Ever since buying Seraphim, I have had contact with Paul,the previous, previous owner of Seraphim, then called Liberte. Since October 2020, he has been the font of valuable information, not only about Seraphim, but Ovni,s in general.

Almost, from the beginning of out telephone relationship, we had planned to meet and as so we arranged to meet at Universal marina on the 14th of July and sail together for a few days. Thinking about the date it couldn’t have been more appropriate, being Bastille Day and Seraphim being previously being named Liberte.

Alex and I arrived at Universal that afternoon and met Paul. Our plan was to go for a meal to to the newly opened restaurant at Universal, Astors, but even though booking a table on line a few days earlier, found that it was closed, for reasons unknown. Alex immediately suggested Banana Wharf and Paul very kindly drove us the 5 miles to Ocean Village, for a fantastic meal and pre sail briefing.Paul and I decided on a early morning starts to catch the wind and tide to Poole.

We slipped lines at 0440, on the morning of the 15th of July. The early morning start was rewarded with tranquil waters, fair winds and a glorious sunrise.

We motored out through the river Hamble and into Southampton Water. Within no time at all, we had raised our sails and were experiencing the idyllic sound of wind and waves as we made our way Westwards through the Solent. We were joined by other early morning risers, such as Britannia and ,in my opinion, the most graceful of all , The Queen Mary II.

Isola Di Marettimo

Another beautiful night sail, once again watching the moon rise, although this time over sea. It started as it’s usual orange, then blood red, before turning to a brilliant white and illuminating the sea. The waves reflecting and refracting its majestic light made for an awesome and tranquil scene. Alex wanted to stay up for all this and we laid together staring at the heavens, discussing and exploring constellations. Out the blue he described how to find north using the Ursa Major ( The Plough ) and Polaris, I was impressed. Every few minutes, we would see a shooting star as it skimmed the earths atmosphere. I then asked Alex to momentarily, turn of the navigation lights so as we were in total darkness and showed him a different Universe in the sea below as Aria sliced through the water, disturbing the sea and agitating sea plankton making them sparkle like little stars and sometimes in larger pools of light.

Alex eventually retired and Massimo and myself started our night watch. It was 0200 as we approached Marettimo. Massimo had already planned to anchor off the South East corner of the island, in a bay called Conca. We arrived there at 0300 and edged our way in, but in my opinion it was unsuitable. Firstly there was swell and secondly there was no way of knowing what the seabed was like, it also looked pretty exposed. So I suggested we head for the small and only village and harbour of the island, located on the mid eastern side of the island.

As we approached and then entered our strange new home, it seemed completely different to photograph we had studied. No berthing pontoons to be seen, we later found out these are seasonal and removed for the winter months. As we edged closer to the beautifully and delicately illuminated village I decided the only option was to reverse onto the harbour wall, as pulling alongside was impossible due to one foot protruding concrete just above sea level. So we motored out some 50 metres dropped anchor and started reserving toward the harbour wall whilst letting out chain. We aimed for a spot where two sets of stone stairs dropped to form a one metre platform and this is where Massimo stepped of and I then threw him one of our stern lines, which he secured to one of the bollards on top of the harbour wall. We were successfully and safely in. After securing our other stern line, we briefly explored our location and situation, and decided to stay. We made Aria secure and retired for the night.

Google Maps image of marina with visitors pontoon clearly visible – this was not there when we arrived and is only in place in the high season

Alex and I awoke are 0830 and went on deck and then onto the harbour wall to briefly access and view our new surroundings. Everything looked so different to the night entry we had performed a few hours earlier, as if transformed and repainted by glorious sunlight. Quaint little white houses with blue shutters peppered the skirt of the harbour and soaring terrain towered above the only village.

Alex, enjoying land after two days at sea. In the background you can clearly see the steps we aimed for to assist with getting ashore and mooring
Maretimmo – looking out to sea
The small village of Maretimmo
Seal sculpture with Aria in the background

After a leisurely breakfast on deck we decided to take a walk up towards the “Casa Romane” some Roman garrison buildings, well worth a visit. There is also a small Byzinetine church which is open to the public together with a small calling to prayers bell outside.

Santa Maria delle Grazie

Chiesetta Bizantina – near the Roman ruins
Alex and Massimo examining the font in the church

The calling to prayer bell near the church

It’s a really pleasant and easy walk up to the ruins and even more pleasant coming back down through wooded pines and almost African style forna.

