Ahoy there friends! In this episode of Sailing Britaly you join us on our honeymoon, as we set sail from our base in La Spezia (Italy) on our first ever offshore cruise to the French island of Corsica. You’ll see the Italian Riviera by air, and we’ll talk to you about how we felt making our first ever night passage at sea – which I’d describe as ‘interesting’! You’ll then see the start of our trip on the beautiful island of Corsica – but before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s go back to our wedding day. Rossella and I were lucky enough to get married in this church… We spent the most perfect day with our family and friends and it was the happiest day of our lives. Our honeymoon was going to be a huge adventure for us: we had never sailed offshore before and we had never even sailed before at night! We had originally planned to sail down the east coast of Corsica – but with easterly winds forecast this would have been very exposed and open to the waves, so we instead decided to head around the western side of the ,where we could anchor in the sheltered waters. We estimated that it would take us 24 hours to get to Corsica so we decided to leave in the late afternoon. This meant we could leave in daylight hours – during the hours of darkness we’d be in the middle of the sea – and then we’d also have daylight again when we arrived at our anchorage. We had made our plan, so we prepared the boat, and ourselves, and then we made some final passage plans on our paper charts. Before we knew it it was time to cast off the lines and head out to sea. Shortly after leaving, we passed a headland and then turned to starboard into the bay of Porto Venere – in which is the church that we had just got married in a week earlier. The only way to appreciate the true beauty of this place is to see it in person… but seeing it by air is also breathtaking. I can’t describe our emotion as we passed right next to what we now considered ‘our’ church. It was so exciting that from this point onwards we were sailing out into the open sea on our biggest adventure yet. The sense of freedom that you feel as you look out at the horizon, from your boat, on a course that you’ve chosen is indescribable. There can be few things on earth so liberating. As the Sun drew lower in the sky, we imagined what it would feel like to sail through the night. I wasn’t worried because I checked online and the moon was going to be 75 percent that night Rossella asked me: ‘What do we do when it’s dark? How do we see?’ and I said: ‘Oh, don’t worry about that – there’s seventy five percent of moon: we will see for miles! In reality this wasn’t true because I’d made a rookie mistake. Can you guess what that was? Have a think about it and I’ll tell you what it was that I did wrong in a minute. [Speaking Italian] As the Sun went down I was excited and anxious in equal measure… I wasn’t only a husband but I was a skipper too and this trip was my idea. I was responsible for our safety and for the safety of our boat and I had made a fundamental error… I had checked the phase of the moon, and had seen that we had 75%… What I failed to do was check the moon rise time and the moon didn’t rise until three o’clock in the morning – with the Sun setting at nine o’clock at night we were in for an extremely dark, first ever night sail. We both stayed in a cockpit all night doing two hour shifs on watch. Geographically we were perfectly safe as we were in open sea there was nothing for us to hit. However, as novice sailors, we were a little bit terrified of hitting a submerged object, such as a container and hence, we were extremely happy when the moon rose at three in the morning. As the new day broke and the Sun rose our mood changed and we were already laughing about our tense night. [footage of sailing] Seeing a new country appear on the horizon is such an exhilarating experience! We couldn’t wait to arrive and start exploring. We had already made memories that would last us a lifetime – and we hadn’t even arrived yet! The Anchorage look perfect on the chart, with protection from the easterly winds… But we didn’t think it was going to be as beautiful as this! We launched our homemade folding tender enough to explore what to us seem like paradise on earth. We had dreamed of owning our boat for years before we were able to get it but now it seemed that all our dreams were coming true in a spectacular way. We were both a little tired after our 23- hour passage, and we took great pleasure in watching the sunset from the bow, before going to sleep on our first night at anchor in Corsica.