Wednesday, 28 July 2010

West Coast of Corsica

Bonifacio Harbour Bonifacio Streets Ajaccio
Maison de Bonapart
Where Napoleon was Baptised
As Gone with the Wind saw us
The post passage dinner
Hi from Clare, West Coast of Corsica Monday 26th July

This will have to be a quick update as we are about to up anchor. ANOTHER LOOK AT BONIFACIO When we last wrote we had just moored to the shore in Bonifacio harbour. The wind was strong so we waited for a quiet time to revisit the town. We spent a few hours marveling at the structure of the fortified town on top of the hill. We wandered through the narrow streets and covered stairways leading down to the shore. We spent two nights moored up there. SOME QUIET TIME We then moved on with "Gone with the Wind" and "Balvenie" up the west coast of Corsica. Our aim at this point was to swim in clean warm water, relax and enjoy the sunshine. The water temperature is around 28 degrees and we have stayed in some stunningly beautiful bays in flat conditions. We went into the small holiday towns and experienced the local cuisine. We are enjoying the French food, particularly the cheese, pate, sea food and baguettes. The local wine is good value but fruit and vege are very expensive ($9 a kilo for most fruits). Looks like we will have to survive on sea food and wine, oh what a hard life! THE BUST CITY On Friday 23rd we went into Ajaccio (Photo 3) which is the capital of Corsica. This is a full on city and the birth place of Napoleon Bonaparte. The city is located in a big bay with good protection. As strong winds were forecast, there were at lease one hundred yachts at anchor. This always causes a bit of excitement as invariably someone fails to set their anchor and drags. Once we were confident that "Eye Candy" was safe, we put the fenders out and went into town.

We took the tourist train around town and saw the monuments and significant buildings. There were several statues of Napoleon in various guises. We then walked around the old town and Citadel which dates back to 1554. We saw the house Napoleon was born in (Photo 4) and the church he was christened in (Photo 5).

RACING AGAIN Yesterday the three boats traveled 25 miles further north, and the usual race ensued. We had the spinnaker up (Photo 6) which immediately caused an unofficial protest from Team New Zealand (Balvenie) who decided coloured sails were not allowed. But considering they had three sails up (jib, staysail and main), we decided that there was no case to answer.

Last night we had a farewell dinner on "Gone with the Wind" (Photo 7). We will travel back to Ajaccio today and "Balvenie" and "Gone with the Wind" are heading north. We had a great night and it is sad to say goodbye after spending two months traveling, drinking and telling sailing lies together. They left the anchorage this morning to the tune of Andrea Bocelli's "Time to Say Good Bye" transmitted over the VHF radio. It was quite moving.

SO WHAT NEXT We are heading for Ajaccio this morning in preparation of picking up our Aussie friend, Kathryn, tomorrow. We are looking forward to seeing her and from her emails we gather she is eager to chill out for a few days with friends.

Love CANDY xx

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Sunday, 18 July 2010


1 - Old town of Porto Vecchio 2 - Old town Porto Vecchio
3 - U-turn around a lamp post
4 - Mountainous Corsica
5 - Bonifacio harbour and anchorage
6 - Bonifacio fortifications from the anchorage
Hi from Clare, Introduction to Corsica Sunday 18th July

