giovedì 11 febbraio 2010

Perfect sailing week among the Egadi islands off Sicily

Orange Charter is pleased to publish a testimonial left by one of its customers, Mr Joakim Harlin, from Sweden, who enjoyed his holidays aboard of our sailboat Macabunna.
We keep good memories of the nice relationship we had with these people, so it's a pleasure for us to host his words in this BLOG.

We also publish some of the very nice pictures he sent us along with this message.

To get the pdf version of this testimonial, just click here.

In mid June we took Ryan Air from Stockholm to Trapani for a sailing holiday among the Egadi Islands off North‐western Sicily. The boat was a 2007 Beneteau Cyclades 43.4 which we had rented from Orange Charter. Being pitched in Scandinavia the sun, the temperature and the crystal clear turquoise waters sounded so tempting. And when we discovered that split over a crew of eight we only needed to pay approx. 500 Euro per person including air travel, boat rent, airport transfers, bedding, towels, dinghy with an outboard and final cleaning the decision was not hard to make.
Orange Charter has tailored their business to match the Ryan Air timetable and their staff, led by Roberto Perricone and Emanuele Lombardo are very decent people, service minded and pleasant to deal with in all ways.
Our week was fabulous with clear skies and sun, 28‐30 degrees Celsius at midday, lovely evenings, sea temperatures hovering round 24‐25 Co and a pleasant sea breeze which seldom grew stronger than 18 knots.
The three Egadi Islands, Favignana, Lavenzo and Marettimo are within eyeball distance from the coast and each other. Sailing between them was a matter of a few hours and the waters are easy to navigate in. Favignana is the largest island and has the largest number of coves to anchor in. The town and main harbour is also the biggest of the three and best equipped. The island is partially flat which lends itself well for excursion on bicycle. Our favourite coves were Cala Azzurra and Cala Rossa – the red covebecause of a bloody battle during the Roman era. The cove is everything but red these days though – it is simply unbelievably turquoise! A beautiful place with a smooth sandy bottom surrounded by limestone rock scarred by mining excavation and many exciting tunnels to explore.
Lavenzo lies not far away in the North whereas Marettimo is a bit farther away in the west. Both these islands are impressive mountain formations climbing out of the sea. Marettimo has a peak of 620 meters and is often surrounded by haze with clouds floating on top. You can’t distinguish any housing until you are very close. The Marettimo town is quite a bit larger and more pleasant than the facade towards the harbour promises.
Here you find a church, several shops and restaurants, cafes, an icecream bar, ATM machine, post office, pharmacy, bakery, butchery etc. Prices were slightly higher than in Trapani but not unreasonably so. A vegetable and fruit merchant drives around the town with surroundings several times a day with his little van using a megaphone to alert the customers – very convenient. There is a very nice pebble stone beach within 20 minutes walking distance south of the village. But it is the marine park on the western side that makes the island famous.
Here you find many dive bums but you can also take a trip with the local fishermen.
The eclipse of the island takes about three hours and offers stunning views. The coast line consists of several hundred meter high, steep rocks and eight different caves with gin clear turquoise water. A swim stop is also made so don’t forget to bring the bathing suits.
Levanzo is also worth a visit. The town is much smaller, steeper and sleepier than the one on Marettimo but charming. From the many parked cars it appears that there are several ermanently living people here but where they drive their cars is a mystery to us. One can anchor at the at the southwester tipbehind the small islet Isola Faragione. This little rock creates a beautiful spot together with the point and a small stone beach. Here we had the best snorkelling and we saw a large number of yellow, green, blue, striped, wing finned etc fish. The usual silver ones with a black spot were also present.
Some tips:
• Anchoring isn’t quite like in the calm coves in the archipelagos at home. One should stop at
about 6 meters depth, allow a bit more distance to neighbouring boats than usual and let out at
least 30 meters of rode to lie securely. It is seldom completely calm in the coves even if you lie
in shelter of massive rocks and during the nights a strong land breeze blows a few hours at
about 4‐5 in the morning.
• Don’t leave any loose items like oars in the dinghy or towels out during the night – they can
easily be blown away.
• Keep in mind that the coves on especially Favignana get pretty crowded on Saturdays and
Sundays. Anchor a bit further out if you do not wish to me swarmed by sunbathers in RIBs.
• The pre and after seasons are probably the most pleasant climate wise – also less crowded.
• If you have small children remember that there are very few sand beaches. Most of the
swimming is done from the boat and sunbathing takes place on deck or on pebble stone

• Bring extra flippers and snorkelling gear and don’t forget sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
• Stock up in Trapani or in Favignana – cheaper and more choice. Also for diesel, petrol and
propane – these you can’t get hold of on Marettimo or Levanzo.
• Ask for prices on the menu and an itemized bill to avoid surprises at restaurants.
• Bring a phrase book or learn some Italian – one gets around with English but you need to use a
lot of body language!
• Beware of the jelly fish which can burn you badly. Special cream for burns is available at the
local pharmacies.
• If you are an EU resident bring your EU medical insurance card for free service and discounted
prices on medicines.

• Do not forget to take the adapter between 2 plugs and 3 plugs with you from the power socket
in Trapani – if you forget it you can forget shore power on the islands.
• Keep a good lookout when you cross over to Marettimo – there are dolphins around – we saw
two jump close to the boat.
• The municipal docs e.g. the one on the starboard side at Marettimo are available to moor
against for free. Here you can also buy water and power from a machine for 1 Euro. To be
compared to the adjacent commercial jetty where they charge you 60 Euro a night.
• Take the cableway from Trapani up to the picturesque medieval town Erice. You get a lovely
view up there and the town is interesting from a cultural and historical perspective – half a day
up there is enough unless you’re an old town’s freak.
Joakim Harlin

3 commenti:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this interesting post with us. I like your post and the pictures you have post here. Keep Sharing.......

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  3. how amazing islands and tourism places. it had better to go like this places with sailing yacht..
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