martedì 22 novembre 2011

Sailing Trip, Tuscan Archipelago, May 2011

Dear Readers i’m happy to introduce you my first sailing trip ever.
Please find some pictures  here
The Smut prepares his stuff for the first sailing trip.
Nautical knots? Should you know something about it? Oh yes! Obviously I wasn’t all the time in the galley to feed the crew, so whenever wind is announced everybody has a specific task.
Please find some important issues here
First Day, Saturday May 25th.
Meet the crew (4 people and me) around 6:15 am at my hometown Cureglia. from where our journey to Marina di Salivoli started, located at around 3 km from .Piombino.
Arrival at the port around 11:30 am with 30 degrees Celsius. Up to this point, I knew nothing about sailing,. While the skipper was in charge with port formalities, my first task was to search a cart for all that baggage, but finding one in such a vast area was not that easy. Having found one, i’m pushed the first charge of suitcases and bags, navigation tools, kitchen utensils, laptops, various bags, diving equipment, etc. to the boat.
And there it was, the Gimli, a 34-foot, or (ft :3-10%) 10.36 meters. And I thought, not bad, although my primary interest was related to my work in the galley. So I spent the luggage along the gangway to the deck while the skipper was assigning the cabins, but beware: these boats are nothing to those who suffer from claustrophobia, all is rather narrow in width and height!
Afterwards we had to purchase some food and beverages for the next days and i tell you, the amount should be calculated well as the space in the boat is limited. The greatest place to stow the food was the fridge just to give you an idea, seems to have been designed to do just that. The skipper then notices some boats already sailing the high sea with sails hoisted. It was three o'clock and I've never been.. but anyhow went to stern to free a cord the so-called Mooring. After the other crew members had loosed the other nodes we’d leaving the harbor with a speed of  3 knots (kts * 2 -10%) towards the open sea! My quick contribution to hoist the sails, enjoying a first breath of fresh air and start working in the galley.
This was also my first test live on the high seas in a small galley. Homemade lasagna with spicy meat and for dessert tiramisu with fruits and chilly. First test in the galley in which i didn’t encounter problems only to mention maybe the constant increase of heat because of cooking with gas and for the lack of fresh air. After two hours of sailing, the wind had dropped, but our faces were happy. Returning to the port we had a shower followed by an aperitif. The dinner has been enjoyed so we ended the day with a glass of local white wine.
Second Day, Sunday 26th
Sleeping in the boat has given me no problems.
The other crew members slept like dormice it was 6:30 am and I was always the first on deck, so i prepared the breakfast with coffee, mostly dried meats, cold cuts and cheeses.
First trip today to Isle of Capraia, in the Tuscan Archipelago. Unfortunately, from this moment on,  there was no wind. The sea was calm, its surface smooth as a mirror. Sailing time approximately 6 hours. Nothing special to report. Around lunchtime prepared Caprese salad, garlic bread and boiled eggs stuffed with sardines. To pass the time I practiced with the most important nodes and the skipper puts me at the helm for a while - unfortunately with the engine on at a speed of 5-6 knots.
In the late afternoon we arrived at Marina di Capraia (the port). Fee to be paid. € 28 –
Since the tourist season started the week after there were only few boats around. Meanwhile seeking for fishing boats but they told me that the boats leaving in the early morning hours. For dinner, pasta with shrimps and melon with Marsala sauce, with best compliments from the crew. After dinner we’ll took a walk on the points of view at the top and finally we had an ice cream at the bar near by. The night was calm and i thought again: this is not for everybody, this small cabin. In the morning, after a bath and shower - € 4 – I’m still hoped to see vessels, but they were back much later.
Third day, Monday 23rd
After releasing the mooring, we continued the trip to Corsica, and more precise at south-east of Cape Corso, Port De Macinaggio. Crossing time of about 4 hours. The sea was still smooth as a mirror and we hoped seeing any marine mammal or even a whale. Because the roof of the galley was right above me, the sun burned quit hot. I prepared snacks for lunch: including fresh ravioli stuffed with ricotta, pine nuts and basil with a sauce of fresh cherry tomatoes. Afterwards the trimmer (the one that optimizes the sails, if there is wind) provided some navigation training.
Arrived at Port De Macinaggio i urgently needed a bathroom (the bathroom in the boat was not clean at all) I quickly helped to hook the mooring rope, attached the gangway to the dock and moved quickly to the public bathrooms, but it didn’t providing better service! By the way It will be the same throughout the trip except for the port of Marina di Salivoli and Porto Ferraio.
Other islands, other products. Corsica has a great chestnuts beer which I didn’t know, has delicious meat and dried meat – this was all you could explore by feet in one evening. Courses are speaking a dialect mixture of French, you don’t understand a word. What we encountered were friendly people, commercial prices were acceptable. The fee to be paid here was € 34, and varies from one port to another, not only because of the length of the boat.
Since around the harbor a few shops were open, we had made other purchases. For dinner, I found some really giant veal cutlets (like côte de Boeuf and well-matured) for lack of a grill I've cooked it in the oven at gas which wasn’t an easy task. Besides rosemary potatoes and for dessert slices of pineapple in a  brandy sauce. I had already mentioned the compliments, right? The night was calm and being a early bird, i provided fresh bread for breakfast. The trip continues to Bastia, the former capital of Corsica.
Fourth day Tuesday 24th
Before arriving in Bastia (crossing time about 2 hours), port fee € 35, we decided to anchor in a small bay because people wanted to swim in the pretty cold sea(20 degrees). I didn’t know that the anchor chain is 50 meters long, and wasn’t that easy to hold onto the seabed because it had a hook. After the cold bath and shower with a biodegradable shampoo, there was siesta time. If I only  brought with me the fishing rod!
