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

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

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

Gaeta, Italy -

 September 16, 2001 

Two weeks ago we gaily left the Aeolian Islands, swept east just north of the Straits of Messina and made a landfall on the mainland of Italy at the funky, family run Marina Stella del Sud in Vibo Valentia, a small town in the north of the Calabria region of Italy. Fall set in with one thunderstorm, and the oppressive heat has given way to clear, dry, cool weather. We met more American and English speaking boats than we had seen all season; had a lovely time; and then between the fronts with their strong northwest winds, which are coming more and more frequently now, pushed north along the coast.

On Tuesday, Sept 11, we dropped anchor on the east side of the Isle of Capri, just below its impressive cliffs. This was our last isolated anchorage of the season to savor before we headed to the marina where we will haul out the boat in Gaeta. Then, we checked our e-mail messages.

The horror and the shock of the atrocities committed in NY and Washington have not worn off, just gotten a bit ragged at the edges after five days. The last thing we wanted that first night was to be alone. We do have a cell phone for emergencies and both our sons called to confirm that they and our immediate loved ones were alive. The e-mail became our lifelink and the outpouring of messages from our non-American boat friends has been poignant, as well as the French ham station's request in, fractured English, that the usage of the station be minimized to allow the Americans to contact home. Even so, we felt so cutoff and isolated.

The idyllic anchorage turned out to be not only a pyschological nighmare but also a physical one too, as the wind died and the seas did not. They rolled and pitched us around all night. Early morning we waited to make contact with the Mediterranean Cruisers' Net because we had such a need to connect with others to communicate our feelings about the terrorist attacks and then we got the hell out of there. Wednesday was a glorious clear sunny day and we were even able to sail, but it was also one of the longest days of our lives as we listened continuously to the BBC and checked our e-mail again and again all day.

In Gaeta, at the Base Nautico Flavio, we found supportive and helpful staff, fluent in English. Friends who had left LA for Athens on Monday, arrived in Gaeta on Thursday. We clung to each other, decided there was nothing else we could do, since we could not get on the first plane home, since there were no planes home, and have been sailing a subdued path among the Pontine Islands, 35 southwest of Gaeta. These are popular and crowded in the summer because they are so close to Rome, but the summer season has ended and the ancient hill towns are quiet and half closed. They fit our moods.

We shall return to Gaeta to prepare for haul-out this upcoming Friday and then we will begin to see if we can find a way home to Washington, DC. for the winter. Right now we cannot think of anything but that, although hopefully, by next season the world will be again on an even keel and we will be rejuvenated and ready to return refreshed and ready to go again.

Last year we crossed the Atlantic and worked our way into the Med. This year was our first season exploring the Western Mediterranean and we have enjoyed it tremendously. Cruising in a small sailboat is a continuous challenge and alot of work, but it is life at a reasonable pace. We don't have the deadlines or frustrations people suffer so with the traffic and typical urban and suburban aagravations. So much of life for all of us is mundane and repetitious and this is not. There is always something and someone new to experience. We have spent long enough time in some places to get a subliminal sense of the people and their society and a sufficient perspective to be sensitive to the subtle differences. We have been awed with the layers and layers of history absolutely everywhere we go and we continue to learn alot. Until Tuesday, Sept 11, it had been a wonderful season.

We always proudly fly our American Flag high on our backstay. Now the second American Flag at half mast on our port flag halyard also speaks for the way we feel at this time of tragedy for our nation.

Sid and Rebecca