Corsica Verse

La Corse

We cross the straits of Bonifacio
And reach Corsica today
So it´s àlors`,not àlora`
Et il faut parlez Francais

Bonifacio dominates the limestone cliffs
That the sun turns dazzling white
You enter the port through a narrow slit
Then it opens up to the sight

Of a bustling harbour with ships and wharves
And cruising yachts galore
Restaurants and shops compete for space
Standing cheek by jowl round the shore

The old town is inside the ramparts
It´s a stiff climb up to the gate
Aubergine farcie bonafacienne
Is Susie´s favourite plate

A drop in the force of the weterly wind
Is now forecast for tomorrow
So we motor along the south west coast
And anchor at Campomoro

There´s a sheltered,unpretensious beach
A French famil holiday venue
We enjoy the calm of the evening
And Impulsive´s 4 star menu

We briefly expore Propriano
Scogliu Longu´s our target today
The rocks have been sculpted by wind and sea
The books call it Henry Moore bay

The French-Icelanders who told us
Their favourite places to stay
Said Anse dÁrbitro is paradise
It is,in a 3 boat bay

We tear along under sail today
And navigate a track
Through les Bouches de Bonifacio
Once safely through we tack

On port tack up the eastern coast
It´s blowing 30 knots
Is the Porto Novo anchorage
One of Corsica´s windiest spots?

When we leave the wind´s still howling
From south west(the libeccio)
Then suddenly it just drops out
As we near Porto Vecchio

We luxuriate in a berth in here
And walk the old walled town
The two massive dishes of couccouc
Need more rose to wash them down

We detour to Porto Cervo today
Because Dan from BME
Is here for the World Farr 40´s
And he does electricity

One knows toilet talk is not good form
But something must be said
Back in Corse at Solenzara
Of the joys of an unblocked head

We track along the eastern coast
The hills are rough and shear
You can understand why the Resistance
Was so successful here

Bastia is another old Genoese port
It´s colourful buildings stand tall
The town has a lively but seedy feel
Watch out for a masonry fall.

Finis,La Corse,June ´09


6th. June 2009
We can see Corsica in the distance as we leave for the 10 n. mile sail across. The wind comes around just south of west so we sail with half a mainsail. It is quite a sight to see the high limestone cliffs with the morning sun on them as we approach the narrow opening between the cliffs to come in.The marina here is busy and the capitainere gives us what appears to be an impossible space to come in stern- to . Ross does a great job, with the capitainere pushing with his dinghy, and fortunately the skipper on the neighbouring yacht could take a stern rope for us. A friendly skipper from U.K. takes the other one and it is a feeling of relief to be tied up safely.
Once organized we wander ashore to find a light lunch. There is a great atmosphere here and we enjoy the french language. We often laugh as we find we unconsciously use our little bit of Italian instead.
This is a most spectacular place. It looks especially so at night looking over the sea in one direction and the port in the other, from high up in the Old town. There are a few buskers adding to the spectacle, and the new full moon is shining over the sea. We have been here before and still think it is one of the most gorgeous places to visit. We find a cosy restaurant up in the "Old town."

View down to the harbour from the Old Town

7th. June 2009
What a wonderful place to have a birthday. We have planned a quiet day just soaking in the atmosphere here. We are fortunate to have good reception and internet access here so can skype or speak with all our family. Modern technology is fantastic to be able to do this.
Ross prepares the perfect lunch on board. Then we take the cliff - top walk with its stunning views.
There are many friendly people in this marina all with different stories to tell and suggestions of their favourite paces to explore. One Icelandic couple recognize our flag and are keen to talk with us as their dream is to sail to Australia one day.
Tonight we have dinner again up in the "Old town" at "U Castle " restaurant which has lots of atmosphere.

U Castle restaurant

Unfortunately we don´t have much sleep tonight because the crew on the large german yacht next to us are very badly behaved. We asked them at 3pm to let us have some sleep but they took no heed. Someone must have reported them because the harbour police came at 5.30am and put a stop to it. Every boat in the vicinity must have been affected.
We do enjoy waking up to the church bells ringing, as we we have in many of the ports in Sardinia.

