September 16 , 2001
Gaeta, Italy

September 3 , 2001
Stromboli: The Lighthouse Of The Mediterranean

August 26 , 2001
Cefalu: Another Medieval Jewel

August 23 , 2001
Sicily: Land of Lovely Desserts

August 15 , 2001
En Route to North Africa

August 10 , 2001
Ormeggiatori

August 8, 2001
Supermarkets and Amphora

August 6 , 2001
Sailing South in Sardinia

August 2 , 2001
La Vie en Corsica

July 30, 2001
Jonathan Joins Us

July 27, 2001
One Sea, Seven Colors

July 24, 2001
Say What?

July 23, 2001
"Va Bene"

July 21, 2001
Venturing Into Italy

July 20, 2001
And The Mistral Blew

July 18, 2001
The Spell Of Menorca

July 12, 2001
Culture And Concerts

July 7, 2001
Cha Chas

July 6, 2001
Red Dust

July 4, 2001
Rare Birds

July 3, 2001
Clear Empty Water

June 27 , 2001
Quick Friends

June 22 , 2001
Reconnecting

June 13, 2001
Eastern Hemisphere

June 6, 2001
A Weekend in Cartegena

May 30 , 2001
A Time Or A Place

May 29 , 2001
Several Lovely Sails

May 21 , 2001
Free At Last

May 25, 2001
On The Hard

May 18, 2001
A Boat Again

May 14, 2001
Time Warp to Morocco

May 03, 2001
Still On Stilts in Malaga

Venturing Into Italy -

 July 21, 2001 

Late this afternoon, we motored up to the north coast fjord of Fornells, for an early dinner and an easy egress for our passage to Sardinia. A brass band was playing on the hillside as we arrived. It seemed as if it was for us, but it really is for the beginning of the three day Fiesta de Sant Antoni. We dinghied ashore to a carnival atmosphere to celebrate our last night in Spain.

These fiestas date back to the Middle Ages and each village has its own variations. All have their roots in a religious observance but have degenerated to a good booze up. Many store fronts were boarded up to keep the windows from being broken, but we saw no unruly drunks. The horse is the central figure in Menorcan festivities, as thousands of people surround costumed riders and decorated horses, shouting and clapping to encourage them, while dancing to a rhythmic beat which is played over and over again by the band. We were part of the crowd as the riders galloped into the plaza with the band playing. The crowd, unhindered by any barricades, falls away to let them pass, then encircles the small main square again as the horses continuously rear into the air, 'dancing' on their hind legs. It is quite a show and would never be allowed in the U.S. without crowd control barricades, protective helmets etc., etc. Of course, we heard that people do get hurt and even killed at these events. But the lack of commercialism and the good natured enthusiasm of the crowd was refreshing. And the skill of the riders and horses is impressive.

At nine PM, with the Jaleo continuing and the band still serenading us, we put the dinghy on the foredeck, optimistically removed the mainsail cover, made a last check to assure everything was stowed properly, upped the anchor and motored out of Fornells with the sun setting behind the small, white town. It was a lovely send off. At the harbor entrance, we found residual swells and no wind at all. But we are delighted to be 'asea' again. We are making an overnight ocean passage for the first time since last summer. It is always exciting to secure all the gear, get out the jack lines and safety harnesses, go through the mental checklist to assure we are ready and then find that we fall right back into an easy pattern between ourselves and the boat.

Right now, at 3 A.M., Sunday morning, the moonless sky is sparkling with spectacular stars, the milky way is cutting its swath directly overhead and reflecting on the calm sea. All is right with the world. The Italian Waters Pilot is on the chart table along with the charts and Sardinia is our first venture into Italy. We should arrive at Alghero, of the way up the west coast, about midmorning on Monday, the 22nd of July.