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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