Hello France and Monaco!

We arrived in Menton, France around 7:30 am and dropped our hook in the anchorage outside the harbor and promptly went to bed! The night’s passage was unpredictable wind wise, so not much sleep for either of us. After a shower and breakfast, we took the dingy to the marina to check out the town.

Menton is the first city in France and at one time was part of Monaco. The city rises up from the sea with steep inclines for streets. A lovely (there’s that word again) place to explore. We walked up the ramps to the view at the top and enjoyed our first crepe—pizza style with an egg on top! Thane was a bit tired, so he took a rest while I went shopping. In France, the gelato is called glacier, so, when in France…a stroll along the streets with a glacier and postcards from the citrus festival that takes place here. Think Rose Bowl parade with fruit instead of flowers!

We left in the late afternoon and made our way to the smaller marina in Monaco. On my walk the next morning, I found Princess Grace’s rose garden complete with a computer kiosk to locate your favorite variety. (Makes me think of the wonderful women at Reardon Dental in Sioux Falls–Here is your shout out Kris and Donna!) Monaco is very clean and relaxed. Later we made the walk up to the palace, the cathedral, and the aquarium and museum. We did not take the palace tour but did find our boat down below us. The cathedral is also the burial place of the heads of state, including Princess Grace. The marine aquarium and museum originated with Albert I of Monaco in the early 1900s. He devoted his time to exploring the sea and preserving specimens. The aquarium pulls water from the sea and they have successfully transplanted part of a coral reef from the Red Sea.

In the evening, we walked to the casino Monte Carlo. Thane found his next car—not. We walked into the casino and were told we needed a ticket to enter. We paid 10 Euros each to enter and when the man taking the tickets looked down, he saw Thane was wearing sandals and told us he could not come in. I was fine with my flip flops on, but he was not. They graciously gave us our money back. The guide books say, “remember the house always makes money at Monte Carlo.” While walking out, I looked down and found a 10 Euro bill on the floor, so guess who is one of the few to “make” money at Monte Carlo? This girl! Our walk back to the boat was the end of our 12 mile walking day! Uff da!

Thane likes to be helpful when he can, so while I was out buying a few groceries the next morning, I returned to the marina and could hear Thane’s voice but he was not on our boat. He was in the engine compartment of a boat near us. The engine compartment could house a small family—except for the smell and the noise! Mike, from upstate NY, had a generator problem and Thane was trying to help diagnose it if he could. Derrick was also on board and between the three of them, could not get it running. They were very appreciative of the help, though, considering there were other power yachts nearby with people working on them, but no one offered to help. We told them that’s what we do in South Dakota. It makes us realize the responsibility we have as ambassadors of the U. S. as we travel.

Next stop—Antibes.

The harbor at Menton, France

The ramped walkway to the heights of Menton.

Laundry on the balcony and the view of the bay at Menton

The view from the top of Menton

Ready for our first crepe in France! Savory. Complete with egg on top.

Thane needed a break after that crepe!

Brenda enjoying a glacier and a look around Menton and the Citrus Festival cards

Hello Monaco!

Princess Grace's roses in Monaco

Another view of the rose garden in Monaco. Too large to capture it all.

A statue of Princess Grace overlooking the rose garden in Monaco. The paths are made from dried almond pods.

The view of Asylum from the Palace walls in Monaco

The cathedral in Monaco

The aquarium and marine museum in Monaco

Fish friends at the aquarium

The coral reef transplanted from the Red Sea

The lovely octopus

This is a view from the floor of the museum to the sea!

Thane demonstrating an early submersible. It was actually used at one time!

Thane at Monte Carlo

Thane's new ride! Not!

We must be in France. This whole aisle is just Rose wine.

Derrick helped us leave the dock. Mike was still working on the generator.

The "rock" of Monaco! We certainly enjoyed our stay!

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From Civitavecchia, Italy to France

From Civitavecchia to France

Amanda and Austin and Sylas left on June 12th and it was time for us to make our way out of Rome for the last time. We moved north along the coastline 30 miles to Civitavecchia and took a spot in the marina. We thought we would only be here for a couple of days, but, as the Caribbean cruisers remind us, “plans are written in the sand at low tide.” We had some trouble with the watermaker–again—and this marina had many services available, so Thane was able to contact someone to come and check it out. Claudio diagnosed the problem and ordered parts for us, but he would not be able to install them until Friday. This was Saturday. So, this week was the week of three couples.

Couple # 1 was really 2 + 1. We met Tony and Angela from the UK across the dock from us in their 46 ft. Bavaria—we have 6 ft-itis now! Tony had purchased the boat in Croatia after the boat came out of charter use. It was in fantastic shape and condition. He and Angela are on their way to Spain going from port to port along the Italian and French coasts. Their friend, Paul, came to help them along. We had a most enjoyable gin and tonic time talking about boats and ports of call along the way. Sadly, they were leaving the next morning, so a short time with some great people.

