WITH SAD HEART

All good things come to an end and it is with sad heart that the day has come to leave Sardinia and return to the U.K. The only good thing is that we are returning to 25 degrees from a baking 38 degrees.

Massimo, Marta and Arba took Alex and me to the airport for our flight back to Gatwick.

We had such a great holiday and cant thank our friends enough for an unbelievable and unforgettable experience. One that will stay within us forever.

Arrivaderci Sardinia – A farewell at Cagliari airport.

Homeward Journey

We managed to reach our furthest point of our Sailing Odyssey and now its time to say farewell to BoniFacio and Corsica and set a course back to Cagliari, with hopefully some stops on the way.

We slipped lines at 1400, a little later than we planned, but that’s what this holiday has been all about. Compromise, no planned locations and if there are they are can be changed, and anything is possible. On this basis, we all voted for a last stop in the Maddalena’s, and stopped in a small anchorage that Ed and I pulled into a few weeks ago, to stow our tender, before entry into Maddalena. This time we were stopping overnight, and as usual participate in our usual beach landing and swim. We had a cracking sail here, all the way into the bay, Cala d’Alga, on the Isola Spargi.

Arya at anchor at Cala d’Alga
Sunset at Cala d’Alga

The Cala was almost empty when we anchored and certainly became empty, by the time we landed on the beach. Yet another experience of a beach all to ourselves. Privacy in Paradise is wonderful. We walked on our newly found territory and then donned flippers and snorkels and explored the undersea world of this paradise. Many fish and sea urchins, and I explored some underwater rocks and small crevices for octopus, but sadly found none. Still, it was interesting exploring.

Underwater at Cala d’Alga
Desert island Love

So, yet another night at anchor. Not a movement on the yachts and slept like babies. Next morning, another quick swim, before heading south and for Cagliari.

On route we caught a glimpse of two dolphins, a treat for Alex, although they only stayed with us for 2 minutes and were soon gone. But better than nothing.

Alex dolphin spotting
Home made pizza under sail
And yet another sunset, you can never get board of sunsets at sea. Humbling

The first part of our journey was under sail, but soon the wind died and we had to engine all through the night. We popped our heads into Marina Di Gairo, a lovely anchorage that I saw some weeks back. Very, very pretty and sheltered with a lovely beach, but because it was only 0700 and Massimo was still sleeping, we headed further south for Foxi Manna. This is where we anchored on the way up and swam many kilometres to and from the yacht. This time we went the 280 mtrs by tender and had breakfast at the beach cafe.

After breakfast we headed south and were beating into wind. We tried some tacking in 22 kt winds, but soon opted for an inland coastal route, under engine and back to Cagliari.

As we entered the harbour, in darkness, the yacht ahead of us suddenly stopped, and as we were passing, those on board were calling for help, as their engine had just failed. We pondered what to do and eventually, I suggested, we throw them a line and tow them in. It wasn’t easy, especially at night, but I managed to take them onto the end of a pontoon walkway, where we let loose and they drifted onto the pontoon. My good deed for the year ?

And so we moored up, and quickly made our way to Club Sportif and a delicous pizza for all, apart from Alex, who wanted a steak. Bless.

Alex and I went back to Arya for a very restful and peaceful night, while Massimo and Marta and Arba, went home. It was very strange waking up the next day and not seeing turquoise waters all around and going for our early morning dip. Still, there will be other times.

Farewell Sardinia

Well no sooner than you think your holiday is over and the sailing is done, then out pops a surprise.

After a lunch time meal at our favourite restaurant “Aquila” we return to Arya for a siesta. No sooner had we put our heads down there was a knock on the hatch. Massimo and Marta had turned up and offered to take us to anchor at Sella del Diavolo, an anchorage a mere 3nms from Sant Elmo marina.

We anchored in 3.3 mtrs and immediately went for a swim to cool down in the 38 degrees of heat. The water was as warm as bath water, but refreshing none the less. We stayed for hours, enjoying the Cala, and simply snorkelling and splashing around. Even Arba, with here new found sea legs joined in the fun.

Snorkelling yet again
Water polo

Alex didn’t want to leave
Arba, joining in the fun

The Cala was cooler, and as we left and headed back to Sant Elmo, we could immediately feel the hot wind, which like a hair drier, almost immediately dried our swimming consumes and clothes.

Back in the marina, we ordered take away pizzas, and reminisced about our adventures.

