1st to 4th July - The Maddalena Islands to Porto Vecchio (Rob offers male grooming tips)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Sat 4 Jul 2009 21:08
From Cala Volpe we had some leisurely days scheduled through the beautiful Maddalena Islands up to Corsica then on to Porto Vecchio for another crew change.  The distances we were planning to cover were relatively short and the winds were good and so every day we were to have some great sailing followed by a restful evening at a beautiful anchorage.
Our first night was to be at an anchorage off the small island of Porco.  On the way we stopped for lunch at Porto Cervo, one of the most expensive marinas in the world where would expect to bump into Mick Jagger and other rich and famous celebrities.  Instead to paying marina fees we anchored outside and took the dinghy in only to find that the place was extremely dead - there were very few shops or restaurants and those were there were mostly closed - the only place open being an English pub called the Lord Nelson.  Port Cervo was very disappointing and certainly not worth visiting.
At this anchorage we were to meet Jamie on Shamens Drum, a Discovery 55 that had been moored next to us in Barcelona.  We had a great sail across to the island and found that Jamie had already arrived with a celebratory bottle of champagne.  We rafted up next to Shamens Drum and settled down to another barbeque (Tina's honey and mustard chicken making yet another appearance).
The following day we raced Shamens Drum round to the next stop, the bay of Spalmatore.  Despite the Discovery being a larger and faster boat we were able to arrive first comfortably by making the decision to stay close to the shore whereas Jamie headed out to sea.  You have to pick up a mooring buoy rather than anchor in this bay and, at €50 a night, they were hardly cheap.  However, as the bay is so beautiful and the water so warm and crystal clear it was well worth the money.  Both boats dined separately that night and met up later for cocktails on Shamens Drum.  It was during the course of this evening that Rob revealed his key grooming secret - if he has not shaved for a few days and does not want the hassle of doing a full shaving job, he can avoid irritating Joanne with his stubble by just shaving the hairs around his lips.
On the 3rd July we headed across the Bonifacio Straights to Corsica.  Initially we thought that we would  be motoring straight into a 20 knot wind but it turned out to be a fabulous sail - a single tack for 18 miles in great wind.  We ended up in the much larger but still beautiful bay of Santa Giula.  Corsica prices are generally much higher than Sardinia but we went ashore for a few drinks on the beach and found beer prices at €6 for a 33cl bottle it was not long before we were back on board.  That night John and Rob went over to Shamens Drum for a barbeque, while Emma and I stayed on Bali Hai for a romantic dinner of fish soup and frozen pizza while watching the sun set. 
The next morning our departure was tricky as during the night the boat had swung round and the anchor chain had wrapped itself around a large rock.  It took John and Rob in the water with mask and snorkel, Emma manoeuvring the boat on the helm and me shouting pointless instructions from the bow to eventually get free.  It was then a simple 10 mile motor to the chic town of Porto Vecchio.  "Non-fishing John" spent his last day on board proving that his moniker is very apt but, despite the frustration of not catching any fish the entire trip, he had cause to celebrate later in the day when he heard that his son Rory had passed his Grade 1 piano exam with distinction.
Porto Vecchio is a lovely town, although a bit touristy and pretentious.  Having been ripped off so much in other marinas we expected it to be well over €100 a night here and were pleasantly surprised to find we were only charged €70.  The marina staff were also extremely helpful. 
There is not much to see in the town.  The old town is up a steep hill behind the marina and full of fancy, expensive shops bars and restaurants.  In the evening we headed up for a meal to celebrate John's last night on the boat.  It will be said to see him leave as his rapport with Rob has been the cause of much amusement - although there will perhaps now be some respite from the schoolboy humour.