The moorings in Calvi were right next to a nice anchorage, so after a day on the secure mooring ball we moved a few hundred meters to lower the anchor again. We met up with Thijs & Sarah of Halycon Days, who were anchored right behind us. We noticed on Instagram that they were going to the same anchorages as we were, so we invited them over for sundowners. They came all the way from Holland in their tiny 27 foot boat (8,5 meters) which they rebuilt almost from scratch. This makes me itch for a big boat project as well and resulted in serious boat envy.
I stayed in Calvi and took care of Scehawk and some chores while Thomas took the long drive up to Ajaccio again to pick up his sister Kathrin and her boyfriend Nico. Luckily I stayed, because as the wind turned the anchor alarm went of and I had to re-anchor the boat single handed (I feel like I know this story). The anchor winch decided not to play along so I also had to let the chain down by hand! It was stressful but also great practice. At the end of the day we had cleaned and prepared Scehawk for another week of cruising off the grid with our new crew.
We were planning to go to Sandola which is a big natural reserve with amazing cliffs, caves and under water life. Since boats are not allowed to stay overnight our plan was to get as close as possible the day before and sail into the reserve the next morning. Thats how we ended up in Fango: a pretty little beach which we had almost to ourselves. The moonrise and millions of stars at night were spectacular and we also saw numerous falling stars.. Its amazing how one can end up in wonderful places unexpectedly!
The day we sailed into the Scandola National Reserve it was a bit cloudy, but we were not disappointed. The rocks and cliffs are out of this world and we spent the majority of the day snorkelling around the different bays of the area. There was one cave where it was too deep to anchor, so Nico and I took shifts steering the boat in circles while the others snorkelled. This was a bit stressful on Nico, who had been on the boat for only two days and was already left alone with her.. But he rocked it and we were all able to see the amazing cave for ourselves.
That evening we thought we were smart to anchor around the corner from Girolata, saving us the mooring fee for the famous bay. It was quite unprotected and rolly at anchor and Thomas and I had to stay on Scehawk to check on the anchor while Nico & Kathrin grabbed the dingy to check out the town. We regretted that afterwards, sometimes its just worth it to spend a few euros to be able to leave the boat alone and go exploring.
After a short sail we dropped the anchor on the perfect spot in the Anse de Ficajola the next day. We were right in time to drink a coffee with Thijs and Sarah from Halycon Days before they set sail and we went exploring on land. This bay was amazingly beautiful again, white sand, clear water and huge cliffs rising from the water. We dusted off our shoes and went for a hike towards the town of Piana on top of the hill. Despite waiting until late afternoon, it was hot. And it was steep. And according to Kathrin who was battling land-sickness during the first hour, not even beautiful. But when we reached the town of Piana, drank a beer and got to see the views it was all worth it. The hike back was particularly beautiful, as the sun was already setting it coloured the hills all shades of red and the forest looked amazing in the golden hour. We did end up taking a tick with us, who was already feasting on Thomas as I noticed it the next day. I did get rid of the bastard and hope he didn’t leave any diseases on my better half.
On the last stretch to Ajaccio we took the ‘Passe d’Sanguinaires’. This is a passage in-between the mainland and an island. It sounds important and looks narrow judging by the map but sailing by it seemed very big and do-able. We changed course and headed right for the passage. Then we started to make mistakes.. As we were heading dead downwind we had to gybe in the middle of the passage to be able to dodge our neighbouring boats. The wind was unpredictable in the bay, changing and increasing but we still decided on flying the spinnaker. We were able to take it down after 10 minutes just before the wind started increasing to 20 knots.. By the time we reached the harbour we were getting very hungry.. The port authorities were not responding to the radio and a lot of big boats were circling in the marina waiting for a berth. When we finally got a berth number it turned out to be in a super narrow lane for boats much smaller than us. Luckily the starboard and port berths were still empty and after two attempts and a lot of stress we had successfully navigated Scehawk in place!
We had such a great time with Kathrin & Nico, and hope to see them again in the winter on the other side of the pond!