Couple # 2 arrived the same day we did and Thane met Peter when they were checking in to the port with the port Capitan. Peter and his wife Pat and dog Elisse are from the UK and have retired to the French Alps. They gave us great advice on places along the French coast to visit. We brought a bottle of prosecco to share to their boat and invited them to our boat before they left for all places Italian. Again, lovely people—most boaters are.

Couple #3 arrived a day later, again across the dock from us. We had the longest time with Stephen and Christine and their dog Kobe with multiple visits and adventures eating out at the marina. Also from the UK, they have been on their power yacht several years and cruise extensively along the French and Italian coast. They are planning to get to a harbor in the “arch” of the boot of Italy for the winter.

The watermaker was fixed on Friday, and, after final provisioning, we were off on Saturday or Sunday—the days get very confusing after awhile on a boat.

Our first stop was to a small island called Isola del Giglio part of the Tuscan Islands group. It was a lovely harbor and we enjoyed the saxophone talent of the man in the boat next to us playing along with the songs on his recorded tracks. He even donned a hat!
Early the next morning we awoke to a “bang” outside the port side of the boat. Another boat was dragging on their anchor and hit us—hit the board we use to get on and off the boat mounted on the rail. No damage for us—not sure for him, but he started his motor and went back to his spot to re-anchor!

Next stop: Isola d’Elba, the largest of the Tuscan Islands group and made famous as a place of exile for Napoleon Bonaparte for 8 months. If a person is “exiled” on Elba—it is no exile. Elba is also beautiful! (Do you catch the overall theme—every place is beautiful!). We made landfall at Porto Azzuro, a small port with meandering, narrow streets. We only stayed one night before we moved to the north side of the island to Portoferraio, the largest city on the island. Napoleon lived here amidst castles built by the Medicis in the 16th century. Spectacular views and steep streets. Thane was in desperate need of a new polo shirt, and lucky for us we met Marco selling Thane a needed polo shirt. When Marco heard our American accents he told us that “the West is his passion!” He has traveled to the U.S. seven times and loves the west. On his last trip he drove from Tiajuana, Mexico to Alaska. He knew where South Dakota was. He has been to Mt Rushmore, and in South Dakota, he had the biggest steak in his life! He is working to make another trip. He loves Yellowstone and the west–it is his passion!

From Elba, our next stop was 30 miles to the north tip of Corsica. “Was” is the operative word in the previous sentence. The wind was forecast for mild, but began picking up quickly along with swell and waves and whitecaps. And, at that moment when we were motoring into the waves, the engine faltered and stopped. Thane changed the filter configuration, and we had a bit more propulsion, but then it stopped all together. We were only 4 miles from Isola di Capraia, so we turned off the wind and sailed as best we could to the harbor there. Once we were in cell phone signal, I called the only number I had in the guidebook which happened to be for the National Park on the island. She gave me the emergency number for all boats on the Mediterranean. I called them and gave them our latitude and longitude and they called the Coast Guard for us. Soon, a large inflatable boat came out of the harbor and tied up to us as we took down the sails. Our boat proved to be a bit too much for the smaller boat, so they called in the local, large fishing boat to come out and tie up to us and take us in. We tied up safely and started trying to diagnose the problem. After clearing the fuel line, we ran the engine for an hour and everything seemed to be working well (stay tuned for more to the engine trouble store in future posts).

Capraia’s major town is located on the top of the hill. We walked the road to the top, and the views were beautiful! We stayed two nights because of weather—thunder, lightening, and rain. The night before we left, a boat with a French couple slipped next to us. Gabriel and Christine are on their way to Italy, but will be crossing to the Caribbean in February and will eventually get to Florida and take the Inter-coastal Waterway all the way to New York City. So this is our fourth couple for this post!

I will finish this post with our trip to France. We had to leave Gabriel and Christine (who were encouraging us to stay—what was the hurry!) because the weather was going to be good to make the 24 hour passage to Menton, France (the first harbor in France from Italy). We love the overnights until it gets really dark and we have no moon to see the wave patterns! But sunsets are always special on the water, and this was another lovely one.

Arrivederci, Italy!
Bonjour, France!


Peter and Pat and rescued dog Elisse on Asylum in Civitavecchia

Isola del Giglio

Sax player in Isola del Giglio

Porto Azzuro, Isola d' Elba

The narrow streets of Porto Azzuro

The beach at Porto Azzuro

A small tavern in Porto Azzuro serving Elba Bierre

Portoferraio, Elba

The steep streets of Portoferraio, Elba

Beautiful Elba from Portoferraio

Another beautiful view of Elba from Portoferraio

Marco with Thane in Portoferraio

Thane at the bow with the Coast Guard boat outside the harbor of Capraia

The rescue Coast Guard squad outside the harbor of Capraia. Photos are fuzzy because I was steering and trying to snap pictures at the same time!

