Corsica Part 2
Part 1 see here.
During our second month in Corsica, we were less lucky with the weather. My brother Twan and his son Mael had planned months ahead to stay with us and had booked non-changeable flights. So despite the bad weather forecast, they flew in on the exposed west side of the island, in Calvi, just before the Mistral winds arrived. The Mistral is a strong wind originating from the south of France that blows eastwards for at least 3 days and that no boater takes lightly. With some trepidation, we waited for them to arrive and picked them up on a beach in Calvi, cutting it very close for us to reach a safe port on the east side of Corsica before dark.
The weather turned really fast. Within minutes the wind changed from a light breeze to a cold, rainy 45 knots. We got caught in a thunderstorm.
We never sailed through a thunderstorm before, so the excitement onboard was pretty high. What if the lighting strikes our boat? How are we going to dock our boat in these conditions?
Luckily the big weather passed after an hour. We later learned it was only an isolated thunderstorm and not yet the Mistral that we were expecting for the days ahead.
The next day the Mistral came as predicted, and we had to stay put at the marina for a couple of days until the worst passed.
Once the winds calmed down, we made our way to Capraia, a small Tuscan island 3h sail off Corsica.
Capraia has protected national park status and is extremely unspoiled and rich in wildlife. For more than a hundred years, the island was a prison colony, where convicts lived in settlements in the hills and farmed the slopes.
We love Capraia, and this was actually the second time we sailed here. The first time we visited, we made friends the moment we arrived. Even though it is only a short sail from Corsica, the vibe feels very different. The people are friendlier and chatty, there is amazing gelato and Italian food and the coffee is so much better :-)
We stayed the night in the Port of Capraia and continued our way to Elba, another Tuscan island, the next day.
Elba is the 4th largest Italian island and is famous for being Napoleon’s place of exile in 1814–15. The earth on Elba is rich in minerals and iron and for over 3000 years people mined and smelted iron on the Island. In recent years the mining has stopped because it is no longer lucrative. You can still see the old mining facilities that have been left behind scattered along the coast.
We rounded the island in two days and then made our way back to Corsica, where we were followed by a group of dolphins.
There are many more experiences and little encounters during our time in Corisca that I didn't write about, and my 2 blog posts don't do justice to how beautiful and diverse Corsica is. Besides being a wonderful place to sail, there are also many inland sights to explore. It's a surprisingly rural and quaint place, given that their main industry is tourism.
Staying in one place for an extended period made living on S/V Kaya for the first time feel like a lifestyle. The magical life that we both had been dreaming of had become a reality.
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