Many routes are available

There are 18kms of walking trails on the island, including a summit trail and one to the castle. Apparently, there are many caves accessible from the sea, but we didn’t have the time to explore these. You could literally spend a week on this island and still have places to discover.

Fantastic view of the harbour and Aria on our walk back down
Donkeys on route

On our decent we saw donkeys and much flora and fauna specific to the island.

When back on Aria, we had a brief rest before heading out for the evening to a local restaurant. In the winter months you have to call early and they I’ll open and cook specifically for you. Menus are limited to pasta and sea foods and depend very much upon the catch of the day. As we walked along the quayside, we passed groups of locals fishing for squid and many with much success and wondered if this is what would be on the menu tonight.

Alex, Massimo and Arba on the quayside

Aria, at her moorings

Squid caught in the harbour, metres from Aria.

The chef, we think, makes an appearance at the restaurant

Cala Domestica to Cala Piscinni

Another early morning start, this time we were up at 0500 to leave at 0530. We eventually weighed anchor at 0554 and we quietly slipped past our only neighbours, a Belgium yacht, that was already in the Cala when we had arrived.

This is such a wonderful place that it would be nice to have stayed another day and explore the shore a little more. That said, I dare say it’s extremely busy on the weekends with visiting locals and in summer probably unbearably busy. In fact I remember a year ago, when Ed and I passed this Cala and attempted to go in, that it was extremely busy and one couldn’t swing a cat within its confines.

As soon as we were out of the Cala by a few hundred yards we had unexpected winds, and put our sails up. These were to stay up, although reefed, all the way to our new destination some 62 miles away. We had a cracking sail past the islands of S. Pietro and S.Antioco.

Out the blue we saw a “Guardia Di Finanza” vessel approaching us from our starboard side, they came close and then behind us, and over our fishing line, and we caught our biggest fish yet. The line went crazy and we eventually had to cut the line with our knife as this was one catch we didn’t want to land ?. They were obviously trying to call us, but as we had our deck speaker off, we didn’t hear them. Another lesson learnt. Anyway, they left us alone, taking our lure with them.

We continued on our route being headed by the 20 kt winds. We tacked 9 times towards our original destination of Tuarredda. As we drew near, I noticed two yachts anchored to the east of Tuarredda and pointed these out to Ed. After a brief discussion we decided to take a look and tacked towards the Cala Piscinni.

As we sailed into the Cala, the wind and waves dropped to nothing, being sheltered by the land. It looked a remarkably peaceful, protected place and ideal for a night stop. So we dropped anchor in 4 mtrs of water and were safely in by 1710. This probably saved us 1 hour off our journey and both Ed and I were happy to relax on deck in our newly found home for the evening. The night was calm and one of the most peaceful we’ve had, no rolling at all.

Ed, putting the anchor snubber on for a restful evening

Cala Piscinni
Sunset over Cala Piscinni

Alghero to Cala Domestica

Unfortunately the winds are not in our favour to continue sailing around Sardinia. So we have decided to catch a weather window and head back south. Our plan is to head for the anchorage of Cala Domestica.

We slipped lines at 0300 and engined out of Alghero and set a southerly course. The first couple of hours were under engine, due to lack of wind as predicted, but thereafter it picked up and we had a cracking sail until 1130.

The weather was absolutely stunning with a welcoming dawn and a glorious sunrise with fantastic cloud patterns. The sea was calm and the sun shone throughout the day. The wind died down to nothing and we had to motor the remainder of the voyage.

Wonderful sunrise and cloud patterns

As we entered the Cala, there was only one other yacht and so we anchored past him and closer the the beach in approximately 3.5 to 4.0 mtrs of water. The sea bed was sand and the anchor set immediately.

A few minutes later, I was swimming in these warn waters and towards the beach, some 200 mtrs away. Half way between Arctura and the beach, I was able to stand and walk the remaining distance. Up until 1940, minerals were mined here and loaded onto ships. The remains of these works are visible on either side of the Cala, and one can freely roam through them After a stroll along the beach, I returned to Arctura to relax and admire the peacefulness of this place and watch the dozen or so people enjoying the waters of this shelters bay.

The evening was completed with me cooking a fine Spaghetti alla puttanesca, accompanied by a fine bottle of Prosecco, whilst watching stars and Universe in this most beautiful of coves. One of the best.

Taking the plung in Cala Domestica
Me swimming through wonderful warm and turquoise waters
Half way to the beach
Arctura in Cala Domestica


A pleasant night at Mal Di Ventre, there was a little swell, but nothing like the 2 metres waves that we encountered a few miles from the island. Certainly a restful light and well worth a stopover.

