North along the Portuguese coast to Aveiro

Eileen of Avoca under sail in Portugal

My next leg to the anchorage at Aveiro was uneventful, except perhaps for the occasional downpour, forcing me to shelter below decks. I’d occasionally pop my head out to make sure I wasn’t about to run into anything but other than that there was little to keep me occupied. I wasn’t even going to try to fish. With yesterdays catch under ice (purchased in Figueira da Foz), I would not need to use my lucky lure for quite a while.

Forced below, I did a little cooking to pass the time and make a new batch of fish pate.

The recipe?

Preparing fish (Bonito) pate

Fry your bonito or tuna steaks in olive oil with some rosemary. Take off the skin and bone when it cools so that it looks like what’s in the photo. Take one chopped onion, several chopped capers (the large type with the stem), mash your catch of the day, and add lots of mayonnaise. Voila! For variety add a little chili powder, fresh avocado, or tomato sauce to the concoction. Serve with fresh bread or crackers and you have a great sailing snack.

Fiumicino to Ponza (70NM)

Leaving Rome

Leaving Rome

Thursday the 24th of April

At first light I cast off to brave the persistent swell at the entrance to Fiumicino. With considerable trepidation I watched the sets of breakers and timed my exit. The rain from earlier in the week had swollen the current, steepening the oncoming swell. I didn’t want to be in the wrong place should a large set of waves break, so I set the engine to full throttle and powered through the danger zone. Safe!

Hoisting the sails I adjusted my course (150°) for Ponza (60NM away). There was not much in the way of scenery but the settling sea and favourable westerly breeze were more than enough to keep my spirits high.

By 19:00 I was carefully threading my way through the shoals off Punta Rossa arriving at Porto di Ponza soon afterward. I had no luck contacting the private “mini-marina” staff by radio so I made fast to the first pontoon confident that someone would not be long in stopping by to extract a fee. I did not have to wait long. A quote of 10 Euros per meter (subsequently reduced to 50 Euro after observing my startled reaction) saw miserly me off to set anchor in the bay (beyond the buoys marking the ferry-maneuvering zone). Contrary to what is stated in my pilot, it is permitted to use this free anchorage.

In the remaining light I set about inflating my tender (a Sevylor diving kayak). Keeping a dry backside in this contraption which has an access hatch at its centre is a bit of a challenge but despite this I’ve convinced myself it was an excellent purchase. (see:

After a brief morning wander through the bustling port and side streets of Ponza in search of fresh bread and a strong espresso, I paddled back to Eileen on a caffeine high, and weighed anchor.