terraces.

The houses in Amalfi looked as if they were clinging on to the mountainsides.





The harbour was chock-a-block with boats and several queuing for fuel. We decided to swing on the anchor outside. As we had anchored we saw that we were outside a restaurant. We were now prepared for “dunka dunka” music through half the night. The sun descended into the sea and the lights on land lit up one after the other as stars in the sky. Our astonishment was complete as we heard a female voice singing “O Sole mio”,  “That´s Amore” and other golden oldies. In fact – it was quite romantic…



It was time to stock up our stores again and this we did in Agropoli. The crossing from Amalfi was nice and smooth – although without any wind. The harbour consisted of several pontoons which we found out were private. Each pontoon belonged to a separate boat club and after having talked to three of them we got a mooring. It cost us €30 and we had access to water and electricity. On a little stretch of the pier it was free of charge, but as far as we could see there were no facilities. Our hosts were very friendly and helpful and couldn´t do enough for us to make us comfortable. We felt very welcome.


As we waited for the shops to open again after the siesta, we went for a walk around. We saw this fountain in a beautiful park. We took the opportunity to taste the Italian ice cream and could establish that it is as nice as the rumours say.



After filling up with fuel we were off again. It was another beautiful sunny day without any wind. As we were sitting in the cockpit looking out over the water we thought it a bit strange that we hadn´t seen any marine life for a long time. The next time we saw fish was at Mondello Bay on Sicily´s north coast. We were admiring the huge mountains along the shoreline which were completely different compared to the beaches of northern Italy.


As we got to Golfo di Policastro the wind picked up. We intended to turn towards Sapri here, but hoisted the sails instead and enjoyed every minute of it. We made our minds up pretty quick to carry on to Vibo and use the wind there was. This meant another 72 NM which would mean a night sail. The wind lasted for about four hours… then the engine went on again. The night passage was just as fantastic as before and you had time to think a lot siting under the stars… We arrived at Vibo on the 14th August at 08.15.


Marina Stella del Sud was a very professional harbour with helpful personnel on the quays. It was worth the €50 per night we paid. Naturally, we would like to pay less, but it didn´t hurt as much as in Circeo. On the other hand the town of Vibo was the dirtiest place we have ever seen. We met a nice couple from England sailing on “Maud” who were on their way to Greece next year. We´ll see if  we bump into them again…




The Aeolian Islands


After having checked the weather report the next day we set off towards Stromboli, part of the Aeolian Islands. In the pilot book we read about a little bay where we intended to anchor for a night.  The prognosis was for moderate winds the following day. The report was wrong by 24 hours. We had almost reached Stromboli when the wind picked up.  At the same time we heard the gale warning on the VHF. We reefed the sails straight away and changed our course towards Lipari. Another 33,5 NM. If we were lucky we would get there before the storm hit us.



We arrived seven hours later. We weren´t hanging about and were averaging 5 knots. We really got to sail! We were almost there when the storm hit us. It was dark when we arrived and we could quickly see that the harbour was full. Outside there were lots of boats swinging on their anchors having seeked shelter. We looked for quite a while for a place and found one at last. Between the boats and quite close to land. 50m of anchor chain went down – and didn´t reach the bottom. Three times we anchored and up it came again. Two hours later we found a relatively safe place quite a distance away from the others. We divided up the rest of the night between us as anchor watches.



The police- and harbourboats were very busy that night. Several boats floated away as the anchors didn´t hold. The boats were empty and the salvage people had a heavy task to gather the boats up and tow them towards land. All this was going on whilst the disco music was blearing over the waters… The salvage people came and looked at our boat as well, but when they saw us sitting there, went away again. It happened several times during the three days we were there, that men in boats came to peep at us. This is the only place where I felt that we didn´t dare leave our boat. It might have been “salvaged” while we were away… We took it easy on the boat instead.


Our main goal was to reach Vulcano on the Aeolian Islands. We had previously read an article about a sailor who had gone there and also climbed the volcano. We wanted to this as well. So on the 18th August we weighed anchor and instead of going directly to the island we went around it first. It was fascinating to see the furrows left by the lava, the different layers and the multitude of colour on the slopes. We also saw a black beach with sun parasols on it.




We expected an uninhabited island but instead found that the tourism was thriving under the smoldering volcano. There were organized baths in volcanic mud – it actually smelt of rotten eggs! The water where we anchored was greeny-white and you could not see the bottom. Close to the beach the water was bubbling and when the bubbles burst the smell was drifting with the wind.