8th. June 2009
We leave Bonifacio at lunch time and it is like a yachties´playground out here as we motor westerly along the s. coast. Several boats have their spinnakers up which adds to the colour. Now we can see Sardinia in the backgound to the south.
We motor west across to Campomoro, which is a delightful small village set by a lovely beach in a cove surrounded by steep slopes. It is a perfect afternoon when we stroll along here with many holiday makrs enjoying this calm bay.


There are many beautiful blue fish swimming under the boat, and as we prepare dinner a dolphin comes gracefully by. We enjoy a long deep sleep at this very calm anchorage with no swell or wind.

9th. June 2009
This morning there is a slight swell but very little wind as we motor 5 n.miles west across the Golfe de Volinco to Propriano and anchor just outside the marina. This is a fishing village which was destroyed by the Turks in C16 and C17, and was rebuilt about 100 years ago. It is very lively today as signs of the tourism season are beginning.

Coming into Propriano


We enjoy lunch on Impulsive as we motor east across to the deserted Scolia Longu. This is referred to as the "Henry Moore sculptured anchorage" . The white and grey boulders and rocks here have been eroded into many amazing and different shapes.

Scolio Longu
Only a few boats can anchor here at a time. We see another yacht approaching as we are and when we arrive a rather anxious elderly skipper from U.K. is trying to organize us both. We both anchor quite closeby, but safely, when another yacht arrives. He has great anchoring skills and anchors stern to in between some large rocks.

Looking up to old Genoese fort
We walk along a coastal track to the next magic cove. The water looks tantalizing with the sun shining on its beautiful, clear colours, so I can´t resist a swim.
The water is also a little warmer here. We are enjoying this weather (mid 20s) because we know how hot it will be in July and August.

Sunset at Scolio Longu

10th. June 2009

Bringing in the spinnaker

We are warned our next planned stop has a limited number of anchorages too, so we leave in good time hoping someone might be leaving as we arrive. It is ideal conditions for the spinnaker. We are pleased to get it down because the wind comes up without warning and gives the skipper some strong exercise to bring it in safely. We come into Anse DÁrbitro to see a couple of masts there. Ross does a wonderful job just fitting us in here as it is such an idyllic spot. One of the other yachts here is the french family who suggested it to us. They refer to it as paradise. It is another small cove with some agricultural country behind it, and with a backdrop of steep mountains and the most beautiful water. The colours of the outcrops of rocks here seem to have orange tinges during the day, changing into pinks and vermillion at sunset. This seems typical throughout Sardinia and Corsica and reminds us a lot of Wilson´s Promonitory.
We have time here to draw, paint, read and catch up on the seamail.

11th. June 2009

Leaving Anzo dÁrbitro

This morning we sail east across the Straits of Bonefacio averaging 7.5 kts. with both sails up. It is a rugged coastline and especially attractive as we pass the steep white cliffs and entrance to Bonefacio.
We plan to sail up the east coast of Corsica partly because the winds are more favourable and also we have sailed up the west coast some years ago with the Melletts.
We navigate through Les Bouches de Bonefacio. On the chart this looks impossible as there are many isands and reefs but in calm weather as we have today it is quite manageable. We have one of our best sails ever rocketing along at up to 8.5 kts.
We can see Sardinia in the distance.
We anchor with great difficulty in a very small cove, Porto Novo which was recommended to us by the frenchmen in Maddelena. The skipper isn´t entirely happy so we up-anchor and move closer in where someone with local knowledge suggests. It is lovely swimming in these crystal clear waters.
The forecast is for light winds. However we suffer some strong "bullet" winds during the evening and during the night. Ross has swum out and checked the anchor is safe but it is uncomfortable to feel Impulsive swinging around on the anchor. These winds are caused by winds funneling through the Bonefacio Straits from the west and also because we are surrounded by steep mountains here.

Leaving Porto Novo

12th. June 2009
We have a relaxed morning here, with some extended reading time. I am finding "The White Tiger" fascinating and it certainly gives an insight into living in India.

Sailing into channel up to Porto Vecchio - lighthouses warning of dangerous rocks off the point.

Later we motor sailed 11n.miles up the coast to Porto Vecchio. This small port is set in a natural harbour. We walk up the steep hill to the old walled town built by the Genoese. We find an attractive restaurant, with a wonderful view over the harbour, for dinner. Having mentioned to Ross I felt like some really "french" food I found the most wicked chocolate dessert ever seen -and it was just scrumpsious!

