We left our lovely anchorage in Le Castella intending to make for Santa Maria di Leuca across the Gulf of Taranto. The wind had slightly more north in it than we wanted but it was supposed to go round to the west during the night so with two reefs in the main, we set sail. For the next 12 hours we had a wonderful, lively sail making great headway and hitting 8.3 knots boat speed. The seas did get quite big at times but Nimmie dealt with them in her usual, nonchalant style. However, it wasn’t great for sleeping as it was quite bouncy. The seas eventually quietened down around 4am and by then the AIS had packed up so we had to go back to the old fashioned way of determining the course vessels around us were taking. The radio also wasn’t working properly so we suspected that the several ‘lively’ trips we had to date may have loosened the aerial on top of the mast. Not something we were going to sort in the middle of the night, miles from anywhere.
As we approached Marina Di Leuca, we both decided that we might as well go on towards Otranto and save ourselves a day. Otranto is a medieval walled town with interesting alleyways, cathedral and castle so much more interesting to stay in for a few days. The town quay is only €25 a night so that definitely helped sway us.
We arrived around 2pm on Thursday afternoon and amazingly found a space. The quay only has space for around 6 visiting yachts so getting a berth is pretty hard but the parking goddesss was with us. We were both pretty tired after our 22 hour journey so we spent a fairly lazy afternoon sorting ourselves out, getting some provisions and checking the town out. After an early supper, we were both asleep by 9.30pm!
However, this morning we both were much refreshed and decided to sort the aerial out, which meant Liz going up the mast – just for a change! We decided to do it early on as the temperature is reaching 30 degrees in the shade here.
After all this exertion, we decided we needed a beer and a rest so the hammocks came out!
Otranto has a fascinating history with a huge Aragonese castle, a cathedral that houses a Tree of Life mosaic floor dating back to 1080 and a chapel that is dedicated to the 800 martyrs who were beheaded in 1480 for not converting to Islam. The chapel has their skulls in glass cases – a little gruesome.
We found a bar that had good wifi so had to have a cocktail there as seemed only fair. Looking forward to spending a few more days here whilst a strong NW wind blows through as there aren’t any anchorages between here and Brindisi to hide in.