It was hot. Very hot. We stopped several times on our climb up to the volcano and had water to drink. Our condition, or lack of it, added to the stops as well. It took us 75 minutes to get to the top on the steep path. But it was worth the effort.





What a view! We could see Stromboli in the distance smoldering smoke and also all the boats around the islands. Breathtakingly beautiful!





These pictures were taken at the edge of the crater where the sulphuric smoke was coming out of the ground. The acrid smell was strong and people were warned not to go too close as it could cause difficulties in breathing. The descent was a lot easier and we met people panting and groaning on their way up.



We did a bit of shopping before we took the dingy and rode back to Windy for a long sought after swim. Perhaps the volcanic water does your body some good?


The following day we needed to have the engine on to charge our batteries, so we thought that we might as well be on our way. We decided to go to Cefalu on the Sicilian coast. The batteries got well and truly charged as we motored all of the 10 hours it took to get there. We had sunny, warm weather, but no wind.






Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and has an area of about 25 000 km2 without counting the surrounding islands. The island emerged (together with the Aeolian Islands) from the sea during the last ice age following a volcanic eruption. Ancient remains have been found dating from the Paleolithic times. The strategically central position of the island in the middle of the Mediterranean has made it desirable during its´ history. Different peoples have conquered the island and influenced its´ development. In ancient times the island was called Trinacria due to its´ triangular shape. Mountains and hills dominate the landscape and the volcano Etna, which dominates the eastern side, can be seen from a distance.

Here is a sudsy picture of Etna.




We were quite late reaching the guest harbour in Cefalu and there were no free spaces as all the empty spaces had been reserved previously. We filled up with fuel and water before we anchored outside the town beach. Although there are a lot of things to see in Cefalu – not least the beautiful mosaic – we chose to stay only one night and carry on our journey westward the following day.



After a lovely morning dip in the clear water we started the engine and were on our way to Palermo. We arrived at 15.00 and got a place for €50 incl. el & water. It was nice to moor earlier in the day as we had time to do our shopping and all our washing (by hand) in one day. We got exercise as well as the shops were 5km away from the boat.





Just two hours on the other side of Palermo we found Mondello Bay, pos: 38o 12,30´N and 13o 19,89´E. We hung our washing up all over the boat where we were swinging on the anchor. It is a very popular bay with all sorts of boats anchoring. You have to look out for the shallow parts. It was sunny and a little breeze was blowing, so we thought the washing would dry in no time. Here we learnt a very useful lesson. The washing only dries in the morning as it gets very humid in the afternoons. Our washing was hanging all day… We put the washing out to dry the next day as well!




We really liked it here! We stayed here for 9 days, with a couple of days in Palermo in between. We took it easy reading, swimming and just enjoying ourselves. Here I learnt to snorkel “properly”. With the flippers and all the equipment on I was treading water, gripping the dingy with one hand. All I had to do now was to lay on my stomach, put my face in the water and breathe. The first attempt resulted in me hyperventilating and my heart beating as if it wanted to jump out of my chest. It IS NOT normal to breathe under water! The second attempt went better. I had to admit that it was and is a fantastic experience. The next time I snorkeled I got the only jelly fish in the bay right in front of my face! A little bit of panic… Unfortunately J no pictures of me.




Mondello is a popular recreational area with a lot of activities. Here you will find a sailing school, windsurfers and … !




… what kind of vessel is this?




Our “neighbour” was an 88ft sailing boat with an Antiguan flag. The bosun told us one social evening that the harbour fee in Palermo for this boat was €5 000/night. It is good to have a boat 31ft long…



We had a few things to sort out and went into Palermo again. This time we went further in and moored at the rowing club on the left/port hand side. €35 incl. showers/toilet, el & water. Very safe with gates and locks. We stocked up again and also did some sightseeing.




Palermo was founded in the 7th – 6th centuries BC as Phoenician colony and given the name Ziz, meaning flower. Later the Greeks called it Panormus (all port). Different peoples have ruled and also influenced the development of Palermo and Sicily. Here were people from Chartago, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, etc. Some of the buildings still remain to remind us of the past.





During the barbarian time Palermo was defeated by the Vandals. If you look up the word “vandal” in the dictionary you will find that it means a person who deliberately damages property. Here is a picture of Teatro Politeama and in front of it a lot of graffiti. Even on the statue. Disgraceful on a building as beautiful as this. Vandals been at work?





