Harbours and Anchorages between

Malta and Croatia



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The information in this report is based upon our voyage from Malta to Croatia in April 2001.  A comment has been made upon every harbour and anchorage entered: all but the first three contain corrections to be made to the pilot(s).  The page number(s) given in brackets following the heading for each entry refer to one or both of the following pilots published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson:


Heikell:                The fifth edition of the Italian Waters Pilot by Rod Heikell

Thompson:         The third edition of the Adriatic Pilot by T and D Thompson



Marzamemi, Sicily (Heikell page 317)  A well sheltered port but very pricey!  We arrived in SW5 and berthed bows to the NE-facing side of the outer pontoon – there are laid moorings.  We were relieved to be moored in complete shelter as the wind was still rising but we felt that the 70,000 lire requested was much to high for April though it was reduced to 60,000 lire when we complained.  The port is built in the middle of nowhere and there are no facilities other than water and electricity on the pontoons and a rubbish skip.  If you just need an overnight stop and the wind serves, Porto Palo is a cheaper (free) alternative.

Catania, Sicily (Heikell page 310)  A comfortable over-night stop for a reasonable price making us feel that Heikell is much too damning of the place.  We stayed in Club Nautico NIC, (YC3 on the plan in Heikell) where we paid 36,000 lire including water and electricity and use of the showers.  It was a longish walk to the shops through the port but worth the effort to see the now-faded but once very splendid buildings in the centre.

Naxos, Sicily (page 306)  A stunningly beautiful anchorage set between Etna and Capo Taormina.  Unfortunately, the wind acceleration zone to the north of Etna produced severe gusts off the land and, despite the wind being from the north-west, we were disturbed by a north-easterly swell.

Roccello Ionica, Toe of Italy (Heikell page 342)  A modern marina with finger pontoons.  It has still not been completed and it is still free!  There is water on the pontoons, but no power.  Having read of a sand bar building up off the outer breakwater (April Yachting Monthly) we treated the outer breakwater as if it were 200 metres longer in a WSW direction.  We kept well to the SW in the approach, rounded the imaginary end of the breakwater and approached the entrance to the north of the reported sand bar.  We had a minimum of 3.3m in the approach and 2.9m at the entrance.  The marina is open to the WSW so the outer berths are exposed.  However, the two north-south (approx) jetties are solid walls (the east-west ones are floating pontoons) so we moved to a finger on the inside face of the most south-westerly pontoon where we are well tucked in behind the solid quay.  There was still some movement, but much less than on the outer fingers.

Crotone, Toe of Italy (Heikell page 345)  The whole of Porto Vecchio is in the process of being transformed into a ‘Pleasure Harbour’.  An ‘Apron Jetty’ has been built around the inside of the outer harbour wall from the elbow 60 metres NW of the ‘Office’ and running SE, then SSW as far as the fuel quay.  This apron, approximately 3 metres wide, is built out over the rocks at the base of the wall.  In due course, two jetties will be built out from it running in an east to west direction.  However, in the meantime, along the majority of its length, it suffers from a lack of bollards and a surfeit of small local boats indifferently moored.  In consequence, mooring is limited to the angle either side of the ‘Office’ where two or three very dirty pick-up lines remain.  We moored there free of charge for one night but were rudely awaken by shot-blasting work on what may well be the new ‘Office’, just to the NW of the old one.  Friends stayed overnight on the fuel berth free of charge but were asked to leave once it re-opened in the morning.  The Yacht Club in the SW corner has already been refurbished but it only has one berth for visitors:  it is at the NW end of their outer pontoon.  The Boatyard next door had a couple of vacant berths when we were there, one of which we occupied for 4 nights.  It had no pick-up line but we rolling-hitched a line onto the lines of the vessels to either side of us and were quite secure.  Friends paid 27,500 lire at the Yacht Club; we paid 25,000 lire at the Yard, both including water and electricity.

Santa Maria di Leuca, Heel of Italy (Heikell page 354, Thompson page 427)  We found this much as shown in the two pilots but rather better protected than suggested in either.  We arrived in strong southerlies that veered through west to north-west, but we were not too troubled with swell.  Having said that, as the harbour was fairly empty, we moored alongside the outer pontoons facing the entrance and used the pick-up lines to hold ourselves off.  Had we been forced to moor bow or stern-to, such swell as did enter would have been beam-on and no doubt would have troubled us far more.  We paid 27,500 lire per night including water & electricity.  A few yachts moored on the inside of the outer wall on the section marked ‘Trawlers’ in Heikell.  There was no possibility of mooring behind the inner breakwater as he suggests – the berths there are private and fully occupied.  Some new pontoons have been constructed in the area marked ‘Laid Moorings’ in Heikell but we saw no indication of their future use.

Otranto, East coast of Italy (Heikell page 358, Thompson page 424)  This was our least favourite port on our journey to Croatia.  Two new pontoons have been built in the south-west corner of the harbour running parallel to the outer breakwater.  The fuel station has been re-sited close to the root of the more north-easterly of the two new pontoons, approximately 50 metres south-west of its original position.  The pontoons belong to the Yacht Club and they bear large notices in three languages making it quite clear that visitors are not welcome.  We attempted to berth but, despite there being plenty of free places, were turned away and sent to the ‘Town Quay’.  This is the small section in the south-east corner where Heikell shows a boat moored to her anchor.  It is not possible to moor on the inside of the outer breakwater as shown in Thompson as this is entirely occupied by Official Boats of varying hues.  When we went to the Town Quay it was occupied by a laid-up Fishing Boat lying alongside to which we made fast.  We were secure enough in a physical sense, but we did not feel that it would have been safe to leave Retreat so we remained on board.  The inner anchorage shown in both Pilots may have been possible but the gaps between the two huge warping buoys used by the ferry, the rocky patches and the randomly-scattered moorings did not leave much swinging room.  In quieter conditions the outer anchorage shown in Thompson may well be tenable.

Brindisi, East coast of Italy (Heikell page 359, Thompson page 422)  A very useful port of call with plenty of room to moor - much nicer than suggested in Heikell.  However, both pilots show the Town Quay used by yachts in the wrong place.  The plan in Thompson shows a straight run of quayside past the steps as far as the Harbour Master’s Office:  this is incorrect.  Fortunately, Heikell shows the layout correctly so I will now refer to his diagram.  Heikell shows an anchor symbol on the NE-facing section of quay below the steps and opposite the entrance.  Moor here at your peril for it is used by a huge fleet of fishing boats, which return around 1800.  The berths for yachts are at the NNW end of the ENE-facing section of quay immediately in front of the Harbour Master’s Office where Heikell has written ‘Ferries’.  (The Ferries berth at the SSE end of this section of quay.)  It is possible, of course, that things are different in the summer when more ferries run but, at the time of our visit, this was the case.  There is a new alongside fuel berth on the short stretch of NNW-facing quay between the two 10 metre spot depths on Heikell’s plan.  The main shopping street runs inland at 90 degrees to the shore from the Ferry Terminal, 100 metres SSE of the Town Quay.  Much of it has been pedestrianised and is very clean and pleasant to walk down.  There are two large supermarkets along this road, the first less than 200 metres from the Town Quay.