Rob and Jacky Black
Sat 4 Jul 2015 05:55

42 48.3 N 10 19.4 E

Portoferraio 3rd - 4th July

We checked out several of the suggested anchorages around the large bay that encloses the capital city of Elba but finally dropped our anchor quite close to the ferry port and within dinghy reach of the old harbour. We were in good company with some 10 or so other yachts scattered over a large safe anchorage. The water here was murky and so we didn't see the anchor setting - however when we hauled it up the following day it was very muddy.

We swam and relaxed and watched other boat owners take their dinghy's ashore to various places in particular to the wharf near the boat yard where there was a sign for a large CO-OP supermarket!. We were rolled around a bit by the numerous ferries that came and went almost one every half an hour during the day. During the day we contacted the old harbour to ask for a berth for one night and decided we would go in despite the huge expense Euros 102 per night! So on the 4th of July we up anchored and motored across to the port where we were hailed by the marinera and given a good place to berth. We were fortunate to be able to get the place early - at 10.30 with out extra charge giving us more time to explore!

The old harbour is a bustling and rather noisy place to be but was surprisingly sheltered from the ferry wash despite being so close to the terminal. The quay has a road running along close to the back of the boats - just a pretty walk way with flowers in boxes and tubs separating you from this. There were numerous cafes and bars, restaurants and posh shops all the way around the u shaped port and further small roads, alleyways old stone stairways that lead you higher and higher with occasional view points towards the sea. The small piazzas set behind the main harbour road had beautiful trees providing much needed shade and of course numerous churches which always seemed cool inside! - a veritable warren of places to explore. The old city consists of mainly 18th century buildings in various shades of cream and ochre looking a bit shabby but none the less attractive.Towering above all were the two fortified high points one the citadel built in the 16th century and the other the Villa dei Mulini( which we visited after a long hot climb!) and surrounding barracks and the lighthouse; where Napoleon lived during his exile in 1814. In the south east corner of the harbour is an ancient tower dating from medieval times with the ruins of a Roman Villa next to it. Our stay was rather marred by the incredibly high temperatures it was almost impossible to get cool!

We liked Elba!

We left early the following morning to seek a cooler spot where we could swim again!