S’Agata D.Militello, Sicily and the Alzheimer’s club
Cefalu on Sicily was without doubt our favourite anchorage to date. It was not only beautiful but the company was excellent and the town inspiring. We could easily have stayed far longer but we needed to get to Southern Sicily by 1st October and the weather had gradually been getting worse.
Waiting for the weather to go to the Aeolian Isles.
Map of Sicily and Islands
Zarzen had made a break for it and was heading across to Lipari and Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands to see the volcanoes. We were all set to follow but as they hit the open sea their boat began bucking like a red-neck with a banjo in a rocking chair. That was the last time we saw Zarzen but no doubt we will bump into them again sometime, somewhere. Decision made. We would stay another day or two with Tinkerbell which was no great hardship in this beautiful city . It also meant that Tree would be cooking more brownies.
After another couple of days we got a break in the weather and decided to leave. Tinkerbell had to stay longer because they had guests and then was heading for Greece so we said our goodbyes. We would be staying in Sicily for the winter.
Time to move on along the coast of Sicily
Rather than going straight across to the Aeolian Islands we had decided to go with the wind and follow the coast along to another anchorage before crossing. We had picked two possible places out but the pilot book and charts said the first harbour at S’Agata D.Militello was planned but not actually built. We hoped by now they had set up more than a beach umbrella for protection otherwise it was going to be a long sail in horrible conditions.
S’Agata D.Militello Sicily. Watch the sandbar.
Eventually we headed into the coast and towards S’Agata D.Militello on the North coast of Sicily just hoping there was now a harbour there. The weather had been bad and was getting worse. As we closed we saw a huge breakwater which was a good sign but the depth was getting very shallow very quickly. There is no mention of it but there is a long sand bar at the end of the wall which is only about 4m below the surface. You need to leave about 200m clear of the breakwater to get more depth under the keel but we only found this out from the locals later. Going in where we did was pretty dodgy, especially because the seas were now beginning to break on the sandbar. We went in very slowly but once over the bar the long outer wall gave excellent protection. Inside was a huge bay with good depths. There was the smallest of marinas tucked into one corner but apart from that we had a harbour the size of Milton Keynes to anchor in. Come to think of it that might be a good way forward for Milton Keynes. Sink it and make it into a harbour.
We just got in before the weather got really bad
The bottom was thick mud meaning that once the anchor was down we would not go anywhere no matter what the weather threw at us. We had just got in at the right time. An hour later and the seas were breaking violently over the sandbar. There was no way we could get out again even if we wanted but we were safe, secure and had S’Agata D.Militello to explore.
We launched our dinghy for a look around the town. When we reached the shore the swell from outside was creating waves on the beach so I dropped Angelina off on a landing and then surfed ashore in the dinghy to pull it up the beach. I then made another one of my minor miscalculations. As I jumped out the dingy the water was deeper than I though and the waves were stronger than I had imagined. I ended up waist high in water, got knocked over by the waves and pulled backwards by the dinghy. Well at least the water was warm and I had not been swimming for a while. Just remind me next time to take my clothes off first and empty my pockets of the essentials.
Don’t all visitor have wet, dripping clothing?
The local fishermen thought it hilarious as did Angelina. I was not so sure. We stopped at a café in S’Agata D.Militello for a drink and they did not even comment that I was wet through, dripping and sat in a pool of water. No doubt they are used to incontinent pensioner’s mystery tours there. The pensioners were probably from the local Alzheimer’s club and went there every week on their mystery tour but just couldn’t remember.
Everyone in S’Agata D.Militello had gone to a funeral.
S’Agata D.Militello, Sicily
The town of S’Agata D.Militello is not a tourist stop although I think it would like to be. It was quiet big, very friendly as all of Sicily has been to us so far. The only trouble was that it was totally deserted. Whilst we were wandering along the main street there was a really haunting slow ringing of the church bell. A hearse then came towards us slowly followed by what seemed the entire town’s population. No one was in dark colours. They were either brightly dressed or wearing jeans and football shirts. We could only think that the funeral was for someone quiet young and it was very moving as we stood there watching the town walk past.
It’s not a tourist town but it does have everything there.
From S’Agata D.Militello you can see several smaller towns perched high on mountain tops. They really were picturesque, especially at night all lit up. It was not a town for sightseeing as there was not much to see but we really enjoyed it. It was real Sicily and did not pretend to be anything else. The people of S’Agata D.Militello may not be used to tourists but they will go out of their way to help you. It was not a place to spend any length of time but as a stop over the harbour is safe, has brilliant holding and all the provisions you will ever need.
Again it was time to move on though. This time we would be heading from S’Agata D.Militello to the Aeolian Islands Sicily, eight small islands that are all active volcanoes.