In our 9 days at sea we covered over 400 nm, anchored in 14 Calas, visited only 2 marinas, saw dolphins, Moray eels, empty secluded bays, paradise beaches, two night sails, stars and planets,visited two Countries, but above all had the most wonderful of times with our great friends Marta, Massimo and off course Arba.

Thank you to them and for the most wonderful of hoilidays, which will stay in Alex’s and my heart and mind forever. THANK YOU

A day in BoniFacio

This is my third time here and this place never ceases to amaze me. This time we all spent a leisurely later afternoon, going to the marina office, paying our dues €116, OW!!!, filing water tanks and cleaning Arya. After which I managed to slip of with Alex for a ice cream and beer, a beer for me that is ?

A small beer, pour moi

In the evening, we set of into the Citadel. It’s always wonderful, walking through these delightful narrow street, full of shops and restaurants all accompanied by incredible views of either the sea and spectacular cliffs on on side or spectacular sights of the yachts and marina below, on the other side.

The marina on one side
Spectacular views the other side

The marina at night

We were recommended a pizza restaurant “U Castile”, by the marina staff, which we headed for after our sight seeing. It proved a great recommendation, with all of us delighting in the good quality, fresh pizzas, produced on the premises.

Preparing our pizza, under Alex’s supervision

After dinner, we headed back down into the bustling port and marina and joined in with the merriments of the late evening and early morning.

Alex also managed to talk his way into a delightful sweet shop by the quayside.

Alex in sweet shop heaven

At last the Maddelenas

Tuesday the 2nd of July 2019

After the night sail we decided to take a quick breakfast stop at the wonderful island of Tavolara, there was only one other yacht anchored nearby and as we ate our breakfast an sea plane few overhead. A few minutes later, we saw it again, this time on a final approach and landed a few hundred metres away. Another first, as I’ve never seen a sea landing in real life. After a quick swim for Marta we headed to the south western tip of Tavolara and then across the bay of Olbia. Being here twice before, it was now familiar territory and as the wind picked up we raised our sails and headed onto our next destination, Cavallo.

At Anchor at Tavolara

We had a steady wind and as we entered the beautiful waters of The Maddalena islands, I decided to take us into Cala Coticcio, more commonly referred to as Tahiti beach, because of it’s white sands and turquoise waters. Although, having said that I have seen clearer waters and whiter beaches elsewhere in this area.

I have been her several times before, but in April or May, this time as we sailed in the Cala was full of tenders, zodiacs, motor boats and yachts, not to mention large tourist boats, brining in even more tourists. We decided to stop for a while anyway. There was a free mooring buoy, which I decided to pick up, a first for Massimo. We had a swim amongst the fish, which only just managed to out number the tourists.

The madness of Tahiti beach, not how I remembered it on other occasions. Very busy
Massimo, with hundred of fish in the background

So, refreshed, but somewhat disappointed, with the number of yachts and tourists, and not being able to get onto the beach for lack of space, we pressed on and had a wonderful sail all the way to the entrance of Cala Di Zeri, of the island of Cavallo, arriving 2000 . We anchored in the eastern part of the Cala in 4.5 metres. We readied the tender and made our way to the beach for an evening swim in the warm waters of bay.

Arriving just before sunset at Cala Zeri, Cavallo
Evening swim for Alex

A long day, and now a restful night with dinner under the stars. What a difference to Tahiti, quite and peaceful.

Another day in true Paradise, Calvallo

So, we have woken up in true paradise and quickly went ashore, much to Arba’s delight. A short walk up the single track road and we arrived at the hotel, where I had been with Edward and Elaine some 6 weeks ago.

I introduced Alex, Massimo and Marta to Chrsitana, a member of the hotel staff, whom I met here last time. She remembered me and was happy that we all returned. We sat by the hotel bay and indulged in coffee, Granita’s and the odd beer, and savoured paradise.

On the way back to Arya,we turned right, off the single track right road and into the most wonderful beach and bay you could ever imagine. As there are no private beaches on this island we headed down to the golden sands and clear waters of what is truly the most wonderful bay I have ever had the pleasure of swimming in. TRUE PARADISE.

Marta and Massimo at the Hotel Des Pecheurs

Alex, Marta Massimo teaching Arba how to swim

Alex and Arba swimming in Paradise Bay

The Bay was fantastic and so inviting, that we just couldn’t get out,and it was with sad heart that we had to leave and get back to Arya and onto our final and furthest destination of our trip, BoniFacio.

Unfortunately, we had to engine all the way, but it was only 8nms and we arrived to the wonderful entrance of the gorge. By 1630 we were moored up and relaxing on deck.

