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September 2011- Corsica, Mediterranean France

France | French Riviera | sailing among the regatta boats off Cannes

September 27, 2011

We sailed to Baie des Canoubiers a mile east of Saint Tropez. It has nearly all-round shelter so was a good place to be except for the swell sent into the anchorage as boats passed for the marinas further into the gulf. Oh well atleast by sunset all was quiet. We took the boat over to the anchorage in front of St. Tropez on Saturday to visit the town. It was very crowded. Lots of people in town for Les Voiles de St. Tropez. It's become the closest thing to Antigua Race Week. There are a series of races all week for all classes of yachts from maxis to multihulls, IOR racers to cruising boats, 12 meter, 8 meter 6 meter old gaffers to Formula 40 catamarans. Now we know why we saw so many yachts racing near Cannes. They were waiting for St. Tropez races. We walked around the town, very glitzy and climbed to the castle and museum. Nice climb up the tower offering spectacular views. We decided to move back to Baie Canoubiers for the night fearing the arrival of a zillion race boats .

Sunday was a rainy day. Monday we slowly sailed along beautiful coastline to Cavalaire-sur-Mer and did some provisioning then sailed on to Ste. Clair bay next to Le Lavandou. Gorgeous bay, sand bottom, we just had to go for a swim. A frenchman swam out to meet our boat and shouted welcome back! You landed here in 1945 now today you come again:-) Not sure he was right because Tourist info said the Americans landed at Cavalaire-Sur Mer. In any case we were in both places. We grilled some steaks and had a quiet night.

This morning we dingied to shore and walked a short trail around the shore to Le Lavendou. (named for lavender fields) The town has done much to make it people friendly with beautiful beaches and walking/bicycle paths. After lunch we motored over to the first of two islands we will visit in the Iles d'Hyeres, Ile de Port Cros. The islands are part of a nature reserve. Port Cros is densely wooded but has many marked walking trails and excellent snorkling. We plan to spend a couple of days here before moving to Ile de Porquerolles the largest of the four islands of Iles d'Hyeres (4miles long, 1 mile wide). Hope all is well Love and God Bless Sally and Al

France | Iles de Lerins | Isle Ste Marguerite | Fort Royale

September 23, 2011

We decided to stay another night at Ile St-Honorat and take the dingy over to Ile Ste Marguerite, the larger of the Iles de Lerins (islands near Cannes). Both islands have beautiful walking paths around them with lots of informational sign posts, benches, picnic tables and garbage cans. They are used for day visitors only so very clean. We visited Fort Royale built in 17th century which has a small maritine museum. It's most famous prisoners was The Man in the Iron Mask, actually a velvet mask put point being no one ever knew who he actually was. We had a most amazing sunset. So much red almost blood red. I kept shooting pictures as each moment looked more beautiful than the one before:-)

France |Iles de Lerins | Ile Ste Honorat | sunset in anchorage at Ile Ste Honorat

Yesterday we went to Cannes for fuel, water and provisions. We then anchored and went ashore for a visit of Le Suquet(Old Town), Marche Forbelle (fruit/veg market)and the Museum de la Castre (nice ethnological museum) It had great musical instrument display from places around Med. We walked by the Palais des Festival et des Congres where Canne Movie Festival is held. After lunch we sailed across the Baie de Napoule through the regatta being held again and anchored for the night outside of Theoule-sur-Mer. Heading to Saint Tropez today. Happy Birthday to son Christopher today. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

September 21, 2011

We had a nice sail yesterday from Villefranche to Iles de Lerens near Cannes. We had some big winds and some rain that came through over the weekend so we decided to stay at Villefranche's very protected anchorage. We took a train down to Antibes on Friday. Antibes old town was lovely and great views from the seawalls. Antibes is the second biggest marina in Europe and we saw hundreds of the BIG yachts. The Picasso museum was so-so but then I'm not a great fan. The rain and weather gave us the perfect "excuse" to lay around and read for a couple of days.

France | Riverea | Iles Lerins | Ile Ste Honoret | Lerens Abbey - Cistercian Monastery

Monday we got a few boat projects done so we were ready to move yesterday. It was fun seeing Nice and Antibes by sea as we sailed by. We were amazed at how close we were while at anchor in Villefranche. Iles de Lerens are two small islands Ile Ste. Marguerite and the smaller Ile St. Honorat. We anchored between the two close to St. Honorat which is a Cistercian order Monastery. St. Honorat, a founding father of French monasti cism established this abbey in 4th century and it became one of the most powerful and influential in the land. 20 Saints and 600 bishops studied here including St. Patrick:-) The island is only 1.5km long and is quite lovely with walking paths, vineyards, chapels scattered about, a beautiful church, walled monastery, and a fortified tower with fantastic views of Golfe de la Napoule.

