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  • hbanziger


Updated: Mar 26, 2021

The loudspeaker was squeaking and a female voice with a Parisian accent came through: “Ici Corsica VMS, Allo! Allo! AFAET! Votre destination s’il vous plait?”. What a change from an hour ago when Italian chatter filled the radio waves. We entered French territorial waters. And were greeted not in the local, Italian dialect but in perfect French.

That Corsica is part of France is a heritage from centuries ago when France acquired territories way beyond where French was spoken. At one point they claimed the Kingdom of Sicily, the Dutchy of Milan, the Alsace or the Netherlands.

We were getting up early to make the boat ready for the crossing to Corsica

France conquered Corsica three times. The first time in August 1553 when they invaded the island with the help of the Ottoman Fleet under Turgut Reis. But the Turks left in October to return to Istanbul for the winter and the French troops had to withdraw.

Thermal winds pushed us out into the sea for our seven hour journey

The second time in 1768 after Genoa had sold Corsica to France two years earlier. Genoa La Superba could not control the rebellious Corsicans any longer. France sent a large expeditionary force and made short thrift with the guerilla who had no outside support.

For the first hour, sailing was good!

The third time was in 1796 after the Royal Navy had liberated Corsica and established a short-lived Corsican Kingdom. But by 1796 the Royal Navy left and French troops returned.

... then the wind died down and we were down to 2 - 3 knots per hour

Crossing over from Elba to Corsica was less exciting than we hoped. The thermal winds provided some support in the beginning but after an hour died down. We were completely becalmed for most of the distance. It only changed when we got closer to Corsican shores where a thunderstorm was gathering. But it blew out with no harm.

As we got closer to Corsica, a thunderstorm was brewing up. Luckily it blew over

WE ARRIVED !!!! The old harbour of Bastia

The AFAET in the old harbour - first week is over - unbelievable!

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