Elba 2011

Elba sailing trip report. Elba the Italian Island that lies between Corsica and the main land, from the 13th of July till the end of august 2011
We sailed along the French coast, Cote d’Azur, the Flower Riviera and the bay of Genova, to Portofino, La Spezia, Livorno and finally Elba.
after a trip of 70NM we arrived at the Baye du Langoustier, (Porquerolles) to escape the upcoming bad weather in the Western part of the Mediterranean Seathe second day we sailed to Frejus, to find shelter for the upcoming Mistral…the next day, the promised Mistral had arrived, it stayed for two days… good for a walk…:-)after the Mistral had dissapeared, clouds came instead…lucky for us it was only one day of rain, but this is not the normal way to pass the Cote d’Azur…here Monaco (in the rain…)fortunatly, at the end of the day the sun showed itself again, we went to Menton, as no one dared to move due to the weather, all places in the (Cote d’Azur) Harbours were occupied….Menton, Port Garavan, time for a day to visit the city, we crossed the French coast in only a few days…we have enough time (5 weeks) so we can profit a day from the settling weather and as there will be no wind tomorrow, we stay here..Menton, the next day, Mediterranean weather has returned…..Menton bay from the top (cimetary)Menton has an almost Italian feeling, colourfull houses and narrow streets                     Like the Cote d’Azur West, routes along this coast are straightforward and it is really a matter of choosing where to go. The mistral can blow with some strength out of the Golfe de St Tropez and Frejus, but rarely with any force to the east of the Esterel. The marin is the prevailing wind along this coast in the summer blowing from the SE and even the ESE-E. Marinas along this stretch of coast are crowded in the summer and it can be difficult to get a berth in some of them. A mobile phone comes in handy to call ahead to see if there is a berth for a night or two.Imperia (Italy) approach..Imperia, view from the old town in Westerly directionThe Ligurian coast has beautifull old towns and houses….here with some old fresco’sLoano, LiguriaAfter a day in Loano, we sailed accros the gulf of Genoa to Portofino (golfo del Tigullo)we anchored between Portofino and S. Margherita Ligure, (good shelter)Portofino, entrance to the harbourPortofino, many have seen it, only few can stay….(so the Pilot says). Indeed, therefore we stayed nearby and went there with our dinghyAnchoring in the bay of S.Margherite Ligure, nothing can go wrong…The harbour protection is also very usefull for those who anchor, it is not recommended in (strong) Easterly winds to anchor…S.Margherite Ligure, sunsetlooking at the harbour and the town of S. Margherite LigureLevanto, just before Cinque Terre, approachLevanto, end of July, the French and Italians still had no Holidays..,we were alone….LevantoThe Next Day, Cinque Terre, Vernazza approach, we found a place in front of the HarbourVernazza, moorning view from the window…Vernazza, the town and harbour are small, compact and pittoresqueVernazza, Cinque Terre, view of the harbour, with fishing boatsVernazza, Cinque Terre, view from the top, with Esprit anchoring in front of the harbourVernazza top-viewIt is possible to walk alongside the coast from village to village, we went by boat 😉Cinque Terre in morning cloudsCinque Terre are a total of 5 villlages that used to be only accesable by sea in the past.
Now you can walk along the coast between the vilages and a train connects some of them, or…go by boat, like in the past….
Anchoring is on open sea, so, be carefull for the weather predictions.
