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Cruising from Greece to France in 2011

By Sue Richards last modified Jan 10, 2012 03:24 PM

Published: 2012-01-10 15:24:57
Topics: Mediterranean
Countries: France , Greece , Italy

GREECE to FRANCE (June – July 2011)
SY CURRAWONG, Formosa 41 ketch

ITALY

June 1, 2011
We left the Greek island of Orthoni in Greece, with SW winds F2-F5. Tied up in marina at Santa Maria di Leuca, Italy. €65 per night for 15 metres, water and elec. included, but not showers. İt is now forbidden to tie up alongside the outside mole.

June 2, 2011
Left St.M di L. and sailed overnight to Roccella İonica.
Contacted by İtalian warship and also approached by unlit, unidentified vessel. (see report of this incident here).

June 3, 2011
Tied up alongside outer floating pontoon in Roccella İonica (variable winds). Municipal Policeman came to all boats and demanded €20 per night, regardless of size, however he did give everyone a receipt. Water included. Shower €2 per person available in local restaurant, where you can buy great pizzas sold by the metre or half metre.

SALİNE İONİCHE – We did see in a local paper a discussion about the port, but nothing seems to have been done to it for years and it certainly did not look a safe place to anchor.

June 4, 2011
Tied up to east wall in Reggio di Calabria with about five other yachts. Coast Guard were waiting for us to show our papers, and we were given permission to stay 2 nights. The water is filthy, the port stinks of sewage, and there is quite a swell when the ferries come and go. However, we found the centre of town quite attractive and on the Sunday morning on the lovely tree-lined promenade along the waterfront, there was a bric–a-brac market and families enjoying all sorts of activities.

June 6, 2011
About 14.00, a new shift of the Coast Guard arrived and ordered us to move into the marina or leave. We had heard the marina cost about €60 a night, so we left.
Once outside, we put up main and jib and sailed north through the Straits of Messina on a SW wind. Almost through, around 16.00, we were hit by near gale force winds still from the SW, and we continued with only a reefed jib.
Around 19.30, we motored into the tiny yacht club in the Darsena Servici, which is located inside the giant commercial harbour of Gioia Tauro. We were handed a mooring line on the pontoon under the yacht club, and told we were welcome to stay the night without charge. About 2 hours later, we were approached by a man who did not speak any English and who demanded €20 euros. After we repeated the word "offerti" a few times, he smiled and moved on. The yacht club is very small and crowded, and we felt lucky to have got a space for the night.
The following day we ran north under reefed sails before strong winds, which at times approached gale force, and anchored that evening off the beach near the entrance to the marina under the cliff face on which sits the beautiful old town of Tropea. The marina was expensive, asking 65 euros for one night. We had been looking forward to a swim, but the water in this lovely setting was full of plastic, jellyfish and other rubbish.

June 8, 2011
Motor-sailed all day on glassy seas and anchored just south of the entrance to the marina at Cetraro. Spent a very roly night.

June 9, 2011
Sailed / motor-sailed all day and finally tied up to a mooring buoy in the cove just east of Cape İscoletti. No charge. (N39.59.95/E15.25.58). We had anchored here in 2005 and at that time there were no moorings.

June 10, 2011
Motored round to Camerota to get fuel and shop. Finally found a vodafone shop and bought a new sim card, €5 for the card and €5 credit (for the telephone and same for the computer). Motored out of Camerota and sailed to a picturesque anchorage under Capo Palinuro (N40.01.697/E15.17.744).

June 11, 2011
Tied stern to mole just inside the little fishing port at Agnone S.Nicola. No water, no elec., free. Our bow anchor did not hold so we laid a second one which did hold. However, when we tried to retrieve it, we found it was caught in a tangle of lines on the bottom of the harbour. My husband freed it with great difficulty by diving and cutting away the old rope. The anchor was invisible under a thick, but soft layer of rotting vegetation. The harbour is being improved and we would strongly advise yachts to keep away until proper mooring lines have been installed.