The fishing boat towing us in to Capraia

A better shot of Fabio's rescue boat in Capraia

Isola di Capraia

Asylum in Capraia

Lovely Capraia

Happy hour in Capraia comes with a free plateful of snacks!


My handsome captain at the mast on the overnight to France

Sunset at the bow on the overnight to France

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Time with the Hahns

Continuing on from the last post, after our days in Rome, the Hahns had to decide where their one night getaway was going to be. The decision was for them to take the fast train to Florence, and Thane and I and Sylas would drive there the next day. Getting on the internet to secure train tickets and lodging takes time at McDonald’s! The only place with reliable wi-fi in the marina is at McDonald’s, and fortunately there is plenty of space to sprawl out and spend time. McDonald’s in Italy does not smell like the McDonald’s in the US. We did not try anything, but they did have bread sticks for Sylas! A couple from Britain that we met later were quite grateful for McDonald’s for the same reasons people in the US like the food chain–reliable that the same product is produced and for the drive through aspect. They claim McDonald’s has the best coffee!

Now, on to Florence! We booked a spot right on the Arno River through AirBnB. Great way to book lodging. Amanda and Austin were able to guide us through the city and the beautiful squares including David watching over the government building. We did not know until later that the “real” statue of David is in the museum in another part of the city. (And if you haven’t read The Agony and the Ecstacy, it is a must before traveling to Florence! I had just started it and wished I had read more before attempting to understand all that Florence has to offer!) We loved the streets and the artists working at the Ubizza and in the square next to the Duomo. Amanda purchased a great piece of art to take home and I looked for much smaller pieces that can live on a boat for awhile!

From Florence we drove to Pisa and had the best calzones for a late lunch, and, of course pictures of us trying to hold up the structure. It was a bit of a long drive back to Ostia and the boat, but just in time for gelato!

Next, we took the boat down to Nettuno for a few days on the water. Because we had been here last year, we were able to show the Hahns around a bit. They visited the US cemetery located in the city while we went to the store for provisions. Sylas did well with sailing. Austin tried his best to catch a fish on the way down to Nettuno and the way back, but not luck–this time!

One last night in Porto di Roma marina–packing for the Hahns and a wonderful last look at our week together with a slideshow put together by Amanda and Austin. Liquid love for all of the wonderful time together. A wonderful gift.

The week was full of some firsts–especially for Sylas:
1. First time to Italy for the Hahns
2. First time on the sand and in the sea for Sylas
3. First time sailing a boat for Sylas!
4. First time up the mast for Austin!
5. First encounter with “cream” cones and gelato for Sylas.
6. First carousel ride for Sylas in Florence.
7. First nighttime visit by the Guardia di Finanza outside Nettuno–and 12 hours later–and 12 hours after that~! (They were checking to make sure we were not smuggling in whiskey and cigarettes!)
8. First Konopizza for all of us!
9. First wonderful trip with now that Amanda and Austin have Sylas!

Ciao!
Brenda

Sylas and his breadstick!

Sylas's first time at the beach!

Gelato? Yes! Everyday!

Austin the fisherman!

Sylas' very own cream cone! He loved every bit!

The first carousel ride in Florence!

David, symbol of Florence!

Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence on the Arno River near our apartment.

Outside the apartment door in Florence! Ready to shop for some art!

Sylas in the care of his grandparents on a boat!

Konopizza! Just what it says! Pizza in a cone!

Two cuties on Asylum

So sweet! Sylas after his nap in the V-berth!

Sylas at the wheel! It won't be long :-)

They tried their best! In Pisa

Art purchase accomplished in Florence!

Austin's view from the top of the mast!

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Asylum Adventures—Summer 2014

NOTE: Due to horrible Internet connections, we are only able to post the pictures in the post that we have so far. The post has been ready for at least a week, but we cannot get the Internet strength we need to finish integrating the pictures. Ah, technology! We will try again. In Italy, the ex-pats say it takes at least three tries to complete a transaction!
Enjoy what we have so far.
T&B
*****
The summer began on May 21st when we left Sioux Falls for Rome with our four loaded bags of some clothes but mostly boat stuff and four carry on bags. Lots of things to bring to the boat this year, and Thane sent two boxes ahead as well.

Asylum on the hard next to the Tiber River outside of Rome

Before! We had our work cut out for us!

We arrived in the afternoon on the 22nd, rented a car and found our B&B, the Luana Inn, for the next few days. We were trying to meet up with the USF choir in Rome for their 4:00 concert but did not make it in time. We joined them instead for dinner and had a great time hearing about their experiences so far. The choir traveled through Assisi and Bologna and Verona and Florence before we catch up with them again in Venice.

