Welcome to Lesbirdsnest.com - John and Eva Bird on the M/Y 'Destiny'.
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DESTINY DIARY 2008, A Steep Learning Curve, Part 2.

It has been a long time since our last update, the main reason being that of our 3 computers, 2 did not like being washed out with sea water, we’ve been trying to repair them since our last update!!! The other reason is that it is not so easy to find internet access and using the GSM is difficult and expensive out of France.
So what have we been up to since our last update, well we’ve done a big loop, leaving Gael and Scarlino on July 22nd and returning there on August 23rd. (Have a look at the map to see the loop.)

Fish Getting there
Destiny showing off her 'Fish' Arriving in Bastia

First we went to Bastia,(Port de Toga), friendly people there. We needed some shopping including some French cheeses, bread and stock up in good supermarket, little things that make a life bearable. We liked the town, a real one with nice shopping street, the sales were on but I didn’t get tempted, not like in the ship chandlers where we found some much needed parts. The old town is really ancient and once upon a time was a grand place, it seems that the town is trying to make it look more attractive again.
We rented a car to visit the out of town shopping center for food and DIY and also took the time to visit the Corsican interior. We were disappointed with Corta, which is the ancient capitol and now the university town, but enjoyed driving through the small roads and villages of the interior. These roads are very rustic and meeting cows, sheep and goats in the middle of the road was not unusual, not many people around though.

Bastia port Getting there
The Old Port at Bastia The Corsican Countryside
We left Corta and visited St Florens on the north of the island, by car, -back to tourist land, but a nice open bay and great views from the castle. On the way back to Bastia, on the crest of the mountains we had a magnificent view of both side of the Island.

We left Bastia heading south and stopped in Port de Taverna (about 20 miles south of Bastia) for repairs. John was having trouble with the compass for the pilot, and the battery charging. Taverna is a funny place, beside the marina there is absolutly nothing around, in fact the Mairie (town hall) is in the Marina - Bizarre. We continued south, beautiful sea and weather. We anchored off, in the Golfe de Ciprianu, with wonderful clear warm waters (25deg), life as we like it, but I was very upset because my computer was completely useless (nothing new there? - Ed).

Afterwards we continued south and crossed, ignoring Porto Vecchio, to Sardinia. We decided to pass on Bonifacio, because it was August and would be very busy, but also we knew that we would come back this way within the month, which would give us another opportunity.

Corse Corse
St Florens from the Castle A bit more Corsica
In Sardinia we went through the Madelena islands (beautiful scenery not possible to catch on the camera) we were lucky with the weather and stopped in a cove on Ile Spargi, sandy bottom, sea ‘bleu des mer du sud‘ temp 25 beautiful swimming until John told me there was medusa (jelly fish) around the boat. I suddenly swam quickly,(she actually walked back - Ed). We slowly drove south, stopping in Golfo Delle Saline, Calarazza di Giuna, Cala Moresca, I. Di Figarolo, P. Da Ti Tromfino, lots of swimming, in clear warm water and on to the famous Porto Cervo (famous for the wealthy jet setters and big yacht racing. The entire concept was put together by the Aga Khan).
Porto Cervo is worse than Saint Tropez, the size of the houses, the size of the boats, the brazen wealth is amazing. Who has the biggest, but to be fair, some of these villas are just beaautiful, the architecture blending very nicely with the surrounding rocky scenery. But John was not very comfortable with so many boats around, so we went on to Olbia and it was time to stock up with food again, strange to be on land again after 8 days at sea. Olbia is a strange commercial port with no facilities for small boats, so we just tied up to the old commercial quay, did our shopping, had a pizza and left.