June 13, 2011
Motor-sailed to Baia and anchored in front of the marina, as indicated in our pilot. The next morning we were politely asked to leave. Anchoring is now forbidden due to the archaeological remains on the bottom. Moved under the Fortino Tenaglia, mentioned as an alternate anchorage in the pilot. What is not mentioned is that the bottom is fouled with the remains of a W.W.11 metal jetty and warnings are given in the İtalian "pilots" as to where exactly one can anchor.

June 20, 2011
We had to get divers to untangle our anchor chain and cut it to retrieve the anchor. Although we have seen plenty of other yachts anchoring there safely, we were not the only ones to have had our anchor caught by the metal on the bottom. When we left we saw a few local yachts anchoring in the small bay around the other side of the Fortino Tenaglia. We left for Procida, the closest of the Pontine islands and anchored on the south side in a large bay called Cala di Corricella.

June 21, 2011
Anchored in the very crowded bay south of the Castello d’Ischia (island of İschia).

June 22, 2011
Motor-sailed to the island of Ventotene and took a mooring line just inside the mole in the Porto Nuova. New mooring lines have been installed and they are controlled by the Marina di Levanti, VHF Ch. 14. We paid €30 a night, including water and elec. İt was very calm and there were 4 or 5 yachts anchored outside.

June 23, 2011
Anchored in a lovely cove on the west side of Ponza, clear clean sand with a sandy bottom. (N40.54.9/E12.57.1). This anchorage was not mentioned in the pilot.

June 24, 2011
Anzio. Anchored off the beach (N41.27.053/E012.38.634).
Swell was so bad that we had to wedge ourselves in our bunks during the night and got little sleep.

June 25, 2011
Headed for Santa Marinella and 10 miles south of Capo Linaro got F6-F7 north winds and 3 metre seas. Anchored outside the marina in a bottom of sand, rocks and weed.

June 26, 2011
Porto Ercole. Anchored off the beach, just outside the entrance to the Marina Cala di Galera. Very crowded.

İSLAND OF ELBA

June 27, 2011
Good anchorage at the Cala di Mela, Porto Azzuro. Crowded. Good supermarket and the first laundromat we had seen on our trip. €5 for a 7.5kg load, €5 to dry. A beautiful place.
Portoferraio bay is a large crowded anchorage with lots of swell. A beautiful place but sadly the harbour stank of sewage and the authorities were asking 100 euros per night for a yacht of 12 metres.

İSLAND OF CORSİCA

July 3, 2011
We arrived late in the day and managed to find a place to anchor in the Bay of Macinaggio, in a buoyed area just outside the marina, on the north-east tip of the island.

July 4, 2011
We had been warned about the bad weather one can experience off Cape Corse so left very early and headed for Villefranche-sur-Mer, about 100 miles away in France. We motor-sailed most of the day and during the first night experienced a thunderstorm with heavy showers, followed by an electrical storm without thunder.

July 5, 2011
Again we had light or variable winds and during the night, about 20n.miles south of Villefranche, cut the engine and contined under sail, so as not to arrive in a crowded anchorage in the dark.

FRANCE

July 6, 2011
About 06.00 arrived at the anchorage under the lee of Cap Hospice to find the anchorage crowded with huge luxury motor yachts. Motored around to Villefranche-sur-Mer and finally anchored in the crowded anchorage there (sand, rocks and weed.) There are supposed to be buoys here one can tie up to, but we did not see any.

Another yacht, which was only a few hours ahead of us, reported to have seen whales off Corsica.

July 7, 2011
Cannes. Anchored off Le Vieux Port (off the Albert-Edouard Sud) mole. Very rolly and unpleasant with speed boats and yachts entering and exiting the marina. Moved to the north side of the İle Sainte Marguerite (island) - sand and weedy bottom. Crowded. However, you can leave the dinghy on the island and take the ferry into Cannes. Good shopping in Cannes.

