Tuesday 19th September 2017
My alarm went off at 6 o'clock; on deck it was distinctly cold and dark, so we met in the stern bar on MOBY DADA for coffee and croissant as we approached Genoa. As the sun started to come over the horizon we went out on deck to see our arrival in this delightful harbour; down on the forward deck we could see a ship's bell and to our delight it was from the PEARL OF SCANDINAVIA. It looked a little the worse for wear and sea miles of course.
Going further past the breakwater we could see the laid-up MOBY ALE and MOBY LOVE in the harbour, and on a last look around on board we could see another St. Peter Line sign from one of MOBY DADA's previous lives.
About 7.30 a.m. we could disembark and head for the overhead walkway leading to the big terminal building. We took our last photographs in the early morning sun of the colourful MOBY DADA at her berth here in Genoa, before heading for the railway station.
We were soon on the train to Livorno; when we arrived there we returned to the hire car and drove to Florence airport to hand it back to the hire company. That had all gone to plan, and we were free now to get to Florence railway station for the next stage of our journey south.
We had reserved first class tickets for the Florence to Naples train and were glad of the chance to rest and relax after the rather rough seas overnight. The sun shone, the coastal waters looked good, the mountain tunnels were interesting, and we enjoyed whatever we saw on our way south.
On arrival in Naples we took a taxi to the memorable building that is the Maritime Station ship terminal and, once we had checked in, waited patiently in the queue with other foot passengers to board SNAV ADRIATICO.
Soon we were all walking along between the yellow lines to get up to the cabin decks. We are on board SNAV ADRIATICO, built in 1986 as the KONINGIN BEATRIX at 31,910 gross tons. She later became STENA BALTICA and then SNAV ADRIATICO, which explains some of the artwork and decorative items we saw around the ship.
We had a look round on board before heading to the outside decks for better views of other ferries nearby. The interesting little LAURANA was nearby, and we all had happy memories of sailing on her in June 2015 (Ferrying 19th June '15).
After watching us sail from Naples, we visited the restaurant and enjoyed a good meal. Our overnight sail from here in Naples to Palermo in Sicily, arriving tomorrow morning, would signal the end of our current ferrying fun but there were still many hours to go first.
In Genoa: Moby Dada, Moby Ale, Moby Love, Driade (the ex-Naples ferry), Ark Forwarder
In Livorno: Moby Vincent, Moby Aki
In Naples: SNAV Adriatico, Cartour Gamma of TT Lines, Laurana (such happy memories of sailing on her down 'volcano alley' to Sicily), Bonaria, Raffaele Rabattino, Royal Princess, Norwegian Epic (?), SNAV Orion
Wednesday 20th September 2017
The seas were quite rough overnight so we were rather glad to see the city of Palermo ahead as we approached the harbour.
The ship berthed but there were delays in getting the passengers off, so when the announcement came for footies to disembark it was a welcome sound. We rushed off the SNAV ADRIATICO and two of us had to get in the arranged taxi to hurry to the airport for return flights back to the UK.
Ships seen: SNAV Adriatico, Antonello da Messina, Eurocargo Ravenna
Once again, our ferrying trip had been very enjoyable, on some interesting vessels.
Monday 18th September 2018
Last night was so upsetting when we missed being able to sail on MOBY DADA. However this is a new day with new plans. During the night I heard the sound of high winds outside the balcony, but by morning it was quieter. An early alarm call helped us set off for the port at 7.30 a.m. and we were soon booked on the 8 a.m. departure of SARDINIA REGINA from here in Bastia to Livorno on the Italian mainland. She was built in 1972 at 13,004 gross tons, and is with Corsica Ferries/Sardinia Ferries. We went on board and the 8 o'clock departure in fact became 8.55 with an estimated arrival time of 1 o'clock rather than 12 noon, but that was all right.
After that we were planning to return on MOBY CORSE from Livorno at 2 p.m. back to Bastia. The plan after that was to sail on MOBY DADA from Bastia on her new route, today going to Genoa. We could then get a train to Livorno, collect the car there, drive to Florence and hand back the car, and get a train down to Naples.
My diary jottings say that firstly the day picked up once we had these plans and bookings; the second jotting welcomed the prospect of breakfast on board very soon, and the third jotting mentioned the pleasure of hearing the "Thieving Magpie" music (Rossini) played on the departure of SARDINIA REGINA!
