The Italian Riviera

We’ve gotten really good at making speed with light winds, we changed the headsail for a lightwind sail and now we can keep the boat moving at 2 knots whenever we have 4 knots of wind or more. For everyone who didn’t get that: we move slower than walking speed and are totally satisfied.

In Genoa we got a spot in the old port, right in the middle of the city centre. Genoa is quite a rough city, laid out around the harbour. We arrived pretty late and decided to treat ourselves to our first real pizza since sailing into Italy. I have to say, I was quite culture shocked after living in Basel all these years.. In daylight the next day we learned to appreciate the narrow and steep streets, multicultural city life and amazing architecture in the city.

Over the weekend we had our first guest, Nina, on board! We got spoiled with good winds and we headed towards Rapallo with all of the other boats from Genoa. Rapallo is the St. Tropez of Italy, where the rich and famous gather over the weekend on their amazing homes and boats. We managed to squeeze into a great anchoring spot, after anchoring and re-anchoring 3 times. On the way, I saw amazing wildlife and bioluminescence in the evening, but Thomas and Nina were super sceptical (‘that’s just a big wave’, ‘I am not going to flush the toilet in the dark just to see luminescent algae’) I had to admit, after jumping in the water at night that the algae weren’t that convincing. But those were definitely whales I saw in the water!

Since we had such a great anchoring spot, we decided to extend our stay and work on some boat projects (Thomas, while I read and napped). He did some research on outboards, dissected the carburator twice and afterwards our yamaha was like new again!

Our next stop was Cinque Terre, five picturesque villages on steep mountains. There is a footpath along all five villages and less motivated hikers can take a train. The footpath is very steep, basically like walking stairs up and down along a path of 9 kilometers. To add to the inconvenience, it’s lined with tourists in all shapes and sizes. The day before we wondered why that 9 km path was supposedly taking 5 hours.. But a few minutes into the hike we got it. We were not going to make it to the fifth village, and definitely not within 5 hours. Luckily for us, the path was swept away after the 3rd village so we headed to the nearest beach to cool down.

We sailed to the fifth village (Riomaggiore) a day later and experienced the most uncomfortable night yet. The Cinque Terre coast has laid moorings, which are for free to discourage anchoring. The mooring field in Riomaggiore was basically in open water, with waves and wind rocking and turning the boat. We were the only ones there, and after a sleepless night we found out why. Just around the corner there was another, way more sheltered mooring field..

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