41:36.50N 09:19.05E Porto Vecchio
30.7.10. 7am After a rock and roll night at anchor in Golfo della Biodola on the North coast of Elba just along to the West of Portoferrio, listening to a massive thunder storm and watching the lightening flashing over mainland Italy, we up anchored and set sail for Corsica. A light breeze accompanied us from the East around Punta Polveria, the Western most point of Elba, and we started to sail with full mainsail and a poled out full genoa. We could see the coast of Northern Corsica some 28 miles away to the West. We headed South South West and by midday we could see large thunder storms brewing over the high mountians of central Corsica. Some of the summits are over 2,500 meters high. We dodged the thunder squalls for a while but eventually got entangled with one off of Solenzara. We reduced sail to 2 reefs in the main and a small scrap of genoa. We ploughed along close reaching at over 8 knots, with the wind gusting up to 30 knots. The wind howled, it rained, the lightening flashed, and the thunder roared but Ariel flew through it. By 7pm the wind of the day was dying and we were reduced to motor sailing the last hour into the large bay and harbour of Porto Vecchio arriving at 8pm. A beautiful setting with the large granite mountains in Northern background. A very peaceful night at anchor in Baie de Stagnolo and swim after breakfast to get over the day before. 85 miles sailed.
Port Vecchio Part 2
We have been anchored in the big bay of Port Vecchio which consists of several small bays for three nights. Firstly, we were in the Baie de Stagnolo for two nights enjoying the beautiful scenery. On the beach near us was a large campsite. The caravans, tents, camper vans were very tightly packed in which we discovered when we went for an ice-cream. Next door was a sailing school for dinghies like hobo cats but it was very quiet on the water with the beautiful scenery and we were very comfortable on Ariel. On the other side of the bay was a holiday camp of very nice wooden chalets which appeared to provide a lot of water activities. The sea temperature was about 28 degrees and very nice for swimming which we did several times.
We motor sailed up to be near to the town and marina for one night in order to visit the old walled town and natural harbour. The town has been used by settlements for thousands of years. The Toreens who invaded and took over the area are thought to have based themselves in Port Vecchio around 1500BC before spreading westward across the island of Corsica. The Romans used Port Vecchio as one their trading ports. When the Genoese arrived they built the old walled town high on the hill with great fortifications.
Today the town is full of restaurants, up market shops and full of life. Jim and I enjoyed our Sunday afternoon wandering around the old town and taking in the views from high up overlooking the large bay.
Down by the marina it was restaurant upon restaurant overlooking the bay with enormous ice-creams with cream on top. Unfortunately, for Jim who is the ice-cream lover he had already consumed a small one before he found these beauties!