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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stunning Corsica

We finally left Sardinia at the end of June. Tacking up through the Madalena Straits, well reefed down, with winds up to 20knots.....we admired the wonderful scenery for the last time....on Bandit anyway! Through the Straits of Bonifacio the wind got up and it was a bash across...
Good sailing in the Bonifacio Strait we took shelter for a few hours on the south coast before heading out again to an anchorage just north of Bonifacio. Next day it was up to Campo Moro where we once again (for the third time) had the pleasure of uninvited French customs on board. Grim faced, they asked the usual questions....."any cigarettes or alcohol on board and do you have more than 10,000euros in cash". Ha!! Funnily enough, they didn't laugh when David replied "I wish". A fairly humourless lot we were pleased when they left.

Then it was onto Ajaccio where we anchored in the bay very close to a large Carrefour - Brenda was in heaven.  All that amazing French produce - pate, brie, baguette, goat's cheese....divine!  We were here for one reason - to take the historic Micheline train up into the mountainous interior.  The 230km track takes in 32 tunnels and numerous bridges and viaducts.....through a spectacular route that cuts through and under the granite mountains.  The trip was spectacular....through emerald green forests of plane trees, holm oak and laricio pine with the ragged snow capped mountains in the background.
The Citadel at Corte
  We spent several hours at the stunning town of Corte before catching the bus back.  Corte wears the scars of early battles - many of the houses are pock marked with bullet holes.  An intriguing spot and a great day out.

Fully provisioned we headed out and were sailing up towards Calvi when we got a text from Marlborough friends who were sailing south from Calvi.  So we rendezvoused in a beautiful bay about halfway - anchoring underneath amazing red cliffs in deep inky blue water.  Had a great night on board Jungle with Pete McLean, his children Sam and Charlie and a bunch of friends - always fun to meet up with Kiwis, especially fellow Marlburians.
Jungle in Corsica

The winds were kind to us up the west coast and we had some lovely sailing.  One day we were followed by a school of tuna - they swam alongside Bandit like dolphins but despite David's best efforts we couldn't get a single one to take our lure.  Oh well...pasta for dinner.  The winds lightened to allow us a safe trip around Cap Corse which can be notorious.  This part of Corsica is spectacular - beautiful little stone villages dotted on a ragged landscape with sheer cliffs plunging down to the sea.  Beautiful clear waters too that have now warmed up to 25 degrees - perfect for swimming.
Beautiful Ajaccio


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