Tuesday the 22nd and Wednesday the 23rd of April
Eileen of Avoca was ready to go, but a heavy swell made exiting Fiumicino (a distributary branch of the Tiber River) dangerous if not impossible (see photo).
I spent the next couple of days preparing for my trip, stocking up on delectable local produce and reconnoitering the river’s mouth to gauge the height of the breakers. Despite having traveled more than 1000km unnecessarily, I was pleased to have kept the car. It enabled me to revisit Ostia and the many venues nearby that I’d come to know over the Christmas New Years holiday period.
Entrance to Fiumicino
Sunday the 20th of April
Late afternoon start for the 1500km drive to Rome.
Monday the 21st of April
Arrived by 6am and attempted to sleep in the car waiting for Delta Italia to open (no easy feat in a Fiat 600 unless you are a contortionist on Valium).
Eileen of Avoca was still in her cradle, awaiting some finishing touches. I was assured that all would be in order by late afternoon, so after transferring my electronic gadgetry (GPS, EPRIB, Laptop, Handheld VHF etc.) to the boat I steeled myself for the additional 500km drive to Sibari. Arriving before 5pm, I had just enough time for a brief chat with the friendly marina staff and to look around the enormous marina complex.
First impressions were not encouraging. With nearly 3000 places for yachts, I was expecting a bustling metropolis of boating activity. What I found was dilapidated ghost town.
My major concern was with the marina parking, where I had thought to leave my car for 10 days (with my Aries wind-vane in the back seat). The prospect (real or imagined) of not finding anything upon my return was making me decidedly apprehensive.
After a short ride to what passed for the town centre, (20 Euro for the 6km in an unofficial taxi) my misgivings grew and when the regular coach to Rome arrived at 23:00 I could not bring myself to take it. Instead I walked the 6km back to the, marina, picked up the car and retraced my route back to Rome.
For peace of mind, if for no other apparent reason, I would leave the car at Delta Italia and carry the vane gear lashed to the floor of the pushpit.
A short but adrenaline packed solo hop from Ostia to Fiumicino. The previous day’s heavy rain coupled with winds from the west made for the occasional heart-stopping breaker in the following sea that accompanied me as I motored toward the rivers entrance.
Eva had taken the car to meet me at the yard where Eileen would be hauled out to spend the rest of the winter (see: www.deltaitaliasrl.it).
Several hours later and 900 Euros poorer (for 4 months dry storage), we set out on our return drive to Belgium. Time to get back to work and save for the next sailing adventure.