My path has crossed that of the mythical Odysseus several times already on this trip. The Nekromanteion in Greece is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, as is Nestor’s Palace in the Peloponnese where Telemachus sought help from the king while searching for his father Odysseus. In Sicily, the port of Aci Trezza is supposedly the site where Odysseus escaped from the cyclops Polyphemus and the picturesque islands in the harbour are said to be the rocks that the blinded cyclops threw after him.
Now, I find myself having lunch in the Bay of Guidaloca, believed to be the place where Naisicaa found the shipwrecked Odysseus and helped him to set off on the final part of his return journey to Ithaca.
Not far away is the Tonnara di Scopello, an old tuna fishery set in an idyllic cove, guarded by ancient watchtowers built upon rocky columns. Since it closed down in the 1980s it has become a tourist attraction and was also used for the filming of ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta Jones.
In Castellamare del Golfo, the largest of the local fishing ports along the coastline, I learn more about the tuna fishing industry in the Museum, which is housed in the Norman castle overlooking the harbour. I’m amazed at the size of the tuna fish shown in the black and white photos and wonder if any of the tuna are allowed to get that big these days due to overfishing.