Opportunities that occur simply as a direct result of our deciding to go sailing back in 2008 and possibly crossing oceans are quite amazing. For the whole of September Bob acted as caretaker, or even Captain (after all, there was nobody else on board!) of a 121 ft. super yacht called Damahwil built by Dufour, which was alongside in Loano Marina on the Italian Riviera! Another new and unexpected destination for both of us. This came about as a direct result of meeting the French owner, Christian, in May at Yacht Haven in Phuket, before he shipped his yacht to Turkey.
Elaine had had planned surgery on her wrist, and after family gatherings we both flew to Nice, and then on by coastal train via Ventimiglia to Loano and Damahwil. Even on the train journey we could see the Italian Riviera is picturesque, and decided there is much to explore. After a week during which we had been very well looked after by Christian who had stayed on board to carry out a ‘hand over’ with Bob, Elaine had to return to the UK. Now on his own, Bob got to grips with the numerous systems that need regular checking. Looking after the vessel was not as easy as one would think, with the likes of a fire alarm going off at 22.00 and frantic calls to Djibouti (where Christian lives) in the middle of the night to ascertain how to stop it. All the while klaxons going off both in and outside the boat, Bob just waiting for the local polizia and fire tenders to arrive!
Loano is a small town in the province of Savona in the region of Liguria, located about 60 km south west of Genoa and about 50 km north east of San Remo. The coastline is beautiful, fronted by a busy beach scene but behind the façade are villages, a mass of narrow alleyways steeped in history and atmosphere. In the evening they come alive, with their fabulous little restaurants, great wine and food, not forgetting the gelateria and most scrumptious ice cream. To find out more about sailing around Loano, click here.
Interspersed with getting through the ‘to-do-list’ Bob took time out to hike in the hills around Finale Ligure and Finalborgo, wandering through olive groves, passing by long disused limestone quarries, and then being rewarded with fabulous views from the hilltops.
As the fine weather broke at the beginning of October Bob returned to the UK to be reunited with Elaine who had not been idle! She caught up with some of the ‘Ladies who Lunch and Have Dinner’ fraternity – what bliss to be retired! And she seized the opportunity to attend ‘Proms in The Park’ (=Hyde Park) with a group of friends to fly the flag and sing those patriotic songs that are quintessentially British – and mid-September 2014 with an historic referendum looming, the audience was in fine voice!