It is EU referendum day and ‘Till’ is going to make a long passage east into Italian waters. I am unsure whether I will have an internet connection so I email the kids and ask them to text me key bits of information as the results come through, some time after midnight.
After a provisioning dash ashore we set sail. Once ‘au large’ the sea presents its beautiful ‘oily’ surface and the heat will build up during the day. We are sailing parallel to the Alpes Maritimes coast and it is not long before we reach Monaco. Called by some ‘the most luxurious prison in the world’ it is 150Ha (≡ Hyde Park) of large apartment blocks, tunnels and underground parking, little squares with 3 or 4 olive trees, a stadium, an impressive Oceanographic Museum, a heliport on the coast and the Palace on the Hill. Called also Little Manhattan because the dominating apartment blocks resemble skyscrapers, this whole nestles between the two ports of Fontvieille and Cap d’Ail. There are beaches protected by netting to keep the jellyfish out.
After being underway for the morning our thoughts turn to lunch. We will need to stop the engine and drift gently. We do this off the coast of Menton. Cue a swim – which is wonderfully refreshing and after we have a second go of my spaghetti Bolognese to stoke our own engines. Unfortunately when we flick the switch to start the boat’s engine nothing happens 😦 There follows ten anxious minutes whilst the captain and his crew stare into the boat’s bowels. They cannot find anything wrong so they replace the deck and try again. The engine sparks into life and I stop wondering which nation’s coastguard will be summoned to our rescue!
We are now looking landwards to a change in the urbanscape. It is Ligurian and the buildings are plainer and there are complexes of greenhouses amidst the coastal settlements. I imagine tomatoes. Beyond San Remo which is a bit like Cannes to my eyes, we pass a beautiful city on a hill, Imperia. It is early evening when we tip up at the marina in Loano. The marina complex is lavish and Fefe says she is sure it was built with Mafia money. However funded the facilities are excellent and I take a very welcome shower before we go ashore to eat.
We fetch up at Vittorino’s, a restaurant Francois and Fefe remember from previous visits. We eat a delicious meal then wander back to the boat. I turn on my iPad as the polls will shortly be closing in the UK. I stay up long enough to be rattled by the first results from Newcastle and Sunderland. The ghastliness of it all will unfold overnight.