We left our secluded bay in Malta on Tuesday morning and began our journey towards Sicily. We decided to stop off at Pantelleria, which is nearer Tunisia than Sicily as we had read about how exclusive a resort island it was with Armani and Madonna having homes there. As we had waited for the swell to die down (as it would have meant going headlong into it and therefore at much reduced speed or much increased fuel consumption), alas there was very little wind so we motored the entire 25 hours.
We made good time and met very little traffic although our AIS stopped working (again) so we had to check whether we were on a collision course the old fashioned way. We split the night shift so each of us got about 4 hours sleep. I was the lucky one to catch the sun rising. We had hoped to anchor next to Elephant Rock in Pantelleria but there was very little shelter so we ended up in the main marina. Luckily, there was space but no toilets or showers although €30 a night is pretty cheap anywhere in Italy in June!
Once we were safely moored up, one of the lads who had helped us also knew of a local car hire firm who was cheap. He rang them and an elderly gentleman turned up to take our details. He didn’t speak a word of English, had never seen an UK driving licence and was completely flummoxed. After an hour at his ‘office’, he drove me back to the harbour so that he could get someone else to fill out his contract form properly. He and I then went round the town trying to find a photocopier but failed as everything was now shut for lunch. Eventually, he gave up and just gave me the keys to the car. I use that term loosely as it as a beat up old Panda that could not have passed any sort of MOT in the last 5 years. The odometer was stuck at 155,744 km, the brakes didn’t work particularly well, the only door you could lock with a key was the driver’s side and the boot didn’t open at all! However, it did allow us to drive round the island for the afternoon. It is amazingly fertile with many vineyards. As the island is pretty much all volcanic rock, there are a number of hot springs and even a lagoon in the middle.
We managed to find the local sea baths but they didn’t smell great and the thermals weren’t that warm!