13th. June 2009
We both like it here very much so plan to stay an extra day. This decision is backed up by an email from Mark in Sydney (who helped us with the boat in Cyprus) that one of his team is coming to Sardinia on Monday to race in the world Far 40 class and could maybe help out with the water maker. Ross is concerned that this is difficult to fix and it is probably difficult to find an expert in this field. It is only 30 n.miles back to Porto Cervo in a direct route from here so this will be our plan. We are very appreciative of Mark´s help to organize all this.

Walking up to the old town

The church in the main square of the old townAlign CenterAlign CenterAlign Center
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Returning to SARDINIA

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We leave Porto Vecchio late morning, with only 8 kts. wind on the beam.Both sails are up and these add 1.5kts. to our S.O.G. , so we can use less revs. on the motor. It is another glorious day and great to be out here. Later we can sail for 1.5 hours of our 5 hour trip.

Ross enjoying a relaxed sail

We are pleased to find there is space available at Porto Cervo, and we are given a place in the old port which is very attractive and with lots of atmosphere. It is also fun to return to somewhere special we already know.

Porto Cervo

15th. June 2009
Dan´s first priority is to his skipper who he is here to race with. He comes to us at 4p.m. after their training session. We are so pleased to see him and welcome all his help. He is a trained marine electric technician with Mark, so we are very lucky as most of our issues are electrical.
Dan has several hours with us and plans to return at the same time tomorrow. With issues like these language is a real problem, so this is another reason why we so appreciate him being able to help us out.

16th. June 2009
We have day of doing our own jobs on the boat, the main frustrating one being to service the heads. This takes a long time, because one of the hoses is blocked, but is one of those tasks that has to be done.
Dan returns as planned and achieves a lot today. The hot water now works in port, the mast light is operating and the remote control is working for the bow cable (the docking line winch). Also the water maker is sorted and just needs a new pump which Russell and Lee are bringing over for us (just what one needs in one´s luggage!)

Dan going up the mast

It is interesting to talk with Dan and learn something of the logistcs of being involved in a world class race like this. The crew and skipper are based in Sydney so there is a large organizing feat to plan for their 2 weeks here e.g. accommodation, getting around, training sessions etc. We are interested to hear prince Frederick from Denmark is racing his yacht here too.

17th. June 2009
We see Dan over at the yacht he is crewing on and wish he and the skipper (whom Ross knows) good luck. We plan to follow the races and hope they do well. What a great experience.
Also in the port is a Russian owned cruiser. Apparently it is one of the top ten in the world and looks quite amazing. The stewardess from this vessel asked us for a lift in our dinghy so we are interested to know something about it.
"Goodbye" to Sardinia again, and we set off to track up the east coast of Corsica. Our plan is to travel 45 n.miles to Solenzara. After being in port for 3 nights it is lovely to be out here again. The sea is flat calm and just so blue. We are hopeful to see a marlin, as Dan and his crew did yesterday, but we have no luck with this.
As we come into this port Ross again checks his new "Yachtsman´s Ten Language Dictionary" so he can speak to the port Capitanaire. This has been a great present the Albertinis gave him, and has already been very useful. Solenzara is written up as a having a new marina built to attract tourism on the east coast. This is not successful but it is a relaxed town with the high rugged mountains as a backdrop with gentle rolling hills down to the sea, and with the river running beside it.
It is lively at night time with many attractive, small restaurants about, near the river. We find a lovely place to eat outdoors in the cool of the evening.

18th. June 2009
We really enjoy this place with its very friendly and helpful people. It is low key and has a country atmosphere about it. It is hopeful Ross can get local help with a few outstanding boat issues.
As usual we have to wait sometime before Ian comes to help us. However it is worth the wait. After sometime and several lengthy interruptions (he still has his marine duties to fulfil) the head pipe is cleared and flowing freely again. This is a great relief. We have been getting up very early every morning and working on this for several days. Also he changes some belts - the engine belt for the fridge and second alternator belt. Ross was under the impression this had been done in Rome so it was lucky he checked them.
It is after 9.30pm now we have cleaned up the boat so decide to wander into town for a simple dinner at the Amadeus restuarant.

