After cruising along the French Mediterranean coast, we stopped for a couple of days in Saint-Laurent-du-Var where Sarah’s parents live. We could relax and go on short sailing trips with Sarah’s parents and Sarah’s brother Vincent and his girlfriend Céline. It was nice to show them the boat in real life, and to take them sailing for the first time. We also had to wait for favorable wind conditions for the passage to Corsica (it was very windy there for days in a row). Aart (a friend of Thijs) and his wife Elisa paid us a visit too, they were on vacation nearby in Eze.
All good things come to an end and while we really enjoyed our stay there, with a bit of apprehension it was time to leave for our first “big” crossing when the wind and waves went down. The wind even seemed to have decreased a bit too much, as the forecast at the time indicated low winds for the days to come. So we expected to spend most of the crossing using the engine rather than the sails. We left the harbor of Saint-Laurent on a Monday late in the morning, and first had to use the engine for a couple of hours as we were heading dead into the wind. In the early afternoon we could finally raise our sails. Our dinner in the middle of nowhere was accompanied by a beautiful sunset and the sight of whales. First we heard them as they came to the surface to breathe, then we caught a glimpse of their back. Soon they where everywhere around the boat. While they were still far enough of our boat, it was both scary (we couldn’t stop thinking about youtube movies of whales crashing on boats) and exciting to see whales. Around midnight the wind died so we switched on our engine again and started our two-hour watch system. Unfortunately before the end of her watch Sarah started to feel seasick and Thijs had to stay awake for the rest of the night, with the almost full moon and big ships like ferries, cruise ships and container ships for company. The main task during the night’s watch was to check the AIS and slalom between the big ships. Sailing alone at night is quite a special experience, you feel very small with the stars above you and 2700 m of water below the keel.
Thijs woke Sarah up to enjoy the sunrise at sea together and by that time the northern shore of Corsica was visible. We sailed the last part of the passage and after 26h we reached our destination: the beach of Saleccia, a paradisiac beach with white sand and turquoise water – the ideal place to rest after a crossing. It felt like we where anchored in a swimming pool. We arrived tired but happy: we did it! We were also lucky to be able to sail most of the crossing contrary to what the forecast showed. Corsica here we are!