Saturday, 25 August 2012

Destinations Part 2

So from leaving Majorca, the list is as follows.

Algherro in the north west - kinda touristy with good provisioning and expensive marinas.
Bosa 20nm South of Algherro, quaint little place, but after dinghy clamped and fine we left Italy.

Campomoro - small village popular anchorage with nice beach
Propriano- small town with small mini markets, very touristy
Ajaccio- the major town in corsica- plenty of shops and large supermarkets
Golfe de porto- Girolato - Best scenery so far small village only accessible by water, mad moorings!
Calvi - nice town with walled city- got dinghy stolen here- be careful to lock everything at all times!

South of France
We made landfall near Menton then went to Monaco, which was pretty
Nice- ok stop over no good anchorages
Iles de Lerins- anchor between the islands ,pretty but very busy.
Cannes - a city like other french cities, see one you've seen em all.
Saint Tropez - full of megayachts, huge wakes, very quiet at night, town ok , expensive like the rest of france.
Iles Dyhyres- Ile de Porquerolles - A very pleasant island to visit with small quaint village
Cassis- the Calanques near cassis have been some of the best scenery in the med so far, well worth a visit.

Bosa Sardinia
Italian Pizza in Bosa
Corsican Scenery
More of Corsica
Walled City Calvi Corsica
Poor Rib - Gone with the Corsican Thieves :(

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Nics diary part 4 - Sardinia , Corsica & Monaco

Nics Diary – Part 4 – 17.8.12

Sardinia, Corsica, Monico and the South of France

We arrived in Alghero, Sardinia on the 20th of July. Stevie had read on someone else’s blog that we would be able to tie up to the harbour wall for free for a few days. We were also warned to ignore the ‘harbour staff’ in dinghy’s who would try to get us to pay for a berth in one of the marinas. However, when we tried to tie to the harbour wall someone came along and tried to charge us 70 euros! We told him that it should be free, but he insisted that we pay, so we left immediately. This was our first hint of things not quite being straight down the line in Italy, and Stevie read more about corruption in Italy with regards to ripping off boaties……..

We left the harbour, and managed to find a nice spot to anchor. As no one else was around we decided that this would be a lovely place to have a BBQ and bonfire on the beach (Our own wee Loch Lomond – where we used to go, and what we used to do as often as we could in Scotland). This time Stevie got really drunk and I had to get us safely home on the dinghy!

BBQ on beach and our beautiful Runaway in the background
Just like Loch Lomond - Just a little warmer!

In the town we found a really cheap supermarket with 27 cents beer – perfect.

Yummy! Looks like it should be scottish?

 So we stocked up with several crates and then moved on to a small town called Bosa. I really liked this place, to begin with, as the water was beautifully clear, and turquoise!  We stayed here for a few days, and each day we went to shore and tied up our dinghy around a pole on the beach as there appeared to be no dinghy dock to lock it up on.  The pole was part of a small fenced off area, but each time Stevie locked it, I was looking around to ensure no one objected. On the third day of doing this, I decided to stay on shore myself and look around the shops, and Stevie decided to go back to the boat. The arrangement was that he would look out for me down a jetty, and come and collect me. However, when I got there, there was no sign of Stevie, so I decided to have a beer in a pub nearby. There were 2 policemen hanging around, but I thought nothing of it. 5 minutes later Stevie appeared, got off the dingy, and walked straight past me. I was shouting him, but he kept walking. He shouted back to me ‘What was it you said about getting a parking ticket for the dinghy?’, then I realised that the 2 policemen were waiting for him! The dinghy had been clamped on the beach, and we were issued with a 200 euro fine for parking the dinghy on the beach. I tried to explain that this amount was too much and that it meant that I wouldn’t be able to eat for a week but they didn’t care. The really annoying thing was that there was an option to give us a warning, but they decided to fine us instead. We were given 60 days to pay the fine, and for obvious reasons, we decided to depart Italy rapidly and head for Corsica, France.

Bosa Beach - very nice - shame about the fine!

Corsica turned out to be a beautiful island. We visited an isolated bay called Girolata, where the only access was by boat, as there were no roads. The streets were really narrow, and the buildings and restaurants were really old looking. It was like something out of an old movie!

Definitely worth a visit! 

