FERRYING IN '15 20th June 2015
Saturday 20th June 2015
I set my alarm for 7 a.m. so I was ready to enjoy arriving at the little town of Propriano at 8 a.m. here on the south west coast of Corsica. Mountains surrounded the bay and it all looked very tranquil. We strolled off KALLISTE and round the quay to the main street parallel with the water and were soon enjoying a petit dejeuner under the shade of a local cafe's canvas roof.
We had to catch the daily bus at 10 a.m. and were glad to settle into its air-conditioned comfort for the one and three-quarter hour journey east over the ancient Corsican mountains and through a few tiny villages to the port of Porto Vecchio. This seems to be a much bigger and more prosperous town, judging by the restaurants and prices, but again the bay was surrounded by wooded mountains and it was hot and humid.
Our next sailing was to be on JEAN NICOLI, which we could see in a far area of the bay; there was time to enjoy our surroundings and find somewhere good for lunch. The Tropicana seemed to promise mussels and other delights, so we settled in under the thatched roofs of the restaurant and enjoyed the views as our food was cooked to order. The food was superb (I had the speciality Corsican burger which was a wondrous concoction of several items, and pleasing for the taste buds) and the presentation and service excellent. We were considering dessert when the sky turned navy blue and it started to rain heavily. With the decision made we settled in for more Tropicana delights.
By late afternoon the rain had stopped and we could stroll along the waterside to the ferry terminal and check in. By 5.30 p.m. we were on board and ready to photograph our surroundings. JEAN NICOLI was built in 1998 with a gross tonnage of 29,968. She started life as PASIPHAE, then PASIPHAE PALACE. She is attractive on board, with a good passenger space flow, and a little two-deck high atrium which has an olive tree growing through it. There were spacious open and covered open decks, an empty swimming pool (shame) to see before sailing at 6.30 p.m. from Porto Vecchio to Marseille overnight. Not unexpectedly as we sailed, black smoke could be seen billowing from the funnels but we know that cheap fuel is often used.
The route would be slightly different to that taken on KALLISTE as we would be sailing south upon departure along the Corsican east coast at first, before sailing through the straits between Corsica and Sardinia, and then heading north-west back to Marseille. The light was beautiful as we sailed along, enjoying the 'golden hour' before sunset.
There was time for a glass of wine before saying goodnight.
Ships seen: Kalliste, Jean Nicoli
To be continued...