We weighed anchor at 0530 and set our course for Alghero. Yet another cracking sail to within an hour of Alghero. No fishing this time as we have run out of lures?

The approach to Alghero was as magnificent as always. Swathed in glorious sunshine the views fro the sea of the old town and ramparts were very impressive.

Alghero as seen from the sea – coming from the south

We decided upon the marina that we had stayed in before, “Ser Mar”, and as last time we were greeted by a tender at the harbour entrance at 1300 and then by Frederico, the owner, when at the pontoon He remembered us and we exchanged pleasantries before putting Arctura to rest after her long voyage.

Marina Ser Mar

A short rest for us and then I concocted a spaghetti carbonara for lunch.

After lunch we took a walk into town and opted for a drink on the terrace of the highest building in Alghero, the Hotel Catalunya , with fantastic views of the city.

Views from hotel Catalunya

I booked a table for 2000 for Ed and me at our favourite restaurant “Mabrouk”. There is only one set menu, you take what comes, but there is plenty, so you need a good appetite. I think we counted 9 diff rent dishes and 3 deserts. The wine also flowed and you can have as many carafes as you can muster. All this for €40 per head.

Me and Ed at Ristorante Mabrouk

A fantastic gastronomic experience.

Sassari by bus

As there is no wind to sail, today we decided to take a bus ride into Sassari, Sardinia’s second largest city. But before we did, we settled up with Frederico, and he very kindly offered us a ride to the bus stop. This put us well ahead of

schedule, but gave us the opportunity to have a relaxed breakfast of cakes and coffee.

Via Catalonga from where we caught the bus

Our bus arrived on time at 1200 at the Via Catalonga bus stop. The return journey cost us €6.20 per person and took just over an hour.

A short 10 minute walk and we were in the old town, which is a stark contrast to the streets to get there en route.

Cattedrale di San Nicola

The old town has a warm feel to it and the stone work on the Catterdrale Di San Nicola, is amazing. There are plenty of nice restaurants and we were again lucky to chose one in the old town called “Spagettoria S’Artea”. The choice paid off, again, not a single tourist in site, strictly Italian, with some beautiful women having lunch to add to the ambiance.

We had a mussel soup to start, followed by a delicious spaghetti Sarda, and finally polished off with Tiramisu. Some wine off course ?

The journey to and from was through olive groves and vineyards, some of which I would like to visit next time.

Sailing or Maintenance

And so finally the day has come when we plan to sail. Our plan is to sail to Tuarredda or perhaps CarloForte. While we still had the hire car the previous day, we provisioned for our trip, which made the whole job a lot easier.

So, Arctura readied, we slipped lines at 0953 and motored out of the marina, raising the main by the harbour entrance. We motor sailed for a while before deciding to unfurl the genoa. Nothing happened, no movement of the electric motors that unfurl the sails. So Ed went through the usual checks of checking the circuit breakers, but still nothing. Because some maintenance had been done on the chart plotter, which is where the genoa electric run also, we presumed that something had come loose. So we headed back to Sant’Elmo for diagnosis.

Taking apart the wiring, we check for all possibilities. Finally with the multimeter deployed we decided to check the voltages, but we need a good earth. This was achieved by running a cable from the multimeter, at the stern of Arctura, to the batteries in the fore cabin. It was then that Ed noticed that the circuit breaker had not been reset and that this was the nature of the problem. So with a flick of the breakers and 30 minutes reassembling the cables we were underway again.

A cracking sail to Tuarredda and we arrived just before sunset. It took us a couple attempts to set the anchor, but eventually we were in and holding. A pleasant evening with a sausage pasta care of moi.

Sunset at Tuarredda

We then heard the familiar noise of the bilge pump and upon inspection noticed quite a lot of water in the bilges. Ed went straight for the calorifire and the hot water feed was the nature of the leak. Luckily, Ed had some spare hoses and joints and after four hours of work the leak was solved and we were still afloat ?⛵️

Ed repairing the leak on the calorifire

So the day didn’t turn out as planned, but from every situation one learns and adds it to ones wealth of knowledge. That’s sailing for you….

A Coastal walk with friends

On our second day of having the hire car we decided to take a drive up to Santa Maria Navarrese. I was last here in July with Alex, Massimo and Marta, and off course Arba.