19th. June 2009

View across the mouth of the river towards the beach

It is lovely waking up and knowing Impulsive is ship-shape again. There is a beautiful long stretch of beach nearby so we start the day with a long walk and a swim. Our time around Sardinia and Corsica is how I imagined sailing around Australia would be (how wrong was I, with the overnight sails, dealing with bars and reefs etc.), having short sails and lovely places to anchor in most nights.
We set off this morning to trek 55n.miles up the e.coast of Corsica to Bastia.
We really enjoy this place with its very friendly and helpful people. It is low key and has a country atmosphere about it. It is hopeful Ross can get local help with a few outstanding boat issues.
This afternoon is idyllic for settling into a relaxed read. The sea is calm nd there is just enough wind in the right direction to motor sail, averaging 7 kts.
Ross is reading " The White Tiger", and I am delving into Barak Obama´s "Dreams from my Father."..Both books lead to interesting discussions.

Having a shower off the back of the boat as we track along

Coming into Bastia early evening is lovely. It is nestled into the high mountains covered in green vegetation as they come down to the sea. It must be hot on shore as thereis a haze settling over it all.
The Captainerie as we approach Bastia doesn´t answer our call requesting a place to tie up. The marina looks full but we find a space between the customs boat and a large cruiser.
This very small port is surrounded by many small restaurants by the water, with a backdrop of very tall Genoese style architecture buildings. Thee are very old and some are very grand in the ochre, vermillion and yellow colours, with shutters,but many are in a state of disrepair. Many have washing hanging from their balconies.

Bastia in the evening light

It is very pleasant having a drink here as the hot sun sinks below the high mountains. "people watching" is fun too. Walking back to Impulsive have some glimpses through open doorways into enclosed courtyards.

View from Impulsive across to the old church

We wander ashore after dinner looking for a gelati. The central suuare is buzzing with thousands of people enjoying an outdoor l concert. The main artist/singer is wonderful.
The forecast for tonight is for a SW force 7 wind to come up tonightso Ross attaches an extra bow mooring line. Fortunately the forecast is incorrect and we have a very calm night with an excellent sleep.

Leaving Bastia
We have enjoyed our time in Corsica and the contrast of sailing up the east coast this time The west coast has stunning steep cliffs down to the coast and more history eg Napoleon´s birth place at Ajaccio. We have had many hours of sailing this time too. Corsica now relies on tourism and agriculture for its economy.
We don´t hire a car here because we did last time and it is the only time I have seen Ross frightened driving.. We drove back down some of the west coast along the cliffs. The scenery was stunning but I don´t think he saw any of it because we were on the cliff side of the road with a sheer drop below, and there was a lot of traffic from the opposite direction, including large buses.

Favourite recipe this leg:
Stuffed eggplant (aubergine facies)
1 medium sized eggplant - boil until tender
Then slice in half and remove the centre section (keep this and dice)

2 cloves of garlic - cook until tender
shallots - 3 per person - cook until tender
Stir the above into the ricotta cheese - .5 cup per person
3 tblsns. grated parmesan

1.5 cups of homemade tomato sauce per person
2 teaspn. finely chopped thyme

Place seasoned eggplant on oven dish - sprayed with non-stick oil
Fill with above filling, then put a layer of tomato mixture on top
Top with grated parmesan and finely diced tomato
Bake in a pre-heated very hot oven until browned on top.


20th. June 2009
The skipper rouses me before 6am this morning because he has spoken to the Captanaire who advises that the weather is staying moderate this morning so it would be a good time for the easterly crossing to Elba. We leave Bastia Port shrouded in soft billowing clouds. The sea gradually builds up and the wind is freshening so we are heading into a choppy sea with a swell of about 1.5m. The wind slowly comes around and we can sail with the headsail and mainsail for the last couple of hours of the 5 hour trip, until we come into the lee of the island.
We are both excited to be coming into Elba. Our appetites to visit here were first wetted when Scott came during his travels some years ago.
It as been an interesting experience taking the route we have so far. Each time we venture into another country we should change the flag and fly the appropriate one.
We have been in and out of Corsica twice now and back into Italy each time, which has also involved a change in language. Arriving at Marina di Campo there is a slight swell so we feel fortunate to find one last place to tie up to the small concrete mole here.

