Saturday, 4 June 2011

Col and Denise's visit

Hi from Clare,                                                                          Friday 3rd June 2011

When last I wrote we were waiting for our Aussie friends Colin and Denise to join us on the Italian island of Ponza. We were wearing winter woolies and sheltering from strong wind. Col and Denise however had enjoyed six weeks of sunny weather in London (of all places). They arrived on Wednesday 18th May and for the next two weeks we had sun; it rained the day they left – what’s their secret?

                Dinner in Ponza                                                                 Azzurro Harbour

We spent a few relaxing days at Ponza before doing an eighty mile overnight sail to Elba. We had a near full moon all night and the breeze was warm. Sailing conditions were good with 10 knots of wind on our bow. We read our Kindles, played Solitaire and with four of us to share the sailing, we managed to get some sleep.

Over the next few days we visited the three major towns on the island of Elba. We visited Marina di Campo (a tourist town) on the south side of the island, Porto Azzurro on the east side and Portoferraio (a major ferry port) on the north side. The weather was sunny and perfect for strolling around town in the day and eating out along the foreshore at night.

Andrew has been running the Drag Net so far this season. This is a HF radio sked where cruisers check in each morning to keep in touch, share information and give their location. We had been talking to Robert and Christina on “Quest” and Bob and Cindy on “God Speed” for a few weeks. They met up with “Eye Candy” in Portoferraio and the eight of us had a terrific time exchanging stories and enjoying drinks and nibbles on “Quest” until late into the evening.


The following morning we reluctantly left our new friends at Portoferraio and sailed eighty miles to Le Grazie on the mainland of Italy. The wind was behind us and until mid afternoon we had a pleasant sail. It was only when Col decided to have a shower underway that the wind picked up to around thirty knots and the sea was rather choppy. He came staggering out of the head and realizing we were busy trimming the sails called out to Andrew “I’ll be up in a minute I just have to comb my hair”   We all looked at each other with hair blowing  across our faces and  Denise called back “DON’T BOTHER” We arrived into La Spezia around midnight. Denise and I had spent the last few hours below leaving the guys to it. Andrew had put a reef in the main much to Col’s dismay, but it didn’t stop the ‘racing sailors‘ enjoying the gusts to 39 knots and an ‘Eye Candy’ record of  “11.3 knots of boat speed – Woo Hoo”.   All the slime growing on the bottom has now gone.

                              Portovenere                                                                    Erice

Over the next few days we visited the towns of La Spezia, Portovenere, and Lerici.  We also took the train to the Cinque Terre district.  A day pass train ticket takes you to the five towns with an easy walk into the villages. What an amazing place, but more about that in our next newsletter.

         Monterosso al Mare                       Vernazza                                     Manarola

Col and Denise left Wednesday morning 1st June to return to London. We had dinner out on the last night (Col’s treat) in a lovely restaurant at the Hotel Baia in La Grazie.  Our choice of venue was perfect, typically Italian, Cinque Terre wine, but more importantly - it was the only place in town that was open.

So now we are alone again and anchored in the fabulous bay at La Grazie. It is large, well protected with excellent holding. “Quest” and “Godspeed” arrived yesterday and we are all due on “Godspeed” tonight for drinks. We heard that “Quest” was fined in Portoferraio just after we left. He was charged 100 Euro for not having his dinghy outboard listed on his insurance policy. First time we have ever heard of such a thing - we don’t have our outboard listed either – it is so unfair. Andrew has sent our details to our insurer so we can get an updated Notice of Cover.  No doubt we will hear more tonight.

Andrew’s brother Chris and his wife Heather are arriving tomorrow for a three week stay. This is the first time they have been on the boat so we are looking forward to sharing time together.

Love CANDY xx