If the west wind carries the intense perfume of the maquis, the Mediterranean scrub of Corsica, this means that the border has been overcome and the dock is close by: you are now in the territorial waters of the French island. French due to the destiny of its history, but Italian if we consider the distance from the Peninsula: 12 kilometres from Gallura to Bocche di Bonifacio, 82 from Piombino to Cap Corse. The best way to become familiar with it by sea is to sail in an anticlockwise direction to enjoy the Northwest wind that, once Cap Corse has been rounded, moves to the North. And sailing with the tailwind.
Lobster for lunch
The first dock to be reached when arriving from the islands of the Tuscan archipelago is Macinaggio, almost on the tip of the cape. The low houses and coffee create the background to the port where large yachts and fishing boats share the marine spirit of the island, without any division in terms of clique. From here, the Giraglia is left behind, the island that takes its name from the sailing regatta that starts in St. Tropez and reaches Lavandou in Provence, passing by Capo Grosso towards the South east. Only the silent flight of the seagulls accompanies the wake of the boat.
This part of the coast has several meanders providing protection from the East winds, but the small port of Centuri offers an extra reason to drop the anchor: dozens of small restaurants along the dock serving fresh red mullet, gilthead bream and lobster, bringing them to the table directly from the small fleet of fishing points from the town. Simply observe the amount of fish traps and nets drying in the sun on the ochre coloured walls of the fishermen’s houses covered just like a filigree to understand the vocation of the town, where fish restaurants such as Le Langoustier, where you can enjoy the lobster sauce with vegetables accompanied by the white wine of the Clos Nicrosi vineyards, should be noted in the logbook.
Following the profile of the coast, between Punta Minervio and Punta di Canelle the grey shale tiles of the roofs with blue reflections of the Medieval castle of Canari and to the South the bay of Marina di Albo can be seen, with its watchtower that assisted in disembarkation of the Saracen fleet of Hassan Pascià: an oasis of turquoise coloured water. But Nonza captures our eyesight, clinging to a spur of rock with its village overhanging the sea. From this point onwards, there is a succession of meanders, small hidden bays that can only be reached by sea. Small ports where the silent pleasure of sailing can be interrupted by diving into the real world. Such as the town of Saint-Florent, at the bottom of the gulf of the same name and the basin of Rio Alisio, the most glamorous area of all of Corsica: architecture reminds us of the Genoese presence with contrasts of white lime scale stone and green ophite just like a game of inlays on the facades of churches and buildings. Or like the Calvi Gulf, further to the West, with the fortified town of the same name which is the capital of Balagne: its port is always very busy because the Genoese city is famous for its beautiful position that divides the gulf and the Bay of Nichiareto. Or Ajaccio, with the palms and animated dehors around the boulevard, of Roi Jérôme, a meeting point for the inhabitants for a pastis and a game of pétanque. In the morning, the market is the ideal place to fill up the pantry.