France | Iles de Lerins | Ile de Honorat |Golfe de Napoule | gaff rig sloop under full sail

We had fun watching a regatta of a wide assortment of yachts, simple sloops to gaff rigs, spinnakers, fishermans top sails. They left Cannes, sailed the bay and return later in the day with full sails. One gaff rig schooner flew eight sails in her downwind run! Quite a sight...We enjoyed a quite night at anchor. Today we plan go into Cannes for a short visit for fuel and provisions. Then come back out to the islands. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Italy | Italian Rivera | San Remo | looking over San Remo and harbor

September 15, 2011

We had a great weekend in San Remo (Sanremo) Italy known as The City of Flowers. Also Italy's wannabe Monte Carlo. It was nice having real internet again. Why or why can't the French get it right. What we can buy is very expensive and we pay by the KB. The town has beautiful promenade along the beach and they have a gorgeous walking/biking trail that follows an old railway bed. We walked all day, got lost but finally made it up to Old Town and a gorgeous park above. Again we had great winding, steps and paths so fun to be lost in. They also had a huge Saturday market, food, clothing, purses etc. Reminded us of the big markets in Turkey. We met a nice cruising couple from Paris. Gabriel gave us lots of great cruising notes so we're looking forward to going west along the Rivera.

France | French Rivera | Villefranche | anchorage below Villefranche near Nice

France | French Riviera | Nice | overlooking Nice harbour toward Villefranche

We had a great day sailing on Tuesday to Villefranche. This picturesque old town is about 2nm from Nice and has a great anchorage. We visited the 16th century citadel and wandered Old Town on Wednesday. Then Thursday we took a 1 5min train ride to Nice. We were here 39 years ago but didn't remember much except for the sea. We walked down Rue Jean Medecin from the train station. Gorgeous buildings, big department stores, new tram line, beautiful Basilica ending in a huge square. Beautiful palm trees and fountains everywhere. We walked along the sea for a while then turned into the baroque Old Town (Vieux Nice). What a tangle of craft shops, restaurants, specialties stores, cafes, artists...Beautiful churches, local market. We then walked up to Colline du Chateau. Fantastic views of Vieux Nice and Baie des Anges (sea), Then we walked down steps under Tour Bellanda to the sea again and walked to the Port. We headed back to Vieux Nice for lunch choosing Acchiardo from the Lonely Planet. Al had the house specialty. Veal breaded, layered in ham and cheese covered in a mushroom, green pepper tomato sauce. YUM. I ordered Sirloin pepper steak cooked Medium that was raw and the sauce was not great. Oh well next time order the Plat du Jour or the House specialty. After lunch we caught a bus to Cimiez area where all the old villas and museums are. We visited Matisse Museum (free)Then we decided to walk down the hill to the Chagal museum. Unfortunately we took a wrong turn while gawking at the villas and ended up on the opposite side of town. So we decided to hop on the train at Nice Riquier stop instead of hiking all the way back to Gare Nice Ville. We got on the train the right direction but failed to notice it didn't stop at Villefranche! "Al there is our Boat!" We got off at the next stop and came back:-) We were ready for a nice swim when we got home. The water is crystal clear and 26C

France | French Riviera | Eze Sur-le-Mer

Today we took a train to Eze Sur-le-Mer. Then we took a bus up to the Medieval stone village of Eze (427m above the sea) Only one entrance into the town. We wandered the town now full of artisans, cafes, restaurants, Two very upscale hotel/restaurants that rent rooms that were once residencies of Swedish Prince William. A salad on the lunch menu started at 35E. Dinner mains started at 55Euro At the very top of the village we paid 5E to visit the Exotic Garden designed by Jean Gastaud in 1949. Exotic cacti, gorgeous views, and ruins of the castle...We decided to walk the one hour trail back to Eze-sur-Mer. Glad we walked down not UP! It was quite spectacular and STEEP. Tomorrow we plan to sail to Antibes about 15nm. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

France | Corsica | Ile Rousse

September 9, 2011

We had four nights in Calvi, Corsica. Nice old town and citadel. Yesterday we took the tram to Ile Rousse, Corsica and got our French internet working. Nice ride along the coast and neat old town. This morning we left Calvi about 3AM and made passage 86nm to San Remo, Italy. It was a good passage with westerly seas but easterly winds. Hmmm seemed to work well and we were sailing over 7 kts for a few hours. Winds died down to 6-7kts around 1230 so motor sailed the rest of the way. We are back in Italy for three days. We are tied alongside on the town quay for free and are allowed to stay 3 nights. Hopefully we'll be able to skype this weekend:-) Then Monday we'll head for Monaco and Nice, France. Happy weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

