Friday 16 May 2014

Acciaroli to Scario – Sailing in Southern Italy

August 6, 2013

After a nice breakfast on deck in the sunshine enjoying the views across the harbour to the delightful hamlet of Acciaroli, we cast off the lines and motored south east across glassy waters in windless conditions. We were on a bee line to round Cabo Palinuro and then on to a small town further down the coast where we would spend the night. Where possible, our summer cruising here in the Mediterranean is all about relaxed, stress free travel. We limit our passages to short hops each day always scouring the pilot guides and internet for interesting looking stopovers along our course.

Less than 30 nautical miles away, Scario sounded like just such as place. The tourist guides described it as being very picturesque with old world charm and assured us we would ‘enjoy the amazing panoramic view into the wide bay of the Gulf and towards the mountains of Basilicata and Calabria, which seem to rise directly from the sea. On days of clear visibility you are even able to see the famous statue of Christ in Maratea. A beautiful church with its separate bell tower – a campanile – is to be found on the main piazza of Scario. From there you can promenade under palm trees above the small, contemplative port and take part in the typical Italian village life in cafés, bars and restaurants.’ Yep! That sounded like our kind of place.

Sailing south along the Italian coast from Acciaroli
As we approached Cabo Palinuro, the previously low coastline gave way to dramatic cliffs of considerable height rising vertically from the sea. In the very calm conditions we were experiencing, there was no need for us to give these headlands our usual wide berth for safety. It was very enjoyable being able to cruise in close and get a good view of the numerous sea caves and prolific birdlife present on every rock face. The sea was so calm, a number of small boats and even some yachts were anchored right next to the cliffs themselves with their crews swimming in and out of the caves.

Very calm conditions approaching Cabo Palinuro

Definitely a good weather only anchorage.
The water certainly looked very inviting. So inviting in fact that when we rounded the cape we too elected to anchor between a big rock outcrop and golden sand beach for a swim and some lunch. It’s great to be able to just stop for a while if you want to when you find a nice spot. We’ve met a number of cruisers who are following gruelling sailing schedules, aiming to see the whole Med in one summer. The fact is there are only so many days in a season and, as long as you actually keep moving, we all see the same number of places. It’s just that with our style of cruising we see the places those others sail past on their quest to tick all the boxes of the more famous spots in this part of the world. That’s way too much like hard work for us.

Time for a swim and some lunch before continuing south.
Suitably refreshed after a dip and bite of food, we got underway again but with the added bonus of a nicely building afternoon breeze. The engine was soon silenced and we were scooting along under full sail on a nice broad reach. We held this point of sail for a bit over five miles before rounding a large aquaculture fish farm where we turned and headed for our stop at Scario.

We were running wing on wing towards Scario as we passed another
stunning hilltop village this fellow traveller motoring to windward.
The wind was now astern so we switched to running wing on wing with main and headsails out on opposite sides of the boast. We have found Alcheringa sails very nicely in this sail configuration and were able to ride the swinging breeze the final seven miles almost right into the anchorage.

There is quite a nice looking small harbour at Scario but, as is common in the summer months, it looked a bit crowded. Instead we chose to anchor off the village, well sheltered between a lighthouse on the point and the main breakwater in six metres of water with good holding. Where possible, we much prefer to avoid marinas and save the money for more pleasurable activities. It’s also much quieter and more private without being squeezed in rubbing fenders with neighbours on each side all night.

Acciaroli to Scario – 27.7 Nautical Miles – 6 Hours 31 Minutes 
Average Speed 4.3 Knots – Max Speed 6.5 Knots

We had no problems anchoring for the night outside the harbour at Scario
Alcheringa resting nicely at anchor off Scario in Southern Italy.
After enjoying a cold, post passage Peroni beer while securing the boat and lowering the dingy, we headed ashore to explore the waterfront. We are very happy to report Scario lived up to both our expectations and the tourist guide descriptions. We did indeed ‘promenade under palm trees above the small, contemplative port and take part in the typical Italian village life in cafés, bars and restaurants.’ As we strolled amongst the wealthy Romans and Neapolitans who move into their villas on the hills above the village each summer and modest numbers of other holiday makers, we even followed the suggested order and partook of excellent coffee in a café, explored further before sampling the fine products available at one of the character filled waterfront bars and then settled in at one of many harbour side restaurants for an excellent dinner of fresh local seafood. We even watched one extremely excited young fisherman race up from his small boat struggling under the weight of a massive sailfish on his way to show his catch to his no doubt delighted family.
Karen and her parents, Trevor and Joy, ready for our seafood feast at Scario

Note the Ormegiatori  (local concessionaire) on the dock ready to stuff another
fistful of Euros into his bag once the power boat manages to squeeze
its way into a very narrow space inside the harbour at Scario.
Before making our way back to the boat we stopped in at a deli and topped up our fresh bread, antipasto and wine supplies ready for the morrow.

On this occasion, Scario's sea air had not quite been clear enough for us to ‘see the famous statue of Christ in Marate’ whatever exactly that was, but we were happy for it to wait until tomorrow. All in all we had experienced another simply outstanding day sailing the southern Italian Coast.

The waterfront at Scario viewed from our anchorage.


Since returning to Australia at the end of last European summer’s wanderings around the Med, we have been extremely busy, catching up with friends and family, finishing and publishing our first book, ‘Stuff it. Let’s go sailing anyway’, mounting a very successful exhibition of Karen’s artwork and buying a new boat to sail the western Pacific and South East Asia.  We’re now working at finalising the story of our adventures in the Med in this blog and getting it all back to current so keep checking back for new instalments.

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If you have only recently discovered our blog and would like to read how it all started, or work through our previous adventures, click the link to go back to our first blog entry. Stuff it. Let's just go sailing anyway.  We hope you enjoy reading the previous posts to catch up on our story.

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