A Whisper on the Mediterranean


A Whisper on the Mediterranean

  published by Boathooks Books (Sunpenny Publishing Group)

September 2014

 This is the humorous account of our family sailing adventures around the Mediterranean with our first sailing boat Whisper.

Great fun for both seasoned sailors and armchair travelers. Within these pages you  will find stories of adventure, dangers bravely faced, wine courageously drunk and a love that triumphs in spite of gale force winds and a 14 month baby who chose that moment to begin to walk. It also contains simple, delicious recipes; if I could cook in those conditions   they have to be foolproof.

The Italian Mediterranean Islands are so very beautiful and each has its own distinct personality from the aptly named Volcano, where we lost our anchor and recovered a boat that had slipped its anchor, to the magical island of Ponza, with its rainbow-hued port and sheltered anchorages.


When I received my copy of ‘A whisper on the Mediterranean’ by Tonia Parronchi the weather in South Devon was bone-soaking wet and the skies were pewter grey, in fact completely the wrong weather for sailing. As soon as I began reading I felt the warmth of Tonia’s delightful and evocative description of her adventures sailing around the Mediterranean in a boat she called ‘Whisper’
The heat of sunny summer days and soft balmy nights staring at Van Gough starry skies soon banished thoughts of a British winter. I came to know Guido, Tonia’s husband and Massimo their sailing friend and their passion for sailing. I sympathised with Tonia when she struggled with her first sailing experience, suffering with seasickness, and came to adore their son, James, and the way he embraced their new life with his ‘Benson Bunny’.
I discovered hidden coves and Islands, that one day I would love to visit, such as The Pontine Islands and I held my breath when storms threatened, felt the joy as seeing dolphins and had my appetite whetted by Tonia’s delicious recipes that can be found at the end of each chapter.
A Whisper on the Mediterranean is a more than a book; it is an adventure to be enjoyed on sea or on land, on hot sweltering days or during cold wet evenings. It is a book for everyone, sailor or a land lubber.
Michelle Heatley, author of "Fish Soup

Loved it! I was transported to the beauty of the Mediterranean. I felt I was there on the boat sharing the adventures, and of course the food, myself. A great read
Themah Carrole-Casey, author of "A matter of Time"

A really lovely book. I so enjoyed reading this memoir of Tonia Parronchi's first experiences of summer sailing in the mediterranean. I had to admire her fortitude and courage in managing as a novice sailor as well as being a relatively new mother as well. How she coped with a toddler on board a frequently rolling yacht, I cannot imagine. And then all the stories about blocked toilets, mosquito attacks, runaway boats that had pulled anchors and storms - well, my admiration simply grew and grew. That said, the descriptions of their journey around the beautiful islands off the coast of Italy had me entranced. I would just love to do that. I only wish I wasn't sick all the time at sea! For Tonia and her family, there was quite enough sickness in rough weather, and I am amazed they all endured it, but I can also understand the wonderful appeal of this simple way of living and sense of total freedom. An added bonus was all the gorgeous recipes at the end of each chapter. I think Whisper on the Mediterranean is going to find a new place in my kitchen from now on!
Val Poore, author of "Watery Ways"

Courage Becomes a Shout in “A Whisper on the Mediterranean”
Should a breast-feeding mother subject her baby to yachting around the Mediterranean in spite of the dangers of capricious weather and sea conditions? After having sent her now fifteen-year-old son on a month-long cruise to Greece with her husband and then reading his diary upon their return – Tonia Parronchi says, “Do it!”
She explains that James’ early years of sailing the Mediterranean, renowned for unpredictable and dangerous seas, instilled him with a respect for nature and a sense of adventure – a precious legacy that could not be purchased with any amount of cash. Parronchi earned it for her son through her own courage and willingness to endure hardships.
Both she and James suffered constant bouts of seasickness. One of the most terrifying events thrust them down into the cabin of the Whisper, surrounded by vomit which Parronchi was too ill to clean up. The yacht rolled back and forth so steeply that sea appeared in both windows on opposite sides of the cabin. Cabinets popped open. Everything inside rained down to join the mess on the floor. More alarmingly, Parronchi’s did not know if husband Guido was still at the helm or had been washed overboard by the storm!
A toddler who hated his safety harness; cramped space; intense heat; a limited water supply; mosquitoes; engine failure…a slipped anchor that sent Parronchi rushing outside naked to push the yacht off rocks. Nothing valuable is ever purchased cheaply.
To counterbalance the dangers and hardships, imagine traveling back in time to explore a Neolithic village; watching dolphins play at the side of the ship; eye-hurtingly glorious sunsets; exploring caves, rock formations and nearly forgotten villages around the Mediterranean, and making lifelong friends with many of the people – and animals – who made the three-year Mediterranean adventure remarkable and unforgettable. Parronchi also collected Italian recipes and those are included at the end of each chapter.
“A Whisper on the Mediterranean” is a must read book – especially if you want to know about a giant octopus; share the last laugh a skipper got on a cruise, and find out what happened when James the toddler toddled to the edge of the open engine hatch.
Stephanie Parker-McKean, Author of the Miz Mike Mysteries

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