where Sardinia
Where is the anchor ? Hippopotamus ?
From Olbia we decided to head back to mainland Italy. We stopped on the Island of Tavolara for a swim (an amazing rectangular block of an island), and on August 4th at 19.30 we headed to Rome. It was a nice crossing, not too much wind, no moon but plenty of stars. I tried identifying them, but didn’t do well. Dawn came, and a dolphin came to wish us good morning. It was so hot that in the middle we stopped the boat and had a swim in the middle of nowhere, (it also cooincided with us logging 1500Nm since Barcelona - the 1500 mile swim!) The blue of the sea was stunning. By 13h on 5th August we had Italy in sight.
Swim Getting there
We saw white whales............. Roman Mosaic
We had arranged, via Gael in Scarlino, to moor at a small yard on the river Fiumara Grande on the coast at Rome (No, it’s not the Rubicon - The course and name have changed over the years, but it’s still really the same thing). We went up the river about a mile and a half and stopped at a small shipyard ’ Dod Yachts’ where we stayed until 11th August. This gave us time to visit Rome, this city is definitely on the list of ’Things to See before you die!’.
Forum Triano
The Forum in Rome where Eva was asked to Speak. Another Forum (Foro di Traiano) where she wasn't.
The DOD Yachts is a tiny boatyard making small sailing racing boats. The secretary and one of the staff looked after us and we had 3 dogs and a puppy to keep us company at night. In fact all the way up the river it’s full of these little boatyards trying to make a living, but not a single shipchandler.
At the entrance to the river, is a large private marina, with club house, caf and swimming pool but not a soul in sight, I suppose they were all on holiday!!. From where we stayed (a bit more downmarket, no pool, no clubhouse and staffed by hounds), we had to walk to the bus stop, about 1 km up the road, there we took the bus to the train station, then took the train to the metro to reach Rome center (it sounds complicated not really), it cost us 2Euros each round trip. On the bus, we couldn't find where to by tickets (0.70c) but nobody checked our tickets and we played dumb tourist!!.
Our Hotel Caesar John
Our Hotel. Ave Caesar. Ave Cheeser.
On two occasions we had a lift from tame romans, as curious about us as we were about them, that’s what travelling is about. So we spent three full days in Rome, the first day we visited the Forum and the Coliseum, it was very hot but not too many people in August (probably too damned hot). The second day we went the Vatican City and visited the Museum, the queue was too long to go into St Peter’s and Pope was on the beach anyway. The museum was fantastic but too much for one day by the time you reach the Sisteen Chapel our eyes and feet were crying for a rest.

Vatican Vatican Again
The Vatican and the Museum in the Background. The Pope was on the Beach, but St Peter showed us around.
On the third day, we just wandered the streets and visited the parts of the city and its many beautiful plazas,fountains (Trevi), churches(numerous), the old town(very big, very old) and the main shopping streets ( I’ve never seen so many clothes shops). It is impossible to describe all what we saw, but even John who is difficult to please (huh? - Ed), enjoyed the town, walking through such a diversity of architecture. It was just a shame we could not stay for a night out in the town. The only disappointng thing in Rome, as well as in all of Italy, is the graffiti everywhere, no respect for people, properties or monuments.

Trevi Tired
The Trevi Fountain where Filmstars splash in the water. Another Fountain where only the Pigeons splash.
We spent some time on the boat as well, we received the AIS system (which tell us what ships are about to run us down). For the installation we needed a VHF antenna, the only place to find one was in the marina on the other side of the river, to avoid a long walk up to the main road, across the bridge and then 2 Kms, down the other side of the river, then return with a 25Euro antenna, we decided we could go by dinghy down the river, well imagine a very busy river with both banks fully occupied all the way down it's length, let's just cut it short by saying that we succeeded, and met some interesting people on the way!

Marble Marbles
What did you say? Nothing, I just thought..........
Monday 11th August we’re on the move again, still going south. Nice weather still with us. Nothing much to see down this coast. We stopped in Nettuno a nice marina, nice people, except we were on the sea wall a long walk to get to the town, which was pretty empty during the day, but come evening it was heaving with people, walking down the street, young and old, typical Italian style.
Nettuno has an old small medieval village surrounded by ramparts. I ran out gaz for cooking (why do gas bottles always run out at 7 in the evening, never 7 in the morning at breakfast time?), so we spent the next day sorting a replacement, the capitainerie was very helpful and they arranged for a bottle to be delivered.

After Nettuno we stopped in Gaeta, moored in Santa Maria Bay. What a mistake this was, disco all night. The following day we went into the marina, very expensive and not friendly. Gaeta is a US Navy base, where they keep an odd looking ship that never moves and nobody seems to know what it does, - it also has an uncanny habit of disappearing in the dark - very stealthy).

The old town is built over old Roman buildings. Again the town comes alive in the evening, good shopping. We put the aircon on, so that we could shut the doors and sleep better. We left when the wind was more favourable. We anchored on the Isle of Ischia and spent the next few days going around the Islands of Golfo di Napoli, seeing as we had to go back North we didn’t reach Napoli.
Anchoring around was nice, but it was the wrong time of the year - too many boats. We went to Isola di San Stephano and the Isola di Ventotene, but the best was definetly the Island of Ponza, such a spectacular place, high cliffs and tortured rocks, we took the dinghy and went around all the small caves and walked on the beach. I collected beautiful coloured stones, and the water so clear and so clean, a paradise to swim in.

