Scilla and Charybdis

We’re here in Taormina, our first anchorage in Sicily and it isn’t too impressive. Everything ashore looks run down, buildings covered in graffiti. The water isn’t too clear either - not sure we want to go for a swim. The G7 summit was here earlier this year - where? Maybe up on the hill which we decided to explore in the next few days by car from Catania.

We had an interesting few days to get here. Four hours after the Admiral left, it started to rain, like in POUR, for the first time since late March when I arrived on the boat! Yes, since March. I know because some of the rust-colored African dirt that had accumulated on the rig in Almerimar actually came off and landed on the deck of Kincsem. The next day was sunny again, luckily, so we could explore the nice little town of Scilla a couple of hours South of Tropea, at the entrance of the Strait of Messina. It is here where the fabeled crake Scilla used to live atop a high cliff and whisk sailors off passing ships. Scilla was reputed to have six long necks with terrible heads to boot. Odysseus lost 6 sailors to Scilla according to the Odyssey. We did look around but the crake seems to be no longer there. Instead, we saw a collection of tourists and found a good lunch spot where we consumed some of Scilla’s smaller brethren. On Monday we were off to the Aeoleans once more so Christoph, Barbara and Siggie could get a view of them as well. We visited Stromboli, Panarea and Lipari and what a difference a week makes! We saw much less boats and only a small number of superyachts. I guess every Italian under 60 is back to work now ….

So earlier today we motored and sailed over from Lipari through the Strait of Messina. It is here where we met Charybdis. In antiquity, Charybdis was a giant whirlpool which sucked entire ships below the surface. Our handbook said that Charybdis is no longer to be feared since the rock formation said to be responsible for the whirlpool was largely destroyed in the 1783 earthquake. So our course was layed close around Capo Peloro on the Northeast corner of Sicily without regard to Charybdis. But 1 mile away, I happened to look ahead and saw a standing, breaking wave right across our course inspite of the non-existing breeze. We didn’t hear a sucking sound but we changed course around the worst of it nonetheless, just to make sure we weren’t sucked under!


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