Greetings from Roma, actually Ostia, which is like the Wester Hailes of Roma! Despite our best intentions to write a more frequent blog, we have been cruising some of the many Italian islands and failing to find internet connections - hence the big catch up again.
We had a lovely time in Porto Vecchio with great food, a free open-air big band gig and finally fabulous fireworks for Bastille Day- which Hector of course hated. We also later found out that our Andraitx friendsPaul and Shan from DreamMaker were also in Porto Vecchio watching the same fireworks from the harbour whereas we were moored outside. It would have been fun to link up and catch up since we were last neighbours in Port Andraitx.
After Porto Vecchio we had a long day sail up to Bastia at the north of Corsica where we then spent a couple of days baking in the old port. We then crossed over to Capraia which is the first of the Tuscan Islands and spent a few days there on a funny mooring system - see photograph. Capraia is a one-horse island with two tiny communities and lots of hilly nature reserve. It felt like stepping back in time there, as the pace is so leisurely - even for us lazy sailors. We met our first set of new Italian friends at Capraia when we moored up next to them. Fabrizio, Lorenzo and Mima with their little dog Chloe on Incredibile. They were cruising the islands for a month and we were to bump into them several times as our paths crossed again in Elba and in Giglio. One of the few boats that Hector wasn't tempted to jump aboard as Chloe patrolled the decks ready to fend off stray cats!
From Capraia we moved on to Elba and moored for free against the town quay in Marciana Marina. We spent a few days here enjoying the town, great ice-cream and a steady supply of new neighbours as the boats come and go along the quayside. Fabrizio and family arrived on route back from Livorno where they had had to take their windlass for some attention.
We then circumnavigated Elba spending a day in Marina di Campo and a few lovely days in Porto Azzurro. I like Porto Azzurro a lot as we were anchored next to a lovely little town with a launderette!! But we did think it a bit unfriendly when we struggled up the hill to visit the hill top fort and were briskly turned away by a little guy in a big uniform. It was later that we realised that the fort is a working prison and unlikely to welcome tourists! The prison is a high security facility for Mafioso and hardened criminals and apparently the town used to be called Longone but the town's association with the criminal world stopped tourists from visiting so they changed the name to Porto Azzuro to break the connection.
Our final encounter with Fabrizio and family in Giglio was a bit unnerving as it all happened so fast and so unexpectedly. We had spent a lovely lazy day swimming and watching Lorenzo struggle to find enough wind for his windsurfer, we went ashore for half an hour in the evening and when we returned, the wind had got up and there were huge waves crashing into the beach. All yachts were fleeing and our boat was almost hauling the anchor up as it rode the suddenly huge waves. We had a bit of difficulty getting back on board, then a lot of difficulty stowing the dinghy back on the davits and even lifting the anchor as the bow was submerging in the waves then snatching the chain as it came back up. Fabrizio had tried to call our mobile to tell us to get back to the boat and waited for us to return to suggest a safe anchorage over on the mainland. We then set off together in fairly wild conditions to Cala Galera and arrived about midnight ready for dinner and a quiet night.
After that we had a fairly quiet time working our way down the coast to meet up with Brian Cavenett at Fiumicino which is close to Rome. On the day he was arriving we decided to have a quick trip into Rome to see the sights. It didn't work out! Two and a half hours to get in. An hour for lunch. Two and a half hours to get back. Afternoon gone!
Unfortunately we are now about to set off for the 145 mile trip back to Sardinia and so I have stop here but will continue the tale as soon as??..promise!
Cheers for now
Anne, Hugh and Hector