Alex with Arba, at the entrance to Bonifacio

North of Santa Maria Navarrese

The morning of the 1st of July was spent provisioning. Massimo and I went to get gas, groceries and some flippers for moi, whilst Marta and Alex stayed on Arya and filled water tanks and cleaned inside and out. I took my huge canvas trolley suitcase, which has proved useful, for such provisioning trips, on multitude of occasions. This time it was full to the brim, with gas bottle, 12 litres of water, tinned foods, fresh meats, fruit and vegetables and also the now essential mask and flippers.

Once back on Arya, I completed the cold Polish Borsch, which I had prepared several days earlier. A welcomed cold soup in these high temperatures. I also managed to get a quick chat in with Roman and Rachel, such lovely people, and I was sorry not to have been able to spend more time with them, hopefully, they’ll be another time.

We slipped lines just before 1500 and headed up the coast and almost immediately anchored just 0.4nm north of Pedra Longa. We stayed an hour and I tried my new mask and flippers and as usual Alex shot off in search of sea snakes and fish.

Massimo in full flight
Arya, anchored in a Cala just 0.4 nm north of Pedralonga Longa
Alex and Massimo in the waters of the Cala

Cala Goloritze

Heading north, but only a cable or two off shore, we passed fantastic sights of shear cliff faces, darting out of the sea and rises vertically several hundred metres. We passed Cala Goloritze, Mariolu, Grotto Del Fico, the pools of Venus and many others, before finally anchoring for dinner at Cala Sisine. I had visited all these places a company of months earlier, but by a tourist pleasure boat, and seeing it from a yacht showed it through a different perspective.

Marta made a wonderful pesto and tomatoes pasta, which was devoured in minutes, primarily by Alex. Then we set sail in a north easterly direction, towards Capo Comino and then northwards towards the Maddalena islands.

The sun disappeared behind the towering mountains and the stars came out in all their glory. A fantastic view of the Milky Way and I reminisced my viewing of this awesome sight of our Galaxy, when, as a child, I visited my grandparents in the Cotswolds. I clearly recall it being brighter then, so either my eyesight is going or we are polluting our planet so quickly, that within 55 years this wondrous sight has somewhat diminished. That said, this beautiful night sky was accompanied by the most glorious smell of Sardinia fauna, quite incredible and overpowering, even 2 nms off shore. Alex was in awe of the sights of the Milky Way and the millions of stars within our galaxy.

It’s now 0345 and we have Capo Comino on our beam and I can see the red and green entrance lateral marks of Caletta in the distance. So I continue my watch and wait for the dawn and what that brings.

And onto Santa Maria Navarrese

It’s tempting to stop at all these lovely beaches and anchorages on our northward journey, especially in the fine settled weather we are having, with minimal swell. But today, we set our objective as Santa Maria Navarrese, for few reason.

One. We need to dispose of Rubish

Two. We need to refill our water tanks

Three. Provision

Four. We need to make some headway north and stop being distracted by beautiful anchorages along the way.

Five. Take advantage of the last day of the month and reduced rates of €50 per night, reduced to €45 for C A Members.

So we weighed anchor at 12 and headed north in a 7 to 10 kts south easterly. Even though we had our sights set for the marina, we were drawn like magnets to a couple of anchorages for a swim. The final one was the small rocky Isola dell’Ogliastra only 1 nm south east of Santa Maria Navarrese marina..

Rocks Faraglioni at our first anchorage

Spot the diver

We anchorages some 100 metres from the rocky shore, not because of any restriction, but because it was quite busy with yachts and other pleasure craft. So we snorkels up and swan ashore. It was Alex’s first time, with mask and snorkel and he was a natural. He beat us all to the rocky outcrop and immediately started exploring. This boy has not fear of water, its amazing how he just goes of and swims endlessly. Alex was lucky enough to see an Moray eel, unfortunately, he didn’t have the Go Pro to hand to film it, but by all accounts it was a large beast, hiding in the rocks.

Isola dell’Ogliastra with Santa Maria Navarrese in the background
Yachts at Anchor at Isola dell’Ogliastra
Snorkelling Alex, on his way to the rocks
Alex searching for the Moray eel

After a few hours on the rocky outcrop, we headed for the marina. After a quick splash down, crew not yacht, I met my Swiss friends from the last visit. Roman, Rachel and their children Louis and Morris. They were happy and surprised to see me and we chatted and caught up on adventures.

