Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Crossing the date line

Glowing red the sun sank into the sea. We had just passed the small island Ventotene and sailed past the prison island Santo Stefano when the sun coloured the sea around us red.

Sunset at Ventotene

The island of Santo Stefano is basically a rocky outcrop of less than 30 hectares, on which stands a prison built by Ferdinand IV in 1795 and operated until 1969. It is located about one nautical mile south of Ventotene. We actually wanted to visit the island, but the weather forecast announced wind from the south for the next days and that's where we want to go. One day before we changed from a bay in the northwest of Ponza, to a bay in the south of the island. Against wind and waves it was an action under sails, which lasted the whole day. As the crow flies the two bays were just 0.5 nautical miles apart. But to get around the cape we had to go far out to sea. In the end it was 10.5 nautical miles with cruising. But we had a wonderful evening in Ponza. We didn't want to miss the small picturesque town and made the dinghi ready when we finally reached our anchorage in the afternoon. With our tender we glided across the bay, between two rocks, and were already in the harbour basin of Ponza.


Most of the restaurants and hotels are still closed and they are busy with the preparations for the season. Of course, much too late and apparently not really on the ball, the routine work that has to be done every year at the start is done. Somehow it seems as if people don't really believe that something like a season will ever happen. We took a walk up the hill and looked at the anchorage where we were still lying in the morning. On the way back we stopped at a small bar and watched the hustle and bustle in the harbour. One has to get used to the sight of the people with the breathing mask. Many, especially younger people, have already made a fashion trend out of it and wear the most colourful fabric masks, others, especially older and stocky people, seem to have a hard time wearing the mask. So most of them wear this protection under their chin or at least keep their nose free to get some air. After we were not among people for some days, a very interesting thing to watch. Well, we had been looking forward to a pizza, but since we couldn't find an open pizzeria, a la carte was again the order of the day at Katinka. There was a potato pan with fried egg and ham. The next morning we set sail in a weak wind and tried to win at least a little bit south. As it took us almost the whole day for the 20 miles to Ventotene, we decided to sail into the night at the same speed and to be the first in Italy to cross the Corona Date Line on June 3rd. So we sailed punctually at 24h from the Latium region to Campania and approached the island of Ischia. I don't remember if we did it correctly, the short-term memory decreases considerably with age, sometimes I wake up in the morning and don't remember when I went to bed in the evening. Was it already evening? But it was already evening, after all it was dark, or was it only dark because the eyes were closed? During such a night drive, all kinds of things go through your head and you are always looking forward to the first ray of sunshine that breathes some life into you. After the first coffee it gets better and better, only the short term memory doesn't really work anymore. Anyway, on June 3rd, freedom of travel in Italy was restored and we had crossed the regional border at some point during the night. With absolute calm we had breakfast, in front of us the beautiful island Capri to grab close, the sun rising in the east made the picture almost kitschy.


At some point we broke away from the sight and started the engine, the next highlight of our trip was just around the corner, one of the most beautiful coastlines of Italy, the Amalfi Coast. On this day the wind simply let us down, so we motorised to Amalfi and lay down with our Katinka on 9 metres and sand, directly in front of the town. Here too we got the dinghy ready and I rowed to the nearby marina. From far away a Marinero waved us over and showed us where we could land. As I'd already read a lot about the practices of mooring dinghies in this area I was surprised that he didn't charge any money. In conversation he told me how hard the Corona crisis has hit the people here in Amalfi. We liked him and gave him 10€ voluntarily, which surprised him and made him very happy. The small town of Amalfi is located in a gorge that opens up to the sea and stretches inland in narrow alleys. 


Life is gradually beginning to reawaken, but even here, many shops and especially restaurants are still closed. Nevertheless, we found a pizzeria where we ordered, after 10 weeks, our first pizza and half a liter of red wine. We cannot say with certainty if this was due to the 10 weeks or if the pizza was really that good, we definitely enjoyed it very much and sitting outside under a big umbrella, there was a lot to see. 

Pizza in Amalfi

Despite the red wine I was able to keep the dinghy on course and rowed purposefully towards our Katinka. The swell had decreased a bit in the meantime, so that we could sleep quite well. The next morning the sea was flat again and once again there was no wind. That's why we were also on the motor for the last stretch of the coast until we finally arrived in Salerno. What we did in Salerno and what a stay in the marina costs in this area, we will tell you about that next time. Until then, as always, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.