The sun had barely begun to cast its golden hues over the horizon when our journey commenced from the picturesque town of Menton. Nestled between the azure waters of the Mediterranean and the towering peaks of the Alps, Menton is a coastal gem that also acts as a gateway, a threshold between two worlds — the romantic allure of France and the rustic charm of Italy. As our sailboat gently cut through the calm morning waters, the significance of our departure point wasn’t lost on us. Menton, often dubbed as the Pearl of France, is a prologue to tales of adventure, a place where stories begin and memories are etched.
Ahead of us lay Marina degli Aregai, a name whispered among sailors as a haven of tranquility after the challenges of the open sea. But as we set our course, our day sail was less about the destination and more about the journey, the tales we’d weave, the experiences we’d gather, and the legacy of a town that has, for centuries, stood as a beacon for travelers, adventurers, and dreamers alike.
Join us as we embark on this voyage to Marina degli Aregai and sail in Italy from France, where the waves narrate tales of old, and the winds carry whispers of adventures yet to unfold.
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Setting sail from Menton France to Italy
The first light of dawn painted the skies in hues of lavender and gold as we stirred from our slumber. The town of Menton, with its pastel-colored buildings and serene harbor, was slowly waking up, and so were we. On this fourth day, we had finally managed to rise early, eager to embrace the sea and the adventures it promised.
From our vantage point, the Vieux Port unveiled a sight to behold. The captaincy stood tall, its silhouette outlined by the rising sun, while the nearby showers and toilet buildings began to buzz with early risers. As we cast our gaze further, Menton revealed itself in all its splendor, seen from the other side of the port. The town seemed to stretch its arms, bidding us farewell, while in the distance, the highway bridge on the mountains marked the threshold to Italy, our next destination.
But before we could set sail, a ritual awaited. The port of Menton was aflutter with flags, each telling a story, each marking an identity. The Italian tricolor fluttered proudly on many a boat, signaling the proximity of the Italian border. Inspired, we too decided to change our flags.
The larger French flag already had its place starboard aft, a nod to the country our boat was registered under. On the starboard, the Italian flag was now raised, honoring the waters we were about to navigate. And then, a personal touch: on the port side, the vibrant primary colors of the Romanian flag danced in the wind, a tribute to my heritage and a piece of home I carried with us.
As the boat gently swayed, the three flags – French, Italian, and Romanian – fluttered in unison, symbolizing unity, adventure, and the myriad stories that lay ahead. With the town of Menton as our backdrop and the promise of new horizons, we were ready to continue our Med sailing holidays.
The vast expanse of the Mediterranean stretched before us, its waters shimmering under the sun, holding tales of ancient mariners and modern sailors alike. As novices to the art of sailing, every ripple, every gust of wind, and every sailboat that crossed our path became a lesson waiting to be learned.
On this particular journey, the waters were dotted with sailboats, each heading towards the allure of Italy. Their sails billowed gracefully, catching the winds in a dance as old as time. For us, these boats were silent mentors. With every glance, we found ourselves studying their techniques, observing the angle of their sails, the tautness of their ropes, and the rhythm of their movement.
The art of sail trimming, we quickly realized, was a delicate balance of intuition and technique. It was about feeling the wind’s whispers and responding with precision. And so, each time we spotted a boat catching the same winds as ours, we tried to emulate their technique. This hit-and-miss approach was our classroom on the open seas.
Sometimes, our efforts bore fruit, and we felt the thrill of speeding up, cutting through the waters with newfound confidence. But at other times, our attempts were met with the humbling realization that we had much to learn. There were moments when, despite our best efforts, we found ourselves lagging, overtaken by boats whose sailors had mastered the winds better than we had.
However, with every miss came a lesson. With every slow-down, a determination to do better. The sea, in its vastness, was patient, and so were we. For in this dance with the winds, we weren’t just learning to sail but also learning the age-old lessons of humility, perseverance, and the joy of small victories.
Facing the elements from calm seas to first waves
The day began with a deceptive serenity. The sea, in its vast expanse, lay tranquil, its surface barely disturbed by the gentlest of breezes. It was the kind of morning many sailors dream of — calm, peaceful, and promising. But as with all adventures, the sea had its own plans, and we were about to be tested by its ever-changing moods.
