It was another beautiful Sunday to take advantage of and with guests in town, we decided to rent a sail boat for the day. Our adventure began in Bocca di Magra where we met our captain, Valerio, and skipper, Alessandro, and our 39 foot, gorgeous and sleek sail boat called “Blue Freedom”. The sailboat has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen/dining area and can sleep 8 people. On deck there was a nice dining area and to the front of the boat, plenty of space to sun bath and enjoy the scenery.
The Magra river pours into the Mediterranean, hence the name Bocca (or “mouth”) di Magra which itself is a nice little village on the east facing tip of Southern Liguria, with incredible views of the Carrara marble mountains and Apuane Alps. Many spectacular boats are housed here.
We entered into the Med and headed north hugging the craggily coastline of the Ligurian promontory known as Montemarcello National Park and into the Bay of La Spezia. You have incredible views all around you: Montemarcello to the east, Versilia and Livorno to the south, the Gulf of Poets to the north and Portovenere and the 3 islands to the west.
The water was a bit “mossi” (wavy) so we decided to head toward the calmer waters of Portovenere. Our captain parked the boat in the bay (with views I never get sick of!) and our skipper escorted us by dinghy to the village where we took a passagiata and our friends could do some shopping. Afterwards, we headed back to the boat for a dip in the sea (fresh and clear water as usual in Portovenere!) and then for lunch on deck. To our pleasant surprise, Valerio and Alessandro had prepared a feast perfect for our outing including marinated anchovies and sardines (indigenous to the area), a cold rice salad with tuna, egg and tomatoes and a wonderful zucchini pie. A local vermentino was served to wash our palettes. With our tummies filled and the sun deck awaiting us, we napped in the sun (easily to do with the light roll of the sea).
Late afternoon we headed out to sea. We had barely left the bay of Portovenere when we were surrounded by a group of dolphins playing (my camera of course at this point decided not to work so well and so you can barely see the dolphins!). It was the first time I had seen dolphins in Italy and strangely enough the first time for Luigi. We followed them for a bit until we spotted another interesting creature of the sea, the moon fish! Pesce Luna has got to be one of the ugliest fish in the sea. I first saw one in the aquarium in Genova. It is literally shaped like the moon but flat. He was pretty big, about 5 feet around and flapping away on the brim of the sea looking more like a shark than fish. The kids were amazed by this exotic creature. Two good spottings in one day!
Our crew continued to spoil us with fresh cantaloupe and watermelon, chocolate cake and 30 year old rum that made us all sing pirate songs (or attempt a few!). As we made our way back to Bocca di Magra, we had great views of the Carrara marble mountains and Versilian coast. What a day!