Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On the Run: But NOT to Saline Jonische

2013 08 06
Five Miles from Saline Jonische, Catabria, Italy

Here was our beach for the night - Not Saline Jonische

Staging to transit the Straits of Messina is made somewhat more difficult than it needs to be due to a paucity of anchorages.  This is problematic as one must plan the transit to coincide with a north running current and often you want to anchor and wait for the right tide.

The situation is made more difficult by the absolute ban on anchoring in the Straits of Messina.  

Then there is the Italian rule that no one may anchor within 500 metres of any unmarked beach.  I say Italian rule because the EU rule is 150 metres but around here at least the Coast Guard enforces 500 metres.  The fine is €350 and there are many many reports of people fined for "only rowing ashore for bread".  Sure, I believe that.  Nice though to know what excuse does not work.

Anyway we were too late in the day to make the Straits so we needed a layover.

Charmingly reminiscent of the days of Glory of the Empire the Imray guides all instruct you that the north flowing tide through Messina commences 1 hour and 45 minutes before the high tide at Gibraltar.  Gibraltar?  There is a tidal station at Messina, right in the middle of the straits, but the Brits must time their passages with reference to a reliable tide chart: that of the nearest British possession, that being Gibraltar.  Were I Italian I might chafe at this unnecessary dismissal of my mathematical and celestial computational abilities.  Forgive me but I do not recall Michaelangelo or Galileo carrying a British passport.

The charts disclosed a small harbour on the south west coast of Italy, name of Saline Jonische, that seemed ideal for our purposes.  We could anchor in the harbour overnight and get a good lead on our transit of the Straits.


About two hours out of our intended anchorage Connie saw this brief blurb in the Imray Guide: "There have been several incidents of aggravated burglary from yachts anchored in this harbour.  It is strongly recommended that yachts do not stop here except in an emergency"

It took us twenty seconds to parse the comment after which we pulled over to the beach right where we were, taking care to remain more than 500 metres off, and dropped our hook.

We discovered later with internet searching that yachts in Saline Jonische are robbed at gunpoint.  Nothing is ever done about it.  But then this is Italy and more specifically Catabria.  Fans of Mafia novels will get the connection and the likely reason for inactivity.

Saline Jonische seems like it may be a training camp for tiny mafiosa.  It is not a good place to anchor.

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