We left Sardinia Monday morning 12th July after spending an enjoyable evening with Helen and Ian on the Aussie yacht Sundancer 11. EASY SAILING The twenty five mile trip to Porto Vecchio Corsica was very pleasant. I read a book on the foredeck in the shade of the spinnaker for most of the trip. This doesn't happen very often but when it does, what a way to travel. Porto Vecchio (photos 1&2) is an ancient Genoese walled town dating back to 3000BC. It used to be a busy fishing port but nowadays it is just a very large bay. We anchored here for three days. PEACEFULL VALLEYS On Tuesday we hired a car with Peter and Bridget (we said good bye to them last week but they reappeared) and traveled to the mountains in the morning and then to Bonifacio in the late afternoon. We had a spectacular drive (photos 3&4) through the mountains with dramatic cliffs and a winding scenic trip through the Corsican gorges. We stopped for a coffee break in the country town of Zonza and watched with amusement as an articulated semi trailer (seen in photo 5) carried out a very tricky maneuver doing a U-turn the wrong way around the lamp post in the centre of what was the towns main intersection. With some skillful driving and a lot of patience the goal was achieved without any damage while everybody else waited. CROWDED TOWNS In the afternoon we continued to Bonifacio which is a very popular tourist destination. The fortified town high on the cliff dates back to 828AD and is surrounded by a superb natural harbour. It is a very long and steep climb to the top which, in years gone by, would have made the place virtually impenetrable. We spent a few hours sightseeing and then had dinner in one of the many crowded restaurants along the foreshore. MAYBE FIREWORKS Wednesday was Bastille Day and a public holiday. We spent a quiet day around Porto Vecchio. It is very noticeable that the majority of French woman do not wear jeans or trousers. They look very feminine and wear dresses, high heels, costume jewelry and discrete perfume. It is lovely to see and my conscience was pricked so badly, I bought a dress. When in Rome! Ten of us ( from "Balvenie", "Gone with the Wind", "White Rose" and "Eye Candy") had drinks with Karen and Steve on the American yacht "Threshold" on Wednesday night. Some of us then headed into a very crowded town to celebrate Bastille Day and others, having consumed enough alcohol, stayed on their boats to view the fireworks at 11pm. When in Sydney Harbour, if the fireworks are fifteen minutes late, horns start blowing. Well we waited and waited, most local boats gave up and went home. We eventually went to bed around midnight as Bastille Day had now passed. We got up again when the first sky rocket was launched at 12.15am. Better late than never I guess. MAYBE A PEACEFUL BAY OR TWO We headed out from Porto Vecchio to find a peaceful bay for swimming and relaxing. The first bay was close to town and very busy with day tripper motor boats and jet skis. We rocked and rolled in their wake all afternoon expecting that it would clam down around 7pm once the day trippers went home. However we had a couple of ski boats still causing a great deal of wake at 9.15pm. It was just about dark and they were zooming between all the yachts with their navigation light on. Our Aussie friend Patrick wonders why yachties don't embrace power boat people! We moved down the coast the following day to a very peaceful bay with only yachts and peddle boats, much better. "Balvenie" and "Gone with the Wind" were there also and we all gathered for a very enjoyable communal dinner on Balvenie in the evening. ANOTHER LOOK AT BONIFACIO Yesterday all three yachts came around to Bonifacio and tried to settle in the little bay (photo 6) which runs off the main entrance channel. It was windy and maneuvering was pretty tricky as we needed to pick up a bow line from the shore. We managed to get in with some help from Mark who kindly launched his dinghy for us, but "Balvenie" and "Gone with the Wind" being bigger boats, decided to give it a miss. The weather forecast for the next few days is windy, so we will probably stay put. Photo 7 shows the fortified town on top of the hill and was taken from the cockpit of our boat. Not a bad spot to sit out a blow, I'm sure we will have plenty to watch and when the wind drops we will revisit the town. THE WORLD OF DONGLE We haven't bought a sim card for the dongle in Corsica as they are six times the price of Italy. But worse than that, the time charge is the same price as an Internet café. To top it off there doesn't seem to be a plan for a month, but we are dealing through a language barrier so it is not clear. In the end it all became too hard and so we will be without internet until we return to Sardinia in a few weeks. SO WHAT'S NEXT We will stay here for at least today and then travel up the west coast of Corsica. We need to be in the capital Ajaccio, some thirty five miles away, in about a week. Our Australian friend Kathryn is flying in from Manila for a few days of R&R on Eye Candy. We are looking forward to her visit. Love CANDY xx radio email processed by SailMail for information see:

Monday, 12 July 2010

North East Sardinia

Morning Tea on "Gone with the Wind"
Helicopter & 40' yacht Porto Cervo marina
Costa Smerelda Yacht Club
Porto Cervo plaza
"Eye Candy" having a rest
Sardinia Bay Holiday Village
Hi from Clare, North East Sardinia Sunday 11th July 2009 On Monday morning we parted company with "White Rose". They traveled north while we enjoyed some quiet time and the company of other cruising buddies in the anchorages of Isola Porri and Golfo Di Marinella.

FIRST SIGHT OF PORTO CERVO When I last wrote we were heading to the Costa Smerelda area, a playground for the rich and famous. "Eye Candy", "Balvenie" and "Gone with the Wind" arrived there Wednesday afternoon. The three yachts firstly went into the tiny harbour of Porto Cervo in the hope of anchoring off the marina. However there were a dozen yachts at anchor and eight empty mooring buoys available at the cost of 175 euros per day (no wonder they were empty). So the three of us did a quick circle of the harbour and then anchored in the next bay along with some very expensive boats.

