Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Caribbean in Italy

Emerald green and crystal clear is the anchorage Cala di Chiaia di Luna. The water is still a bit fresh with 21°C. Mighty are the limestone cliffs around us. To the southwest there is a free view of the sea. The island Ponza is located in the Italian region Latium, where we are allowed to move freely since Monday, May 25th. On June 3rd we will be able to travel all over Italy again. 

Cala di Chiaia di Luna

In the meantime we enjoy the lonely bays and the bizarre looking, deserted beaches. After eight months, two of them involuntary, we left our safe berth in Fiumicino. Once again a very emotional moment, the people in the Gesti Nautica have become very dear to us. Always always helpful and with a lot of understanding for the special situation in the Corona crisis, they helped us to get through the difficult time. We can highly recommend this small marina, located on the Tiber Canal, even if it is a little complicated to get there because of the two bridges that have to be raised. The same way one gets into the channel, one also has to get out again and it is repeatedely exciting to pass under these bridges.

Farewell Gesti Nautica

Katinka on the Tiber

The Bridge of Fiumicino


Back on the sea a perfect sailing day awaited us. Fully loaded, we sailed with our cargo catamaran at four knots in a southwesterly direction. With hardly any waves and wind from the west we started into the night. 

Katinka under sails

Gradually the wind fell asleep and we were only drifting on the spot. There was almost no ship traffic and so we could close our eyes from time to time and then have a round view again. I had set the AIS to 2 nautical miles and should give an alarm if a ship was approaching. Alone, there was no ship approaching and so we lay out there for hours, alone and waited for the next gust, a mild breeze, a light breeze, something that would bring us further south, our first destination after this long break, Palmarola, an even smaller island in front of the small island of Ponza. Because the moon showed only a narrow crescent, it was a pitch dark night with a lot of stars. When the sun slowly rose and the morning came, the current had taken us two nautical miles back and we threw on our motor. 10 nautical miles to Palmarola and the wind turned to southwest and built up a wave about one meter high, which gave us a hard time. Around 10 o'clock we reached the lee of the small island and laid down in a beautiful bay that gave us a Caribbean feeling. Two more yachts were already lying in the bay, but then in the afternoon they raised anchor so that we were alone in the bay in the evening and enjoyed our first beautiful sunset this year.


In the night I was startled by a terrible noise. The anchor chain pulled over a stone and transmitted the sound as if the keel was being pulled over a reef. In seconds I was out of my bunk and on deck. Outside I was awaited by down winds whistling with 25 knots down the surrounding rocks. The rope stood tight and the chain pulled strongly. Since we always give a little more chain than necessary if possible, the anchor held despite the gusts that kept coming in. The bow dragged back and forth and I was at least on alert. Life had me again, my first anchor watch this year. Only in the morning the wind died down and it was time to catch up on some sleep. With the dinghy we explored a small grotto and then set off for another anchorage in the south of the island. The bay was very open to the south and so it became very uncomfortable again in the night. There was only little wind, but the swell set quite uncomfortably into the bay. It goes something like this, three times a leap forward, two times to the side and a four second break, then it starts again with a leap forward. Anything that is not firm on the body, i.e. everything except bones and muscle mass, will then wobble in time. You have to like that, we don't, and so we set off for Ponza the next morning. 


We lie here again alone in the bay. Our German Foreign Minister was right when he claimed that the holiday after the opening of the Corona will be a completely different one, even if he perhaps did not mean it the way we are experiencing it right now. Normally there are at least 20 boats in this bay and the Italians enjoy their stay with everything they have, the jet skis plough through the anchor field, parties are celebrated on boats, in short there is a lot going on in Italian anchor bays. Especially the Roman, as well as the Neapolitan is famously notorious as a party animal, but they don't always take it too seriously. Instead, there is a yawning emptiness, on the beach as in the bay. The only ones who visit us are the seagulls who hope that a little something will drop off for them too and the carabinieri who controlled us and our boat.

Everything  in order

Yes, Mr Maas, that is indeed a completely different feeling. Maybe nature is using the virus to defend itself against the arrogance of us humans, in any case it seems to do her good and it makes us look at things that were pushed far into the background before the crisis. We are happy to enjoy our freedom again after the severe restrictions and consider this a privilege worth fighting for, even if your opinion does not always meet the spirit of the times. In this sense we wish all sailors fair winds and the rest of all the best and keep a stiff upper lip.