West Corsica

15 to 19 April 2019

Ajaccio to Sagone, N42° 06.67’ E08° 41.74’, 28nm, 4 hours

to Girolata, N42° 20.7’ E08° 36.75’, 22nm, 3 hours 30

to Calvi, N42° 33.9’ E°08 45.9’, 24nm, 4 hours

After our experience on passage to Ajaccio we were starting to question the wisdom of taking on the west coast of Corsica. Exposed to the prevailing westerly winds with few protected spots from the pursuant swell we feared our coming passages might not be much fun but other sailors we had met had raved about the scenery of western Corsica and we had already done a bit of the eastern coast on our way to Elba during our last visit so west is was.

On a bus trip out of Ajaccio we had done a recce of the beautiful peninsula at the tip of Ajaccio’s bay, the Iles Sanguinaires.

In Spring we found the headland covered in blossoming gorse


with clear views out to the wild and craggy islands.

The following day with Pintail, in thankfully flat calm conditions, we were able to pass in between the headland and the first of the islands for a closer look.

Keeping close to the coast we had nearly clear views of the still snow capped mountains of Corsica’s interior. We stopped for our first night in the bay at Sagone. Completely open to the west, we were lucky to have a calm night under the watchful eye of another Genoese tower.

The following day, in fairly miserable and gloomy conditions, we missed out on the splendour of the red rock cliffs of the Golfe de Porto

but found a lovely anchorage under rust seamed cliffs at Girolata.


The water was clear enough to see that our kedge anchor (deployed at Pintail’s stern to keep us pointing into the swell and stop us rock and rolling) was nicely dug in.

Girolata is a tiny fishing village accessible only by boat or by foot. Local land transport is the quad bike so outside of tourist season it was just us and the fishermen.

Morning and a break in the inclement weather brought out the true beauty of our surroundings and on our way out we traced the length of Cape Senino and the Scandola Nature Reserve.

A short, calm passage brought us to the wonderful port of Calvi with its prominent walled citadel on the approach.

Calvi sits in the most beautiful situation. Beside its sweeping beach backed by dunes and surrounded by high, snow capped mountains it has the best of all views.

At the entrance to the citadel we found a very lofty monument to the Calvi’s fallen from the two wars. We also rolled our eyes to find Christopher Columbus celebrated again. Calvi claims to be his birthplace but we have been to many so other places that make similar claims that we no longer believe any!

It being Holy Week Calvi’s many churches were in full preparation for their Easter celebrations. On Good Friday after dark a very scary looking Mary, dressed all in black, was paraded through the streets from the citadel to the port.

Our midnight departure from the harbour prohibited us from going to watch. We had as good a weather window as we were going to get to make it across the notoriously blowy and bumpy channel between Corsica and mainland Italy…

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