Tuesday 23rd June 2015
Overnight the sea breeze and cool air coming in through the open window ensured a good night's sleep, so the alarm clock sounding at an early hour was tolerable. Breakfast was included in our hotel rate so after finishing that we checked out, put rucksacks in the hire car and walked down to the port again. This morning we are to take the 8.10 a.m. MOBY BABY from here in Piombino over to Portoferraio in Elba, and then return on another vessel. This afternoon we are to drive south to Naples, return the hire car to a local agent, and get to the port for an overnight ferry with a fascinating itinerary.
All went to plan and we were soon on board MOBY BABY (ex-Sealink's EARL GODWIN) which was built in 1967 at 5,667 gross tons as the SVEA DROTT in Sweden by the AB Oresundvarvet at the Landskrona shipyard. In 1974 she was acquired by Sealink Ferries and sailed as the EARL GODWIN before commencing service with Moby Lines.
She has been sailing this Piombino to Portoferraio route for over 25 years, with her distinctive Moby whale artwork, so we were pleased to be on board. We were even more pleased to find a polished wooden door with an inset glass porthole with the engraved words ORESUNDVARVET LANDSKRONA around the outside edge of the glass. The door did not open from the deck where we found it, but the etched name of the builders could be clearly seen in reverse.
We sailed on time at 8.10 a.m. and enjoyed seeing all the other ships coming and going in the local waters.
From Reception we made our way up the sheer to the forward lounge, past the usual ball pit for the children.
The furnishings on board were the expected Moby blue colour; I liked the little sweeping staircase from the upper deck down to the Reception/Information area and of course we all enjoyed being at sea again for our hour-long journey across to Elba, on another ex-Sealink ship.
We arrived at Portoferraio (again) at 9.10 a.m. and berthed in the ferry port area, ready to disembark into tremendous heat to take photographs of our next ship arriving before getting under cover in the shade of the Port Cafe.
Ships seen: Moby Baby, Moby Love, Moby Lally, Giovanni Bellini, Acapulco Jet
To be continued...
Monday 22nd June (contd.)
MARMORICA arrived and all the passengers and cars disembarked, so we were soon able to board by climbing the fixed stairways on the quayside. We had walked past a local fishing boat - we could smell it - with the day's washing done and hanging up to dry in the evening heat. MARMORICA was built in 1980, with a gross tonnage of 2,386 so another little ship, sailing for Toremar. Oh, the amazing amount of SHEER, and oh, the PINK. The deck paint on every outside deck was pink, some or all of the carpet was pink in the public rooms, and it was quite a relief to see the now-familiar ball pit for the children with its varied coloured plastic balls. Whilst the dark pink colour on deck was rather eye-catching, I thought it looked quite smart.
We sailed out of Portoferraio at 9 p.m. on time, enjoying our last sight of the town and harbour, and the cruise ship AEGEAN ODYSSEY.
Just over an hour later we arrived and disembarked back at Piombino on the Italian mainland, and headed up the hill for the short walk back to the Hotel Phalesia for an overnight stay. We had enjoyed a five ship day, thanks to the efficient planning by my two travelling companions (and a little bit of luck), and were weary but happy.
Ships seen during the day: Pascal Paoli, Mega Smeralda, Moby Corse, Mega Express Two, La Suprema (?) sailing past Bastia, Corsica Marina Seconda, Moby Ale, Moby Love, Aethalia, Rio arina Bella, Puglia, Corsica Marina Seconda Shuttle, Moby Lally, Moby Baby, Acciarello of Blu Navy, Giovanni Bellini, Aegean Odyssey, Marmorica of Toremar, Oglasa of Toremar, Corsica Express III, Luigi PA, and various fishing boats
To be continued...
22nd June 2015 (contd.)
We are to sail on MOBY LOVE this time, leaving at 6p.m. and heading for Portoferraio, the other port on the island of Elba, further west of Cavo; the sailing will take an hour, so there is again time to look at other vessels around us.
MOBY LOVE is slightly newer than MOBY ALE, having been built in 1975 at 7,657 gross tons, as Sealink's SAINT ELOI, and she seemed very spacious. We looked around for remnants of her life as KING ORRY but I didn't find anything. My friends said there were a few references to KING ORRY if you looked hard enough! Again there was a popular ball pit for the children, plus lounge and bar areas, and I noticed several Moby items around, including an inflatable blue plastic whale on a shelf in the back of Reception.
We arrived at Portoferraio at 7 p.m. and were interested to see that the small cruise ship AEGEAN ODYSSEY was waiting to go alongside in the bay.
MOBY BABY was also there, so it was interesting to see her too.
We disembarked and turned for a final photo of MOBY LOVE, to find that both her ramps were down - fore and aft - which made for an interesting view through the ship.
Now there was time to go and find a local cafe with freshly cooked food, which proved to be most satisfying and enjoyable. We are to return to Piombino on the mainland on the good ship MARMORICA, of Toremar, and as she had not yet arrived we had time to stroll around the harbour. I met four passengers from the cruise ship AEGEAN ODYSSEY and we enjoyed chatting about our ships and itineraries as we stood on the quayside in the dusk. They loved the size of their ship and the service on board, and were happy to be staying overnight in Portoferraio. They had been unable to land by tender in Bonifacio, Corsica, on the previous day because of heavy seas.
Ships seen: Moby Love, Aegean Odyssey, Marmorica, Moby Baby, Aethalia, Algerina Neri, Moby Cargo Luigi PA
To be continued...