Passage to Tunisia – The Next Morning

We started the engine at about 0800 to charge the batteries, make some hot water, and ended up motor-sailing a bit since there wasn’t much wind. Neither one of us had gotten any real sleep all night, and didn’t feel like eating anything in the morning. I had a coffee, and Christa a tea, to try and help us become useful creatures for the rest of the crew during the upcoming day.

10617321_946415422052074_57431611_n We both got a bit more energy soon after the engine started, when a pod of dolphins joined the boat for the next 15 minutes or so. They crossed our path, jumped clear of the water, and came up alongside on their side, I assume to get a good look at us standing on deck. Very cool show. There were a few turtles floating on the surface, which allowed us to focus on something other than our sea sickness.

IMG_2548By the afternoon, the wind had almost died, and the waves were maybe 2 feet. Christa suggested that it would be a great place to go swimming since we could not see any trace of land in any direction as we were out in the middle of the Med. I brown-nosed with the skipper/instructor and suggested we could be lazy and just heave to in order to go swimming right where we were. Christa and I thought it could help sort us out a bit, so along with Jeremy we jumped right in. We had a great time swimming behind the boat, it helped refresh us, and it was kind of interesting/unusual to be swimming so far out to sea.


Christa was the last to come out of the water, and just as she decided to, the wind  picked up a bit, and from a different direction, from when I came up with my brilliant idea of just heaving to. The boat was now slowly moving away from her and she could only keep pace with it. We threw a rope to her, and just as she reached for it, let out a tremendous shriek and yelled that something had just bit her back. There was nothing visible around her except for the rope so I confidently proclaimed that it was just the rope, thinking that she had somehow managed to scratch herself with the melted end of the line.



She said a couple of choice words in disagreement, confirmed that something had in fact bitten her, and now the rope was leaving her behind. I dove in to calm her down, and grabbed the rope to pull us both back to the boat. As I was behind her climbing up the ladder, I became acutely aware that I was now the sole person in the water with whatever may have bitten Christa. Once recovered back on the boat, we all marvelled at what we assumed was a nice little jelly fish sting. Funny that none of us saw any of them when in the water, or when we were on deck.


Initially we had debated whether we would head to Hammamet direct, or go via Lampedusa. Most now know of the name due to the number of African refugees that have started to make their way to Europe via Lampedusa as it is part of Italy. It is also well known for Rabbit Beach, which was voted best beach in the world in 2013 by Trip Advisor.


There must be a handicap system in place for this beach to finish so high. This picture is from the Wikipedia site for Lamedusa. When leaving, we sailed by about where the boat is you can see in the picture by the wake it is creating. When we looked at the beach from our position, it was so unimpressive looking that we didn’t bother to take a picture ourselves. It looked like just a random cove among the cliffs like any other. Guess we missed out…

IMG_2564 IMG_2581

We arrived in Lampedusa just as the sun was setting which made for some good scenery and photos. On the second one here you can make out the control tower for the airport, whose runway is positioned right above the marina pontoon we berthed at that night. Luckily the planes didn’t start taking off in earnest until 0800 the next morning. As good as the sunset made the scenery, it also made it a bit sporty with all the trawling fishing boats that were around. We didn’t know what kind of nets they were using, but had heard that they can be hauling lines as far as a mile behind them, so we gave them a wide berth, and listened on the radio to some entertaining shouting arguments (or what we have come to call Italian discussions) as we made our way to the harbour entrance.


It was a good call to put in for the night. We were all drained. We berthed at a new set of pontoons that had only been there for a couple of years. Both the Italian Coast Guard and the Guardia di Finanza were there in force, running in and out of the harbour continually while we were there.

After dinner on the boat, four of us headed into town to see what it was like and to have a drink. I think the first three places we tried turned us down as they didn’t want to only serve us drinks. The fourth place we were referred to, appeared more like a convenience store with a coffee bar, but they did have beer and wine so we planted ourselves to watch the scene. It was a typical Mediterranean marina/harbour tourist town with a great many restaurants surrounding the waterfront. Many fishing boats, government boats, and motor boats for rent lined the large marina/harbour area. There was also a peculiar number of Citroën Méhari scattered all over the place. The walk from the boat was maybe 1/2 hour, and I’m not exaggerating to say we must have seen 25-30 of them. It was almost like a Just For Laughs gag. Every few steps there would be another one, or a cluster of 3 of them. What is it saying about me that this is my predominant recollection of the island?

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Passage to Tunisia – The First Night
Passage to Tunisia – The Next Morning

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