How it's done

We saw this guy sailing in front of San Marco, across the entrance to the Gran Canal, right by the Punta de la Dogana, and carry on all along the Dorsoduro fondamentas.

Full sail, course steady, and let the vaporettos and the sightseeing boats get out of the way.

Venezia, 4:14pm, 19 February 2017.  Leica Typ 114.

Venezia, 4:14pm, 19 February 2017.  Leica Typ 114.

The race to Nelson Bay

As sunset approaches, all sorts of vessels coming from the Lavezzi islands (France, near Bonifacio), and from the northwestern La Maddalena archipelago (Italy) race south to Nelson Bay and points east, to seek overnight shelter; and no wonder, as Lord Nelson himself proposed the Admiralty should base its Med fleet here.

Peregrinus anchored on Nelson Bay, in Porto Rafael's waterfront.  This Porto was founded in the late 1950's by the fifth Count of Berlanga del Duero, who managed to get himself kicked out of his native Spain by writing the Governor of Málaga as follows: «I, Rafael Neville Rubio Argüelles, Count of Berlanga del Duero and by God's Grace, faggot, am honored to invite you home for a party.»

The entrance to Nelson Bay.  In the background, La Maddalena island; on the right, the town of La Maddalena proper.  iPhone 6 Plus, 5:50 PM, 16 August 2017.

The entrance to Nelson Bay.  In the background, La Maddalena island; on the right, the town of La Maddalena proper.  iPhone 6 Plus, 5:50 PM, 16 August 2017.

Bonifacio by day

Boniface II of Lucca founded the city in 828 as a defensive outpost against Saracen attacks on Tuscany;  the fortifications held inviolate for 725 years, when the Moslems under Turgut Reis penetrated the city and massacred all 298 Genoese soldiers.

An idyllic and peaceful place now, we spent the better part of a week in Bonifacio and surroundings.  It is one of the most spectacular locations we have visited.

15 August 2016, iPhone 6 Plus

15 August 2016, iPhone 6 Plus

Bonifacio at night

In your limestone carcass
what memories are contained
that waft between the arches?
———Michel Auzet,

Far Away Love

Bonifacio in the middle of August: party town.  We left Peregrinus at its anchorage in Cala di Paragnanu, a mile-and-half west, and arrived by tender.  Beyond the port, what looks like clouds is, in fact, limestone cliffs.  10:48pm, 14 August 2016, iPhone 6 Plus.

Bonifacio in the middle of August: party town.  We left Peregrinus at its anchorage in Cala di Paragnanu, a mile-and-half west, and arrived by tender.  Beyond the port, what looks like clouds is, in fact, limestone cliffs.  10:48pm, 14 August 2016, iPhone 6 Plus.

Daredevils

In the bays of Beaulieu-sur-Mer and of Ajaccio the charts have markings for "zone for alighting of hydroplanes".  No-one seems to much care about them, and  boats of all sorts cross these rather centrally located zones and even (illegally) anchor in them.

It is only when one hears the propeller noise —when these fire-fighting airplanes execute a warning flyby— that one realizes the French are not kidding.  In other countries, one might think a coast guard or police boat might come by and clear the field in advance.  Not in France.  Here, these fearless pilots just plunge in.

Bay of Ajaccio, 10 and 11 August, 2016.  Click for more photos.  In the last photo, two pick up water at the same time, side-by-side, one a bit ahead of the other.

Face to face in Cargèse

In 1669, the Moslems conquered Crete from the Republic of Venice, and immediately focused their attention on the always rebellious Mani peninsula in nearby mainland Greece.  730 Greeks, largely from the town of Vitylo, petitioned the Republic of Genoa for asylum from the Turks, and in 1676 were granted lands in western Corsica, where they prospered, not without rivalry with the locals.

As members of the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church, many of their descendants follow a different rite from traditional catholics.  Their churches and priests have an Orthodox appearance, and rites are in Greek, not Latin, and yet they are under the bishop of Rome.

And so Cargèse has two churches,  facing each other: the Byzantine rite St. Spyridon  (shown as a shadow on this photo) and, across the ravine, the Roman rite Santa Maria Assunta.

Peregrinus stood at anchor just off camera as the crew visited the rivalling Catholic churches of Cargèse.  We also shared a drink with David, and his family, whom each year sail from the Gulf of St Tropez to Corsica, and were winding up their holiday.  7 August 2016.

Peregrinus stood at anchor just off camera as the crew visited the rivalling Catholic churches of Cargèse.  We also shared a drink with David, and his family, whom each year sail from the Gulf of St Tropez to Corsica, and were winding up their holiday.  7 August 2016.

On Argentella Beach

O blessed shores, where
Love, Liberty and Dreams
have no chains

––– Shelley's memorial plaque,
Casa Magni, Bay of Lerici
 

Peregrinus anchored off of Argentella Beach, in Baie de Crovani, northwest Corsica.   A camping ground, populated by young and old families from all over Europe, now stands in the grounds of the old mine depot.  Whether staying on a tent, or a large motorhome, they all looked to be having a good time, enjoying the pebble beach.  6 August 2016, iPhone 6 Plus.

Peregrinus anchored off of Argentella Beach, in Baie de Crovani, northwest Corsica.   A camping ground, populated by young and old families from all over Europe, now stands in the grounds of the old mine depot.  Whether staying on a tent, or a large motorhome, they all looked to be having a good time, enjoying the pebble beach.  6 August 2016, iPhone 6 Plus.

Civitas Calvi Semper Fidelis

Ptolomy wrote in the II century that Cæsiæ littus was Corsica's most famous city.  In the VIII century, however, it was destroyed by a Moor raid.  The city was re-built as Calvi by a local warlord in 1276 and it pledged allegiance to the Republic of Genoa in 1278.

And with Genoa the Calvesi stayed through thick and thin, for five centuries.  Even as other parts of Corsica were at times held by Pisa, Aragon, the Pope, France, or the Turk, Calvi resolutely stayed Genoese.  In fact, Calvi was the last Corsican city to yield to the French invasion of 1769 that consolidated Corsica a part of France.

It is because of that long association that from 1421 the city's motto is Forever Loyal City of Calvi.

Calvi from Peregrinus at anchor in the Golfe de Calvi.  3 August 2016, iPhone 6 Plus.

Calvi from Peregrinus at anchor in the Golfe de Calvi.  3 August 2016, iPhone 6 Plus.

The walls of Corsica

It was in Saint-Florent that we first realized that in Corsica, traditionally, walls often went unpainted.

With these sort of sunsets, who needs paint?  Click for more photos.

Of races and islands

Many famous sailboat races are run from an accessible harbor to some offshore, isolated island.

 Take, for instance, the Fastnet Race, run since 1925 every two years: from Cowes, racers travel west almost 300 miles to Fastnet Rock, round it, and then back east to Plymouth.  Peregrinus sailed by Fastnet in 2015.

Another well-known race is the Giraglia Cup, an annual event since 1953.  The route, from Saint-Tropez (originally from Toulon), around Giraglia island, to Genoa.  Giraglia island sits one mile offshore Cap Corse, at the very top of Corsica.  

On July 31st, Peregrinus passed Giraglia, with its famous Genoese watchtower (built 1585), on its way west to Saint-Florent. Click for another picture.