Wednesday the 30th of April
Just before sunrise I was able to contact the Italian boat (Velenosa) and rendezvous to pass the Messina strait in company. It was an easy passage through the notorious waters, but the turbulent current was still evident and I was glad I did not have to traverse this stretch in poor conditions. The Homeric tales of whirlpools off Scilla were never far from my mind.
Three hours later the wind backed and I was faced with making way against the prevailing conditions. The sloop rigged Velenosa was happily tacking in the Force 5/6 conditions but if I was to reach Roccella Ionica before nightfall I would have to take a more direct course and motor. After a wet and bumpy 4 hours at no more than 3kts the wind dropped and shortly afterward the sea calmed. I am always surprised by how rapidly the sea can change.
Before long the water took on a silky smoothness interrupted only by a long and gentle swell. It was time to make use of my new toy. A kite to which I had fashioned a camera mount. Following me by no more than a mile was what I supposed to be Velenosa, (it turned out to be another yacht altogether called Marina I) and as I flew my black and red kite the vessel approached.
In port I was to learn that they believed I was signaling them, one of the crew even confessed to have taken out a guidebook to decode my curious message. They were delighted to learn that it was just my attempt to take some novel snapshots and video footage of Eileen of Avoca underway (a birds eye view).
In port (No charge for visiting vessels for up to 5 days) we met to exchange accounts and together with the crew from Velenosa we sat at the restaurant terrace to a meal of pizza, pasta and beer.