ELBA ISLAND,  ITALY

July 13/09

We left at sparrows for an all day sail (with Grace) toward Elba, an island off Italy's Tuscany coast. We had the very best sail we have had in years...a spinnaker run for 6 hours, so we were buzzed when we arrived. It is a glorious run like that which keeps you going (like that great golf shot that happens once in a blue moon).

Another quick flag change and we sailed along the shoreline of this unspoilt island with beaches and clear water. Hilly landscape with vines and olive groves, inland mountains and thick wooded slopes. Palms, cedars, eucalyptus and pine grow everywhere among the olive plantations and vineyards.

July 16

It was nearing dark when we got to Elba so we pulled into the big harbor of Procchio for the night. The following morning we continued around the headland to Portoferraio, the main port.



Portoferraio is a huge anchorage. It had a walled old town with main piazza shaded by plane trees. The shorefront consisted of 18th century buildings in shades of cream and ochre tucked under the 16th century citadel.


Porto Azzurro

We sailed around to the east side of Elba (see map) and anchored in a huge bay.

We loved Porto Azzurro, a gem of a town with a busy waterfront piazza with open air cafes, expensive yachts lining the quay. A citadel above the town was a prison for hardened criminals.

The town offered the usual array of shops catering to tourists but some unusually decorated homes, like the one pictured above with the ceramic icons decorating the walls.

July 19/09

I celebrated my birthday in fine style.
9 year old Neisha baked me a delicious chocolate cake and the Grace kids all presented me with hand made cards and a precious little carved elephant!

pictured l to r: Jack, Nicole, Ginny, Neisha, Jess

Ashore we climbed to the top of the citadel for a view over the anchorage. Throughout the town the warrens of alleys and stairways were lined with dwellings, shops and restaurants.




We had a wonderful night ashore with pizza and entertainment from Tibetan monks dressed in elaborate animal costumes. Reminded me of the Barong dancing in Bali!

pictured dancers: Dance of the Yak, Warrior(?) Dance, Man of Fire, Wolfman

We enjoyed a Pizza night out with the "Gracies" in celebration of my birthday in Porto Vecchio.

Although we hated to leave the lovely island of Elba, it was time to visit the mainland coast of Italy so we headed for the Tuscany coast.

We ended up motoring the entire way to Piombino on Italy mainland and then found a protected anchorage just to the northwest called Port Baratti. The water maker and wind generator were still not working so it's been a challenge. The tap water in Italy is not drinkable so we were getting our water from Grace.