04:40 We have left for Palermo, the sun is rising, no wind at all and the sea is completely still.
07:34 Dolphins at the tip of the boat! Sometimes they look like a group of synchronised swimmers. You can clearly see them below the calm water too. What an experience to watch them! They are common dolphins not the bottlenose ones we already know from the Adriatic Sea. My daughter, Kati is observing them with interest, looking at their unique skin marks and explains to me this is how we can tell them from each other. Then she excitedly turns to me and says: that’s not really appropriate… Mama, one just peed and I think pooped too! I have seen it in my book, this is how they do it.
We are sailing in 5-6 knots winds… We will arrive to Palermo around 6pm. For me it’s always so exciting to arrive to a new place. It always make me glad to see a new and different scenery, to know that there will be land below our feet again, we can go for a shopping and there is new places to discover…
At first we see the high coastline at the east part of the island, then the lined up villages with white houses along the shore. Slowly we get closer and see ahead the city of Palermo. The tall buildings indicate where is the city and as we get closer we can make out where the downtown is with it’s beautiful buildings and towers. Behind the breakwater there are huge industrial ships. Further behind them several big ferries, luckily none of them is leaving now. We take down the sails and turn the engine on to get in to the port, looking out for the many kayaks there – they seem to have a training session. I wouldn’t want to flip in this water, since we have turned at the breakwater the water is yellowish and brownish beneath us.
We are staying in the Silimar Marina, this means two piers, similarly to Lipari or other places in Italy, a couple of piers belong to the same owner. We are practically in the heart of the city, the marina is a bit further, far from the gigantic boats. It is really hot in the marina.
We go for a walk in the evening. The city seems slightly chaotic: beautiful buildings and rundown streets alternate. After a while we turn back to the touristic parts of Palermo as it is getting darker. The streets are packed with people, which is not surprising, there is so many sights to see. Poverty and wealth are remarkably mixed in the city. The open air restaurant terraces are full of tourists and among the tables with his half naked children a bagger is asking for coins.
We turn back to the marina and on our way we came across a tiny square packed with food stalls. A lot of noise, smoke and smell of fried meat and spices in the air. The vendors loudly offer their products, they talk to us in english, italian and french. People eat their dinner standing, walking, sitting on this little square with background music. The place has a really special atmosphere. Later we discovered that some people come here just to go on organised street food tours. All in all we found Palermo an amazingly special city.
The next morning a diver came to clean the bottom of our boat. It took him 2 and a half hours, with fantastic results! In the afternoon the sailmaker stopped by and promised to phone back later to let us know if he managed to get the right material for the repairs… Unfortunately he didn’t, so we set sails and said our goodbyes to Palermo.
We didn’t sail long to the west before anchored in the massive Mondello bay for the night. On the shore a hundred years old, beautifully lit restaurant was shining, which was actually built on the water. It was a lovely summer night on the beach and the nearby boats. We went to sleep and continued our journey the next morning at 6 am to Sardinia.