Part 3 – Ships and Swallows
click on pictures to enlarge
Friday 2nd July 2010
It’s to be a MOBY day today, which will be fun, embarking at 8.15 a.m. for the 9.00 a.m. sailing on MOBY FREEDOM (36,100 gross tons) from Genoa to Bastia in Corsica. Overnight Renaissance glory was exchanged for South Korean-built 2001 styling, I realised.
She was designed by the famous Knud E Hansen and her interiors were by Figura of Gothenburg, so she has Danish/Swedish styling. Breakfast on board was followed by looking around the full ship, enjoying the pleasures of being at sea in extreme heat and, after dipping a toe in the newly filled pool, deciding not to have a swim but enjoy the views from a deck chair.
But a couple of hours later the pool had heated up from the sun so some of us had a gorgeous swim. We arrived at Bastia at 1.45 p.m. ready to check into our overnight hotel, which looked out on the waterfront.
The cool of the evening was just an ideal time to take a stroll and find the favourite fish restaurant (Restaurant Memé) – the one with turquoise-coloured napkins – right beside the rocks and sea. The set menu of 18 Euros offered us crudités or fish soup, perch or mussels, Corsican cheese with fig jam, and fresh fruit salad or tiramisu. It was two years since I’d sat in the same place, with the same turquoise pashmina, and it was still as memorable. I know, little things please little minds, but one should appreciate the large and small things in life.
Ships seen: Corsica Victoria, Moby Freedom, Moby Vincent, Kalliste, Mega Express Five
Saturday 3rd July 2010
A pre-dawn alarm call set us up for sunrise photographs of the ‘Saturday rush’ into the port of Bastia, in a warm and comfortable temperature on the waterfront. The main town of Bastia is a little way behind and to the side of us, at the foot of the mountains, and I do like this area, nestling within the Corsican coast.
We joined the ship rush, leaving at 7.40 a.m. for Livorno on the Italian coast, on board MOBY CORSE.
She was built as DANA ANGLIA in 1978 in Denmark for DFDS, with Lindholmen-Pielstick diesel engines, sailing mostly between Harwich and Esbjerg. Mr Pielstick’s name seems quite memorable to me. In 1987 she was chartered to Sealink British Ferries. In 2002 she became DUKE OF SCANDINAVIA, then in 2006 she was chartered to Brittany Ferries and became PONT L’ABBE. In late 2009 she was sold to Moby Line and became MOBY CORSE, so we were very interested to see her today. She was sporting her Moby Loony Tunes pictures outside on the hull, and everywhere inside.
Despite the funnels emitting too much ‘stuff’, we enjoyed the hot and sunny trip with cooling breezes.
At Livorno a hire car was rented in the Ferry Terminal, to take us first to Piombino for a little trip, then to take over the mountains to leave in Ancona on Sunday. Outside the terminal building I noticed a row of custard yellow chairs, which seemed to tone in well with the Corsican ferries colours. It was so hot I’m surprised they didn’t soften and melt.
Richard had to leave the trip here in Piombino, so was waved off on Moby Aki, whilst we parked the car and prepared to board the famous PRIMROSE of Blunav.
It’s so interesting to see and sail on a vessel I’ve only previously read about; she was built in 1975 as PRINCESSE MARIE-CHRISTINE in Belgium, for Sealink’s Ostend to Dover route, then marketed for Townsend-Thoresen and, later Sally Line and, later still, taken over by Trans Europa Ferries. Subsequently, she was chartered to Comarit, before coming to Bluenavy as she is today. Her profile has been changed, and sponsons added, but I was fascinated to be able to sail on her. I loved the curve of the stern lounge, all the wood and original fittings, and the general feel of the old ship.
Off we sailed to Elba’s Portoferraio, another new port for me, enjoying the other sea traffic and ships when we arrived there.
After lots of manoeuvring (egos and one-up-manship involved here I think) we finally came alongside, only to have to do a bit of a fast walk ourselves to board MOBY LOVE, sailing back from Elba to Piombino. On the short walk though I did notice a sign that informed me they offered Baby Rents – shame I didn’t have time to investigate that…
MOBY LOVE was built in 1972 in Italy as the train ferry SAINT ELOI
for the Dover-Dunkirk route, and there are several pictures of her in Sealink colours. She was sold and renamed CHANNEL ENTENTE in 1989. The following year she was sold to Isle of Man Steam Packet and renamed KING ORRY, sailing between Isle of Man and Liverpool. In 1998 she was sold to Moby Lines and eventually became MOBY LOVE, then later that year became MOBY LOVE 2 to sail the Piombino to Elba route. Finally she dropped the 2 but continued doing the same route, as we can see today. Down on the car deck we could see the train lines from her early days, still visible under the green paint.
She took us back to Piombino, and the air-conditioned splendour of the hire car for the drive over the mountains to the outskirts of the city of Siena.
The hotel and spacious grounds were set amidst a hillside olive grove,
and as the lilac veil of dusk was falling we could enjoy the sight of the calm swimming pool, surrounded by lavender bushes and roses, with swallows swooping around. There was peace and calm for all of us.
Dinner was found and enjoyed at a local village establishment, and I see that my diary also includes a little questionnaire.
How many people in the world have:
Q1. Travelled on Dana Anglia, Princesse Marie-Christine and Saint Eloi in the same day?
A. AMH, MJM, JBP, on 3 July 2010
Q2. Travelled in subsequent days IN THE SAME DIRECTION, on Tor Scandinavia and Tor Britannia?
A. MJM, JBP, RAS
Q3. Post 1998, travelled on all 4 Sealink Saints in the same year?
A. MJM, RAS
Q4. Launched a coherent and comprehensive demolition of the case for rocket (salad) in a pizzeria in Siena?
Ships seen: Moby Corse, Primrose, Moby Love, Moby Aki, Aethalia (Moby Low Cost), Moby Ale, Moby Lally, Oclasa, Luigi Pa, Giraglia, Giovanni Bellini