Elba

We dropped the anchor at Cavo, the most northeast tip of Elba. There were two boats there and we anchored right in-between them. After turning off the motor and assessing the situation with the usual ‘hmm I don’t know if I trust this’ we decided to move a few metres. The other boats were a bit too close and the people on them were not amused. We started the engine.. nothing. I would have just gone to bed and be worried about the engine in the morning, but Thomas didn’t want to give up so easily. With sweaty hands he called in the help of the previous owner, Jon. He reacted directly and we got the motor running again with a simple turn of a switch.

The following day we were woken up by the Italian coastguard, wanting to check our paperwork. Thomas got up and provided them with all the things he asked for except for the papers of our outboard – which we don’t have. I wanted to help and show them the sales contract, but when I rushed out in my underwear all of a sudden there was no problem to speak of. They said their friendly goodbyes and went on to the next boat. Note to self: order some official looking papers on the outboard. We enjoyed the rest of the day in Cavo with a hike to a closed of mausoleum, a swim, some amazing gelato (seriously, the best we had so far covered with chunky bits of chocolate) and Elba beers.

As we were ready to move to another anchorage, we prepared the boat and turned on the engine.. it worked! I tried to manoeuvre towards the anchor, but somehow the boat was responding slow that day. We were not coming closer at all. After a lot of patience I decided to check the propellor in the water, maybe it was stuck or folded in? The situation was very weird, everything seemed to be working properly, but the boat was moving backwards in forward. We called in the help of the previous owner again, who came up with some good ideas. In a matter of minutes, Thomas turned our boat into a workshop and dug deep into the problem. We feared that the gear box was fried (which means: expensive and time-consuming repair) but luckily only the gear cable broke. Instead of moving anchorage, we got familiar with the public transport system on the island and hustled another gear cable in Porteferraio. The bus was amazing, when we entered the bus driver said ’No ticket today’ so we didn’t even have to pay for the panoramic ride along the hills of Elba. After Thomas got the gearbox working again we picked up our anchor and moved east along the northern coast. There are so many nice bays to anchor, definitely something else than the Italian coast we’ve seen until then.

We were in total holiday mode and because the distances we were doing were so small, we didn’t even cautiously check the weather. This is how we found ourselves facing our first storm kind of unprepared.. We left Porteferraio to hop to the next bay just around the corner. We saw that there were dark clouds coming and noticed thunder. The other boats only had their headsails out, so thats what we also did. Because of the topography of the island and the wind coming from the south, the already strong wind was gusting through the valleys. We headed into the bay, rolled in our sail and started our engine to find shelter at an anchorage with some other boats. We barely made it into the wind with our 36 hp, but managed to drop the anchor at a safe distance from the other boats and waited out the storm. It lasted for a few hours, and we’re a lot more confident that our anchor will hold strong winds now! It was fun as long as it lasted (not really) but as the wind decreased we decided to go back to Porteferraio. We learned from our mistake, we even check the weather when we’re not going out to sail now.

The last anchorage in Elba might have been our favourite. We didn’t really plan on going there, but since the winds were not strong enough to get us to Corsica in one day we decided to anchor at the southwest tip of the island. There was a narrow bay with a sand bottom, a pretty beach, a café with internet and even a shower! We’re easy to please these days..

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