Marina di Punta Ala
100 Euro/night for a 14.49m boat, mid September
Since we couldn’t get an electrician on Elba, we decided to head back to the mainland and find a marina that could help us out and organise an electrician for our Raymarine chartplotter, VHF and autopilot.
I called the marina in Punta Ala to book us in for the following night (Friday) and asked if they could organise someone to check/fix our electrical problems. So they gave me the number of the ship yard. Fine, I thought, and called the ship yard in the marina. Unfortunately, there was only one guy in the office and he did not speak any English… I managed to understand that I should call the marina again and have them call him (which was my initial intention, to be honest). Fine, I thought, and called the marina to ask them to call the shipyard to check if an electrician was available for tomorrow. I then got a call back from the marina (yay!), they gave me 2 numbers for 2 electricians I could call to check their availability. Fine, I thought, and called the first number and asked if he spoke English… Yes! I asked if he would be available the next day… Yes! We were very happy that worked out and looked forward to getting to the marina in Punta Ala to get our problems sorted.
We got in about lunchtime the next day, in strong winds gusting up to 28knots. Upon arrival we were ordered to the fuel jetty. Not sure, if they couldn’t find our reservation in time or if there was confusion with the boat behind us who came in to the fuel jetty too. After we confirmed we did not need any fuel, they gave us our berth: pontoon 3, berth 18. So off we went. And went. On neither side was a berth no.18. Just before we reached the end of the pontoon we turned around and headed back toward the entrance.
Mooring assistance arrived finally in a dinghy to show us our berth – no. 14 (as 18 was already taken by another yacht). Fine, we thought, and reversed into our newly assigned spot. Winds didn’t make this too easy and the guy in the dinghy tried to help but kept pushing us too far over that we needed about 3-4 attempts to finally get it right.
Once tied up, we realised that the berth was too narrow for our boat and we kept moving over und pushing into our neighbours, who weren’t too happy about that, but there was nothing we could do.
First impression: not perfect
We went to the office to check in, the gentleman there was friendly enough with good enough English for us to understand him. Discovered then that the wifi is not freely available but you need to sign in with an Italian phone number… so that didn’t help us either.
The marina as such looks quite nice and berths up to 880 boats. There are shops, chandlers, a little grocery store and restaurants along the promenade and a self service laundry.
That sounds ok so far, unfortunately, there are only 2 washing machines (one of which was out of order – this happened after we put our 4.00 Euro in it) and the other one didn’t have a spin cycle. The dryer then, of course, is not able to dry the clothes, even after 2 cycles. We resorted to hanging a washing line inside of Tiny Nical (it was raining) and turned our yacht into a dryer ourselves.
The grocery store does not help if you needed to stock up your boat for your next longer trip. There are hardly any groceries available and fruit and veges have also seen better days. At first I thought, this was because we went there on a Sunday afternoon and they did not receive any fresh deliveries. But on a Wednesday morning the sight was the same. We just got some (overpriced, like everything) packed bread and some of the world’s most yuckiest croissants (not the shop’s fault, really, but I still associate them with the shop).
If you need to stock up, there is a supermarket in Punta Ala, but not in the marina itself. Unfortunatley, we did not have the time (40 min walking distance) to wander up there.
Toilet and shower facilities are ok, they even have hairdryers available.
The weather forecast is interactive and you can check on different parameters at different times, this is updated through the weather website (I couldn’t see which one) probably hourly, so you can plan your trips easily.
Coming back to our electrical issues. When we arrived in the marina I gave the electrician a call and within 30 min he arrived at our yacht. We went through our problems and we made some progress – the VHF aerial and lead we bought on Elba were wrong, the card reader in our chartplotter had a defect and could not read any cards and hence could not to a firmware update and the clutch of the autopilot was burned out (also there was a dodgy bypass made by the previous owner to still be able to use the autopilot). Adriano, our electrician, who not only speaks English but also a little German, said he would get us a new aerial, lead and take the clutch away to rewind the coils. Being Friday afternoon, he would try to get this all organised by Monday. So we had to stay 3 nights…
Monday morning Adriano came back with the aerial and lead but the work on the clutch was still in progress and it would only be ready by Wednesday. He also brought his electric winch along and in no time, Alistair was winched up the mast to change the lead and swap the aerial. (It took me about 30min to winch him up when we were still in the boat yard!). Aerial fixed but VHF radio had a defect and could not receive.
We left Punta Ala for two days and returned on Wednesday afternoon. Adriano, followed us on Marine Traffic and knew we were back and collected the clutch for us. After a lot of hair pulling and swearing, him and Alistair managed to put the autopilot motor back together again, and hooray, it is working! We are so pleased!
Last thing he did for us was contacting a friend of his in Riva di Traiano, who is not only a Raymarine service person, but THE Raymarine service person in Italy. He said he could fix our VHF, no problem.
To cut a long story short, we were underwhelmed by the marina in Punta Ala and would not recommend it. It is ridiculously overpriced for what it’s worth.
But if you are ever in need of an electrician, we can definitely recommend Adriano! Please do contact us, if you are in the area of Punta Ala and need assistance, and we can get you in touch with him!
Follow Alistair and Nicola as they share their experience of traveling around the world.