HOW BIG IS 'BIG' The biggest power boat there was 358 feet long, five stories high and had six metres of draft. A panel folded down from the side of the boat to form a platform just above water level. This then became an outdoor eating area fitted out with grass, tables and chairs, large umbrellas, stainless steel guard rails and a double sliding glass door into the boat. The platform was adjoining a lower deck eating area and bar facility. That was all we could see of the inside, but it was enough to get the picture. As we sailed past, we counted twenty crew cleaning, polishing, setting up facilities, launching jet skies and other toys.

There were plenty of other big power boats there too, all very expensive with staff waiting hand and foot on the owners and guests. The tenders for these boats are about 40 feet long (the size of Eye Candy). They speed into the anchorage as forward scouts. If the anchorage suits, they disappear and then return shortly with their mother ship.

Photo two shows a 285 foot power boat with a helicopter on the back deck and a 40 foot yacht (the size of Eye Candy) on the side deck. We couldn't help but wonder if they ever put the yacht into the water?

BIG MONEY BUT NOT PRETENTIOUS Early the following morning the six of us went into Porto Cervo on "Eye Candy" and anchored off the marina. We marveled at the sheer opulence of some of the boats in the marina. We then recovered with a morning shot of coffee, a stroll around the shops and a leisurely lunch in the marina village. The shops weren't that expensive considering the location. A number of Porto Cervo T-shirts were purchased as souvenirs, lunch was reasonably priced and the supermarket prices were pretty normal for Sardinia. There has been a lot of money spent in the area but Porto Cervo has a lovely feel to it. The residents just go about their business and everyone we spoke to was very pleasant.

However the marina prices are pretty hefty. The price for "Eye Candy" for one night in the marina is 294 Euro ($440). The highest price on the list was for a boat over 55 metres at 2,573 Euro ($3860) per night. There was space in the marina and plenty of boats anchored in the next bay, no surprise!

FLAT WATER AGAIN While in Porto Cervo we ran into Bridget and Peter who had taken the bus into town from Golfo di Arzachena. We all decided to join them in Arzachena as they reported that at the southern end of the golf there was a nice little town, somewhere to watch the World Cup and flat sea conditions away from the power boats. Andrew and I (not being keen on soccer) anchored at the northern end of the bay in much cleaner water. We went ashore after dinner and found a lovely tourist village at Sardinia Bay. It was very up market with first class accommodation, shops, bars and restaurants. Once again it was crowded with well dressed Italians enjoying the night life of the Mediterranean. The north east coast of Sardinia is a wonderful place. It's clean, well maintained, very good housing and facilities, well frequented sandy beaches and a wonderful climate. The people seem well off, relaxed and friendly and as Andrew said "If you lived here, why would you move?"

SOON ONTO CORSICA We left Arzachena yesterday and sailed up past the Maddalena Islands to Porto Liscia which is at the top of Sardinia. We can see Corsica which is only about ten miles away.

Last night we had "White Rose" with us on "Eye Candy" to share dinner and a very pleasant evening together. We are spending so much time together at present that when Andrew is over on White Rose chatting, Peter answers the radio identifying the vessel as "White Candy"

After Corsica we will part company as "White Rose" will head for Majorca and then the Atlantic. We can only hope to meet them in the Caribbean sometime in the future.

SO WHAT NEXT Tomorrow we will head to Porto Vecchio on the SE coast of Corsica. We are hoping to see some festivities for Bastille Day on the 14th and catch a bus to town of Bonifacio. We have heard that it is well worth seeing and very difficult to find anchorage room there.

We will also have to buy a French sim card for the dongle. So if we are off the air for a short time, just be patient, while we find the best deal.

