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3rd October, 2012

Livorno, Italy

Calm glassy seas stretched before us on our first day after Gibraltar, and the Mediterranean blue sky brought many of our guests out on deck. Even after the slight adjustment of course after passing Minorca, the wind remained negligible for most of the second day. The lights of Cape Corse could be seen on the horizon and the full moon reflected off the sea in a long diminishing line towards the eastern horizon. Corsica passed by to starboard.

Livorno is a port I used to visit many times between 1995 and 2004, since then however I may have been only once or twice. Even so the very relaxed pilot remembered my face when he came up to the bridge, and with a beaming smile, shook my hand. The port itself has changed little, it is somewhat industrial and an active ferry terminus for the Sardinia ferries. For our passengers it is the gateway to Florence and the first two buses were away within twenty minutes of arrival. There were other tours to Pisa and the charming medieval town of Lucca which still has the remains of a Roman amphitheatre and is considered one of the most picturesque towns in Tuscany.

With, amongst other duties, a crew emergency drill to carry out, I remained on board. The ship was relatively void of passengers as the Safety Officer carried out his exercise, but there were just one or two in ‘relaxed’ mode on deck as crew members scurried off to their stations. A few other passengers, returning even more relaxed from the wine tasting tour at the Villa Valery, took their places on the boat deck to enjoy the afternoon sun.

Another pilot boarded to assist with the departure and we backed out from Alto Fondale, turned around off a new 3,200 passenger vessel and headed back out into the Med, later passing the island of Gorgona on our now westward track. We are, effectively, on our way back.

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