The before picture of Asylum is what greets us each time we arrive to put the boat back in the water.
Much to do, so we are appreciating the B&B at night. The boat yard does not have any shower facilities, only a porta- potty, so we need the B&B at night! The weather is unexpectedly cool, but we are assured it will warm up in the next weeks.

Our “next door” neighbors are from Denmark—Claus and Karen on Mor Karen.

Our "next boat neighbors on the hard" at Natura Navigando

They have been waiting “on the hard” (the boat is in a cradle on land) three weeks for the mechanic to fix their engine. Fortunately they have bikes with them and can make trips to the store when needed. We had delightful conversations and they had a bottle of prosecco to help us celebrate our 35th anniversary. They celebrated their 40th anniversary the week before. We had dinner together at the Luana Restaurant, the parents of the B&B proprietor. The restaurant is owned and run by Magdi and Marcella. Magdi specializes in gluten free pizza and dishes because his daughter Luana is celiac. Another night of great conversation with Claus and Karen.

Brenda with Magdi and Marcella at Luana's Restaurant in Ostia

After a few days working on the boat, we made our way to Rome for the fast train to Venice to meet the choir. We managed to locate a hotel near the place the USF group was staying at—ours was a little more subdued! We enjoyed learning about Venice and our gondola ride and the choir’s contribution to the small chapel service at St. Mark’s Cathedral.

On our way to Venice via the fast train

Doesn't she look grand? The girl on the train is cute, too!

The Italian countryside on the way to Venice

Ahhh! Venice!

Space is precious in Venice. Here is our alley way to our hotel room.

Hotel Moderno was not easy to find!!!

"What is the news from Rialto?" The market bridge in Venice.

A quick trip to Murano for a look at the glass pieces.

Thane likes the larger sizes in Murano!!

St Mark's Cathedral in Venice. The USF choir sang at an evening mass.

The final dinner with the USF group was delightful with the choir singing after dinner to the small group of college students left in the restaurant. The waiters were video taping the group and enjoying the experience as well. Thane and I were privileged to be at “the Special Table” with three from the choir.

Final goodbyes in the morning to the USF group before we took the train back to Rome in the afternoon. Trains are a great way to travel! I wish we had more access in the U.S. to travel by train. No stress travel until the employees for the train post a strike on the day you want to leave.
We waited 90 minutes for our turn to learn if our travel plans were still in place. The fast trains were unaffected by the strike, but perhaps posting that information would have saved a lot of people a lot of time!

Our gondola ride in Venice


Brenda with Fabio, the 16th generation gondolier!

Back at the boatyard, Claus and Karen had had one visit from the mechanic and were hopeful to see him the next day for the boat trial—the only way the mechanic would receive payment! We finished what we could and were ready to be put back in the water on Friday. Simone and Francisco have been great to work with and timely with the work we needed done over the winter including new bottom paint and a great wax job on the hull that should last two years!

Asylum ready to launch with the crane

On Saturday we made our way to the Porto di Roma Marina just outside the mouth of the Tiber river on the sea. We tied up and made ourselves ready to pick up Amanda and Austin and Sylas at the airport for the next adventure.

Yeah! Amanda and Austin and Sylas finally arrive!


Sylas and Papa on Asylum--both a little bit crazy!


They will be with us until June 12th. So great to see them finally arrive! Their flight was delayed a couple of hours, but when they did not come through the doors for over an hour, we were a bit concerned. One of the bags was coming later in the day, so that was the hang up.

We sent Amanda and Austin to Rome on Sunday to see the Colosseum and have their own adventure while we had some Sylas time. Papa Thane has taught Sylas how to take off Papa’s hat! It is a good game for the two of them and keeps Thane just as entertained as Sylas!

On Monday, we all went to Rome and started at St. Peter’s Basilica. Lunch at Piazza Navona, then the Spanish Steps and shopping. Sylas has adjusted well and is learning to eat bread sticks like the Italian bambinos!

The Hahn family at St. Peter's Square, Rome.


Sylas and Grammy at St. Peter's


Finally! Amanda's first slice of pizza at the Piazza Navona!


Sylas learning how to eat the Italian way--with a bread stick!

Off for more adventures with the Hahns! Til next time…
Arrivederci!

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We’re home, but here is the last portion of the trip!

(Thane here) When we last left you, we were in Nettuno about to voyage to the islands to the south and to Amalfi coast. Our first stop was Ponza, a crowded island that was obviously a vacation stop for half of Italy. Tons of ferries coming and going right by our anchored boat. Argh. Pretty town, though.

Ponza

Our boat at Ponza

Ventotene

Then we ventured on to Venotene, a cool little island that the Romans used for boat maintenance. They actually CARVED a marina out of the rock.. and two thousand years later, it is still being used… and costs $100 a night to stay in. We anchored out for free. Interestingly, there is a penal island (Stefano) about a mile away. Naturally, we ignored the no trespassing signs (couldn’t decipher them anyway) and checked it out.

