As usual, when we arrive in a main port, we have jobs to do! Supermarket, laundrette, plus topping up with water and, if necessary, diesel. Whilst in Ajaccio we were in the laundrette collecting our washing when a lady offered (in French) to help Judith fold the washing. It was a few seconds before they realised they were both British! On returning to Money Penny on our dinghy, we approached a boat tied up in the Marina - Infinite Blue – Penarth. Obviously we had to stop to say ‘hello’. On board……the lady from the laundrette! We chatted for a while and found out that they live around the corner from Alistair’s brother in Penarth, what a small world! We continued to talk about each others plans and found that they were also heading South. We were planning on meeting up with a Nick & Paula from Saundersfoot who were heading up the West coast of Corsica. So far we have met them at least once during our travels each year, but we always seem to be going in different directions! Nick & Paula were travelling with another couple, Elizabeth & David, who, would you believe, Amanda & Jonnie (from Penarth) were friends with and planning to meet that evening as well!!
We left Ajaccio at mid day and sailed/motored (on & off) to Port Pollo, 26 nm down the coast. We anchored in the company of Nick & Paula onboard La Perla, Elizabeth & David onboard Sega & Amanda & Jonnie onboard Infinite Blue. We had a fantastic evening on the beach exchanging stories of our Summer so far and ending with the men playing ‘boy scouts’ and lighting a fire! The trip back to the boats was also interesting as David’s shorts got caught as he attempted to jump in the dinghy before a wave ‘hit’…..he ended up swimming back which was perhaps not the best idea after a number of glasses of wine!
The second night at anchor in Port Pollo was extremely ‘rolly’ with very little sleep, so on the 8th July we decided to move on to somewhere more sheltered just across the bay. We said our goodbyes to ‘La Perla’ & ‘Sega’ hoping to meet up later, and headed off. Jonnie & Amanda would follow on later. We picked up water off the quay in Port Pollo……only 2 euros, Bargain as we were soon to find out!
Two more beautiful anchorages were our destinations for the next 3 nights, Campomoro & Roccapina. Corsica was such a beautiful island and I would highly recommend it for either a beach holiday o a walking holiday, or both! Infinite Blue joined us at both of these and we enjoyed spending time together talking about our adventures so far. They had left in June 2018, a year after us but had bypassed Brittany.
Infinite Blue had already visited Bonifacio on the South coast of Corsica …. apparently it was a town we should not miss it! They were not wrong! The 11th July saw us enter the spectacular entrance to Bonifacio.
Spectacular is certainly an understatement! The entrance to this natural harbour is via a narrow, deep, fjord-like inlet with high vertical sides of white rock. A medieval walled town and Citadel sit prominently above the harbour on the high cliffs. In 1963 the French Foreign Legion took over the barracks in the citadel and since then the tourism trade has grown.
A berth in the actual marina would have cost us over 100 Euros per night so we moored in a small cala opposite the Citadel which provided us with lines to tie up to for 25 euros per night. We took ‘possession’ of two of these lines as they didn’t look too trustworthy if the wind picked up!
The Cala opposite (home for 3 nights) The Marina
Narrow streets of the walled town/Citadel
We spent three nights in Bonifacio exploring the historical town and keeping fit climbing the hill each time! During one of our walks we came across a small underground cafe in the middle of a large carpark, next to the Marine cemetery. What a surprise when we realised it was also the entrance to an historical tunnel. Le Gouvernail (Rudder) is a tunnel of 168 steps dug into the cliff ending up in an underground room 10 m above sea level, with spectacular views over the Strait of Bonifacio (the stretch of water between Corsica & Sardinia). Built in 1880 by French Military, it was a watch tower at the entry to the port and the Strait, equipped with a powerful projector which was able to illuminate the Strait right to the Sardinian coastline (8 miles away) during the night. Easily missed, this is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Bonifacio. On our final night (13th July) we were lucky enough to see a fabulous firework display as part of the 14th July celebrations.
View from the Rudder view of the Rudder as we depart Bonifacio
We were expecting visitors in Sardinia between 30th July-20th August so we decided that we would remain in Corsica for a little bit longer. We left Bonifacio on the 14th July and made our way up the coast to the Gulf of Porto Vecchio where we anchored near to Infinite Blue again. For the second night in a row we were entertained by spectacular fireworks.
Over the next couple of days we explored the surrounding area on foot & in the kayak, including a number of yachts that had broken free from their anchors at some stage in the past and had sadly been left to rot.
On our second night wind was forecast…..worried? yes, just a little when the evidence around the Gulf spoke for itself! Having been anchored safely for the last 48 hours, we made a difficult decision to move across the bay for more shelter from the forecast wind. Unfortunately we should have remained where we were! By the time we had made the decision and moved across, there were a number of boats in the bay and we found it hard to find a secure anchorage. During the night we dragged a number of times and at daylight decided to head back to our original anchorage. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! On heading in to the town the following day we passed a small yacht that had broken free and ended up against some rocks. We managed to pull it away from the rocks and reset the anchor. We earned our lunchtime ‘Tapas with a view’!
View of our anchorage in Porto Vecchio from the Tapas Bar!
One more anchorage before Sardinia 18/7/2018
Jonnie & Amanda were heading North, we were heading South, so we said our goodbyes and arranged to meet up in Cardiff, in December.
Rondinara Bay had been recommended to us by a number of people. It was on our way back towards the Straits of Bonifacio so we decided to spend a night there. Unfortunately when we arrived it was ‘over loaded’ with boats and we had to anchor in the entrance. The wind was strong with many boats anchored far to close us, so we were unable to leave Money Penny unattended. We left early the following morning feeling very disappointed! Unknown to us at that point, we were however to return!!!
At 10 am on the 19th July 2018 we left Corsica and crossed the Bonifacio Straits towards Sardinia……ITALY!