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: