September 16 , 2001
Gaeta, Italy

September 3 , 2001
Stromboli: The Lighthouse Of The Mediterranean

August 26 , 2001
Cefalu: Another Medieval Jewel

August 23 , 2001
Sicily: Land of Lovely Desserts

August 15 , 2001
En Route to North Africa

August 10 , 2001
Ormeggiatori

August 8, 2001
Supermarkets and Amphora

August 6 , 2001
Sailing South in Sardinia

August 2 , 2001
La Vie en Corsica

July 30, 2001
Jonathan Joins Us

July 27, 2001
One Sea, Seven Colors

July 24, 2001
Say What?

July 23, 2001
"Va Bene"

July 21, 2001
Venturing Into Italy

July 20, 2001
And The Mistral Blew

July 18, 2001
The Spell Of Menorca

July 12, 2001
Culture And Concerts

July 7, 2001
Cha Chas

July 6, 2001
Red Dust

July 4, 2001
Rare Birds

July 3, 2001
Clear Empty Water

June 27 , 2001
Quick Friends

June 22 , 2001
Reconnecting

June 13, 2001
Eastern Hemisphere

June 6, 2001
A Weekend in Cartegena

May 30 , 2001
A Time Or A Place

May 29 , 2001
Several Lovely Sails

May 21 , 2001
Free At Last

May 25, 2001
On The Hard

May 18, 2001
A Boat Again

May 14, 2001
Time Warp to Morocco

May 03, 2001
Still On Stilts in Malaga

La Vie en Corsica

August 2, 2001

Two days ago we motored 10 miles from Sardinia across the Bonifacio Strait to Corsica, bringing us to a new country and another world. We followed the stream of boats to the entrance of the remarkable 1 mile Bonifacio Sound. Almost totally hidden, the harbor is accessed by a narrow slit in limestone cliffs wildly sculpted by the wind and the waves. This harbor (which is described in Homer's "Oddysey") is a magnificent site with the famed Citadelle sitting 250 feet above the azure waters along a narrow promontory.

We tucked into one of only two small calanques (coves) where anchoring is possible, dropped an anchor, backed in and tied lines to rings in the cliffs. A brisk crosswind did not help and it took two tries and an hour, but we were safely settled by lunchtime, which was lucky, since by dinner there were 40 boats tucked into this tiny cove and an unbelievable mess of crisscrossed anchor chains.

We took our little dinghy into the busy port where huge and small motor and sailing yachts, a luxury cruise ship and a ferry crowded the docks. French tourists crowded the streets. The marina area at the end of the sound looked like Block Island on the Fourth of July. It was a zoo. The old town atop the promontory was touristy, but charming and the views were spectacular. We were overwhelmed by the tourists, the tackiness, and the French prices. It was a sight to see, but once was enough.

On the other hand, yesterday spent driving around Corsica was a delicious treat, our trusty rental car taking us far away from the crowds.. Corsica is the most geographically diverse and mountainous of the Mediterranean islands. There are mountains as tall as 9000 feet, covered with sweet smelling maquis, a low, dense shrub, and deep green pines, soaring to pillars of granite. We drove 150 miles on narrow, winding mountain roads with spectacular views of vast uninhabited forestland, through tiny hamlets of rugged stone homes and churches.

"The mountains surged into the sky behind, beyond, above one another, ending in rows of cones and spikes and square topped knobs like gigantic teeth. Their lower slopes, smothered in vegetation, looked uninhabited and impenetrable." Dorothy Carrington in "Granite Island."

Our drive included a leisurely lunch at a mountain inn and then a swim in the fresh, cool waters of a mountain stream with a setting so perfect, Disney could have created it: a bit of beach in the sun, rocks off of which to leap into deep, clear water and the forest shading the softly sculpted boulders. Comfortably crowded with French families, the ambiance was quiet and serene. Being in the mountains is a special treat when one is always by the sea, and the heavy vegetation was a refreshing contrast to arid Spain.

The west coast of Corsica has rocky coves cut out of the mountains which rise in layers from the sea, making many lovely anchorages. Unfortunately, we will have to explore these some other time.