Walking in the old town

From here we can walk into the old town at the end of the mole, and further around the bay to the many colourful beaches lined with umbrellas and people relaxing in the sun. The back drop to all this is the high wooded mountains.

Looking back from the beach to marina Campo

View from the cockpit - over to the old fort

We have dinner on board in the cockpit. There is great entertainment here because another yacht has actually fitted on the end next to ours and each yacht either side has young crew. These include very attractive young women wearing all the latest fashions including some with at least 4 inch high heels. To watch them trying to get ashore on very narrow and wobbly passerelles (gangpanks) is hilarious, especially with the slight swell. Some of them are also wearing the shortest of shorts as well and have the gorgeous legs to go with them.
The sail mail forecast we have is for 20 kts. at 6am. in the morning. The skipper on the boat alongside says he has a forecast for 30kts so Ross put on extra lines in case.
Later I am woken by heavy rain so leap out of bed to close all the hatches and portholes. At some stage we hear the party goers coming back. (they are actually very considerate ). Later again we are woken by a loud strange noise and this time Ross leaps out of bed. The weather is blowing up with huge winds from the north-west pushing us hard up against the mole. Ross turns on the engine and drives the boat hard forward to keep us off the mole. It is an incredible site to see our dinghy, and our neighbour´s, jammed up lengthwise between the 2 yachts up forward, with their outboard engines obviously dunked in the water.
Ross has been up on deck a lot and is soaked. The rain is so heavy and is coming across in horizontal waves. This is all accompanied by wild lightening and thunder. We didn´t have time to think about wet weather gear etc. I suddenly realize he may be having hypothermia systems so get him a jacket and beanie hat. I also get him a hot cup of tea. It is terrible to see him shaking so uncontrollably he can´t drink his tea without help. This all helps him though and I try to find him a woollen jumper (I think we have one down in the bags in a locker to take home so can´t get it).
Ross wants to get off the mole to get the anchor up but I can´t agree because I know I couldn´t possibly be strong enough to hold the boat in this wind. Also I know we dropped the anchor close to other boats and the rain is so heavy, with intermittent hail, that the visibility is shocking - we can barely see beyond the bow of the boat. One of the difficult problems is we have no idea how long this storm will last.
Ross is very cold again so we make time to change into the heavy wet weather pants and a dry jacket (the full musto set)and beannie hat and another warmer shirt. Also another cup of tea. This all settles Ross´shaking down and all the physical energy he is exerting must be helping to keep him warm.
The yacht on our starboard side breaks free of its position because its anchor must have dragged and it swings around and is being bashed against the concrete mole. It is shocking to watch this happening. We see them get the crew off and people are helping to fend it off.
Then we realize that with each surge of water that boat´s stern is being pushed closer and closer towards our starboard side. Just as Ross says we have to leave or we will have a hole out in the side of our boat it hits us for the first time. Ross lets all the moorings go and just drives forward like a crash get.-a-way pulling out between the two other boats. The sound effects are shocking. Unfortunately he forgot to free the extra mooring line he put on to the bow (there is little time to make decisions in this kind of situation and remember everything) so we had to use our large emergency knife to cut us free. In this short time we have swung around and are pushed up along side the yacht pushed up on the mole. Ross just backs straight out. This makes the most terrible crashing noises as we scrape against the other boat but suddenly we are free and I am sure Ross has saved Impulsive from a disaster.
The storm is still raging so we just motor around away from other boats and away from the mole intending to do so until the storm settles and we can get the anchor up. This is difficult for Ross to hold the boat in the direction he wants to. The wind is still so strong.
Neither of us have any sense of the time or how long this has been going on for. We couldn´t leave the cockpit to look. About now the sky begins to lighten and the storm abates a little. It is just after 5am. With more light I notice the sea is quieter in the neighbouring cove. While Ross is checking up on deck he realizes we have lost our anchor and the 90 m. of new chain! Maybe this was a blessing because we are free to go. Ross thinks this must have happened when we heard the strange noise that first woke us up. He attaches our spare anchor as we motor over to the quieter anchorage. There is another yacht coming in here too with a broken mizzen mast and a huge sail they are trying to get under control.
The wind then comes up from the n.east so it is rough in here now but we are safely anchored and can gather ourselves together. Our immediate problem is we have lost our dinghy so Ross wants to get ashore as soon as the storm settles to see if he can find it. There are a few yachts in here but we can´t reach them on the radio or attract their attention. I think everyone has issues to deal with.

