Italy - Noli, Genoa, Moneglia
Not a lot of wind about in the Ligurian Sea. Long days needed to make significant progress. A half metre 4 second period swell yesterday - and I see for today too - makes it as hard work on the legs as on arms and fingers. Having the Hobie cat brothers sailing the same way makes it fun and is good for motivation. I am quicker than them but they sail in more comfort and are not quite as averse as I to the really light stuff. So I forge a lead and stop when it becomes too painful, but they keep going a few more hours and close the gap right down.
Noli was a real highlight. Friendly people at the Lega Navale Italiana, and met up with with Marina and Bert for a walk up Cabo Noli that I had rounded - in failing light - the evening before. Spectacular place. Having some local insight - and pasta and homegrown pesto afterwards - a real treat. I needed a short day, and thunderstorms early on and later evening made it that.
Billabong Beach Cafe looked after the Italian boys and I well when we crashed out on their beach!
Yesterday an early start and squeezed sufficient miles out of the day to pass the long port of Genoa and reach Genova Surfing Club. Alessandro Portoghese paddled out to intercept and guide me in, and sorted details such as a place to sleep and eat.
This morning Alessandro took me for a guided tour of Genoa by moped - great! We also walked a bit, had the best capuccino and apple pastry thing I've ever tasted, went through narrow streets of old buildings, saw colourful markets, negotiated fillings for lunchtime paninis. City stuff!
After the fourth coffee I was ready to sail. Very light headwind, as slow as it gets... Luckily it dropped to nothing so I put in 6nm with the paddle to reach the impressive Portofino headland - the swell dropped and chop cleaned up to make for good paddling conditions. A bit of favourable wind then came in to add another 14nm sailed, to a nice little place called Moneglia. Did I mention I was tired? Focaccio al formaggio for dinnerio. Kipping on the beach boat park.
Loving this section despite the physical toil. The Italians are great and every day is a good one.
Not sure where the cat brothers ended up. Think they are ahead.