Because Corsica is such a varied island with so much to see, we decided to write 2 blogs: 1 about the north part of Corsica and now 1 of the south part. We sailed along the red cliffs for the last time in this part of Corsica, before we would explore the south side of the island.
Ajaccio would be the first city we would visit in Corse-du-Sud, it is the capital of Corsica and also the largest city. We would sail into the harbor of Ajaccio and stayed there for 2 days. The next day, we started with a lovely French breakfast, also to honor our friend Yvonne, who treated us to a breakfast at the boulevard of Calvi before she left the boat after a visit of 1 week.
This was where Napoleon was born, Corsica had just changed from 5 centuries of being Italian to now in French hands. By knowing the original name of Napoleon, which is ‘Napoleone di Buonaparte’ you assume that the family would more Italian orientated than French. You can visit Napoleon’s house where he was born, to find out this this great villa shows he was from good descent.
There are so many references to Napoleon, for instance this green café Josephine or the funny T-shirt!
It was great to walk to the old part of Ajaccio, behind a wall there was a fortress and nice little streets you could walk through.
We had a good spot in the harbor and enjoyed the sunset at the westside of the island of Corsica.
Our next stop would be totally different: at anchor in a quite bay, underneath 1 of the old Genoese towers.
When sailing along the coast of Corsica, it is impossible to miss the Genoese towers! They are old defensive fortresses from past centuries, today only 67 towers remain. They date from the time when Corsica was part of the Republic of Genoa. The towers had to protect Corsica against pirates who came to rob properties and capture residents.
The towers thus made it possible to follow the horizon, prevent attacks, but also to defend themselves. In the event of an attack, the guards had the task of immediately warning the other towers with fire, placed at the top of the tower. The warning then passed in turn, each in turn lighting a fire, to warn the next. Thanks to this technique, they built an unstoppable defense over hundreds of kilometers of coastline!
We walked the short trail up the hill to the tower. We followed the sign ‘Torra Ghjenuvese di Campumoru’, it is nice to see the Corsican language (u Corsu), which is a mixture of Italian and French.
On top of the hill, we could see the bay with our catamaran.
We now would come in the most southern point of Corsica and the scenery changed into limestome cliffs. These were more white then we expected!
Bonifacio is the most fancy place at Corsica when it comes to boating and harbors. The Saint Tropez of Corsica ;). But that comes with a price: the harbor is packed with large boats and the prices are 5 times what you pay normally in a harbor.
Just around the corner of Bonifacio there are beautiful bays and this time of year (October), there is plenty room for a catamaran to be there. And beautiful bays never bore us ;), so we sailed around the corner to find out that this would be our private bay for 2 days!
I actually did some training sessions from this bay and I still amazes me how this is the garden in front of my office.
We also took our drone out to film this bay, so come fly with us enjoy the crystal clear water and beautiful scenery!
To get to the citadel of Bonifacio, we took our dinghy.
It was nice to enjoy a lunch at the boulevard and then walk up the hill to see the harbor.
Bonifacio is located on top of an 80 meter cliff. So you have a fantastic view over the sea.
The town itself is also beautiful with many historic buildings and narrow streets with medieval houses. The fortress walls are still partially there. When you walk around Bonifacio, it actually feels like you have stepped back in time to the Middle Ages.
What we didn’t know when we were on our way back with our dinghy to the bay where our catamaran was at anchor, that you also pass a lot of hidden caves in the limestone cliffs. There are actually countless caves these cliffs surrounding Bonifacio!
Some eroded at the top of the mountainside, but some also at sea level, filling the cave with the beautiful Mediterranean water. We discovered this cave near Bonifacio and took a look inside.
Sandbanks at a lagoon
And the fun wasn’t over yet in this most southern part of Corsica, because in the south east a sandbank had formed in between the main land and little islands. That made it easy to anchor your boat in 2 or 3 meters of depth. There were still quite a few boats doing that this low season! And some parts of the lagoon were only 1 meter deep.
This allowed you to walk across the mainland to the island further out in the water. And we saw a group of men crossing the sandbar and only 3 feet of water! I took my paddleboard with me and with the drone we made a complete picture of the lagoon.
Our last stop at Corsica would be Porto Vecchio at the east coast of Corsica.
We also talked about the fact that when we would check the miles we have sailed in the last 4 years with our catamaran, it is more than 9.000 miles (1 seamile is 1.8 kilometers). Actually, it is a tradition for sailors when they have sailed 5.000 miles to have a swallow tattoo (on their hands, neck or chest). A swallow represents travel, faithfulness and loyalty. You want the swallow tattoo as a guarantee for a safe return to the country. We don’t have 1 or 2 tattoos, but we are also proud of saving sailed almost 10.000 miles!
This part of Corsica is known for it’s beautiful beaches. Corsica has a coastline of no less than 1000 kilometers with more than 200 beaches. We enjoyed cycling to the old city center, having a drink on the terrace and ordering a French ham and cheese board. The sunsets still are beautiful here.
The next day we said goodbye to Corsica and did the 3 hour sailtrip to the north of Sardinia. We were curious to discover this island and we would welcome visitors on our boat here! I received a gift from the son of one of my friends, a pirate flag, so we raised the pirate flag (just for fun 😉) and made the trip to Sardinia!