We eventually moved on to the North of the Island, where there was a big city called Calvi. The anchorage was a wee bit out from the city, but still in the main bay by a nice beach. We liked it here as there as the anchorage was uncrowded. We had another BBQ on the beach here, and on our final evening, the wind became quite strong. After a few hours the anchorage was packed, as it appeared that every boat from the island had come here for shelter. We spent the rest of the evening watching other boats trying to anchor in the strong winds, and several boats dragged and almost collided. Every boat around us did not lock their dinghies, and even in the harbour in the town, they were not locked.  As locking our dinghy (a nice rhib) meant that it was close to the boat, and in the strong wind it would repeatedly hit off the back of the yacht, we decided it was safe to leave it unlocked for the night. Big mistake! (Funnily I had named this dinghy ‘runaway’, in case Stevie annoyed me too much, so I could run away! I think I jinxed it). We went to bed around 1am, and I woke to Stevie shouting angrily at 4am – Runaway had been stolen. We were raging! No one else’s was locked, and we came to the conclusion that out of 100 boats in the anchorage, we were targeted for being the foreigner. We felt awful – especially after being robbed less than a month ago in Mar Menor (Nics Diary – Part 2). Luckily we had a spare dinghy (unfortunately not a rhib), and I have decided to call this one ‘Stay Home’. Needless to say, first thing the next morning we left for mainland France.
We left with no plans of where we were heading (other than south of France direction), and decided to head where the wind took us! We arrived at 3am, dropped anchor and got some sleep. The next day we headed west and, when we found a good place to anchor, decided we should treat ourselves to a nice meal out. There was a full strip of restaurants by a marina, all with dinner for around 30 euros. Quite expensive, but we wanted to cheer ourselves up and treat ourselves. We wondered why it was so expensive, noticing all the Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royces driving by, we realised that we were in Monaco, and not the south of France – Nice!

Very proud of our Scottish flag - but maybe the reason we were targeted?

When we were at anchor, Stevie swam over to a UK boat nearby and got talking to the neighbour. A very nice man called Jeff who offered to drive us to a real supermarket, as all of the coastal towns tend to charge a fortune for the simplest of groceries. We assumed he was going for himself too, but no, it turned out that he was going well out of his way to take care of us – thankyou! Very much appreciated after the bad luck and misfortune we had encountered in the previous days – nice to know there are still nice people in the world!
The same evening, when I was cooking dinner on the boat, I heard someone shouting ‘Hello’. We popped our head out, and it was a lovely German couple, Angelika and Christian in a tiny wee 25ft yacht called Xenia . They said that they had tried to get into the marina and it was full, anyway, we got talking, had dinner together, and a few drinks and discovered that they were the nicest people you could ever imagine to randomly meet when travelling. Christian was a physiotherapist, who was able to give Stevie some help with his sore shoulder, and Angelika worked with disabled people. They had towed their wee yacht on the back of a trailer from Germany for a 3 week holiday in the med. I think we were the perfect couple for them to meet, as Angelika had no experience of sailing (same as myself), and Christian hoped to spend the 3 weeks persuading her that ‘this was the life’! So, to meet us, doing the whole’ live in a yacht thing’ was great for them, and I really appreciated their nice company! We sailed together to Isles De Lerins. This was the busiest anchorage we had seen. It was located between 2 beautiful islands. One of the islands had a wee fortified town, and the other had a monastery on it. Lovely – but very busy.

Christian & Angelika 
Their wee boat rafted up next to ours

I saw the biggest ever spider plants, of which my friend Steve from home would be very jealous of!

Monsterous Spider Plant

Crazy Diamond (our yacht) is doing ok, although the rudder still needs the bearings replaced. We aimed to have this done in Sardinia, but after hearing and witnessing some bad experiences, Stevie ordered the parts online. They have arrived in the UK, so now we are looking for a place to have the work done.

Our water maker packed in, so we are on a wee bit of a ration.

My garden is coming along nicely, although, I got sick of waiting for the mint to grow (to make Mojitos), so decided to buy some  pre-grown mint!

I have had a wee go at some home baking – French onion tart and quiche. I now need to practice making bread and pizza bases in preparation for our Atlantic crossing.

Homemade Quiche

French onion tart

This month my skills have progressed from being Stevies hairdresser (Nics Diary – Part 3), to his dentist, as his filling fell out. He thinks that the temporary filling I gave him feels far better than the one his dentist gave him before we left – well, we will see how long it lasts for?

I have been learning how to exercise on a boat!

The odd wee snorkel!
and a little boogie on the deck!

We are doing well considering the small space to live in and the extreme heat!
So, apart from our nasty fine, and being robbed again, we are doing great. The south of France is beautiful, although very expensive! Next we are heading to Barcelona to pick up my mum, and then back to the Balaerics, as some more friends and family are coming to visit before we head to the Canaries to prepare for our Atlantic crossing in November. Still missing you all millions – would love to come home for a pint! I wish you all well, Nic xx

Stevie having a wash!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

A quick update

Well so far we have been robbed twice, once boarded in Mar Menor in Spain and the dinghy and outboard stolen in Calvi - Corsica, so my message is simple, do not get lulled into thinking a place is very safe . When you see several hundred boats and no one locking their dinghy , do not think it is safe. The non local boat is instantly the target, it makes sense from a thief's point of view, the are much safer to steal from a foreigners boat. If you go out at night leave lights on and music, make it look like someone is home, both times we have been robbed was when we were asleep at night, leave a light on even when on board, it will make it look like you are awake.

So since Majorca we have visited Sardinia where we got a fine for putting our dinghy on the beach, do not beach your dinghy in Italy it is forbidden.

We also visited Corsica, nic will do her blog update with photos soon.