Rod Heikell discovers peace and tranquility at this picturesque Corsican anchorage
During summer, Bonifacio on the bottom of Corsica is a nightmare to get into.
There are boats jostling everywhere to get a space, ferries and tripper boats sounding their horns and telling everyone to get out of the way, a lot of shouting going on…
And so, you begin to wonder just what you’re doing there. Don’t get me wrong – in low season, it is a spectacular place to be and a must to visit. It’s just that summer chaos that can put you off.
Fortunately, a little way up the coast is Baie de Figari, an anchorage that is a little oasis of peace after Bonifacio.
The approach has rocks and reefs scattered about but is easier than it looks on the chart.
The Torre de Figari on the west side of the bay is conspicuous from some way off. Now the entrance has been buoyed, the approach and entrance are even easier than in years gone by, although you might think twice about a night entry.
At first sight, it appears that it is not that well sheltered from the prevailing wind which can curve around to blow into the outer part of the anchorage.
In fact, the wind seldom blows with any strength into the bay and you can anchor securely without issue.
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A number of the little bights and coves on the west side are now buoyed off for swimming, but there is still plenty of room to swing to anchor and the holding is good.
You need to leave the channel clear, although a couple of years ago when we were there, a well-known 170ft superyacht that had evidently not found a space in Bonifacio pulled in to anchor – which did little for leaving the channel clear.
The bay is all smooth sculptured rock with maquis growing where it can in between.
Napoleon always said that he knew they were a few miles off Corsica when he smelt the pungent herby aroma of the maquis.
The rocks are wind-sculptured affairs looking a bit like giant Henry Moore figures, just a bit more abstract. And the water is that languid turquoise that invites you in. Yes, it is a very different place to Bonifacio.
At the very head of the long bay is a small marina where there are normally berths available with all facilities and good shelter.
You can get limited provisions, and several restaurants are open in the summer.
If you are in the anchorage, a local restaurateur in his dinghy will often come out to yachts and ask if you want pizza for dinner.
He has a menu, so you can order your toppings and a very reasonably priced bottle of wine with the pizza.
It certainly gives new meaning to home delivery.