We left Ponza at 0300 as planned on Weds for the 7 hour trip back to the mainland. There was still no wind until about 0800 but then the predicted blow came. It was from the NW so we put the genoa up (that’s the flappy white thing at the front) and sailed with just that and still made over 6 knots. We were running low on fuel so wanted to fill up as soon as we arrived as we weren’t sure what time we would leave the next morning. However, the fuel was between two hydrofoil ferries. There were a number of fishing boats waiting to fill up as well so we spent nearly an hour waiting our turn. Eventually, we motored in carefully as we didn’t want to hit either the ferry or the hydrofoils sticking out of their sides. I don’t think that they get many visiting yachts as our credit cards didn’t work so had to pay for 150 litres with cash!
Next we needed to find somewhere to moor for the night and went first to the marina on the west side of the harbour but we told very forcibly that we had to go to the area marked ‘transito’ on the far side by the fishing boats. There didn’t look like there were any lazy lines to pick up and we didn’t fancy putting the anchor down as there were a lot of protruding lines and almost certainly a fouled bottom (that is all sorts of junk on the seabed to snare your anchor). There were no other visiting boats and the wind was still strong so we went alongside rather than stern to. Jase and Lee went off to explore the town as Jase’s grandmother was born there before escaping Mussolini’s regime. Just as they returned a port authority official came by to say that we needed to re-moor stern to. We pointed out that there were no lazy lines and no other boats so why couldn’t we stay as we were. It was still blowing quite hard and we didn’t fancy manoeuvring Nimmie if we didn’t have to. Eventually, he relented to let us move her when the wind died but insisted we deploy the anchor. He even asked a local what he should do as he had no idea what he was asking of us. He then told us off because we hadn’t asked permission to enter the harbour – not that it was written in any of the pilot books! Italian officialdom at its worst. We decided that we didn’t want to stay given the welcome we had received so we left around 1700 to head towards the island of Ischia.
Picture of Formia that was quite sweet despite the reception we received!