Our overall impression of Palermo is of a place with an interesting history, fantastic buildings and artwork left by different civilizations. What was regrettable to see though was the dilapidation: the dilapidation of buildings, graffiti, rubbish and litter everywhere and the smell of sewerage. It was also sad to see how the horses were treated so that the tourists could have ride with a horse and cart.




We sorted our business out and cast off – and got a rope around our propeller!

We were not allowed to dive and clear the rope ourselves, but had to seek the help of the harbour personnel. After a lot of shilly-shallying the rope was freed and we were €50 poorer. It was a lovely feeling to hoist the sails and being able to sail the distance to Mondello Bay.


A few days later we had nice wind again and set sails to go across the Golfo de Castellamare to San Vito lo Capo. Yet another lovely sailing experience.


We anchored outside the harbour of San Vito lo Capo. This stretch of coastline beneath the mountain of Monte Monaco consists of sand and luckily the anchor held all night. If you carry on westward from here you will end up in the south of Spain. We were however carrying on down the Sicilian coast towards our next goal:  Marsala.



It was now time to charge the batteries again and as we had the wind right in the nose again we didn´t mind putting the engine on at all. When we got closer to Trapani we saw more and more fishing vessels and as we knew that they were fishing for tuna we stayed well clear of them. One of the main industries is the salt production, but we didn´t see any of the salt flats.


The town is built on a narrow strip of land shaped like a scythe, hence the name from the Greek “Drepanon” (scythe). Although the town has an old and eventful history there are not many of the old buildings left – a casualty of World War II bombings.



 We got a mooring in Marsala with all facilities for €20/night. Now that is different compared to the northern parts of the island. A little history:  The Carthaginians founded the town and the name was Lilybaeum. Later when the Arabs defeated the Romans they changed the name to  Mars-el-Allah (the port of Allah). Today the name of Marsala is also connected to the local wine which is produced in the area. The wine production is a big part of the local economy as it is distributed, not only to Italy, but abroad as well. We only stopped here to stock up for our crossing to Tunisia.




Originally we didn´t plan to go to Tunisia, but as our friends Kjell and Lisbeth were going there for a holiday, we thought we would pop over and see them, as we hadn´t seen them for a long time.


The crossing from Marsala to Kelibia is 84,5 NM and we calculated that it would take us about 17 hours. We had good wind! We sailed for as long as we could, but as dusk settled over us, the wind died. We were fast approaching the shipping lanes and put the engine on. We had seen some marine life during the day: some flying fish and a tortoise.


Yet again I am grateful that we have radar! There were merchant ships everywhere on the screen. We crossed the shipping lanes and were getting closer to the Tunisian shore line and saw phenomena we hadn´t seen before. Orange flashing lights among all the other constellations of lights. There were fishing boats everywhere: large and small, boats fishing together and boats without lights. (Saw them on the radar)  Both Mike and I were wide awake and were concentrating sharply all night. It felt good to see the harbour entrance at about 03.00.


A Frenchman helped us to raft alongside an Italian boat, which was rafted along another one. A policeman was standing on the quay and wanted our documents, i.e. boat documents and passports.  He also asked us to report to the office at 8 a.m. We set the alarm clock and went to bed quite exhausted. The crossing took us 19 hours.


We checked in without any problems and got our circulation papers and guest passes. The customs were coming on board within the hour. When they arrived there were two of them. They came and sat down in our cabin with a wad of papers. It took a while to go through all the questions. One of them was if we had any cigarettes or alcohol on board. “As we don´t smoke we do not have any tobacco on board, but we have a half a bottle of whiskey”, I told him. He just smiled and said that´s OK. When he was looking around in the boat he saw something glistening in bow and asked what it was. “Oh, that´s my wife´s hat”, Mike answered. “No, no not that”, he said, “that over there”. “Oh that´s our bikes”.  That was also OK:  Satisfied they left and muttered between themselves that it would be a hot day today.



The thermometer was showing  +40o C and we were sleeping and dozing best part of the day. We heard children splashing about outside in the water and we assumed that they were used to it. Kelibia is a fishing harbour with a lot of fishing vessels and pieces of fish were floating about in the dirty water which also smelt of sewerage – apart from fish.


