Portofino, Italy

It’s been another few days of serious saling since we said goodbye to our parents on the gorgeous Isla d’Elba and headed north towards mainland Italy. This is the Portofino / Rapallo area where Europe’s rich and famous come to play, and it’s a fascinating experience to be here rubbing shoulders with them. “Exchanging glances” is probably more accurate than “rubbing shoulders”, but whatever, the point is that if we weren’t creative we could quickly blow a big hole in our budget being this far up north. But we’ve learned how things work here in the Med, and we know that where the harbor boundary ends, so does their right to charge us the expensive mooring fees. So while the big boys pay hundreds or thousands of euros per night to moore about a tenth of a mile away, here we sit on our anchor just beyond the harbor limits. Many budget sailors avoid these northern parts of the Med and our advice to them is to become more assertive about claiming their space on the anchor and to just do it. Forget about what anchorages are marked on the maps, forget about what the pilot books say… just find a sheltered spot, drop the anchor, back down on it to test the holding, and enjoy your free lodging because it’s 100% legal (we think) and nobody’s gonna say a thing.

We’re lucky to have our Italian friends Lisa and Mara here to show us around the place because they make us feel like locals instead of tourists. Yesterday it was Portifino and Rapallo, and today we’re off to see Cinque Terre. We could easily spend a couple weeks here exploring and photographing this incredible part of the Italian coast, but unfortunately that will have to wait until next time. We’re running out of time in this Mediterranean summer, and on Sunday morning we need to head west for the French Riviera, which luckily is less than a day’s sail from here. We can’t wait to “exchange glances” on Sunday night with our elite mega-yachtie neighbors in Monaco and St. Tropez who will be moored on the other side of the harbor boundary from us. And if the feeling isn’t mutual, well, frankly we don’t care.