We arrived at Bastia, the second largest city with over 40,000 inhabitants. Made directly to the port, the Church, the old nucleus, the characteristic red and green lighthouses. The walls of some old buildings in the center seemed to break down. Some toilets have been constructed on the outside of a house, funny to see.
Because it wasn’t yet tourist season, there was poor movement in the streets, restaurants and bars. One of those is just around the port and has 27 different types of rum. the appetizers were of a sublime fragrance. In the near supermarket, we bought – we didn’t found fresh fish -  2 chicken of impressive size, 5 pounds each
Regarding the kitchen there was to say that thanks to the gas oven, the cooked meal results with a wonderful crispy crust. Left to the kitchen there was the refrigerator like a shape of a box which was a convenient working surface. Then there were two basin with two tanks of 100 gallons of water each. Below there were two other places for stow or store, in this sense all that hidden place you can use is impressive.
For dinner, in fact,  I stacked 4 chicken halves in the oven,  made a sauce with red wine and onions, as a side dish potato salad with mayo made by me and raw vegetables with dip sauce. did get applause, a handshake, and the statement: "Toni, you're the right man for this job"
What else to say, these were unforgettable moments.
The next morning I bought croissants but this time skipper came with me, because finally we bought fresh fish at the market!. Half of monkfish and king crabs.
Fifth day, Wednesday 25th
Our journey continued to the Island of Elba, Target Porto Ferraio. Crossing time about 6 hours. After mid-journey the wind was blowing with 13 knots a good chance to hoist the sails. But the pleasure lasts only 45 minutes. We were still waiting for the sighting of a whale and later on in the harbor we then heard of German sailors they saw a whale with a puppy, but there was no time to film the event The rest of the journey continued with no wind, Thank god the boat consumes less diesel (half a tank up to € 150 -). To appease hunger, I prepared cold cuts , toasted bred with cherry tomatoes olive oil, garlic and oregano.
We went further to the Island of Elba, situated in between the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Sea. The skipper decided to spend the night in a bay near Acquaviva, 2 hours from Porto Ferraio. The anchor still had problems. After three attempts, finally grasps and we could swim in the cold water. On the beach in front of us two restaurants. Had a look trough the binoculars but they were still closed. On either side of the hill, the people have placed their homes well (in this bay, the photo of the sunset!).
For dinner: this time roasted monkfish (with slices of lemon, white wine and spices), prawns with cherry tomatoes, garlic, oil and chilly (what a delicious sauce for tomorrow).This night was not so quiet. The skipper didn’t trust the anchor and controlled how the situation is every 2-3 hours. The next morning after the withdrawal of the anchor - the anxiety of the captain was unfounded - we head to Porto Ferraio.
Sixth day, Thursday 26th
Porto Ferraio, taxes to pay € 35 -, chip for water and electricity € 10 .-. I still had urgently went to the bathroom(Don’t know how I endured it all the time). Shower and shaving (All inclusive € 2 -), as mentioned the public facilities were very clean. We decided to have breakfast in a bar with plenty of cappuccino, etc.. The pier is located directly at the main road of the port. We were in the final corner towards the center. Fortunately, there weren’t many people during the day. Since this was the last day and you have to visit Elba, we did rent a car for € 55.-. Elba is in fact the place which Napoleon chose as his exile, even if only for a short period. So there's a museum, engravings, castles and his two villas.
One attraction is the "Gondola" that leads to the Marciana Tabernacles (1019 m), it is a cabin where you are standing in two for € 18 return. The trip lasts 15 minutes and up there the sun burns a lot, but the view was worth it. We continued along the main road. Then we stopped at a beach where we enjoyed a bath and a beer. Wonderful the "macchia" on the way in all its colors and scents. We were a little 'tired but pretty much happy as we arrived back to the harbor, We had time for shopping, taking some pictures of the Seamaster, impressions of the center and had a drink etc.. I left then the others at the bar cause had to move to the kitchen for the last dinner: fresh spaghetti with fish sauce from yesterday and local cheese-
Since we anchored right next to the road, at night, bars and restaurants began to live  A bar had a sound system and giant screen outside where music videos were projected. there was a group of teenagers discussing and laughing loud, people who came from the sea with their boats to enter the nightlife. Anyway, at some point we fell asleep too.
Seventh day, Friday 27th
The next morning there was more movement, because the school buses came one after the other,  it was like at the bus terminal. Yes, and slowly but surely we had to rearrange our baggage and personal stuff and return to Marina Salivoli a 2 ½ hours journey.
We already saw from the harbor, the boats sailing away into the high sea with sails hoisted so each one of us was prepared for his task: ready with sturdy shoes and gloves. It was like the first trip, very exciting. I could even drive at the helm for about half an hour. But it was not easy to keep the boat on course having to fix a point of land and at the same time controlling the boat, but it was a great fun.
Yes, arrived in Marina di Salivoli we had to say good bye, it was the last night on the boat. For dinner we went at the port of Piombino, a restaurant off the main road. As starters they served up to 8 different fish types, Sardine fillets in vinegar, grilled tuna, sea snails, grilled sardines, St. Peter filet, fried pieces of sturgeon, swordfish, the last I don’t remember the name but it was also fried. As the second they brought a stunning fish soup! Then we went into nightlife as well with lots of live music bands and consequently lot of people.
It was an unforgettable experience for me, let’s see us next time!

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