Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sighting Montecristo

Setting sail on the evening of August 7, the Pharaon and its ecclesiastical passengers exited the harbour of Civitavecchia with the evening exodus of the city's fishing fleet, headed out on the coastal breeze which arose as the sunset cooled the shore. As the fishing vessels spread out along the coastal waters, the Pharaon tacked northwards toward the Tuscan archipelago. By mid-morning, the rocky outline of the southernmost islands of the chain, Giannutri and Giglio, came into view.

By mid-afternoon, the sloop cruised under the looming gaze of the forbidding island of Montecristo, and the crew kept sharp watch to all quarters, since the desolate rock was the reputed rendezvous for smugglers, pirates and other cutthroats operating from Sardinea, Corseta and other places still unsubjected to definitive control by the Gallian, Genovese or Pimentese navies.

The sailors on deck paid most attention astern, though, as a persistent haze in that quarter throughout the day was regarded with misgiving. A scirocco blowing across the Mediterranean would mean a strong southerly wind to be sure, but also augured gales and the strong likelihood of storms before the wind reached the Genovese coast.

1 comment:

abdul666 said...

Do not confuse the desolate islet of Montecristo with the merry Presipality (Presipacy would probably be a better translation?) of Monte-Cristo!
The rumour that the later uses the former as a secret state jail is totally unfounded.
Louys of Monte-Cristo