The storm ha s settled but we still need full wet weather gear

About 11.30 we take up the anchor. It is wonderful Dan has fixed the automatic control for the bow docking line or we would not have been able to use this spare anchor. We motor by the mole and the nearby boats but there is no sign of the dinghy. It´s probably miles south of here by now. The yacht that was on our starboard side has a huge gouge out of its starboard side.
We motor around some anchored yachts trying to attract attention to organize Ros a lift into shore.Thinking a german yacht has agreed to take him in we anchor close by, but there must be a misunderstanding because he doesn´t come.
Then we spot a small boat helping someone retrieve their anchor with a professional diver. Ross can attract them but they are too busy to help us until 3pm. But this is a start.
My reaction is to try and make things homely again so bake some bread for lunch. There is a huge swell here as an aftermath of the storm. We are quite safe but it isn´t particularly comfortable, with rigging etc. being rocked around. This is always a test for how well everything is stowed so things aren´t loose and rattling and banging.
They pick Ross up as planned. He doesn´t find the dinghy but has success with the divers and finds our anchor and 90m. of new chain. Luckily he could show them where he remembered dropping it as we anchored last night and that´s where it was.
Ross also checks to see how the other boats on the mole are, and we are very saddened to hear someone is presumed dead as a result of the storm and feel very flat.
We have to take the yacht in to pick the anchor up. Pulling up the spare anchor by hand

The divers have tied the end of the chain to a buoy so Ross can re-attach it to the yacht and wind it all in with the anchor on the end. We have to hold Impulsive into the slight wind and there isn´t much room between the yachts tied to the mole and nearby ones at anchor. It confirms I could never have held her in position in that wind last night. Luckily the driver of the diver boat helps Ross pick up the chain., as it is a very tricky manoevre.We leave immediately and are pleased to move on.


Tonight we anchor in the most delightful small cove, Barbarossa, just west of Porto Azzurro We arrive in the early evening and enjoy the peace just sitting off this small beach. (we can´t go ashore without a dinghy). We realize just how tired we are. A swim in the morning in the beautiful torquoise water is refreshing, and soon we can see and hear people and families arriving at the beach. The Italians love coming to the beach and seem to be happy swimming and sitting there for hours. Many places have umbrellas to hire.

21st. June, 2009
We are off to a fresh start. Impulsive looks very "storm-torn" with her ripped out and bent staunchions and safety rails hanging loose on the port side. The barb-e-que is also hanging loose off the stern rail. (Ross has tied it on but it still looks awful). The starboard davit is slightly knocked inwards and has 2 gouges out of it where it bashed into the mole. Both sides of the hull are marked from the scrapings, including some nasty gouges. However we can still sail and are sporting no injuries so feel we came out of it all reasonably well.
We motor over to Cala di Mola, opposite Porto Azzurro, where we are advised we might get hold of a new dinghy. This is an amazingly well run shipyard so Ross approaches them about fixing some of our problems. The Captanaire says they have too many of their own issues to deal with, but when he sees Impulsive he finds someone to fix the staunchions, safety rails and the barb-e-que. The guy actually arrives on time and is a wonderful shipwright. We have to take the boat out of the water to repair the hull so that and the davit (which is a big job ) will have to wait.
This job won´t be completed until tomorrow morning so we have to stay here the night. There are no dinghies available here so we decide we will walk the 5 ks. into Porto Azzurro for dinner. As we prepare to go ashore the Captanaire asks us to go out on their nearby buoy. The wind is coming up and they are concerned with so many boats stern -to on the dock they might have the same problem as in the storm. Apparently with the strong wind the masts of several yachtsgot swayed across each other and caused huge damage. As I looked up ours was only a foot from the neighbouring mast. We certainly didn´t need more damage so were happy to agree to move. This means we aren´t able to go ashore for dinner, so we changed anyway and cooked up a delicious feast.

