08 June, 2010
Strait of Messina
Malua set off at 4:00am in the dark from Naxos which is the bay south of the town of Taomina which was made known by James Michner in his book of the '70 The Drifters. We have now visited all the towns in the book and traveled the same route the group followed in our VW during 1974.
We had timed our departure to get a north flowing tide through the strait. It worked and we had a great run north up to the port of Messina when the south flowing tide and westerly wind caught us. From the above picture one can see the turn of the tide or the infamous whirlpool ready to turns your ship around or suck it into the depths. Nothing happened!
The swordfish of Sicily which we eat on our last visit to the island in 2007 migrate through the straits of Messina. Unlike the eastern Sicilian fisherman who catch the fish in nets the ones in this strait follow them in boats with a 10 foot height mast with two men at the top spotting the fish. When they get close a crew member run out along an equally long bowsprit with a harpoon and spears a swordfish who is sleeping on the surface drifting with the current. We saw three boats but nobody on the bowsprit so the fish must have got away.