September 6, 2011

Hi Everyone, We went to mass at Cathedral Ste Marie Sunday. Then we wandered around the citadel, found Napoleon's childhood home and visited the museum. The sky began to rumble so we quick bought a sandwich to go and headed for the bus stop. It poured buckets but we were semi-dry under the protection of the bus stop. We took the bus to Carrefour Supermarket near where we anchored thinking we'd shop while it rained. Wrong...the store was just closing at 1:30 so we took protection in the doorway until we could make a run for it. In my church dress I was not prepared for a bouncy rainy ride back to the boat in our dingy. It continued to rain/storm all afternoon and evening. But this time it was nice clean rain. It washed our boat of the dirt and grime we picked up in Olbia, salt that covered our decks, and the Red Sahara dirty rain we had Friday night.

France | Corsica | Artemis sailing along west coast of Corsica

France | Corsica | Calvi | Port Calvi | Artemis in anchorage below Citadel in Port Calvi

Yesterday the sun came out about 9 so by 9:30 we were on our way to Gulf de Lava about 15nm away. Wrong again. No wind but swells making our anchorage not possible so we moved on another 5nm to Sagone Harbor, no protection from swells there either. Up the coast we headed to Sagone Harbor then Cargese Harbor even tried anchoring in Rocca Marina bay next door but the swell was rolling us so we decided to more on again thinking Golf de Porto had some options. Making the headland to the gulf we discovered that above 42 Latitudes the seas were much worse. The wind had been howling all day so now we had 3-4 meter seas off the quarter. We'd catch a few bigger ones and fall off the wave rolling rail to rail. Fortunately the sun was shining, and the coastline absolutely gorgeous. We motored along surfing waves at times so we were able to keep 6-7kts in speed. We decided to head for Calvi. We discovered there is absolutely no good place to go with this kind of seas between Ajaccio and Port Calvi! At one point Al said at least we haven't been dumped on. Of course two seconds later we took a roll that soaked his arm:-)The further north we went the larger the seas and about 1930 (7:30) the winds started to pick up from SW 15. By the time we rounded La Revellata to make the 4nm run to Port Calvi, the sun had set, we had SW winds 25+ kts, but at least the seas were less (2 meter). Fortunately the moon, bright lights and large anchorage allowed us to anchor safely in 30+ kts of wind gusting into the anchorage at about 2100 (9:00).

The wind continued to howl all night but Artemis rides comfortably at anchorage even in 2 ft chop. This morning we woke to find the picturesque Citadel and the town of Calvi awaiting us. We hauled our anchor and moved further into the anchorage. Now we wait for the winds to quiet so we can dingy ashore and visit Calvi. Our one regret...the west coast of Corsica is mountainous and gorgeous. One beautiful cove after another with sandy beaches beacon but we were unable to stop:-( We'll stay here until we cross to the French Rivera. Happy First Week of School Minnesotans. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

France | Corsica | Ajaccio | anchorage outside Ajaccio harbor

France | Corsica | Bonifacio | heading for anchorage southwest of Bonifacio

September 3, 2011

Hi Everyone, We are in Ajaccio Corsica, France the capital of Corsica arriving yesterday. We spent our first two days in Corsica at an anchorage one mile west of Bonifacio. It was a beautiful, protected spot with crystal clear water and sandy bottom. We did the hour and half walk over the hill to Bonifacio. Good trail but hot, dusty and uphill both ways:-) We visited our friendly butcher we met in 2006 and got some expensive steak to grill. The walk back was a bit faster and a bit shadier so cooler. The wind howled from the East so we waited on our yummy steak until Ajaccio.

Great sail yesterday we sailed 35nm and motored the last 10. We hurried ahead as we wanted to get our French internet going and it was a great sailing day. But we've had no luck so far with the internet. The modem doesn't want to download the program and the "Orange" tech guy wanted 29 Euro ($45)to install it for us. So Al decided he'd struggle a bit more. So please send any emails to this address. Sad that we can't skype. We walked about Old Town a little bit today but forgot our camera. So we'll go again tomorrow. Great Carrefour supermarket so got our provisioning done. Hope everyone has a nice weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Italy | Italian Riviera | San Remo | Artemis alongside San Remo at free mooring


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