Roman version of Alcatraz

A marina carved out of rock by the Romans in Ventotene

Originally carved to repair Roman Ships

Then it was on to Procida, a lovely town but not very friendly.

Procida

We left early the following morning.. no wind.. and motored about 8 hours all the way to Positano.. a town on a steep hillside that Jimmie Rysdon said we shouldn’t miss. We were glad we didn’t.

Lovely Positano

A bit of a blow at the Positano anchorage

View of the beach umbrellas at Positano

Thane goes wild during a full moon! Positano

The full moon at Positano

The covered street in Positano

Brenda at Positano

We stayed in Positano two nights.. when we arrived there was a chance of thunderstorms so we took a mooring ball.. at 60 euros it was the most expensive mooring ball in our lives, but in an hour the wind had piped up to 35 gusting to 40. We saw lightning in the south, but it barely rained on us. The next morning we moved closer to shore and dropped our anchor in 20 feet of sand. Safe and secure. And free. We found a good eating spot right on the beach.. Chez Black.. where we ended up eating dinner both nights we were there.

The following morning we motored to Capri, and checked out the arches in the rock formations prior to heading to the marina. A fun island, but again, packed with tourists and ferry boats which tried to slam our sailboat into the dock in front if it.

Just a couple of "small" boats at the Faraglioni Arches at Capri

A view through the Faraglioni arches at Capri

The red tram to get to the top of the hill in Capri

Capri

The marina we stayed in at Capri--Naples is in the background

We left the marina early the next morning and circled to the south side of the island to an anchorage. Beautiful.

Our anchorage at Capri

There we met the one celebrity we saw on the trip.. our American flag on the transom our boat attracted the attention of Shawn Marion, an NBA forward with the Dallas Mavs, who came by to say hi..! We we happy just to speak English! He had chartered a sailboat with a captain, a cook, (and of course his girlfriend) and he was impressed with our story of coming from America to sail. We encouraged him to learn to sail to discover the freedom that comes from Bareboating. I hope he does it.

Our famous person encounter--Shawn Marion plays for the Dallas Mavericks

The walking path from the top of the hill to the beach in Capri

(Brenda here) We had bypassed the island of Ischia on our way to Positano, and we were glad to have made the effort to stop on our way back to Rome.

The Castle at Ischia

It was Sant Anna day–the day honoring the patron saint of the island. The major event is the retelling of the time the island was ruled by the French and the English attacked the castle with bombs destroying the church among other things. Prior to the fireworks beginning that night, the castle was “afire” from the “bombs” (aka fireworks) to this effect.

The reenactment of the British bombing the castle in Ischia

At the castle on Ischia

The view of Naples from Ischia castle

One unusual thing we learned about was the Nun’s Cemetery (spoiler alert–this may be gross) which did not look like a cemetery at all. At first we thought these were unusual latrine chairs with crosses above them. A blessed bathroom with bowls in the seats of the chairs. Actually, when the nuns died, they were seated on the chairs and the fluids from their bodies seeped into the bowls in the the seats. They remained there until they were bones. The gross part is that the living nuns were brought here to pray in order to be mindful of their own mortality. Some died from exposure to the process. Strange practice.

The Nuns Cemetery at Ischia

The way out of the castle at Ischia

The causeway approach to the castle at Ischia

Time to head back to Anzio and begin the process of getting the boat ready for storage.

High speed ferry near Anzio. We did not travel this fast!!!

Our final marina was Porto di Roma, close to the mouth of the Tiber river. I’ll let the pictures tell the details.

Sunset at Porto di Roma Marina

The process of putting the boat away for the season

Yummy mussels and rosemary foccacia bread at Porto di Roma

The inside of the boat for awhile!

Our final mooring--right next to the sewage plant discharge!

A tight fit on the last mooring. All along the river, boats are tied up 3 deep.

Greeted by swans at our final mooring in the Tiber River by Rome

Getting ready to lift the boat out of the water

Our boat's a swinger! Crane lifted!

A nifty remote controlled unit moves the boat to its place in the yard

Patrizka was a great help and knew where to find stuffed pizza!

Asylum's spot for the next 9 months

Patrizka has an office at the boat yard and is a boat broker. The two brothers who own the yard and work the crane are Simone and Frederico. Great people. We feel really good about where the boat is staying for the winter.

After the exhausting days of getting everything buttoned up for the winter, it was nice to have a few days to relax–or at least try to relax. Touring in Rome in 90 degree weather is not very relaxing, but it is worth it. We made it to the Coliseum this time and toured a few of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica where the picture of Michaelangelo’s Pieta was taken. I was also able to take in the Keats/Shelley House Museum next to the Spanish Steps. We finished our shopping in Rome including two roller cases for the airplane!

The Coliseum

The underground rooms for the gladiators at the Coliseum

Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

Rome to Home in 24 hours!!!