We enjoyed breakfast on board as we sailed out of Bastia in the sunshine, hoping for an uneventful sail across to Livorno. We could see PASCAL LOTA and PIANA in the harbour, with later sailings from Bastia.
The sea was fairly calm and I noted that I was sitting above the pool in a deckchair in the warm sunshine, with an air temperature at noon of 25C.
A little later when Livorno was in sight in the distance, the skies darkened and we could see rain falling over the city. The sunshine disappeared and over on our starboard side a mile or so away we could see wild weather conditions that formed waterspouts as we watched.
It was quite dramatic to see and we were glad to watch the waterspouts from a safe distance as we sailed into port. To think we were hoping for an uneventful sail this morning...
As we neared our quayside we passed MOBY WONDER and MOBY CORSE.
Once we disembarked from SARDINIA REGINA after 1 o'clock, we realised there was no time to return to our safely parked car so we simply walked round the quay to our next sailing. We embarked on MOBY CORSE under cloudy skies and decided to go to the restaurant for a late lunch. She was built in 1978 and is probably remembered as DANA ANGLIA or DUKE OF SCANDINAVIA to many travellers.
A short distance away we could see SARDINIA REGINA loading her passengers ready for a return trip to Bastia. The back ramp came up, the water started to churn underneath her stern, she started to move away from the quay, and then the stern ramp came down again. One of the mooring men leapt off onto the quayside, the ramp went up again and she sailed again! That was fun to watch.
It was definitely time to have lunch then, as we were soon underway ourselves in heavy rain, and the outside decks all cleared. Reclining seats beckoned after lunch and proved popular. As I went into the lounge I noticed that although it was a large room with lots of seats, most people seemed to be resting in one particular area; we soon joined them, because it was furthest away from the one man who was snoring rather loudly. Just an observation on my part, you understand.
Once awake again we went for a cup of tea and took some more photographs.
We watched as we arrived back in Bastia, in sunshine for a change. We passed MEGA ANDREA as we headed into our berth.
The sky darkened and suddenly it was pouring with rain again. Before we disembarked from MOBY CORSE we stood out on a sheltered part of an outside deck and watched as MOBY DADA sailed into the harbour (showing her blue starboard paintwork) and passed us at very close quarters. That was when we could see her red port side paintwork.
We disembarked and on the quayside we waited under cover for the mini-bus to take us to the terminal building to check in for our overnight sailing, and wait for another mini-bus to take us to MOBY DADA with the other embarking passengers.
At last we were able to board MOBY DADA, later than planned but we made it this time. We are due to sail at 9 p.m. from here in Bastia in Corsica, to Genoa on the Italian mainland. We feel so lucky that this is part of her new schedule and we could take advantage of it. Tomorrow after we arrive we will be able to catch a train from Genoa to Livorno, collect our hire car and drive inland to Florence where we can hand back the car. Then we can get a train from Florence south to Naples for our next sailing.
We sailed from Bastia yet again and settled in to enjoy this ship and its treasures. She was built in 1981 at 34,093 gross tons, with previous names including FINLANDIA and QUEEN OF SCANDINAVIA. She is now known as a cruise ferry for Moby Lines, under charter from DFDS Seaways. After building she was in service on Silja's Helsinki to Stockholm service, until being sold to DFDS Seaways in 1990 and being re-named QUEEN OF SCANDINAVIA. Then from 2010 to November 2016 she was with St. Peter Line as PRINCESS MARIA for sailing between Helsinki and St. Petersburg in Russia. In November 2016, and whilst still owned by DFDS, she joined, and is operated by, the Moby Line group.
It looked as if there were many decorative artworks from her previous use, with charts in picture frames on the walls, the occasional sign mentioning St. Peter Line etc.
We saw the grand descent from the top level of the Restaurant down to the huge main bar and side bars with the wonderful Tiffany lighting. It was an amazing sight after dinner, when we went down to enjoy these beautiful surroundings, with a drink at a small table.
The rest of the evening passed happily.
Ships seen: Corsica Regina, Piana, Pascal Lota, all in Bastia, then Moby Wonder, Moby Corse, Mega Andrea, Moby Corsica Seconda, Moby Dada
To be continued...