15 July, 2010

West coast of Corsica Cruising Delights

Corsica has always been bypassed by many cruising yachts because they believe that it is not the place to cruise and it is windy. Let it stay that way and the adventurous shall have it to themselves.
Well we where introduced to the wind the day we crossed the Strait of Bonificia on our way north to Ajaccio. We had visited Bonifacio in 2007. The wind had been forecast to blow at more than 25 knots.  So we set off at dawn and chose a sheltered bay as our destination.  It was a great sail but the wind started to rise as we neared our destination late in the afternoon.  We picked up one of the many free moorings and settled down for the night and the wind did blow for three days.  Not as high as forecast but blow it did.  What was astonishing was the swell that accompanied it.  In our case we were in a bay and the swell came round the point and caught us on the beam.  It was not nice.  In fact it was so bad we had to sleep on the floor.  When we ventured out the swell was still rolling in from Spain.  It was like sailing in the southern ocean again.  Up, up you would go then top the swell and down, down again.  We had only planned a short passage into the bay of Ajjaccio but it was long enough.  Fortunatly the bay is well sheltered and the roll went away.
From past posts on this site we had a great time at the Corisican wedding.
We spent more than a week sailing around the bay of Ajjaccio and anchoring off points and bay.  It is wonderful, clear water, long beaches and good holding.
We started to sail north past Capo di Feno and into the Golfe de Sagone.  Here again there are buoys but we anchored off the beach.  The next day it was on to the twin Greek and Cathlic chuch town of Cargese.  Each church stand opposite one another.  A relic of the past when the Greeks where imported to start a colony but the local Coriscans did not like the hard working Greek imports! How things have changed.
From there it is north to the red stones of the Golfe do Porto and Golfe de Galeria.  The latter reminded me of the coast of Tasmania with the rocks rising straight up out of the crystal clear blue water.  We spent more than a week just moving from one small bay to the next, sometimes with other yachts but generally on our own as the sun set.
Calvi was the next major stop.  The home of the winged dagger of the French Foreign Legion.  Having served alongside one of their number I have respect of that unit.  He was a large mean soldier who could run all day without a break but always ready to helped his lesser mortals (I remember you - Silva).  We visited the port and the castle built on the promontory and looked at the display of the units equipment and memorabilia of their time in Africa and other places.  It reminded me of the South African units motto "He who dares wins"
We picked up a buoy and paid the 30 Euro for the night but next day anchored way down the beach for a quiet night before proceeding north to the friendly town of Ile Rousse where we anchored off the beach.  We took the RIB ashore and as we were securing it a friendly fellow asked us to let his lines in an accent that was not French. He turned out to come from Eden just a few miles down the coast from Malua Bay our home port.  he is the deck hand on a vessel anchored just off our stern.  It is his first season and he was enjoying the trill of the adventure despite the long hours.
We stayed a few day at Ile Rousse not only to watch the football but to renew the Orange contract to access the internet.  A requirement these days.
In summary:  The west Cost of Corsica has the best cruising grounds we have visited in the Med IF the weather is good.  The town are cultured, the supermarkets so well stocked it is a delight to give your euros away.  the shops and people friendly.  The greatest cruising in four years.  Only another week and we will have to move on.

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