Our passage to our overnight stop at Porto Pollo was only 30 miles but was memorable for the size of the swell left over from the previous gale in the Gulf du Lion. Keen to tuck ourselves out of the undulations we opted to pick up a mooring buoy behind a reef and close enough to the shore to swim for our beer.

The swim ashore. Hejira moored in the background.

So, with money and shirts in a Tupperware, we emerged amongst the rocks and walked to a beach bar for our traditional libation.

The bar on Porto Pollo beach.

With a 20 mile passage to our booked berth in the old port marina in Ajaccio and with no wind, I will be badgering the crew to start on the clean up so we may have some time in hand to seek out the rugby in the afternoon.

Paula and her two girlfriends arrive early tomorrow morning with the current crew leaving on the return flight so this will be the last missive from the ‘Beetham boys’. We have had a very memorable 12 day cruise since they joined Hejira in Malta 575 miles ago taking in Comino, Tunisia, Sardinia and Corsica. In truth, it was an excessively ‘bullish’ itinerary but that has been a feature of my sailing this year and I never seem to learn. I justify the ‘whistle stop’ nature of these cruises on the basis that they are tasters and I will return to indulge in the coming years. Carl has produced the most exceptional meals, sometimes in difficult conditions and we have only taken one meal ashore and that was on the day they arrived in Valletta. Tom has been great company and has picked things up very quickly. His blog inputs have been very entertaining and embellished the accounts with a more ecologically and socially responsible perspective.

Carl writes:-

Ahoy there, Shipmates! Here, in no particular order, are my maritime musings from the poop deck:

Sailing’s great fun but, within the Med, it happens surprisingly infrequently as there either seems to be too much wind, or not enough. Furthermore, no amount of Nick’s attempts to fill the sails with his own ‘wind’ seemed to do the job. Didn’t stop him continually trying though.

And irrespective of the direction we were travelling, why was the wind always on our nose?

When the skipper puts his life-jacket on it’s sensible to follow his lead.

Scopoderm anti-sea-sickness patches are God’s gift to the seafaring community.

Nothing about ‘the heads’ (wc) can be described as comfortable but when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Serve the crew anything comprising onions, garlic and chilli and they’ll go to bed happy. Mind, fail to plan the meals beforehand and you’re planning to fail.

Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ novels really are gripping page-turners.

Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. We saw dolphins, flying-fish and a turtle.

Sailors are a friendly, welcoming bunch but woe-betide any other skipper who clatters their fenders a little too forcefully. Also, was the phrase ‘one-up-man’s-ship’ coined by the sailing fraternity as they seem extremely quick to criticise and take the mick out of others’ vessels?

Irrespective of the supposed yachtsman’s code concerning where/how to pass and who exactly has right-of-way, ‘might is right’!  Choose to argue at your peril.

Hejira is no gin-palace and she’s a well-equipped, fine sea-faring vessel. Pity the same can’t be said of her scurvy, malingering crew!

Live and let live on-board. Three men and a boat will result in three very different opinions but remember, you’re all in it together and there ain’t room for petty arguments and sulking. Ultimately, what the skipper says goes, goes.

As it transpires, it’s not Job but Paula, long-suffering First Lady of the good ship Hejira that has the patience of a saint. The girl deserves a medal. And a divorce!

Technology seems to play a great, and increasingly prolific, role on board. Or perhaps that’s just in Captain Hook’s daily life? The sextant remained in its box for the duration.

Keep things shipshape and Bristol fashion or it’s going to be a messy transit. Do the job once and do it right.

Our very own Captain Smollett’s blood pressure does tend to rise by several notches the closer we get to a mooring…

The coastal landscapes of Sardinia and Corsica are truly stunning and I would want to return to both at some point in the future. Having said that, both islands have extremely dubious ‘four-headed, blindfolded sailing’ flags that would undoubtedly fail muster with the PC brigade.

Sadly, topless bathing on the beaches of Southern Europe appears to have fallen out of favour.

Radio Four’s ‘Today’ programme remains the mainstay of daily news. Closely followed by Ed Reardon’s Week, Cabin Pressure, Dead-Ringers and Desert Island Discs. Thankfully, I’ll never be old enough for The Archers. Or golf.

Write drunk. Edit sober.

 

Wee Tom writes:-

Well what a time it’s been. We’ve had many highs and very few lows and I come away having learnt and experienced a great deal upon the bonny blue. Here are just a few reflections from the last 12 days.

Sailing is like S&M. It requires rope, knots, close-proximity and it ain’t for everyone.

Luckily, I get it!

Like a cow with a calf, woe betide the person that gets between Nick and his blog!

The coats that invented Scopiderm deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.

Malta is nice, Sardinia is nicer and Corsica has croissants. No brainer.

Unless you want Captain Jack Sparrow’s judgement crashing down on you, look up what a lazarus locker or a transom is before you arrive – it’s like being bossed around by someone speaking tongues!

Heading west into a setting sun as the stars begin to twinkle in the fiery purple hues, is pretty special.

Who knew there were so many billionaires?

There’s few better way to travel than on calm seas with big winds.

Boats = freedom

If under sail, one has right of way, in theory…unless they’re bigger than you…or Italian.

The French and the Italians have got a lot of things right, socially we can learn a lot.

Plastic waste is bad, especially in the sea.

If encountering officialdom in Tunisia, be sure to brush up on D Trump’s ‘Art of the Deal’, beforehand.

If Captain Hook offers you passage on the Hejira, snap his hand off (just leave his keyboard finger intact!), you won’t regret it.