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                               SARDINIA  ITALY & CORSICA, FRANCE

Sardinia

After our whirlwind trip to Rome for the day, we had a pleasant relaxing sail to Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean.

We ended up reaching Golfo Saline north of Olbia in the dark of night but with the aid of radar and Grace's AIS position in the anchorage, we had no trouble getting in.

 

Golfo Saline

June 30

We were happy to have finally met up with Grace again, having chased them since Turkey. The Grace kids had decorated the boat with paper chains with a sign "Welcome Ginny & Gord" and dressed in their best clothes. Jack and Jess are twins, age 8, and Neisha is 10. They are an absolute delight!!!

We had a celebration get-together and a much belated Happy Hour!

Over the next few days we made short hops to anchorages along the North-eastern coast of Sardinia. The beaches are lovely and the water crystal clear, but ashore the area is very westernized. Affluent summer homes, villas and many resorts crowd the shoreline. Not much culture here and very uninspiring!

July 2

Today we experienced our first "Mistral" winds. The winds in the Med are so frequent and severe that they are given their own names depending on location, direction and velocity. In Greece, it was the "Meltimis" and they would blow strong for weeks on end.

July 7

The wind continues to blow 25-35 knots everyday but we are totally protected and comfortable in the anchorage. We have been enjoying spending time with Grace swimming in the clear water. I can't say the water was really very warm! The air is about 32 deg C and just the right temp for me! Prices for everything are much higher here (I paid 2 euro for 1 green pepper today!).

 

It's been so long since we could afford an occasional drink of wine, we have really been enjoying some of the great c-h-e-a-p Italian wine we have been sampling. I have a fav for 84 cents/litre! The red is much more expensive at 1.50 Euro!!!! Since water costs more than wine, it has become our beverage of choice along with the wonderful pasta dishes we have onboard every nite (when in Rome....)

Corsica

July 8

Since the winds had been strong from the west, we decided not to pursue our plans to sail up the west coast of Corsica. Instead we aimed for the east coast.

Although Corsica is French, I am including it on this page as it was an interrupted part of our route through Italy.

 


We left early to catch the shore breeze and after a quick flag change from Italian to French, we pulled into a harbor on the southeastern edge of Corsica called San Ciprianu 41.37.89N 09.21.20E. We walked around on shore and along a beach.

The people here were not overly friendly. Whereas the Greeks shout at each other, the French wave their arms so frantically in conversation you have to duck to avoid being knocked now and again.

There wasn't much to offer there, not even a bus to town, so we continued on to the main port of  Porto Vecchio.

Porto Vecchio

The old walled town and natural harbour has been used as a major port for thousands of years. There is an old village above the anchorage where we enjoyed an afternoon with the gang from Grace.

 

pictured above: Shane, Nicole, Niesha, Jack, Gord & Jess

  Shutters and balconies were common on the homes
 

Meat hung from the ceilings of little shops, "black" Pig being the delicacy of Corsica. The unappetizing dried meat was outrageously expensive but a good selection of wines was cheap.  

Two Corsican women steal an afternoon siesta.

 

 

 

 

Interesting alleys to explore   Lunchstop  

Gord & Didgeridoo in the anchorage!

 

Sunset at anchor Porto Vecchio

We thought we have found a protected anchorage to ride out the predicted winds but when the first 30 knot gusts hit early the first morning, boats all over the crowded anchorage started to drag. It was all we could do to fend off other boats hitting us. A boat drug across "Grace's" anchor (in front of us) and pulled it out, adding to the chaos. Now I know why there are so many expensive marinas in the Med. We managed to remain unscathed through the night, but without much sleep!

Our water maker quit working and we were on our last drops of water. Gord had been unable to locate the cause of the failure, most frustrating. To top it off, our wind generator quit working also, probably because we have had SO much wind lately! Therefore, our batteries cannot keep a charge long enough to run the frig without us having to start the engine. And with the price of fuel at $3/litre, that's expensive power!

We found a huge supermarket and us girls were very excited. So much food to choose from!!! We spent about 2 hours perusing the store then had to pack all our freshly purchased cargo along the road for about 1 km back to the dinghy. What a workout.


July 10

The wind kept howling for days. Boats continued to drag all over the anchorage which kept us up at night on anchor watch. Finally, most of the boats gave up and headed into the marina leaving Ascension and Grace pretty much by ourselves and holding fast in the anchorage. Perfect. Now we can get some sleep!

Because of the uncooperative weather, we decided to take a bus to Bonaficio. The drive was somewhat interesting as we passed small villages clinging to outcrops like they were magnetized to the rocks.


Bonaficio

Bonaficio  town was very remarkable with the sheer white sea- sculpted cliffs comprised of huge rocks and boulders. A sprawl of hotels flanked the busy port formed by a narrow crack between the mountainous walls of honey colored stone emerging from the sea.


The town itself is overshadowed by an enormous fortress standing high on the cliffs above the harbor. We climbed up to the top for a better view.

Within the clifftop citadel were alluring narrow lanes shadowed by tall medieval sun bleached buildings connected by arched supports, I suppose to keep the buildings from falling into one another!  Pots, baskets and other wares lined the streets, dried meat and garlic strings hung in the windows, wine and cheese shops beckoned.

We walked around the town for several hours, then made our way back to the bus stop only to realize that we got the schedule wrong and had missed the bus by 5 minutes! That meant a 3 hour wait until the next one. We spent about an hour walking along the coastal ridge,

The views along the ridge were stunning, looking way down into the deep azure waters and the waves crashing on the white serrated limestone cliffs.
We found a fascinating graveyard. Actually a community of tombs, each built like a little house. Many were very elaborate, a whole large neighbourhoods of deceased loved ones, all being remembered with much reverence. Some were very old tombs.

 

Since we still had time to kill before the bus came, we decided on a refreshment so we headed to the harbor lined with mega yachts. We splurged and ordered wine; Gord got a glass of cold red and I got warm white & the bill knocked our socks off!

Back at the anchorage, we were going stir crazy as the wind continued to howl non-stop for days.  We finally got a break and quickly headed up the east coast of Corsica. We returned to the anchorage at San Ciprianu 41.37.89N 09.21.20E for the night because it was protected and the holding was good.

July 12 We left early to catch the shorebreeze and spent the evening in Pinarellu 41.40.58N 09.22.64E before heading across the Tyrrhenian Sea to Elba, Italy.