I think the British did Napoleon a favour when they exiled him to Elba. In fact, I think it’s a wonder he ever wanted to leave, even if there was an empire up for grabs.
Elba has been a beautiful sanctuary for the Orchid crew. Rumours in the Caribbean of beautiful sailing and secure anchorages brought us to this little known island and it took a commitment on our part – motoring for 4 days to get there (damn the ‘motor-terannean’). But the effort was definitely worthwhile. On Elba we found beautiful bays, beaches, harbour-side towns and mountain top villages that almost kept us there much longer than we’d planned. We toured the island by bus, scuba dived along its coast (Alexander did his Padi Scuba Diver certification) and whiled away the hours in bars and cafes.
The main port of Elba is Porto Ferraio, but we found Porto Azzurro on the east coast to be a better base for cruising. At the end of a deep inlet lay a snug anchorage beside a pretty, colourful little village, protected from all directions. We discovered Porto Azzurro to be a great combination of quaint lanes, colourful architecture and in the evening a festive night life of music, wine bars and boutiques.
Elba was also the location for our first guests aboard Orchid, Bruce and Lori Lynn. A new dynamic – the workings of 6 aboard …personal space / non-stop social interaction … Well, we are pleased to say, “They were our best guests ever!” Was this pre-empted by the ‘care package’ ? of not just English treats, but also Australian favourites, “Noh!”
We all relaxed into a holiday weekend spent with an enjoyable balance of prosecco, sailing, gastronomy, swimming, gastronomy, world righting, gelato, vino, spinnaker swinging, exploring, and did I mention, gastronomically tantalizing delights. It was perfect! They termed themselves ‘cargo’, but really, enjoyed seeing how it was to ‘live aboard’ – dingy trips ashore for provisions and wi-fi (ok, so this was for iPad updates of Angry Birds & Star Charts), mucking in on the helm, (even the pleasures of maintenance, as the steering failed mid sail back to port for their departing flight), daily siestas (for the full experience of course) and yes, no razors.
It was hard to say goodbye to the Lynns and hard to say goodbye to Elba. They had to return to work however and we had to remind ourselves that Tuscany was the real destination – somewhere we’ve wanted to visit for 10 years – and so reluctantly, we pulled anchor, set sail once again and continued the voyage north for Pisa.