Every corner of our bags was filled, and we were, too, with wonderful new memories. But new adventures await us at home as we anticipate the arrival of our first grandson! As Ellie from UP says: “Adventure is out there!” Yes, it is. And as the movie reminds us, adventure happens wherever you are–if you look for it.

Thanks for following us on this journey. We’ll be back in the Mediterranean next summer making our way to Gibraltar.

Thane and Brenda

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Levezza, Corsica to Anzio and Nettuno, Italy

When we left Bonifacio, we went to “The Baths” of the Mediterranean. If you’ve been to the British Virgin Islands and visited “The Baths,” you’ll recognize a similar phenomenon. (If you haven’t been to “The Baths,” give yourself a treat with Google Images.) We did a little exploring and basically read and swam and ate! Pretty much what we have done every day when we’re on a hook!

Our anchorage at Levezza

Sailing bums! Happy hour on the water--literally!

The island group with Levezza in the center

The rocks and the lighthouse at Levezza. Where's Brenda?

Sunset at Levezza with a seagull friend posing.

We left the islands for an overnight crossing to Italy. Brenda finished the Italian flag while we were at Levezza.

Brenda finishing the Italian flag on the boat!

Sailed about 6 hours of the 28 hours with a placid sea at night. We arrived at Anzio and could not get the harbormaster to answer us. Finally, someone came on the radio and told us he was at lunch. Lunch in Italy is from 1:00 to 3:30. Most businesses are closed–except the restaurants! Dinner is the big meal of the day in Italy, and takes place during the heat of the day! The man on the radio told us to go to Nettuno, which was a good idea!

The Nettuno marina was much larger and had better accommodations. We settled in and began exploring.
One of the reasons we chose to arrive at Anzio stems from something my dad told me about my Uncle Jack. Jack was at the battle of Anzio–which lasted 5 months–and survived. We did not know it at the time, but the American WWII Cemetery is located at Nettuno while the British cemetery is located at Anzio. We spent a morning at the cemetery and met Tina who is the American in charge of the cemetery. She told us that there is an Italian man–in his 80′s now–who brings flowers to the cemetery every Monday. As a young man, he was “adopted” by American soldiers during the Anzio campaign, and honors their memory every week. A military cemetery is a sobering reminder of the cost of war.

The entrance to the American Cemetery in Nettuno

The names of the missing American soldiers from WWII battles at Anzio and Sicily

Brothers memorial at American cemetery at Nettuno

The American Cemetery at Nettuno

One of the maps in the chapel area at the American Cemetery in Nettuno

The WWII marker at Anzio harbor

At the WWII marker in Anzio

Anzio harbor is located next to the Roman remains of Nero’s harbor. Now it is beach front property! Thane tried to take the dinghy in to sit on the beach, but was unable to land the dinghy. So, he made the best of the situation and put up the umbrella on the dinghy and read for a spell!

A view of Anzio from the marina

Thane enjoying the dinghy at Nero's beach!

Remnants of Nero's harbor at Anzio

One of the things we have enjoyed the most about our time in Europe this summer has been the old medieval streets associated with most ports of call. Nettuno has a great old walled city area with a lovely piazza. Here’s our favorite.

One of our favorite piazza's! This is in Nettuno.

Our favorite piazza at night!

Every night ends with a triple flavor gelato in Nettuno

Another pleasure of being in port is the sound of the bells announcing the times of the day to all. Some places peal the bells by hand at noon and 6:00 pm. Other places peal single tones on the hour and the three quarter hours. Handy when you don’t wear a watch or a phone!

We rented a car to check on locations to possibly leave the boat for the time we are home, and Brenda thought it would be a good idea to take the coast road to the Tiber River leading to Rome. It was Sunday. EVERYONE went to the beach! And there is beach front the whole 26 miles to Rome! It was a bit slow! People parked in every possible place, and Thane’s excitement was shifting from second to third gear! We spent the morning checking places and then the afternoon and part of the evening in Rome!

The drive to Rome on a Sunday! Lots of people head to the beach!

Just to tease you for the next post!

We found a place to haul out the boat near Rome and will be completing that task by Aug. 9th with flights home on Aug. 13th! We plan on spending our last two days roaming Rome!

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Adjaccio to Bonifacio

(this is the third of three posts made today. You may want to scroll down to “Crossing to Calvi” and work your way back to here….)

On July 1 we left Adjaccio to cross the bay to anse St. Barbara.. a short hop but nice to get out on our own again. A boat likes to shake loose those restraining dock lines now and again. Rum and coke on the bow, anyone?  The following day we sailed to Campomoro bay in a very picturesque anchorage.  We went ashore for a dinner of Corsican meats and wine.  The sunset was shot from the dink as we returned to the boat. Amazing.

Sunset at Campomoro

On July 3rd we sailed halfway, then motored the final two hours to Bonifacio.. the southern tip of the island. Wow. The photos begin to tell the story, but don’t do it justice….

