Great numbers of sunshine-starved Brits pour into Gibraltar. As a result, apartment buildings rise on landfills in the old port. The good omen — monkeys still thrive on the Rock’s high mountain. Climb there on windy days for a full view of spinning williwaws wrapping sheets of spray over ships anchored far below. From Gibraltar and through the Pillars of Hercules, Whale Song powered east into a Mediterranean past. Medieval walled cities — Sardinia’s mountain-crest bastion of Castelsardo, or Corsica’s soaring Bonifacio citadel, the small, Genoese castle in Girolata and the battlements of Calvi — were built against widespread pillage. Croatia’s Dubrovnik in the Adriatic may be the grandest coastal walled city. It once competed for control of Mediterranean trade with Venice. In about eight hours, Whale Song crossed from Rovinj, Croatia, to the moorings Venice reserves for large yachts right by Piazza San Marco and the richest of Europe’s architecture.
From the Tyrrhenian Sea, through the Ionian and into the Aegean, Whale Song crossed tracks of antiquity: Capri once hosted Roman emperors; from the marina in Castellamare di Stabia in the Gulf of Naples we could see Pompeii; passing through the marina centers in Preveza, Greece, we sailed over Mark Anthony’s and Cleopatra’s fleet sunk by Octavian’s forces. Mykonos, these days throbbing with cosmopolitan partygoers, had been just a farm island to feed Delos, a much smaller arid island only a mile away and once considered the center of the Earth. Delos’ temples, sporting gigantic phallic sculptures, stood long before the Odyssey was written. Greek myth called it the birthplace of Apollo.
As autumn winds blew away summer cobwebs, Whale Song headed to Malta for a major refit, our last. An Australian couple keen to purchase the yacht arrived in Malta to attend the sea trial right after Whale Song slid back down the ways. Wilson kept the yacht for one more summer cruise to Egypt and the Red Sea and a foray into the Black Sea. But in early 2011, with the new owners aboard, Whale Song, now employed in whale research, crossed the Indian Ocean to Fremantle, Australia, and we bid goodbye to our faithful round-the-world ride.
Whale Song's Around-the-World Adventure Ends