This is my experience of life on their boat sailing in the Adriatic Sea.
Up at 730, brekkie, pack up, check out with Guardia Costiera who really were not interested.
Set off at 9:00. It’s a very calm flat day and we had to motor all the way as there was not enough wind for sailing. Common Sense needs about 15 knots to sail by itself. Today we have got minimal sail up just to assist in stabilising the boat. It’s interesting to watch all the different size vessels pass by. Terry and Carol have this amazing chart plotter system that also provides info on position of ships, name, size, what type of vessel, cargo, coordinates, where they are heading to and all contact details, a radar detects all small craft and the automatic pilot steered us all the way to Brindisi complete with ETA.
The smell of bread baking draws us into a little bakery where we purchase some pane, panini and some little baked olive snacks. Across the road Carol is getting some peaches, an avocado, tomatoes, and she is carrying a large bunch of pale asparagus mmmmm I am thinking ahead maybe some pine nuts to go with that. The streets are narrow, dirty and run down we avoid walking under some of the shutters and balconies, they look like they could fall down at any minute. We look up at some beautiful old stone carvings set high up on a corner of an old building. The ornate rusted balconies look stunning against the old stone, there are the occasional bits of greenery, these are much sparser than the abundance of greenery in the north of Italy in Spoleto.
Prosciutto and salami
Crusty bread drizzled with local peppery EVOO.
This really is something else sitting in and feeling the brunt of every wind gust, it certainly heightens your awareness! Banging, clanging, straining ropes and the wind whistles as it pushes boats and masts around. This is new experience that I haven't been aware of when comfortably surrounded by four walls in a secure home.
We spend the day reading and sleeping until the wind passes.
This evening we bus it into the town centre with a couple of recommendations of where to eat. In typical Italian fashion the city and shops come to life at 4:30. Passagiatta is in full swing, Brindisi is a lovely city, lots of interesting old buildings, a palm lined town harbour where yachts can moor placing them right in the centre of the city. Lots of interesting little alleys and enotecas and great shops too.
We find the lovely little Italian fish trattoria Siamo Fritto in the piazza Mercato, looks great, we decide to eat there. And what a treat it is, so much to choose from. We order some beer, half a litre of rose and with it comes the complimentary bread and olive taralli biscuits.
We have some delicious marinated anchovies drizzled with lovely green EVOO and a touch of pesto, the dressing begs to be mopped up with some crusty bread. Then some crispy fried calamari followed by a seafood risotto which has my undivided attention as I wade through the tasty sticky rice clinging to the mussels and prawns. Terry has pasta with tuna and tomato. We all finish with a cleansing limone sorbet and I can't resist a glass of limoncello. All up this cost us approximately 21 euros each (about $30).
Our bus driver is obviously in a big hurry to get home, he races through the streets and doesn't have time to take our fares, just waves us off the bus.
Wednesday 24th - Brindisi
We dinghy into Brindisi, this time we moored right on the central town dock placing us close to everything.
Shopping - we sample and buy some local fresh cheese, baked bread and a few supplies. Terry's shopping list is 'lollies, chips and hot salami', I suggest 'fruit and veges'. This stirring of the dietitian continues. I suggest a chickpea and tuna salad for dinner, Terry says sausages or pork chops.
We visited a few historical sites including the Palazzo Granafei where we stumbled across an amazing photographic exhibition by Salvatore Valente. His stunning photographs were of scenery, portraits and of people from all over the world. Keryn's motto of 'take 3 more steps' paid off once again with this unexpected discovery.
It is siesta time and the city closes down. We find a little bar to have a snack.
Mini tomato and mozzarella pizza and a lemon beer.
Two old Italian men sit at the table next to us, chatting, smoking, sipping an espresso and they eat some kind of cream filled pastry. I watch them thinking I must try one of these.
After asking 'che cosa il dolce gli uomini mangiare' (what are these men eating) I am served a brioche like cornetto filled with creamy custard dotted with dark liqueur soaked raisins that oozed out with every heavenly bite I took. OMG how am I going to survive when I have to curb my eating heaven.
It's now 4:30 and the city is coming to life again. We stop in at a little jewellery shop that keeps drawing us in. They have these lovely necklaces with little Puglia dolls typical of the area. Carol and I can't resist making a purchase. We then head back to the boat on our dinghy.
Back on the boat Carol and I snack on the local cheese and taralli biscuits that we bought along with a glass of Greek rose left over from Terry and Carol's time in Greece. It has that typical retsina flavour which is a bit of a shock after the Italian rose however a few sips later I am not even noticing it. I prepare one of my versions of chick pea salad for dinner.
Tuna in oil, chick peas, olives, cherry tomatoes, blanched green beans, rucola, quartered eggs and dressed with EVOO and lemon juice.
Thursday 25th - leaving Brindisi for Monopoly
Up at seven for an early start. Over brekkie and checking the weather report we see storm warnings forecast for later today and strong winds settling in for the next couple of days.
The plan was to get to Bari in two legs with a stop in Monopoli. Each leg is about a 6-7 hour day sail.
I need to be in Bari in 3 days to catch my train to Milan and Terry and Carol are picking up another friend in Bari the day after I leave.
Terry is reluctant to sail today with the storm warning so it looks like we're stuck in Brindisi for a few days with the back up plan for me to train it to Bari if needed.
Terry checks in with the marina staff and another local experienced sailor who suggests that today is our window of opportunity to make a move before the strong winds set in.
A decision is made - we pack up and set off for Monopoli and hopefully we beat the storm.
It's calm, cool but not cold, and overcast as we sail out of the marina and through the ever busy port of Brindisi. A large Grimaldi ship is coming in followed by a rescue ship, military aircraft fly overhead, tiny fishing boats dot the harbour and we plot our way to Monopoli. Onto auto pilot, after a while there is enough wind to partly put up the genoa and main to help us along, though not enough wind to sail independently. The boat needs about 14 knots of wind to get it moving and are currently getting about 5-6 knots. We are travelling at about 6.7 knots with a combination of wind and motor. It's calm and flat and no sign of any storm.
All along the coast there are settlements, pockets of Greek style white buildings, probably beachside holiday towns. Plumes of smoke dot the landscape all the way from Brindisi. It is the season for burning off and cleaning up of the olive groves. I also saw this from the train as I was travelling down to Brindisi from Lecce.
Sailing/motoring like this is very relaxing, I write my blog, do Facebook, Carol reads and draws, we have morning tea and then lunch (left over tuna and chickpea salad) and there's time to chat and snooze. We arrive in Monopoli at 3:00pm.