Approaching Bonifacio Harbor

Asylum in Bonifacio

The oldest Tower in Bonifacio

The beginning of the pathway to the city on the hill

Happy Fourth of July from Bonifacio

Panorama of Bonifacio Harbor

Brenda had read about a tunnel that was hand dug prior to the occupation of the island in WWII. We took steps down and down and there are still “tracks” where a big gun wheeled into position looking out over the sea. Quite amazing.

The hand dug WWII tunnel to the sea

The rail to the opening in the cliff

WWII Tunnel to the channel

The french know how to celebrate Happy Hour.. with Ice Cream!

Thane's Happy Hour!

An anchorage in Bonifacio Harbor framed by the ramparts of the fortification

187 steps--or more!! King Aragon tried to take the city by building a staircase from the sea to the town in the 1500s. The effort failed. But the staircase is cut into the limestone still today.

Tomorrow morning we will leave Bonifacio and head to small islands between Corsica and Sardinia. The adventure continues….

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From Calvi to Adjaccio and the Tour de France

We thought we were leaving Calvi on a nice benign day, June 25th–the bay was like glass and looked like a good time to go. And you know this foreshadowing does not mean good tidings for these two travelers. As soon as we turned the corner, we had white caps and Brenda wondering what was the closest anchorage. We were able to duck in to Galeria and as we were heading into the bay, Thane noticed the bilge pump spitting water out of the back of the boat. As we discovered once we anchored, the watermaker had a split in one of the filter canisters which sent 20 gallons into the bilge where the tools and stores are kept. So our first day away from the dock was spent in clearing water out of the bilge. Sound familiar Karen, and Rod and Ranae? At least, now we have clean bilges!

Our next stop was Cargese. The seas were too rocky to enjoy the stops Francis had pointed out to us, but the coastline was beautiful. Cargese is noted for the two churches that “stare” at each other on the top of the hill overlooking the sea. Greek refugees built the Greek Orthodox church, but eventually the Catholic population wanted their own church and built their church across the ravine facing the Greek Orthodox church. A charming seaside town with an intense climb up from the marina.

Two churces on the hill faciing one another in Cargese. The Catholic on the left and the Greek Orthodox on the right.

The boat harbor at Cargese. Asylum in in the middle of the photo.

The bay at Cargese

On to Adjaccio where we were able to see the end of leg 2 of the Tour de France and watch the beginning of Leg 3 of the Tour. One of Adjaccio’s claims to fame is that it is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. We toured the birthplace home and learned more about French history than we knew before!

Adjaccio, Corsica

Adjaccio from the jetty wall

Napoleon in all his finery.

One of the rooms in Napoleon's birth home.

Then it was time for the race legs. We purchased our Tour de France gear thinking we would blend into the crowd. Actually, the Europeans did not have the merchandise frenzy that we thought there might be, but we proudly sported our gear and draped our US flag on the rail for the racers to see as they went around the corner! While we were waiting for the riders to come through, we visited with Pere and Francine from the north of France. They were on holiday on Corsica and came into the city to see the race. Francine helped me with my French, but needed very little help with her English. They hope to visit the US next year. We showed pictures of SD on the iPad as we kept track of where the racers were with live updates on the Tour website. We also met a group of bicyclists from the Boston area who were on an extreme biking trip. They had been to several Tours before and were helpful in letting us know more about what happens in the race. Unfortunately we did not get a photo of the group, but we enjoyed speaking English freely with others from the US!
The next morning, we lined up early to witness the beginning of leg three. This time we met a family on holiday from Belgium. Thane taught the boy how to play Farkle with the app on my iPhone while we waited. Prior to the racers coming through, the sponsors have a parade with presents! They throw all kinds of things into the crowds lining the streets! The riders came through in one fell swoop and it was done! (Reminded us of waiting for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade when Kate and Amanda marched with the Lincoln Band–wait four hours for two minutes of parade time!)

All decked out for the Tour de France

Pere and Francine waiting for the Tour de France riders

Here come the Tour de France riders!

Adjaccio is known as an Empirial City hence the crown suspended over Napoleon Avenue

The Belgium family we visited with for Leg 3 of the Tour to start.

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Crossing to Corsica

Thane here.  Once again, we are a bit tardy getting up to date, but we will blame bad internet this time.. even cyber cafes often don’t have the bandwidth to download photos.. but here goes…

We crossed from Mallorca to Corsica on June 17 with a benign forecast that turned out to be a bit “off.” We have discovered that all Med forecasts are a bit suspect, but winds of 30+ with gusts to 40 as night fell was a bit of a surprise. But after 54 hours, we made landfall at Calvi… totally by chance. We picked a spot on the map and aimed for it.  It was the right choice, as we spent the next 10 days hopping down the west coast of Corsica.

