We were sitting quietly at the dock in Port Fontvieille, Monaco, when Berkeley East suddenly lurched back, thumping her stern on the dock. By the time we got on deck, the wind was gusting to more than 50 knots pushing our 31-ton boat onto the dock. The rain was coming down in buckets, the drops hurt as they hit, the temperature dropped twenty degrees. Our neighbor was waving his arms and frantically talking to us in Italian, we just nodded in agreement. Just as we got the bow lines pulled tighter and more fenders on the stern to hold BE off the dock, the wind shifted and we were being blown off the dock, then sideways in the slip. All we could do was hang on for the ride. It lasted for about two hours, at least that is what it seemed like. In actuality it was about 30 minutes of chaos. As the marina staff began bringing runaway deck chairs back to boats, the sky cleared and our beautiful little marina came back into view.
While we had spent two days in Monaco during the Grand Prix race, we only saw the area between the train station and the grandstands. So we sailed Berkeley East into the Port Fontieiville to see a bit more of this tiny principality. Monaco is only .75 square miles, with 30,000 residents. While it is independent, it is run as a piece of France. To those who live there, one of Monaco's most attractive features is that there is no income tax, none. There is also virtually no unemployment. And from what we saw, people in Monaco are doing quite well. We have never seen so many Ferraris and Rolls Royces before.
The Monte Carlo Casino is a must see in Monaco, although the citizens of Monaco are forbidden to enter the gaming rooms.
In 1910 Prince Albert I built an impressive Oceanographic Museum on the cliff below Monaco-Ville. The museum houses collections of starfish, seahorses, turtles, jellyfish, crabs, lobsters, rays, sharks, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, eels, cuttlefish, model ships, sea animal skeletons, .....
The Prince's Palace of Monaco, built in 1191 is still the official residence of the Prince of Monaco, but is open to tourist when he is not there.