22nd. June 2009
There is wonderful news in the port office this morning. The brother of the man presumed dead happens to be there and tells us he is found alive and well. He fell overboard at 5am and was picked up by the coastguard 12 hours later outside Porto Campo (where we had been). He had a life jacket on, but what an amazing feat of survival. He is in hospital but is fine. We both feel much relieved and happier now.
We also run into David, the english skipper who tried to help us in Porto Campo, but he had lost his outboard in the storm. He knew of more damage from the storm.
Impulsive looks a new girl now. All the above is fixed. We are very grateful to the Captanaire, Raphael, and Angelo for organizing this for us. There is still no word of our dinghy, but Ross has given its details to the coastguard so we will check each day for news .

Porto Azzurro

Porto Azzurro is a very small port and is very popular. the pilot book suggests if you cannot find a place to tie up anchor off outside and go in early the next morning as boats leave. Raphael kindly rings across for us and secures us a place. It is such a wonderful place to come into with its old Spanish citadel and the high mountains behind that. We are thrilled to be tied up here and at last get off the boat for a long walk. We walk up the coastal path past the the old prison (for hardened prisoners) and across the scenic path past some farmland to Barbarossa beach. This beach is buzzing with activity today and is in such a beautiful setting with its crystal clear water.

View from the coastal path

Walking through farmland

View down to Barbarossa beach

Coming back we pass the old fort and down through the town looking for a restaurant we have been recommended, Florianos.
This is a great place, full of atmosphere and wonderful cuisine. We agree that usually the food is better in the places set back from the waterfront. The latter usually charge for their view and the cuisine isn´t as good.
We are just about to leave when a friend, Pam from Melbourne comes to say hello. Later her husband, Chris asks us to join them for a drink. They come to Elba each year to have time with special family friends of theirs here, Guido and Marianne. We are pleased we are flexible with our time and can stay an extra night as Guido and Marianne invite us for dinner tomorrow night.

23rd. June 2009
It is Lucinda´s birthday today. it is amazing to think all Heather´s family were with us this time last year.
We hire a car today to explore inland and to go on ahead to Portoferraio to inquire about a dinghy.
We drive just out of Porto Azzurro and climb up to the small town, Capoliveri, with its stunning views. One of the restaurants here is in a building which is 400 years old.
We drive n.west across the island to Portoferraio and are pleased to organize a new dinghy. Unfortunately it´s not as big or solid as our previous one, and the outboard motor isn´t as good either, but it would take to long to import one the same as we bought in Thailand. We also track down the sail maker for a minor repair.
We take sandwiches in the car and drive along the very scenic coast road west to Marciana Marina.From here we go inland and climb quickly up to Poggio, 350m. high. This is a tiny village with wonderful views back down to the coast and the sea. Wandering through its narrow streets with their deeply coloured hydrangeas and many petunias, is lovely.


The ancient drinking fountain . Poggio

Higher up still is Marciano, another attractive town, and slightly bigger.

View from Marciano

Walking in Marciano

The drive up through here with its deeply wooded and shaded areas, and across the top is wonderful. Ross would have liked to do it on a motorbike. We meander back down towards Capolveri via some very windy roads, through lush green and beautiful forests. On the flatter areas there are many grapevines and olives being grown. There are many views over the sparkling blue ocean. I am just sorry we haven´t time to visit Napolean´s house. Searching out the new dinghy takes sometime.

Buying wine for tonight at a roadside stall for a vineyard

After searching on the internet I am keen to go to Barabarca beach, as it is described as the one that looks most natural. Fortunately it is not far from Capoliveri so we venture here for a swim. We have to park high up above the beach and walk down to it. It is exquisite with its rocky landscape and wonderful clear waters. It is quite busy but that doesn´t seem to matter. Swimming everywhere is great here, especially with the buoyancy being so effective - floating is so relaxing.

Barabarca beach

Tonight´s dinner at Marianne and Guido´s house with Pam and Chris and 3 of their family is such a treat. Guido has lived here all his life and so has a wonderful knowledge of the island. They also have a wonderful "joie de vie". We feel very privileged to share this night with them. it is one of our favourite things to be invited to someone´s home when we are traveling like this.