The harbour fee was €4,50/night and we wanted to stay for two nights. This was not a guest harbour but a fishing harbour which also was “Port of entry”. The harbour master didn´t have change for €10, so he said we could use the electricity for the same fee. We declined when we saw the electricity box consisting of two loose leads.


The Byzantine fort of Kelibia is quite characteristic and can be seen from a long distance. We didn´t climb the 150 m to the top, but imagined the magnificent view from up there. You can see the light house from a great distance when out at sea.




The leg from Kelibia to Hammamet was one of the nicest sailing experiences we have had. Perfect wind. In the pilot book it says that the wind starts from the east in the morning and veers to the west during the course of the day.  This was quite correct and we had about an hour in the middle of the day when we put the engine on – just right for lunch. Then the wind came from the other direction.

The shore line is full of hotels and nice long sandy beaches. Tourism is one of the big industries in Tunisia and an average of 1,2 million people visit the country every year.


We sailed passed the town of Hammamet on our way to the Marina Yasmine Hammamet. The town was the first tourist resort in Tunisia and is known for the flower jasmine.

But before we got to the marina we maneuvered passed several of these fish farms.  Best part of them were marked on the charts and also on the water, but there were a few that were not. We were pleased to pass them in day light.




Yasmine Hamamet Marina is part of a huge holiday complex, which covers 278 ha and has 700 moorings, 44 hotels, apartments, houses, shops and restaurants. It is big, but also very professionally managed. We went towards the quay where the harbour office was and got instructions to follow a rubber dingy to our mooring place. We also got help to moor, etc. We had access to all facilities to the cost of €20/night. Quite incredible!




We stayed three nights and also had a look around. There are a lot of activities for the tourists, like these “pirate ships”. Seemed very popular.



We saw some tourists, but not as many as we expected. This was at the beginning of September. “The Restaurant Road” was quite empty.



Huge hotels were lining the beach together with shops. The shop owners were very pushy to get customers into their shops. It got quite annoying in the end. There were “supermarkets” as well, but we didn´t find any ordinary dinner food which we were looking for.   There were plenty of snacks like crisps, biscuits and sweets, etc.



On the Sunday, before we carried on towards El Kantaoui, we went out for our Sunday lunch. Ramadan (Muslims are not allowed to eat during day light hours) had started and the staff at the restaurant was really tetchy and irritable. They were in fact physically fighting. The food tasted OK though.


After having swopped some books at the book swop, we set off towards El Kantaoui to meet Lisbeth and Kjell. Gorgeous sailing again! What felt like a fly in the ointment was that my stomach wasn´t feeling very well. I had in other works got a stomach bug! Or tourist sickness as they say down here.  Luckily it went away in couple of day. Mike, though, got really ill.





We got a nice place in El Kantaoui from a man in a rubber dingy. We were utterly astonished when he spoke Norwegian to us! He told us that he had previously lived in Norway and was now thinking of moving back. Our place was furthest out on a finger pontoon with access to water and electricity. It felt like a good place as we intended to stay here for over a week spending some “holiday time” with our friends.




There were “pirate ships” here as well but also catamarans which were very popular.  Like this one. I wonder what the safety arrangements were?





Port El Kantaoui is a suburb to Sousse and looks like a holiday village. There isn´t any litter laying around and everything is nice and clean. What you find here is the harbour, hotels, restaurants and shops. There is also a zoo, fun fair and a golf course. The golf course has 18 holes and is quite famous and well frequented. Two kilometer long beaches stretch out north and south of the harbour.





Kjell and Lisbeth came bearing gifts when they arrived. Gevalia (Swedish) coffee and cinnamon buns! Nice!




During the week we went to Sousse on this little “train”.  A little “shaky”, but quite alright. Sousse is the third town in size after Tunis and Sfax with over 540 000 inhabitants. When the Arabs invaded Sicily 827 AD Sousse, or Sûza as it was called, was the staging point. The town has a big commercial port. There is a big export of olive oil and groves cover about 2 500 km2 of ground.

The other big industry is tourism and the airport is only 20 km away in Monastir. A lot of filming is taking place in Tunisia. Here in Sousse sequences for Indiana Jones were filmed for example.





We took the opportunity of taking a closer look at the “Kasbah” inside the Medieval walls. Narrow streets were meandering between the houses and commerce was rife. Both inside and outside the houses. A lot of typical things for tourists, but also wares for the local population. Such as meat and vegetables.  It was now +47o C and there was no doubt that we were getting closer to the meat hanging in the sunshine. We just followed our noses. Soon enough we found severed goats´ heads, etc. We hurried quickly past and went in to the greengrocer´s hall where we bought some fruit.




