Friday, September 9, 2011

Sailing at Elba Sept. 8-10

Departing Portoferraio 

Hugging the Elba coastline in light wind

We are slowly sailing around Elba and enjoying its peaceful, jagged coastline. Elba is a small island, about one-fifth the size of Sardinia. The coastline has many coves and anchorages, although most of them are not well sheltered, the weather here is relatively calm and in settled weather these anchorages are fine to stay overnight. Just yesterday, around the west coast of Corsica and Sardinia it was blowing at near-gale, but at Elba here the winds were light. The short distances between anchorages, and the moderate winds, make it very relaxing to sail around here. One can set sail in late morning, when the light sea breeze picks up, sail for a few hours to cover 10-15 miles at the pace of a slow walk, and arrive at the next anchorage in time for the afternoon snack. The beaches here may not have sand as fine as Sardinia, or water as clear, but it is also less crowded, with fewer boats. So it’s equally enjoyable.

Marciana Marina

We stopped at Marciana Marina, a small seaside village that grew into a quiet resort. We anchored in the harbor, just outside the crowded marina, half expecting someone to kick us out any moment. But people just go by minding their own business. The waterfront is lined with colorful houses. Lush green mountains in the back. We took our dinghy to shore to walk around, and then took a bus for the 15 minute ride to Marciana, a village by the same name up the hill. One can take a gondola ride (it is actually a cage) from here up the mountain top where one can get a good vista of Corsica and the Italian and French coasts. This is now the final week of summer vacation for most Europeans, and the crowds are already thinning out. At an elevation of 400 meters, this village has a wonderful view of the sea, and the temperature is noticeably cooler and is very pleasant. This would be a perfect place for a summer home!

Marciana on the hill 

A great view of the Elba coastline. Italy mainland is just right across.

We are at latitude 42 degree, almost as north as Ontario. The air temperature is getting cooler now, about 25C during the day, and under 20C at night. The blistering swimming weather is over. Under the Mediterranean sun it feels much hotter, but overcast skies are more frequent now, and soon we may start to see some rain!

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