Love Candy xx

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Monday, 5 July 2010

Arriving in Sardinia

Peaceful anchorage in Sardinia Annie, Bridget, Amanda and Clare
Streetscape in Olbia
Peach of unknown name
Mark, Peter, Liam & Andrew
at the Football
Temporary outdoor Restaurant
Isola Tavolara
(end view)
Hi from Clare Arriving in Sardinia Sunday 4th July 2010 THE PROMISED LAND We left Ponza Monday morning along with the sailing yachts "Gone with the Wind" and "Balvenie" to sail to Sardinia. The 150 mile trip took thirty hours to complete. We motored for twelve hours until the wind kicked picked up. We then had a good sail to Porto Brandinchi on the N/E coast of Sardinia arriving midday Tuesday 29th June.
We felt as though we had arrived in the promised land; blue sky, white clouds, daily temperature in the low thirties, crystal clear 27 degree water and flat calm conditions. You could just about hear everyone sighing with pleasure as they dropped their anchor. It was so good, we stayed for three nights.
The first night we got together on "Eye Candy" for sundowners. This gave us a chance to reminisce on the highlights of the trip across. However, there was no mention of the unofficial race that occurs when any three boats are going in the same direction. Suffice to say "Eye Candy" performed very well.
On day two Bridget and Peter on "White Rose" returned from their trip to Rome and joined us in the anchorage. We dined on "Gone with the Wind" that evening. The girls got together and provided dinner for eight. Bridget, who suffers sea sickness, spent some time during their trip with her head in a bucket, so we guessed a night off from cooking wouldn't do her any harm. The plan worked, by 10pm she was looking pretty relaxed, along with the rest of us! On night three we had drinks on the beech before returning to our own boats for a quite one. Our daytime hours were spent catching up with boat chores and relaxing onboard; Andrew in the hammock on the foredeck, Clare asleep in the cockpit. I think an indication of how relaxed we were in this peaceful anchorage was reflected by the fact that no one ventured ashore for exercise. OLBIA AND THE SUPERMARKET Friday 2nd July fully recovered, we re-entered the land of the living and motored 12 miles around to the township of Olbia for fresh supplies and the World Cup Football. Olbia is the main port for bringing commence and tourists into Sardinia. After negotiating the channel and a number of large ferries, we managed to get a spot on the town wharf. We were rafted with "White Rose" whilst "Balvenie" and "Gone with the Wind" were also rafted together. Some others yachts were triple decked and to think that this is the beginning of the busy season; I can't imagine what August will bring. For the cruising fraternity, sad as this might sound, one of the highlights of Olbia is the modern supermarket within easy walking distance of the wharf. What a bonus to be able to get everything you need without wearing yourself out in the process. I'm sipping a glass of Vino da Tavola as I type. It is an Italian luncheon white wine purchased locally at the agreeable price of 99 Euro cents a litre, it's bound to become a staple. The other little treasure discovered is the local flat peach, as shown in photo number four. When first sighted I thought there was something wrong with them. They look as though they have been sat on, but they are sweet, firm and juicy with a small core; absolutely delicious. FOOTBALL AND A BEERA Most of the bars and outdoor restaurants are showing the World Cup Football. The town centre is frequented day and night with people watching the football. Some restaurants try to draw the crowd by telecasting the football. It appears to work, because by mid game it is standing room only. Of course, when in Italy, you don't have to be watching the football to know when Italy kicks a goal. The roar goes up and car horns are beeping. I'm not a football fan but the atmosphere is very contagious. WARM NIGHTS, NO BUGS We have observed in Sicily, the west coast of Italy and now in Sardinia that the town centers come alive at night. In the Mediterranean, the evening is such a lovely time of day. It has a gentle warm breeze, no biting insects, affordable outdoor restaurants and in Olbia, vibrant street markets and entertainers. Photo six shows Andrew standing behind a tree that, come night, is the centre piece for a temporary restaurant. The tables are arranged under the canopy of branches and the restaurant comes alive with starched white cloths, flowers and candles on the tables, attentive waiters, fairy lights in the tree and the aroma of fine cuisine. It is the most delightful setting for the adults to have dinner while the children play in the plaza. This community atmosphere is what I will remember of the Mediterranean night life. Come daylight the tables are pushed aside and the plaza reverts back to being the hub of the business district. OUR OWN OUTDOOR RESTAURANT By Saturday lunchtime we were ready to escape to an anchorage. "Eye Candy" and "White Rose" are now settled at the base of the impressive rock shown in photo number seven. It is eight miles from the town of Olbia and it is only one on the many anchorages in the area. Last night we had drinks on the beach and then Bridget and Peter cooked a wonderful dinner on "White Rose" for the four of us. The evening was right up there in memorable Mediterranean nights. THE DONGLE HAS CHANGED OUR WORLD We now have internet access on the boat so we are in contact with the world. But more importantly can call family and friends on Skype on their computer or home phones. It was quite a thrill talking with family today, whilst sitting here at the base of our big rock in Sardinia. So a big thank you to our Aussie friend Colin for getting us started. SO WHAT'S NEXT We will be heading north to Costa Smerelda which is a playground for the rich and famous. So we will have to dress up and see if we fit in with the crowd. Love CANDY xx radio email processed by SailMail for information see: