Sea Circum Sicily


ebook published May 2016
12 Chapters 1 Map 166 Pages


‘The island of Sicily has an incredible wealth of treasures and a geography which lends itself so beautifully to exploration by sea with most points of interest located close to the coast…we have timed our voyage for October when the crowds of summer will have departed and the temperatures will be pleasant for our guided tours.’

So said a two-page advertisement in the UK Times of February 2016 promoting a Mediterranean cruise. The company was offering ‘Sicily Under Sail’ - a six day circumnavigation of the island using its luxurious and very expensive ‘five-star’ sailing vessel. Talks were to be given by onboard guest speakers on the island’s wealth of treasures.

I was intrigued – the idea must be catching on.

This book is about a three week voyage around the island of Sicily in a more modest thirty-eight foot yacht made in September and October of 2015. It regales not only a clockwise series of passages by sea around the island’s south, west, north and east coasts and harbours but also of journeys made by road into most parts of the varied interior.

Sicily is not just an island: it is an island of books. Not guidebooks but real books. Past and present, well over one hundred travellers, observers and novelists have felt inspired to write about the place and its people, its past and its present, its myths ancient and modern, its mafia and – most recently – its migrants.

A circumnavigation is supposed to be a journey by sea which arrives back at its place of departure. Readers of Sea circum Sicily will find themselves travelling in time and returning to a different island from the one they sailed off from in yacht PENGUIN II.

Chapter Headings for Sea circum Sicily


  • Chapter One: Welcome to Sicily!

  • Chapter Two: Montalbano’s ‘Manor’

  • Chapter Three: The Vanishing Sea

  • Chapter Four: Empedocles; gone today, here tomorrow


  • Chapter Five: Redshirts and ruby wine

  • Chapter Six: Godfathers and the Battle for Grain


  • Chapter Seven: Two Sicilies and three Palermos

  • Chapter Eight: Shakespeare and Stromboli


  • Chapter Nine: Cyclops, sinter and the spirit world

  • Chapter Ten: Swordfish and the Simeto river

  • Chapter Eleven: Syracuse and the Ciane river

  • Chapter Twelve: Byng, Pozzallo and the Boaties