24th. June 2009
This morning Chris, Charlie, Lucy and Bec sail with us for a couple of hours to Portoferraio. We have to motor up the east coast but once we round the top cape we are able to sail nearly to Portoferraio when the wind drops out.
First we call into pick up the new dinghy, but the motor has to be test run first, so we motor across to the old port and tie up for lenghly lunch on board. Pam has driven across to meet us. This is great fun and we always enjoy having younger people on board.
What a great time we have had from a chance meeting.
The girls want to catch the late afternoon on the beach and we must pick up the new dinghy. We have tied up next to another yacht from Australia. This poor man has his wife in hospital here with a heart condition after the storm When she is cleared they are flying home for more tests.
Apparently they were anchored in this harbour with about 100 other boats. When the storm struck many broke loose of their anchors and the visibility was shocking. They were actually hit by several other boats. Also he had some plastic sucked up into one of his intake valves so his engine was overheating. All a nightmare! He is taking his boat over to get hauled out to leave while they go home so Ross gets a lift with him and can also help him.

Picking up the new dinghy

As we motor in today we see the 60 ft. ketch which was washed up to shore on the rocks in the storm. We also see David, the english skipper , bringing in a very fancy run-about they found washed up on a beach.
And more good news - a man who had jumped over to retrieve his dinghy has been found after 35 hours . He was 85 miles away due south on an island, with the dinghy.
This evening we walk off the boat where we are tied up near the archway through to the old town, and enjoy a wonderful dinner at Pepperonis (another recommended restaurant), which is simple but hearty and very flavoursome.

25th. June 2009
This morning we track 8 n.miles along the rugged and very scenic north coast in a westerly direction to Marciana Marina. There is little wind so we motor. We anchor just inside the port here and christen the new dinghy with a trip around the point for lovely swim and lie in the sun.
Marciana marina is a lively little place. There are many children playing on the beaches, and quite a number are out in sailing dinghies learning to sail.

Checking the bus timetable

Tonight we decide to go ashore and catch the bus up to Poggio (where we drove to 2 days ago) for dinner. Unfortunately we miss the last bus by 10 minutes, so Ross does a bit of bartering to hire a motor bike for 3 hours. They want to charge us €40- , and this is for an 11ks. drive up the hill and back. Off we go and have a wonderful time including a delicious dinner at a small trattoria there.


We come back before dark , partly so we can enjoy the scenery again,and are pleased to find part of a jazz festival about to start in the main square. Walking back along the main street by the sea is great fun as there are many stalls set up and the place is buzzing with people.

26th. June 2009

Leaving Marciana Marina

Goodbye to Isola Elba. We have had a wonderful time, and now leave the storm behind us, as we head due north back to Italy´s mainland, to Pisa.
The basil plant we bought in Rome is still flourishing but I have bought another one because we use so much of it , the first plant can now have a chance to regrow fully.

Favourite recipe this leg: Mussels
2 kgs of fresh mussels
2 cups left over champagne
stock - nearly enough to cover the mussels
S and P to taste
chopped parsley

Bring stock to the boil in a large, heavy saucepan
Add the champagne( we had some over from one that was too sweet to drink - it gives a very subtle flavour to the mussels!)
Add the mussels until they all open their shells (don´t serve any that don´t open their shells)
Serve in large bowls with some of the stock, sprinkle with parsley ,and with some good Italian bread.

ELBA (verse)
You can see Elba loom 20 miles away
It´s mountains tower over the sea
If you weren´t forced to do so in exile
You could live here contentedly

First night at Marina di Campo
A hurricane arrived
With 70 knots and stinging spray
Which we fortunately survived

By driving the yacht away from the mole
(A rock and concrete lee)
And away from the other heaving yachts
To the `safety`of open sea

We´ve bandaged Impulsive´s abrasions
She performed magnificently
And the Admiral was quite unfazed by it all
You´d think she was born at sea

We anchor in Barbarossa bay
By now the weather is fair
Then a night in Cala di Mola
For Angalo´s gunnel repair

When you tie up at Porto Azzuro
Floriano´s the best place to eat
If you´re lucky you´ll run into Chris and Pam
And have Guido´s barbeque treat

Don´t miss Poggio or Marciano
Snugly terraced hillside towns
Stress levels have been abolished here
Along with life´s ups and downs

When you tie up at Porto Ferraio
You´re right next to the old walled town
Try Osteria Pepenero´s fare
And its house wine to wash it down

At Marina Marciano
We anchor for one last night
Of old Poggio´s attractions
Before sailing off at first light.

June ´09