Cruise Italy … well, some of it ... first to Elba
16 September 2019
We left the River Arno on Wednesday 14th August for Elba, passing the enormous fishing nets lowered into the river from enormous jibs, near the mouth of the river. We had been warned that we might have very serious growth on the hull after over a month in the river but we were remarkably clean apart from at the waterline – thank you Jotun Non-Stop antifouling.
The wind was kind and we actually sailed 40nm of the 66nm passage in 12-15kts WSW veering NW. With the forecast for wind to stay out of the north we headed for Golfo della Lacona and anchored in 9 metres with 35 metres of chain out. It was quite busy but there was plenty of anchoring room and a place to take the dinghy ashore.
The hills behind the bay provided a nice hike and gave us views over to Golfo della Stella and Porto Azzurro. The beach was very popular with Italian holidaymakers who don’t seem to have heard about the risks of skin exposure to strong UV light. Oh well …
n Sunday 18th August we moved 12nm to Porto Azzurro, arriving at 1120 and anchoring in 10 metres. This was good for us as the daily pattern turned out to be the anchorage empties by about 1030 as folk go off elsewhere for the day (mostly sunbathing) and return from 1700 onwards. Mostly folk are considerate in anchoring and if someone is too close, we just go on deck and start taking photographs and staring hard – it seems to work. We think our unpainted hull, deployed bowsprit, jerrycans of diesel on deck and our baggywrinkles makes folk wary of us …
Porto Azzurro has lots of bars and restaurants but importantly for us it had a reasonable bus service so we visited nearby cliff top village, Capoliveri – what a delightful place of higgledy-piggledy streets and alleys. We had a fine lunch and thoroughly enjoyed the visit. Next was a bus trip to Portoferraio which boasts Napoleon’s exile home – open to the public and had a superb exhibition which included a video presentation of his life using clips from the various films made about him, going back to the 1920s. As we told the Napoleon fan we met in Quebec, Canada – his weather forecasting was not up to much …
We really only have to visit Les Invalides in Paris where Napoleon is buried as we have now visited Corsica, his birthplace, Cape Trafalgar where Nelson trounced the French and Spanish fleets, Moscow and the scene of his weather forecasting failure, Elba for his first exile, Waterloo (brilliant museum) where he encountered his nemesis, and St Helena for his final exile and death. We have decided to pass on Egypt and Nelson’s other great victory at the Nile.
So, Elba was a triumph – we really had a very good time.
Photos in the Gallery.