Porto Vecchio and New CRew
“You’re to close Sir, I have forty metres of chain out, when the wind veers and freshens I’ll be over your anchor,” I yell across the evening water to a forty footer. He responds “Sorry. Okay” picks up his hook and goes to anchor a further eighty metres out. I’m beginning to feel like a brooding, crusty old salt.
Day two of my week alone on Pamarzi at anchor about three hundred yards offshore back in the bay of Porto Vecchio. 19.00 hours the sun still hot, the afternoon breeze has eased and a small pod of dolphins lazily arch through the water not 10 metres away. I’ve just returned to the boat having had a couple of beers at the Mariosa hotel where they treat me like a guest and dispose of my garbage, always insisting they take it from me as I come ashore at their pontoon. “Good grief they are still trying to anchor now with their boat the wrong way round to the wind!” There are soft low clouds and a light haze cloaking the surrounding mountains and softening their broken sharks tooth profile. Pamarzi gently rocks and swings around her chain, taking a beer from the cockpit fridge (I know, my third but they are only small) I contemplate whether to read (Patrick O’Brian) or write, my conscience prods me to write.
Lynn returned to the U.K. on the 25th July, I ferried her over to the Mariosa where we had arranged for a taxi to take her the twelve miles or so to Figari airport. The taxi journey costing more than the flight to Brussels! For me it was a few days of boat jobs with occasional forays across the bay for provisioning, all of which had to be planned carefully as a couple of miles in a 2.4 metre inflatable across a big chop and swell from the vast mega yachts coming in and out is not pleasant. I could not always get everything in my water proof back pack and a miss judgement of the wind strength or boat/ferry movements would results in wet bread as well as a drenched sailor.
Lynn returned late afternoon on Friday with a very excited pair of grandchildren (Finlay 10 years and Robyn 7 years). Now they loved the choppy crossing in the dinghy from the Mariosa pontoon to Pamarzi (yes Georgia they were wearing their lifejackets). They had been up since 03.30 but were on great form and over supper around the cockpit table as the sun slipped behind the mountains (and much to their delight we switched on what we call the ‘Christmas tree’, lights on the spreaders that illuminate our eighty five foot of mast) we talked through some of the do’s and don’ts of life aboard including the mysteries of electric, marine loos.
It was a fine, quite night and the children refreshed woke to a glorious morning and before Marzi was up and about we had been to town in Sac de Sel and purchased still warm croissants and bread from the boulangerie. After breakfast it was only a couple of hours sail in light airs to Porto Novo a pretty bay accessible only by sea, with gin clear water and a sandy beach at its head. As we were making our final approach the wind picked up and whilst we got the hook down in a good spot it quickly became far too bouncy to contemplate swimming from the boat or even taking the dinghy ashore. But the children were fine, amusing themselves about the boat, doing puzzles and making the currently ubiquitous Loom band bracelets. After supper we taught them Maltese Cross (a dominoes game) which once they ‘got’ they played with great gusto for the rest of the evening and every evening after that. We stayed in Porto Novo overnight and the following morning were all able to leap from the transom into the clear, turquoise water. A day of swimming and dinghy trips to the beach (Fin often at the helm) followed. Bobby learnt to snorkel and spent almost the entire day with her head in under water. The frizz bees and water guns also went down well. We decided to stay over and sail to Sant’ Amanza, another beautiful bay with no development, accessible only by sea, in the morning. Fin was helping me ready the boat for our departure the following morning, as I lifted the starboard helm seat to show him where to stow the instrument covers we found that we had been boarded. For there beneath a pair of heavy duty leather riggers gloves was a rat! Fearing a bite if I grabbed it with bare hands I reached for a winch handle with which to despatch it but at the same time it leapt up ran across the cockpit, down the side deck and disappeared. Our astonishment was equalled only by our disgust at the thought of that thing aboard our beautiful boat. We were moored about one hundred and fifty metres offshore and could only presume that it had swum out and scaled the dinghies painter. I must admit that I did not know that they were that enthusiastic about swimming let alone in the sea. We had no choice, we had to find traps and/or poison so it was back to Porto Vecchio in order that first thing in the morning (Monday) I could search out what we needed.
We dinghied across the bay first thing and I left Lynn and the children breakfasting as I went in search of the necessary, no traps but I did manage to purchase poison. We agreed to meet up in the old town, high above the harbour and I raced back to Pamarzi and set out the Difenacoum in the bilges and cockpit. Back to the old town where we lunched in a restaurant clinging to the walls of the ancient citadel with wonderful views across the salt pans on one side and down the length of the five mile deep bay of Porto Vecchio on the other.
So our week continued with Fin and Bobs swimming and snorkelling, having water fights, we teaching them rope handling and knots. They both helmed Pamarzi and helped with raising and dousing the sails. We so much enjoyed seeing their confidence and ability grow as they became more familiar with yacht board life. All too soon it was time for them to return home. I had bought tickets for all of us but unfortunately the marina berth I had booked did not become available so I must remain with Pamarzi on the hook, well I guess there are worse places to be.
And rattus rattus you ask? Well he is late of this parish, very much an ex rat, now referred to as the deceased, he is no more, non existus. But he is another very good reason to hoist your tender/dinghy and put a cone on your snubbing and mooring lines.
The only crew of Pamarzi.