Sailing Around Corsica – Anchoring between Ajaccio and Pianottoli-Caldarello

Ajaccio to Pianottoli-Caldarello

We left Ajaccio with full tanks of diesel and water, all our laundry done, and food to last for quite a while.  We were headed to a marina in Pianottoli-Caldarello because it is close to the Figari airport and we were renting a car at the airport to spend a couple of days exploring the interior of Corsica.
We decided to anchor out each evening for this trip.  Between our solar panels and water conservation measures, we have become increasingly independent of the need to stay in marinas.  We had been enjoying a run of moderate winds that were ideal for sailing and we were enjoying these opportunities to “live off the grid”.Sailing by day and anchoring each evening is not as easy as it may sound.  The biggest barriers, as long as the sun shines, are the need for favorable winds and safe anchorages.  There is also the necessity to conserve water, store waste, plan and prepare meals – if this sounds like too much of a hassle, it may get old.  But consider, being surrounded by near silence, other than that from the wind and waves – the sense, however brief, of independence, self-sufficiency – the need for limited resources – the indulgence of relaxation and the slow pace of moving through landscapes of extraordinary beauty.  Top that off with sharing it with my life partner (who, by the way, is doing all the heavy lifting) – never gets old.

Our first anchorage (Anse de Cacalu) was in a large protected cove overlooked by a well preserved watchtower.  There was no obvious trail to the watchtower, but George had seen several people hiking up along a saddle so we decided to try it ourselves (in truth, I went along with George’s plan just because).

A crab and a beautiful critter we have seen on rocks close to the surface – Anse de Cacalu
Anse de Cacalu, Corsica

We used the stand-up-paddle boards (SUPs) to get ashore near a spot where George saw people making the trek up.  We did not see a path or a way up other than a steep craggy rock scramble which led us, after much exertion, to a position where we could see the path – the only problem was we needed to bushwhack our way down the other side of the hill (mountain) to get to it.

All’s well that ends well.  Once on the path it was a strenuous climb to the top but required no more bouldering or bushwhacking.

Ancient watchtower overlooking Anse de Cacalu
Atop the watchtower

The amusing part of this adventure is that when George went to retrieve the paddle boards, he found them about 100 feet away from the path we should have taken.  The jury may be out as to whether George pushes me to keep me from getting too old, too soon, or if his plan is to do me in before I get too old.  In either event, we both lived to see another day.

We spent two days in this beautiful anchorage enjoying some nice snorkeling in the wonderful warm water (80 plus degrees) and some decadent lounging.  The evening before we headed out was the evening the earth eclipsed the full moon.  When this occurs it is referred to as a Blood Moon because the moon turns a deep reddish brown when some of the Earth’s atmosphere and light from the sun is bent around the Earth and illuminates the moon.  The reddish brown color is due to the way Earth’s atmosphere scatters different wavelengths of light.  While we were unable to get a good photograph, I borrowed the one below and can testify that it looked just like this photo.  We were in the right place, at the right time as this eclipse was not visible from North America.

Nice snorkeling spot below the watchtower
Anse de Ferry, Corsica

We sailed the following day to our next anchorage – Anse de Ferry and spent the night.

The following morning we continued on to Pianottoli-Caldarello.

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