Kjell and Lisbeth had booked themselves into an “all inclusive” hotel and we decided to spend a day with them there. We had to pay a fee for the day which gave us access to all the food and drink available. This meant lunch and dinner, drinks from the bar and also from the beach bar.




We were laying on the beach (under the parasols), swimming and generally enjoying ourselves. The cold beer was really nice in the heat.




We had a swim in the pool as well and watched a belly-dancing competition.




During the week we went out sailing with Kjell. There was a to-do to get passed the harbour police as it said in our circulation papers that there were only two people on board. We were now three. After checking out who Kjell was at different places he wished us a nice “promenade”.  We had a lovely day sailing, a bit of motoring and swimming as well.




Before Lisbeth and Kjell went home we had a nice meal at a restaurant. Lisbeth is behind the camera.




Before the evening was out there was a terrific thunderstorm with all sorts of lightning. Then the rain came. Lisbeth and Kjell were somewhat wet before they got home to their hotel…  



One evening when we got back to the boat we had new neighbours. It was the Swedish boat “Cache Cache” with Birgitta and Anders Graffner from Stockholm. It is always nice to meet fellow countrymen. In no time at all we had exchanged experiences and decided to hire a car to take a look at the surroundings.




It was hot when we piled into the little car with Anders behind the steering wheel. Thank you Anders for driving! We decided to go to Monastir first to have a look at the marina. Then we were going to El Djem and were finishing off with a visit to Kairouan before returning to El Kantaoui.


We know that a lot of people decide to winter in Tunisia and Monastir, but we would not make that choice. In that case we would choose El Kantaoui. Monastir felt cold and dreary. The spaces were narrow between the pontoons. We didn´t find it “cosy and homely”. We were pleased to have seen the harbour as we intended to go there before crossing over to Malta. We decided to go straight from El Kantaoui.


The next stop was El Djem and on our way there we saw one olive grove after the other. Olive trees as far as the eye could see. El Djem is known for its´ Roman Amphitheatre from the 3rd century. 35 000 spectators could watch gladiators fighting and horse drawn carts racing (as in the film Ben Hur). Only the Coliseum in Rome is bigger. We ate our picnic lunch and looked in the guide book what was written about the place.



Here is Mike in front of the Amphitheatre. Under the surface there were rooms and paths for lions and combatants. It was a special feeling walking on the same stones as people had done 1 700 years ago. Fantastic!





The trip to Kairouan took quite a long time but was worth the effort. We parked outside the old town walls. The name Kairouan can mean three things: camp, caravan or resting place. Kairouan was founded by Arabs around 670 AD. It is the third Holy City after Mecca and Medina. A lot of pilgrims come here to visit the famous mosque Sidi-Uqba with its´ 414 columns.




Here a picture of us on a roof with a view into the mosque. We didn´t have the opportunity of going in.



We had an un-official “guide” who took us to a carpet salesman.  ´Kairouan is famous for its´ carpets and here we saw a woman weaving. Every knot is knotted by hand and cut with a small pair of scissors. It takes a long time to weave a carpet and the patterns are kept in the head of the weavers. Incredibly beautiful carpets.




The façade of the house was inconspicuous, but as you went inside there was a completely different world. The walls were decorated with a beautiful mosaic as were the ceilings. We were told that the four wives had their own rooms. Apart from these rooms there were other large spacious rooms and areas.



On our way back to the car we were walking through the meandering streets and everywhere we saw people working in their little workshops. The architecture was fascinating.



This camel was pulling up water from a well. The well was inside a house our “guide” took us to. I wonder if camels can think?




Kairouan is also known for its´ pastries. We found a bakery where we bought fresh bread straight from the oven before we set off back to El Kantaoui.


Thank you Anders and Birgitta for your company and also for the books about Malta and Greece, amongst other places.  




The 16th September at 10.10 we cast off and the first leg was to sail to Lampedusa. A stretch of about 100 NM and we expected to arrive in the morning of the 17th. It was brilliant sunshine with a little breeze that quickly died. We zigzagged between fishing-nets and other flotsam before we reached more open water. The crossing was quite uneventful apart from when we sighted empty rafts floating around. Our thoughts went to these desperate people who would do anything to get a descent life.