and…calm weather does not automaticly imply a good night sleep, there is quickly a small but effective swell that keeps you awake. when the current (as little as it is) turns the boat in a perfect way to keep you awake half of the night……….Riomaggiore, the last of the 5 villages of Cinque Terre, before we went in the direction of PortovenerePortovenere, approach from the seasidePortovenere, seen from the Bay of La SpeziaIn high season it can be quite crowded in the Bay of Portovenere, everybody wants to anchor there…we went anchoring in the bay of Le Grazie, quiter and very wel sheltered.for those who have the Italian Waters Pilot, looks familiar…??? (this is not the cover..)the church of PortovenereLe Grazie bay, looking eastthe small beach is popular with the inhabitants of Le Grazie, hardly any tourism here!the typical Italian setting for a good glass of wine, it comes with lots of different dishes. The system is not clear, sometimes it is free, somtimes they charge you for it, (here it was free) but after this dinner can wait a bit..Like a Monet painting on the water, Italian Romance… They passed us during three days..went out, threw their anchor somewhere and came back every evening…for us, it was time for our daily medicine…sunset at Le Grazie baythe next day we went to Castiglione, 15 NM south of Livorno, here at sunsetthe morning after, we stayed one day, before we left to Elbe…Portoferraio Bay, Elbe, Cala della Concia, opposite of PortoferraioElbe, Portoferraio, sun is setting to…one of the most spectacular sunsets we have seenthe next day, near Avvertenze, looking at Portoferraioprivate beach near Porto Azzurroanchoring in the Bay of Porto Azzurro, night..Porto Azzurro, anchoring at 5 AM looking EastLivorno, view from the harbour towards the cityLivorno fishing boats in the harbourLivorno, the old part of town, with lots of canals, is quite beautifull for a walkat the end of the day, time for another rose…Marina di Pisa, bocca del ArnoNorth of Pisa, just before the gulf of La Spezia, the high mountains of Carrarayes, on the way back we passed Le Grazie again, we loved it there! 4 PM…
the next day Pierre and I sailed the boat to Imperia, the girls went by car, as Pierre and Cathy came by car to La Spezia we needed to get the car back as well…after we sailed to Imperia, again the new harbour was almost empty….streange..Pierre drove the car to La Ciotat (further than you think…) I sailed with Cathy and Lize to Menton, we would meet Pierre in the evening in Menton. In the end the evening became somewhere in the middle of the night, public transport seems slower that sailing here….:-(Some villages we passed; San Lorenzo al MareVentimiglia…gennaker up-gennaker down, sails up-sails down, engine on, sails up again….
sailing in the Med keeps you busy all day….:-)) here we were sailing again (Lize)after Menton we went to Villefranche (Rade de Villefranche) we anchored near pointe Grassuet, at the back of Beaulieu sur-MerNice anchorage bays are quite full in high season, but most of the boats leave in the evening, so if you want to find a place try not too early, lots of the boats will leave in the evening, making space for those who stay the night…(mostly sailing boats)Looking at VillefrancheRade d’Agay not too far from Saint Raphael                                                                 Rade d’Agay affords reasonable shelter although a charge (charge band 2) is made for picking up a mooring or anchoring. On the E side of the Esterel the anchorage off Theoule affords better shelter than appears on the chart and the anchorages off the Iles Lerins are also usable in settled weather. The latter anchorages are crowded by day but relatively peaceful at night when most boats will depart for marinas nearby. The anchorages around Golfe Juan are much restricted, but around Cap d’Antibes, Anse de la Garoupe and Anse de la Salis are useful in settled weather. Anse de la Salis is not too far from Antibes town if you want a run ashore. Cap Taillat, not too far from Cap Camarat, a beautifull anchoring place, we were in the  baye de Briande, the Western side of Cap Taillat. you can make a nice walk to l’ Escalet via an inland route from the beach and than via the coastline back.vegetation near Cap TaillatCap Taillat, baye de Briande evening is falling (sunset)from Cap Taillat we went to Porquerolles, baye d’Alicastre, here at sunsetThe next day was another good example that sometimes more people have the idea of anchoring, it became so packed you could almost walk to the beach…
luckely most of them also dissapeared in the evening…..Back to La Ciotat where Pierre and Cathy would leave, but not before we had dinner at Lou Pitchounet, good Provencal kitchen!! we love it there for their atmospherepreparations for the fish soup, garlic, rouille, bread, grated cheese and finally…the fish soup….Lize and I headed off to Frioul, Marseille the next day, alone again after two weeks..Calanques, on the right Ile Riou and  in the background Cap Croisettethe last night…we anchored near Frioul, in front of Calanque de Saint-Esteve

the next day we sailed to Port Napoleon, to clean the boat and return home after 5,5 weeks….