It was Ed’s turn to drive and on our way up I sent a text to Marta and Massimo to see where they were. Coincidently, they were anchored just off Santa Maria Navarrese at a small island called “Isola dell’Ogliastra. After a fe more texts and conversation with Ed, we all decided to meet up and go for the coastal walk that Ed and I had planned to do.

We arrived just after 1200 and met Marta and Massimo, and our Swiss friends, Rachel and Roman. After greeting and friendly exchanges, we made our way to the start of the walk.

A map at the route shows the route, distance and incline. We are on the inner 5km coastal route, marked in white.

Marta told us that the walk was fairly flat an easy. Ed had also checked information about the walk the previous night and concurred, as so we set off.

The walk starts of with a short climb up some step carved into the natural terrain and for the first part is pleasantly undulating, but progressively becomes more challenging with steeper inclines and descents, some quite rugged and rocky. That said, it’s a really pleasant walk, with the prize of fantastic views and a wonderful terraced restaurant at the end.

Happy faces, Marta and Massimo at the start of the walk
Ed and me starting the walk

Views back to the island opposite Santa Maria Navarrese
Wild goats on route
Pedralonga Longa in the distance
Arba enjoying the walk

Enjoying a well deserved lunch on the terrace of “Trattoria Pedralonga Longa”
The happy married couple the day before their first wedding anniversary

Sardinian donkey, on our return walk

Although the walk wasn’t as easy as anticipated it was more than pleasure able with stunning sights and the terraced restaurant at the end a fantastic bonus with great, fresh, seafood. We saw many families with young children, so if taken slowly must be o.k. For them too. Arba, certainly enjoyed herself.

North to Mal di Ventre

13th to 15th of October

We stayed a couple of nights on CarloForte and on the last night found a delightful restaurant, literally just opposite the marina office. As is our now mode operandi when seeking out new restaurants, it was populated with Italians, which is a good rule to observe, to get value for money, great food and ambiance. We had a amazing beef Tonga, followed by tagliatelle vongole, enhanced by a fine bottle of Vermentino.

Our neighbour whilst at CarloForte

The morning of the 15th, we slipped lines at 1000 and set sail fo Mal Di Ventre. A fantastic sail, with speeds exceeding 8kts. We had a massive bite on the fishing rod, so big in fact that the reel reached its limit and whatever was on the end was impossible to pull in. By the time we had slowed that boat down, whatever was on the end had escaped.

Approaching Isola Mal Di Ventre at 8.1 kts

We reached Isola Mal Di Ventre at 1830 and had 30 minutes of light , before the sun set, to find a sandy patch and drop anchor. There are mooring buoys here, but we prefer to use our own hardware. We have been here once before and remember the slightly sulphurous smell approaching the anchorage.

Due to our dinner escaping and taking our lure with it, we were forced to eat the steaks that we had bought before we left for our journey. Ed prepared them beautifully, with a mayonnaise sauce and accompanied the potatoes wedges and salad.

An undulating and yet comfortable night and even Ed managed to get some sleep.

A wonderful bolt hole and perhaps next time we may land and visit the Roman ruins.

Road Trip to Barumini and Villasimius

The first few days in Sardinia were spent visiting archaeological sites and taking nature walks. We hired a car for £32 for four days, unbelievable bargain. This allowed to venture in land to Barumini. We were here to visit the archeological site of “Su Nuraxi Di Barumini”, an ancient people called the Nuraghe, that inhabited Sardinia 1700 BC. Unbelievable remains of Bronze Age people, with amazing architectural skills. But before we did that we had lunch in a restaurant opposite the site called “Il Cacallinno Della Giara”. A good choice of Mortadella with a side dish of fresh cherry tomatoes. Delicious and very reasonably priced with pleasant service.

Restaurant – Il Cacallinno Della Giara
Interior of Restaurant – Il Cacallinno Della Giara
This is apparently a foot bath and sauna, or so we were told by our tour guide.
The Bronze Age village

Ed in one of the passages in the courtyards
Chiesa Parochial of Immacolata in the village of Barumini

Our next plan was to take the coastal road to Villasimius. This meant travelling all the way back to Cagliari and then heading east along the coastal road. The road proved absolutely wonderful along the coast with amazing views of the sea and shore. We passed by many anchorages that we had visited both on Arctura and Arya.

Fantastic views of the anchorages along the coastal road to Villasimius

Spectacular sunsets at Fortezza Vecchia and dusk overlooking Solanas

We arrived in Villasimius in time for the sunset and then started our return towards the setting sun and Cagliari.