As we ventured further from the safety of the harbor, the once-placid waters began to show their true nature. Gentle ripples transformed into formidable waves, each one challenging our resolve and our skills. In my initial naivety, I found myself filming these waves, marveling at their beauty and power. The sea’s roars and the wind’s whispers became the soundtrack of our journey. But as the waves grew taller and more relentless, my awe turned to respect, and soon, the camera was safely tucked away, replaced by life vests and protective jackets.
The sea spared no one. Each wave that crashed against our boat left its mark – a splash of cold water, a sting of salt on the skin. Our once-dry clothes clung to our bodies, drenched and heavy. The taste of salt became a constant, a reminder of the sea’s might. I recall the discomfort of salt-crusted skin, especially my ears, and the challenge of keeping my eyes clear without the shield of my sunglasses. Even the simplest task, like changing my wet clothes, became an ordeal. I remember being tossed around by the boat’s movements, struggling to find stability as I changed, the roar of the waves echoing beneath my feet.
However, amidst the challenges, there were lessons to be learned. The sea taught us the importance of preparation — of securing our belongings, of ensuring every window was shut tight, of fastening everything on deck. We learned the hard way when we lost a fender to the sea, a reminder that the ocean takes as much as it gives.
But with every challenge came growth. Over time, we became more attuned to the sea’s rhythms, learning to navigate the waves with greater skill and confidence. We realized the importance of being prepared, of respecting the sea’s power, and of always prioritizing safety.
As we finally approached the marina, our clothes soaked and our bodies weary, we carried with us not just the memories of a challenging journey but also the invaluable lessons the sea had imparted. For in its waves and winds, the sea had taught us resilience, adaptability, and the true meaning of adventure.
Marina degli Aregai, a safe haven after a challenging journey
After hours of navigating the unpredictable temperament of the sea, the sight of Marina degli Aregai on the horizon felt like a balm to our weary souls. Nestled along the Italian coastline, this marina was a sanctuary, a testament to the resilience of sailors and the allure of safe harbors.
As we drew closer, the marina unveiled its charm. Rows of boats, each with its own tale of adventure, bobbed gently in their berths. The gentle hum of activity, the clinking of ropes against masts, and the distant laughter from the nearby cafes created an ambiance of warmth and camaraderie. It was evident that Marina degli Aregai wasn’t a mere place to dock but also a community, a home away from home for sailors like us.
Just a stone’s throw away from the marina stood the Aregai Marina Hotel & Residence, its elegant facade reflecting the golden hues of the setting sun. Its proximity to the marina made it a favored choice for sailors and travelers alike, offering the comforts of luxury after a day at sea. The hotel, with its blend of modern amenities and timeless charm, seemed to whisper promises of restful nights and rejuvenating mornings.
But what truly set Marina degli Aregai apart was its understanding of a sailor’s needs. For boats like our beloved Puzzle, the marina offered not just a berth but also cost-effective solutions. Every facility, from the docking points to the refueling stations, was designed with precision and care, ensuring that sailors received the best value for their money.
As we settled Puzzle into her berth, the weight of the day’s challenges lifted. Here, amidst the embrace of Marina degli Aregai, with the Aregai Marina Hotel & Residence standing sentinel, we found solace, comfort, and the promise of new beginnings.
Puzzle, our trusty Bavaria 350 Lagoon
Every sailor has a tale, and at the core of each tale lies a vessel – not just a means of transport, but a companion, a confidante, a home. For us, that vessel was our Bavaria 350 Lagoon, christened Puzzle, a name that held layers of stories and memories.
Delving into the annals of her history, Puzzle isn’t just any boat. Crafted in 1993, she bears the legacy of a time when boat-making was an art, where every plank, every nail, and every curve was shaped with passion and precision. The Bavaria 350 Lagoon series is known for its craftsmanship, and Puzzle is a testament to that legacy. With a sandwich laminate hull that had withstood the test of time and elements, she was a beacon of resilience. And her bow strengthened with Kevlar speaks of adventures braved and storms weathered.
But Puzzle wasn’t always known by this name. In her earlier days, she sailed under the moniker Baffi, an Italian ode to a bushy mustache, a quirky tribute to her first owner’s prized facial feature. The name carried its own charm, its own tales of sunlit days and starry nights. But as she changed hands, she also underwent a transformation in identity. From Baffi, she became Puzzle, a name inspired by the series How I Met Your Mother, but also by the intricate jigsaw of life’s moments and memories, each piece fitting perfectly into the next.
