Monday, September 26, 2011

Calvi Sept 15

Calvi   Sept 15

 Calvi town as seen from our anchorage

The next blow is expected to come on Sunday-Sep 18 and we should seek shelter ahead of time and Calvi is the most suitable place.  The last time it happened, we were in Cannigione, Sardinia, back in late August ….. it seemed so long ago! We dropped anchor in the clear, turquoise water at the bay just outside the harbor. The large bay is ringed by a long sandy beach, with a forest and majestic mountain ranges in the back. By late afternoon we were joined by a dozen other boats. We took the dinghy to shore and had a nice tour of the town. Calvi is a lively place, with a small old town inside the citadel, and a long waterfront promenade and plenty of tourist shops and resturants. Calvi claims to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. The 15th century Genoese citadel dominates the yacht harbor. In 1794, the citadel was bombarded by 30,000 canon shots fired by the British Fleet under Lord Nelson. In the summer mega yachts congregate here, although it’s relatively quiet now and there were plenty of visitor berths at the marina. 

Meandering streets in the Old Town

The harbor and marina seen from the citadel

Mega yachts anchoring in the harbor

The next day we took a long hike up the hills to visit the Chapelle de Nortre-Dame-de-la-Serra, which also has a magnificent view of the bay. The return route went by a quiet road that hugs the coast. A solitary lighthouse sits on a rocky finger that reaches out into the sea. A secluded bay, Baie de La Revellata, with patches of turquoise water, is a paradise for divers and snorkellers. During our hike, we saw what set Corsica apart from other Mediterranean islands.  At distance, there were the high jagged granite mountains, standing tall in solitude.  Nearby, many of these high cliffs framed bays with picturesque little coves, harbours and beaches.  The slopes were usually carpeted with maquis undergrowth, and the unusual granitic rock formations sculpted by wind and water, eventually eroded into many intriguing shapes.  Along the path, there were also many, many types of fauna; wild fennels, aloes, rockroses, prickly pears, myrtles, berries, strawberry trees that laden with fruit. We were absolutely in awe.

The wind came as forecasted. About half of the boats in the bay pulled their anchors and went into the marina instead. We trusted our anchor in the expected 25-30 knots wind, so we stayed put, and had a sleepless night. The wind howled, the halyards slapped on the masts, and the masts shook. The seas outside the bay developed into green mounts, and in the distance huge whitecaps slammed into the rocky lee shore, exploding into white sprays 50 feet high. We were glad that we were not out there!

Here's a lee shore in a blow....

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