By now, I have been on the move for almost three months. It’s been island time only and I have not set foot on mainland since I left Geata when the cruising season started. And I certainly haven’t missed anything the normal world has to offer. Or so I though at least.
I have generally spent the summer in four groups of islands. Isole Flegree outside Napoli, Isole Eolie north of Sicilia, Isole Egadi west of Sicilia and Isole Pontine west of Lazio. These islands have all offer their own form of an Italian paradise and it is impossible for me to pick a favourite.
I have spent most days either sailing or just swimming, reading, diving and socialising with guests onboard. The evenings have generally been spent on land when the temperatures have been much more agreeable. The odd time you forget that it gets really warm. Like when I went on a four hour hike on Levanzo and came back to the village totally dehydrated and dizzy. To the extent that I dropped my entire tray of refreshments at the village bar. By now I have learnt. Shop, explore and exercise in the morning, hang in the afternoon and go out and eat and mingle at night.
After a few months at sea though, I really needed to get my laundry done. I had been buying clothes, sheets and towels along the way but it was getting ridiculous. I had four large garbage bags full of laundry in bad need of Lydia at Laundromat back in Gaeta. It was time for a pit stop.
As I passed the light house and the fort at the entrance to the bay of Gaeta, I was struck by a strange sensation. A feeling of coming home. I have never really needed to feel at home anywhere. In fact, Saoirse is my home now and she is designed to move all the time. But it was nice to be back. To see this quirky seaside resort again and know where to go to get the gas bottles filled, get laundry cleaned, get rid of rubbish (a constant issue for cruisers), get your hair cut and to say hello to some friends. And to know that it is not 8 am when all the church bells tell you it is. Eight o’clock in the morning is when the US battle ship moored in Gaeta wakes us all up playing the American national anthem.
The first one to greet me was Maik. The airline pilot, diver and solo sailor that was a member of our little corona hibernation group from the past winter. I am afraid I will have to tell you girls out there that this stud is off the market. Maik just got married and is waiting for his wife, Shajanie, to join him onboard his Catamaran, Takamaka. I truly wish them all the best for the future, though I did express some concern over the fact that he was not wearing his wedding ring. It was comforting to hear that it was due to the fact that it was too large and he was worried about losing it swimming.
Tomorrow I will take the opportunity to meet Flavia and her colleagues at Base Nautica Flavio Gioia to discuss my plans for Saoirse for this winter. More about that later. For now, it is nice to know that I will be alright with another winter here. The plan was to cross the Atlantic but I will be OK with calling Gaeta home for a little while longer.