10 June 2010
Corsica has been the best cruising in four years in the Med. That may be because we started with a big blow that had us sleeping on the floor due to the boat rolling back and forth for two day or it could be that for the following month the wind only came up after 9:00am and died before the sun set. We had beautiful weather.
We left Sardinia expecting some mild weather for a day then we knew from the forecast that it was going to blow. We set our destination on Porto Polo in the Golfe de Valinco. We knew we could make that distance in a day and also find a good place to anchor. Alternatively we could have gone for it and made the bay of Ajaccio. I did not know the holding and knew the marina was band 5 - expensive. Well we made porto Polo with ease and picked up a buoy along with a number of other yachts. The wind at sunset had started to come up so we where relieved that we were secure. that night the wind blew but more importantly it blew the next day well into the 25 to 30 knots range. The unfortunate side was that the swell started to come round the point and catch all the yachts on their beam as they faced into the wind. For the small and round bottomed yachts that meant rock and roll - big time. We are quite lucky in that we have a nice big keel and carry some weight down below. The second night the roll was so bad I could not walk across the cabin with out holding on and Denny was almost thrown out of her bunk. At midnight we put the cockpit cushions down on the cabin floor and slept across the boat. It was not ideal but at least we could sleep. At day break it had not improved so we went ashore just to sit under a tree. This continued for three day. I had also picked up a fever so I had to experience temperature swings from shivering to hot perspiring. Not great when your bed is moving around so much.
Having come through that experience we set off round the Cap di Muro towards Ajaccio. I thought I was back in the souther ocean. The swell at the cape was big. We sailed up, and up then reached the top then down and down till we reached the trough. To our surprise as soon as we rounded the cape we were confronted with 20 or more yachts sailing down wind out of the Ajaccio bay. They had been hold up and where now heading south for their summer holidays. We arrived in Ajaccio bay to find only a very few boats anchored. many more were on permanent moorings. We dropped the anchor just west of the four white gas mooring buoys. Good holding. we went ashore to get provisions and to find the lie of the land regarding the wedding. The main purpose for us to come to Corsica. We sailed to Porticcio to find the le Pines restaurant where the reception was to be held. What a lovely spot.
We tied up at a mooring buoy at P de Damigian 41 50.896 N 08 46.167 E and contacted our friends to collect us for the first event in the wedding celebrations. A great part then back to the beach where we inflated our small dingy to row back to Malua. The next day it was back to Ajaccio to anchor the boat and row ashore to be collected by Clive who drove us up into the mountains to Corte.
The whole wedding experience has been described in my Blog here so I wont repeat myself. What a great time.
After the wedding we took a few friends sailing then returned to drop the anchor in the Ajaccio bay. This time we were moved by the pilot boat into an area I thought looked great. Down with the anchor, lots of swing room except for there red buoys...... why are they there? the location is 41 55.926 N 08 44.797 E At about sun set the wind started to swing and the anchor chain was rubbing on a rock or something. I let out more chain but it did not stop. Then I hauled in some chain but it would not come up. Stuck fast. No alternative but to get the scuba gear out of the locker and find out what was down there. I had just gone under the water to follow the chain when I saw the problem. the red buoys designated a dumping ground foe old concrete blocks, steel bars and other un destructable rubble. Malua's anchor chain was caught on a steel bar with a large hook. No way in the world could I have got it off from the surface. I unhooked the chain and then followed the chain to the anchor. Oh what a mess. Back to the surface to tell Denny to slowly wind in the anchor as I unhooked it right up to the anchor. It went rather easily and before I knew it Malua was free and I was swimming back to the boat. We motored to a mooring buoy and picked it up. I then washed myself down with fresh water to get the dirty harbour water off everything. It was great to be diving again but the water clarity could have been better!
We stayed a few day in Ajaccio and area before setting off north. Our destination Sagone 42 06.653 N 08 41.445 E a wide sandy bay. There were only a few boats and the swimming was good although we did not go ashore. Just a short sail to the next stop at Cargese 42 07.857 N 08 36.045 E. This is a town that was started by some Greek immigrants who where placed her to stop some local feuding. Unfortunately they turned out to be good farmers and settlers and the locals became jealous of them and burned down their village. Today there are two churches not 300 meters from each other. A Greek orthodox and a Catholic church for the locals.