Friday, May 7, 2010

Elba, Napoleon's First Incarceration

Elba is just off the coast of Italy, apparently too close to France since Napoleon made a comeback from there. We visited his confinement area, rather small and saw the same views he must have seen. After his defeat at Waterloo he was sent to a small island in the south Atlantic, thousands of miles away from anywhere and never gained power again. Like all islands in the Mediterranean, it's mountainous and even the coastal town requires hiking up and down steep hills to see everything. So hike we did to see Napoleon's house and the nearby fort with a commanding view of the harbor.

On the way down we saw a boat coming into dock and was interested in seeing an example of docking aft to the concrete dock, Mediterranean style. I took a two minute video of the whole procedure. I had expected the boat to drop a bow anchor and back into  the  dock (at right angles to the dock, not along side like at PYC) but they had sent a dinghy in ahead of them which had picked up a line off the dock that led out to an  mooring block already in place. He pulled up on the line attached to the dock and it led out into  the  harbor to the mooring block. As the boat neared the dock, he passed the line to a person on the boat who  walked it forward tot he bow and started pulling on the line. Eventually, he pulled up a heavy line that was obviously attached to a substantial mooring anchor. He did this twice so he had two bow lines attached. He also had two other lines from the aft to the dock which held the boat taunt against the bow anchors. The boat was perfectly secure. It's a very efficient use of dock limited dock space but I wouldn't recommend it for anywhere with a current, tough backing a boat into a sideways current! If you want to see Mediterranean mooring in action, click on this video.

The town itself was typically French with interesting shops and we spent  some time just looking around, no bus tours today! Interesting clouds!