Beyond her history and her name, what truly defines Puzzle is her spirit. She is a sturdy and steadfast vessel that promises safety even when the waves roar and the winds howl. Her interiors, a blend of comfort and functionality, whisper tales of cozy nights and laughter-filled days. And her classification, had it been done in today’s times, would place her in the A-class of sailboats, a testament to her ocean-crossing capabilities, despite her fin keel. With Puzzle, the horizons were limitless, the adventures boundless.
As we journeyed with her, from the calm bays to the raging open seas, Puzzle became more than just a boat. She became a part of our story, a chapter we’d cherish forever.
Exploring Marina degli Aregai and its surroundings
As the sun cast its golden glow over Marina degli Aregai, we found ourselves eager to explore the tapestry of experiences this coastal gem had to offer. Nestled between the embrace of the sea and the rolling hills, Marina degli Aregai was more than just a docking point; it was a gateway to a world of serene beauty and timeless charm.
But beyond Aregai Marina lay the quaint town of Cavi. A stark contrast to the bustling marina, Cavi was a testament to life’s simpler pleasures. With its sprawling vineyards painting a picture of green and gold, and its narrow lanes echoing with tales of yesteryears, Cavi was a place where time seemed to stand still. Accessibility was limited, making it a treasure trove for those seeking solitude and tranquility.
A stone’s throw away from the marina was Spiaggia Aregai, a stretch of sandy bliss that kissed the cerulean waters. More than just a beach, Spiaggia Aregai was a canvas of experiences. From sunbathing under the Mediterranean sun to indulging in water sports, the beach was a playground for travelers of all ages. Its significance lay not just in its natural beauty but in the memories it promised to create.
Completing the marina’s offerings was the Aregai Marina Hotel Residence. Designed for longer stays, the residence combined the comforts of home with the luxuries of a hotel. With its spacious rooms, state-of-the-art amenities, and panoramic views of the Ligurian Sea, the Aregai Marina Hotel Residence was a dream come true for travelers seeking an extended escape.
As we wandered through Marina degli Aregai and its surroundings, we realized that this coastal haven was a mosaic of experiences, each tile telling a story, each corner holding a secret.
Sailing from Menton to Marina degli Aregai
As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden hue over the waters of Marina degli Aregai, we found ourselves reflecting on our journey. From the picturesque vistas of Menton to the rustic charm of Cavi, every moment, every wave, every gust of wind had etched a story in our hearts.
Our voyage was more than just a passage through waters; it was a tapestry of experiences. We had danced with the waves, learned from fellow sailors, and discovered the resilience of our trusty Puzzle. We had tasted the salt of the sea, felt the sting of the winds, and reveled in the embrace of safe harbors.
Menton, with its vibrant colors and rich history, had been the perfect starting point, a gateway to adventures unknown. Marina degli Aregai, with its blend of luxury and simplicity, offered solace and comfort after the challenges of the open sea.
To our fellow travelers and dreamers, we say this: let the allure of the sea beckon you. Consider Menton as your starting point, let its beauty inspire you. And as you navigate the waters, let Marina degli Aregai be your sanctuary, a place to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate.
For in the world of sailing, every journey is a story, every harbor a chapter. And as we concluded ours, we realized once again that the true essence of adventure lay not in the destination but in the journey itself.
In the picturesque South of France, Mirela Letailleur works as a travel blogger and acts as a beacon for those seeking to unravel the mysteries of the Mediterranean. Born in Romania and now calling the azure coasts of France her home, Mirela’s writings on The Travel Bunny blog have become the go-to for avid travelers. Her expertise doesn’t just span the quaint towns and bustling cities of Europe but dives deep into the heart of coastal sailing, highlighting hidden spots like the enchanting Marina degli Aregai.
Beyond her captivating tales of affordable European escapades, Mirela stands out as a creator of unique free travel guides. Her intimate knowledge of the Mediterranean, coupled with her problem-solving prowess, positions her as the local travel expert many yearn to connect with. Whether you’re looking to sail the serene waters or find that hidden coffee gem in a Mediterranean alley, Mirela Letailleur is the guiding star you’ve been searching for.
After discovering Aregai Marina, check out these other posts about our Med sailing trip
Sailing on the French Riviera: a day to visit Cannes by boat
Life in Santa Lucia Marina while preparing for our Med sailing trip
Overcoming the lockdown in France & French sailing restrictions