Ishia Isola di Ponza
August on the Beach Inferno Bay on the Isola di Ponza - Spectacular.
We headed back towards Rome and stopped in the marina, from where we visited Ostia Antica, the old roman port of Rome. An amazing place, we arrived at 12h and left at 17h, and didn’t see it all, not even the museum. Ostia used to be the port for Rome in Cesar’s time, it is now 4km away from the sea, but so much remains of the town. It was founded in the 7th century BC, but most of the remains date from the 4th BC. So much to see and learn; a lot more interested than the Forum of Rome. It was something to walk through the remains of this place that once upon a time was full of people living ordinary lives, trying to earn a leaving. We walked through the baths, the Tavernas, even the latrines, John tried them for size and visiting the remains of once beautifully decorated houses with painted walls and mosaics on the floors. The amazing thing about Ostais is that it is so complete (2 or 3 storied buildings, stairs, mosaics, statues, columns etc.) and yet, whilst we were there I don’t suppose there were more than 100 other people around, which meant that you could pretty well go where you wanted without queues and souvenir shops.

Stage Fright Eva in Bloom John and Hercy
They finally recognised my talents. Colourfull Antique. Me and my mate, Hercules - He borrowed my hat for the photo.
Ahhhhh Lie Down
Roman Loo's...The detail is in the relief.. A quick lie down - Peel me a grape somebody.
On August 23rd we were back in Scarlino where John had promise to support Gael’s boatyard prior to the Swan world Cup. We spent a good time with Gael again (had a great BBQ).
We left on September 1st and stopped on Elba, found a beautiful anchoring place in Golfo di Vitticio, had a wonderful swim, lots of fish, we appreciated being alone in the bay, August is finished so all the tourist's have gone back to work. I was looking forward to a morning swim, when John saw in the evening, that the boat was surrounded by medusas (jelly fish), horreur. Then, during the night, we were awoken by a horrible swell, it was impossible to sleep so at 4 in the morning we upped anchor and headed for Corsica, we arrived in Solenzara in the afternoon of September 2nd, a very friendly place with free WIFI that works. So we spent 2 days as John did a major service on the engine.

Gael and Friends Bonny
Gael and Company, back at Scarlino Destiny in Bonifacio
I took the opportunity to get some more books to read, (I don’t have a good selections of French books on the boat), and also newspapers to catch on what is happening in the world. In the evening we went and listened to Jean Menconi, a local Corsican singer giving a street concert, we bought his CD as he really has a good voice (but couldn't understand a word of what he sang). Then we headed to Bonifacio, as promised a month ago.

Having heard so much about the place. It is quite spectacular when you enter the port, with high cliffs and houses perched on the edge. We found a place in the harbour in the middle of the town, price reasonable. We played tourists and took the little train up the town, really a place to visit. The disappointment came in the night. The quay where we were moored was next to the restaurants and a disco bar, we had to suffer the horrible noise until 5 in the morning. We closed the windows and put the aircon on again to try to sleep. In the morning there was no hesitation, after shopping we left, heading for Porto Cervo where the Swan cup was starting.
We stayed a couple of days at the Swan cup and met with a few colleagues, (the dinghy ride around the cape managed to drench my phone, so that didn’t cheer me up), then not being able to stay in Porto Cervo Harbour, we moved on to La Caletta, where we are writing this. It’s a tiny little town, very friendly but with the tourist season now over, it’s becoming a ghost town. The weather is a bit ugly so we’re staying for a few days until it clears up.
A strange coincidence - just after we arrived, a 40M (that’s 120ft) yacht pulled up behind us and the captain called out 'Hi John, How are you?' It turned out to be Capt. David White, who I last saw whilst refitting a boat he was driving in France, 3 years ago. - Life can be strange. Now, (when the weather clears) we're going South, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta and Tunisia - The question is - In which order - We hope to see Peter (Moffy) and Coralie again, in the next week or so, so stay tuned to this channel for further updates, brought to you live, from your reporter on the spot..........

Captain David White The Yacht’s name is - A
Captain David - Masquerade of Sole Another Yacht/Spaceship that we saw of Porto Cervo - Wierd or What?
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