Sardinia, Slime Lines and the Life Sybaritic

Chapter 2 (continued): Bonifacio - a harbour with seriously Slimey Lines

Hello again, dear Reader - just a quick synopsis for any new arrivals - Voltair is in Bonifacio Harbour(southern Corsica), and more specifically in the Calanque de la Catena, a 12m deep inlet just 100 yards wide, where the real sailors moor up. Thanks to bold and timely action by her crew, she is out of imminent danger to her rudder hitting the rocks in an increasingly draughty sidewind, but has lost an important bit of deck equipment from the stern, and Will has become the latest member of the Wetarsi tribe.

Our next-door neighbours (the somewhat longer and sleeker craft "349D") in the photo of the last postcard, were leaving as well, but being Italian, they were taking three times as long and making much more noise about it. Instead of allowing their bow-line, which went quite a lot further out than had ours, to sink to the warp-infested depths, Vaughan and Will manned the dinghy again, to take it over and put it on our bow. Once this was done and we were all aboard, we broke out our extra long kedge warp, and Will paid this down to V in the dinghy, while J donned trunks and snorkelling gear and hurled himself into the Cala in search of aluminium fairleads. Fortunately, one such item was easily recovered, (I seem to remember a similar event in Haugesund - recounted somewhere under "loss of aft starboard Babbage"), so J got into the dinghy, attached the warp to a ring, and V brought the cable-laying vessel "Hermi-two" (Hermione having been lost at sea near Belgium) back to the yacht. We winched Voltair back into position, but by this time any inclination any of us might have had to go to sea in the rising breeze had totally vanished and we had a cold beer each instead!

We then reflected on the history of Bonifacio (as one does), and found it equally interesting: Odysseus narrowly escaped death and disaster here a while ago, when the natives killed and ate some of his crew, hurled rocks down onto several of his vessels and sank them, and speared any survivors in the water.

More recently (a mere 600 years ago) it had been a battle between the Genoese (who built the town) and the Spaniards, attempting to invade. This is a lovely story but rather long, so I'll just say that the Spaniards quit just after Christmas, having been fooled by the Genoese townspeople pretending to be the heavily armed reinforcements which were actually still a week away.

Chapter 3: The Sybaritic life and how to live it

So it was only on Tuesday that we tore ourselves away, unscathed, and with a fine Babbage newly screwed to the rear deck, from the pleasures and dangers of Bonifacio: the delightful young lady with the "Geek" t-shirt managing the jet-ski rental, (100/hr - sounded reasonable to me), her elder sister in the RIB idling about in the approaches with 450 horses behind her, the two girls on the Maltese superyacht who had invited us to dance, and the charming waitress who had consented to an embrace. Had we stayed longer, perhaps they would all have changed into the Furies, and eaten us up too!

We allowed the "Star Flyer" to turn around (just about possible) and depart before we fuelled up, and then set off eastwards towards the Ile Lavezzi and Ile Cavallo - the two principal french islands in the straits between Corsica and Sardinia.

Come to think of it, those people on the Star Flyer must know how to live a sybaritic life - we should have asked them!

Rather expecting a strong westerly breeze to develop around lunchtime, we picked a bay called Cala di Zeri on Ile Cavallo which faces northeast, and anchored ahead of one other yacht in a spectacular setting in what must be one of the most exclusive hideaways in Europe. The perfectly formed sandy cala is studded with wonderfully weather worn granite megaliths, and around the sides are the bungalows and designer cottages of the rich, beautifully landscaped into the natural habitat of the island. Beyond the head of the cala there was a small airstrip, and helicopter traffic was in and out most of the day.
Will and JK had a swim over to the nearby rocks and lounged about a bit - as much as one can on rather warm and convex granite, and then it was time for a bite to eat and some wine.

By the time early afternoon had arrived, there were about 5 large yachts, one megayacht and several powerboats at anchor, and once an hour a succession of tripper boats would come in and out to see the sights and perhaps catch an owner in residence.

We outstayed them and became the last in the bay, eventually deciding life couldn't get much more sybaritic than this, and preparing a fine dinner of Cotes de Ventoux, accompanied by duck breasts (fatty side seared in a pan, then fried, then roasted) with orange sauce, flat green beans and carrots, and pommes roasted with onion, garlic and mushrooms.

I suppose we should have rung for a helicopter-delivered takeaway had we been true sybarites, but actually I rather enjoy cooking!

Best wishes from the June crew of Will, Vaughan and John K

But we aren't done yet - we still have yarns to spin of our night-time trip towards Elba, a short stop in Porto Azzurro, rocking around the clock at Cabo Norte, and a bit of actual sailing on the way back to Bastia. Watch your mailbox!