Panoramic of the Calvi Bay

We quickly fell in love with the feel of the town; the citadel, the narrow streets, the people.

View from the Citadel in Calvi

We had a chance to be "escorted" to the police station at the airport by these friendly Customs officials

We got to experience mooring with boats right along side.. (no dock fingers) on our port side was Michael, who was on a powerboat but a wealth of information and an ex DJ from Australia. And on the starboard side was Francis and several friends who were kind enough to mark up our chart with all of the places we needed to see while in Corsica. (thanks, Francis and all, as you will see, we followed your advise. )

Dinner with a view from the Citadel with our boat neighbor Michael

Calvi--the birthplace of Christopher Columbus

Helpful Francis and friends from Lyon

Asylum looking at the quay in Calvi (Francis)

The French like their glaces!

Sant Marie.. I love this shot..

Thane's wish fulfilled--eating at a cafe in front of our boat. Note the shelving unit we modified into a boarding ladder...

We discovered Jazz Fest was going on while we were there.. with multiple stages. We were wandering around the citadel and happened upon this performance...

Sunset from the Citadel in Calvi

Moonrise at the Citadel in Calvi

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Cutting loose!

Finally!  After literally years of planning, months of preparation, (and a dose of anxiety) it was time to release the dock lines and let Asylum FREE to do what she does best. After all, a boat is not made to stay in the harbor.  But before we left,we hit a bit a snag; two actually.

1. Looney, our trusty 20 hp Honda outboard that propels our dinghy, started.. but the needed stream of water coming out the back to show the cooling system was working… was absent. Odd, since I had a new impeller installed a month ago in Newport RI, and it was working then. A mechanic who spoke very limited English took a quick look at it and shrugged. I called several outboard repair shops and no one could service it for over a week. Our answer was to buy a small outboard ….we had to be able to get to shore and rowing our dink is not an option if there is any wind at all.

2. So, with check out time as noon and it being 2:30 in the afternoon, we decided to drop off the docklines and head out. As I attempted to pull away from the dock, our keel snagged the mooring line of the boat beside us and spun us perpendicular to the bow of that boat, with the wind pushing us against his bow pulpit. Hmmm.  The mooring line is a chain that came off the nose of his boat and heads down diagonally to a large anchor in the middle of the channel between docks.  After much frustration we were able to free ourselves… and away we went.  After an expensive refueling at the gas dock, we motored upwind to the western shore of Mallorca, to a harbor called Puerto Andratx.  The sights along the way were stunning.

off the dock

Of course, arrival to a new port is cause for a tot of Rum!

Puerto de Andratx

5 o'clock and on a mooring ball

We approached a mooring ball and a dinghy appeared from nowhere with a nice young man to help us get situated. The local yacht club installed balls throughout the harbor.. to you can’t anchor, but for our first night out we were fine on a ball. We filled out the paperwork and even ran the credit card transaction right at our boat. Amazing.

We had a wonderful French dinner at Mar Blau .. Thane had calamari!.. really really good calamari; and it was a serene meal and view.

gosh this is beuatiful

that's our boat out the window

During dinner, Brenda was twisting her adventure ring we got in Mexico, and it dropped to the concrete and proceeded to roll right of the edge of the platform we were eating on, and into the rocks below. We heard it bounce and “plunk” into the water. I climbed down and searched with my flashlight, but could not find it. The following morning we returned the scene and searched to no avail. We started moving rocks around to see if it was hiding.. and after we agreed to give up hope, we used a piece of driftwood to leverage one more big rock out of the way and WaLa.. there was the ring!

we found the ring under this rock

Heres a photo of Looney Bin with the new little Honda 2.3 HP motor… so cute! And so undersized! Brenda named him ScrewBall. We hope to get the big brother back in action at some point…

looney bin with new screwball (middle dink)

Then it was off to an anchorage known as Sa Foradada. It’s really just a notch in the high cliffs, but on the way we saw more majestic scenery…

cliffs of insanity

Most of the time we had no wind, or wind at our nose, so we motored. We looked behind us at one point and couldn’t believe it….I think someone is following us!

inconceivable

When we arrived there were a few other boats there, and we struggled to find a spot that was free of big underwater rocks (anchor eaters) and shallow enough to be effective.

Sa Foradada

We finally anchored in 60 feet of water with 200 ft of chain.. and all was well. There is a path to a top rated restaurant on top of the hill, and this shot we want to make postcards out of.. it was SO unbelievable.

Our postcard shot

find the smily face

now that's a kitchen

Turns out, all of the other boats left later in the afternoon, leaving us all to ourselves in this little piece of paradise….!

all by ourselves

And we leave you now this this final shot. Brenda rocks at sunset shots.. and as we toasted the end of a wonderful day on the water.. we were treated to this sunset as we floated motionlessly in the quiet of the twilight..
till next time…

it doesn't get any better than this

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