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D + 12: Tuna Catching Anchovies

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

One of the more special moments on a sailboat are the early hours. The first rays of sun give everything a fresh glow, the sea is tranquil and flat, there is no noise from the nearby beaches or boats, the twitter of the swallows is the only sound you can hear. It is simply paradise. It was like this today at 7 am when suddenly a big splash interrupted the silence. Looking up from my reading, I saw a tuna jumping, trying to catch some anchovies. A group of four or five tuna fishes were pack hunting a school of anchovies which were desperately trying to escape. The whole event happened just 20 meters away from our boat and lasted for a few minutes only before silence returned. Having read e-mails on my cell phone, I quickly switched on the video and was able to film 20 seconds of the spectacle. What an experience. Never seen anything like it. If you want a copy of the short video clip, drop me a note. The photo below does it barely justice.

Tuna hunting Anchovies - what a spectacle!

Having anchored last night just below the Capanella Saracen Tower, climbing it was a must. We were there fast and reached it within ten minutes after being dropped by the tender.

The Capanella Tower

The tower was in good shape and must have been refurbished recently. A new stainless steel ladder allowed us to climb on the top. The tower entrance was about 7 meters above ground and lead directly into a single room just below the tower platform.

The beautifully restored tower with the stainless steel ladder allowing access

There was a big fireplace, windows, a toilet facility – I guess the guards must have lived and slept here for weeks. The platform on top of the roof was sturdy but not strong enough to support cannons. Within line of sight was another tower on the opposite side of the bay. The second tower which should have been there we could not find, however.

Inside the tower's living room with the big fire place

The splendid view from the tower - the AFAET is to the left in the bay

Thomas and I decided to swim back to the AFAET which took a bit longer than we thought. The wind had picked up and the waves got higher. But after an hour we were back on deck again. Time to set sail to go to Bonifacio, the southernmost town of Corsica. We would follow the ever getting flatter coast line as the mountains receded into the back.

The spectacular harbour entrance of Bonifacio

In its history, Bonifacio has changed hands numerous times. The French Wikipedia tells the story in every detail for anybody interested. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Langobard, Franks and Papal troops, Tuscan Dukes, the Pisans, the Genovese, the Aragons, Turgut Reis, the French, the Genovese again, the French, the English, the French again. It is all a bit confusing. You need only be looking at the map to see why this place attracted so much interest. The town’s harbor provides the best shelter in the south of Corsica. Nobody with any naval aspiration in the Straits of Bonifacio could afford to miss out.

Bonifacio on Google Maps

Bonifacio is thus both a town for commercial trading as well as naval operations. Its population fluctuated for centuries between 2’000 and 3’000 people which made it easy defensible given its impressive bastions and walls. Today, only leisure yachts arrive at the harbor but it is as busy as it was in ancient times. On the way, I counted more than 60 sails heading for Bonifacio. If you do not book your berthing place in advance, you will have to stay outside in the open waters. Captain Nikos got us a docking place – it is town exploration tonight!

Our boat safely tied to the pier in Bonifacio Harbour

Bonifacio Harbour with all its yachts and sailboats

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