July 11, 2011
Anse de Canabiers – East of St.Tropez. (N.43.16.24/E06.39.93). Lovely anchorage (sand and weed bottom) but crowded with excursion boats constantly going through the anchorage pointing out Bridget Bardot’s former house. We sat out a F6 here.

July 14, 2011
Pte de la Douane (in the Baie de Bonporteau), just before Cap Taillat, is a lovely open anchorage in sand. (N43.10.597/E06.38.595).

July 15, 2011
Anse de Gau. Lovely, crowded and with strong katabatic gusts off the surrounding hills. (N43.06.426/E06.21.856). Here we saw an amazing flight of pink flamingoes.

July 17, 2011
We heard a mistral warning on the VHF so headed for Toulon and were lucky to find a space to anchor outside the Marina of St. Mandrier, opposite the Spar supermarket. (N43.04.95/E05.55.47). Took the ferry from St. Mandrier into Toulon to enquire about getting a space in the Darse Vieille. İt was full and they wanted €49 a night for a 15m. yacht. Same price as the marina in St. Mandrier (a much nicer place to be in the mistral). We sat out the mistral for 7 days.

July 26, 2011
Anchored at Baie de la Ciotat. (N43.14.4/E04.56.2).

July 27, 2011
Anchored at Sainte Marie de la Mer. (N43.24.547/E04.35.238).

July 28, 2011
Sete. İt’s obligatory for yachts to enter the port via the west side. €43 per night for a 15m yacht at the marina on the left just inside the port, (includes showers, water, elec.) One can tie up free for a night at the Quai D’Alger on the condition that there are no cruise ships in the port. The concession is made for boats supposed to be awaiting the opening of the bridges over the canal leading to the Etang de Thau.

Winter 2011–2012: Gruissan (near Narbonne)
This is a resort/marina. We are in the water at a mooring belonging to Nautiland, just near the industrial zone. Living on the boat, on the hard is permitted for only a few days. The Nautiland chandlery is in the industrial zone, which is very clean. You are allowed to work on your own boat whilst it is on the hard. We have not found the wi-fi reception in the port area to be very good. The wind from the ESE can be as strong as the mistral from the NW.
The tourist office is open all year with English and German speaking employees. There is an excellent local market all year round in the nearby village and all the things you would expect in a small town (doctors, pharmacies, dentists, vets, hair-dresser, restaurants, laundromats, supermarkets e.g. Lidl etc.), all within walking distance. The bus into Narbonne does not operate on Sundays or public holıdays over winter.

General impressions

  • We had mostly light winds and did a lot of motor sailing.
  • Many of the anchorages were very beautiful, often with a lot of swell, open and without protection from strong onshore winds.
  • Marinas in İtaly are particularly expensive.
  • Although anchorages are crowded we always managed to find a place to anchor.
  • We found the İtalians very friendly, helpful and noisy, but they prefer to motor (too fast), have very little consideration for other people in /on boats or swimming around boats and have little regard for safety.
  • There were far fewer charter boats in İtalian and French waters than in Greece or Turkey.
  • The French sail all the time, even in bad weather.
  • Often the garbage has to be sorted in İtaly and France – a surprise after coming from Greece and Turkey.
  • Diesel and gas were more expensive in Turkey and Greece than in France.
  • The cost of fruit and vegetables in Greece is approximately the same as France.
  • We had good weather reports via the VHF in İtaly and France.
  • A weather site for İtaly we found useful was www.eurometeo.com/english/meteomar.lamma.rete.toscana.it
  • A weather site for France we found useful was www.meteoconsult.fr
  • We could not find a French pilot written in English in Greece or İtaly, so when we arrived in France we bought BLOC COTİER 2011, Mediterranee. İt is in French and is updated every year with very helpful maps (a type of cmap).

Editor's Note: We would like to thank Paul and Pauline Carpenter for all their contributions to noonsite over the last 4 years.

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