Early in the morning we sighted Lampedusa and the wind was picking up. At 06.00 we reached the harbour entrance and we had to make a decision. Were we going in to the island or were we going to carry on? There was a nice wind now, so the decision to carry on wasn´t difficult to make. Sails were hoisted and wind rudder connected as we settled down for another 100 NM before we reached Malta.


 It was quite windy but the waves were definitely not in proportion to the wind. It was a very steep sea, which reminded us of lake Vänern in Sweden and the approach to Vänersborg. The sea in the Sicilian Sound is very shallow and on the charts there is even marked “Banco Terribile”, but this bank was luckily nowhere near us.


The waves came from the side and we were rolling quite a bit. The stomach felt unsettled and the head didn´t want to keep pace with the rest of the body. It was time to test our “seasickness chewing gum” Calma, which we bought before leaving Sweden. It says that you should not chew it for more than 10 minutes. After a couple of minutes our tongues were double their size and the whole mouth felt numb! We looked at each other and couldn´t help laughing as we spit the wretched thing out. Mind you – it has to be said; our stomachs felt a bit calmer after this.


We didn´t see any abandoned rafts now, but big parcels with GPS antennae on top of them.  We stayed well clear of them and had to keep a sharp look out as there were many floating around.


When we reached Maltese waters we got company from some dolphins playing around the boat. Earlier we had watched the moon rising from behind Malta and now it was shining brightly so we could see quite well. Fire works were also lighting up the sky in all imaginable colours as we were getting closer to land.




We arrived at MSida Marina beneath Valletta at 02.00 and all was very quiet. We didn´t see any empty places along the pontoons, so we moored along the quay and fell promptly asleep. In the morning we went to the harbour office with our papers and were shown a place along the Guest Pier. When we had moved the boat the Customs came and asked us to go to the office to be checked in. There were no problems but quite a lot of forms to fill in. It felt nice to be here at long last.




We were lucky to get a place along the pier as it was quite crowded. The Danish boat “June” with Tommy and Lotta Jacobsen were also lucky to get a place later in the day. They were our neighbours for a few weeks before they carried on to Sicily. Thank you for the company and for the good advice!



One day we saw a mast going past our stern with the “Mediterranean Sailors”-flag hoisted. As well as the Swedish flag. It was Sören and Eivor Carlsson on “Apostrof” who had also come to Malta to stay the winter. After a bit of moving around they also got a place on the guest pier. We were soon invited to an evening celebrating that we had managed to get a place in the harbour. Thank you for a nice evening!



On the 1st October we paid our fee for staying the winter here in Malta. This is the period  1st October 2008– 30th  April 2009 and this cost us €925. This includes  electricity and water.  


First impressions of the Mediterranean


I asked Mike what his impressions were and got this answer: “The Mediterranean is like a big rubbish tip. Filth and dirt everywhere. It is as if people are lethargic and do not care about their surroundings.” Is everything bad or are there any good things? “The weather is fantastic. The nature and landscape, of course. The scenery in other words. The social life with other sailors is great fun”


Here are some of my own reflections:

 After having listened to other sailors before we got here you might think that we were entering “the sea of horrors”.  It feels nice to say that I haven´t experienced the sea as “horrific”.  Sure – we have had some mishaps with personal injuries as a result. But these things could happen anywhere. The scar on my right arm I got after walking into a rusty old letterbox…  

The purpose of our adventure was to get out and experience other cultures, people and places.  This we have done. Living on a boat with all it entails – apart from sailing. This we are doing and enjoying every minute of it. So we have experienced what we expected and much more and are looking forward to further adventures. I also agree with Mike in what he says above.


So, what is it like to live so close to each other all the time? It works very well, but it is getting noticeable that we are approaching a “certain age”. Last year before Christmas I mention memoryloss... It is the way it is. What we have now noticed is that our hearing is deteriorating fast.




So, with this little story we would like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


A man in his eighties reads that hearing loss is rapid at this age so he decides to give his wife, of the same age, a test.

She is in the kitchen with her back to him, so he asks quietly “What´s for lunch, darling?” He gets no response. A little worried, he takes two steps nearer. “What´s for lunch, darling?” Again she keeps her back to him and does not respond. Now he is really worried, so he goes right up behind her and asks again: “What´s for lunch, darling?”

At this she suddenly whirls around and yells: “For the third time, you deaf bastard, we´re having pork chops!!!!”



(We will be back in the spring!)