Of Darsenas and dinghies
18 September 2009 | Portoferraio
Despite its beauty, the port has some drawbacks, particularly in terms of trying to park a dinghy. On Friday we went ashore for some shopping and a look around. A kindly Italian cruiser, also dinghying in, suggested we leave our dinghy next to his on the hammerhead in the centre. No problem, except that when we returned we were shouted at by an ormeggiatore, one of the men in charge of mooring, who said tenders should be 'over there'.
The next day (Saturday), we went 'over there' to find no tenders. Sarah went to the capitainerie, who were very smart in white uniforms, but politely bewildered, and then referred us to the people in charge of berthing. Huh?
We hid Bridget in amongst a load of small fishing boats, tucked into an unused corner, and went to look around. On the way, we finally found the centre for moorings, which is in a first floor office on the western side of the dock, almost exactly opposite the capitainerie. A very helpful English speaking woman explained the rules for dinghies. These seem to be that you should call in on channel 9 before coming in (just as for a big yacht), and you will be allocated a space. If you are there before 0800 or after 2000 you will be expected to pay. (So no long drunken evenings in town, then!), although she implied that as it is now off season, they would probably turn a blind eye. If you come in for a couple of hours during the day, they will allocate a space but not charge you.
The smallest official boat charge applies to anything up to 6m long (bridgit is just over 3m); this month it's 18 euros a day, and 30 in season. But if one anchored here for a while, it might be worth negotiating a monthly dinghy berth (135 euros in April), to ensure access, refill jerry cans, collect one's friends and so on.
For a casual visitor, it's all a bit of a pain, and makes the usual relaxed business of coming ashore and doing your shopping or sightseeing rather more complicated than usual - if only because you have to lug a VHF around with you. The call sign is Portoferraio; they don't seem to answer anything else.