Cooling down at Santa Maria Navarrese

A pizza beckoned, and we soon made our way to a fantastic restaurant by the beach, some 1.5 kms from the marina, “Ristorante e Pizzeria Tancau”. Delicious pizzas, deserts and views.

Isola dell’Ogliastra in the background where we anchored and snorkelled
Ristorante e Pizzeria Tancau

Another day another anchorage

So the first jobs of then day was coffee, breakfast followed quickly by kedge anchor recovery. This was carried out by deploying the tender, with Massimo on board, and literally pulling the anchor out, which would have been o.k. If it wasn’t lodge under the only rock in the vicinity. Still job done and an exhausted, but jubilant Massimo returns to Arya.

So we weighed anchor at 1020 and headed north, this time under engine, as promised wind did not show. about an hour into the trip, Massimo’s eye caught sight of a beach and so after a brief consultation with the crew and also because there was no wind we all decided to head for it and anchor.

We arrived into even more beautiful turquoise waters and anchored in 4 metres and .2 nms off shore. There was no delay, we all immediately dived into the crystal clear waters and swam for about 40 minutes before having the idea to swim the 300 metres to the beach. So Massimo, Alex and myself, headed for the beach and we all arrived safely. Massimo commented

How brave Alex was and after a brief rest we headed back to Arya, which seemed longer than coming to the beach, I think thats always the case, plus we were swimming against a light current and wind. No sooner were we back on Arya, we all decided to head back for the beach, this time with Arba and also to provision with a few things we had forgotten to buy. So I was designated as being in charge of the tender and Arba, whilst Massimo, Marta and Alex swan, but this time with flippers, which Alex really enjoyed. He commented how much easier it was and he is really a sea boy. This is probably due to all the hard work, and pleasure, that i put in, from when he was 2 months old and we went swimming everyday, until he was forcibly removed to Poland, where he does no swimming what so ever?.

After provisioniong and an ice cream on shore, we headed back. I rowed back due to outboard not starting, whislt the others swam. So Alex covered 1.2 kms by swim power?.

Back on board and yet another sunset, this time with ever more spectacular views of the high mountains in land, dawned with exceptional colours. In my opion, being here is better than the Madalena’s. Great scenary with high backdrops as opposed to low lying islands. That said, you must have very settled weather to anchor here, but thats also true of some parts of Madelena.

Eveving completed with another fine pasta dish and beddy byes. we will sleep like lords after a feast.

Out of Port and onto anchor

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Well this was certainly our case. We were meant to leave at 1700, but due to the usual unforeseen circumstances and last minute glitches we finally slipped lines at 1919. Still we have departed upon our voyage of discovery. Our objective is to get as far north as possible, perhaps Bonifacio, and then wend our way back to Cagliari.

Setting sail out of the intense heat of the marina, 36 degrees, we headed out in to a cooler environment of open water, with a delightful and gentle sea breeze. This was enough to allow us to sail for the first 10 nm, at which time the wind dropped to below 3 knts and we motored the remainder.

Father and son – at the exit of Cagliari harbour

The conditions on route were perfect, and pulling 4 kts over the calmest of sea was beauty in the making. Alex was in heaven and in his new found element.

Watching the sunset over Caglairi and the western hills of Sardinia was like a dream unfolding. Alex commented how quickly the sun disappeared, and its true, one doesn’t realise how quickly our little earth is moving, until you have a reference point, such as the sun on the horizon.

Alex and sun set at 2047
Sunset one minute later

Night fell and we were rewarded with another miracle of the stars in the heavens. Thousands upon thousands of visible stars appeared and the Milky Way was clearly visible, together with Jupiter and Saturn. We all laid on the fore deck, admiring this free show and spectacle and I for one wondered upon its creation. To top it all we saw a few shooting stars upon the backdrop of the heavens.

You could see the delight in Alex’s eyes as he too pondered these wonders and new experiences filling his mind, hopefully forever. He was in awe and said that this was the best experience ever and would want to stay on yachts and sail the seas. By the way, his now preferred Country has changed for England to Italy.

Before Alex and Marta retired we were serverd a wonderful dinner, of tomatoes spaghetti, under the carpet of the stars, by Massimo. And as a finali, I showed Alex the illuminations of plankton and phosphorescent sea life, creating its own lit Universe, in the sea below.

So with half the crew below and asleep, Massimo and I pressed on for the last hour to anchor in the beautiful bay of Carbonarra, minding out for the other 20 or so yachts that were to be our neighbours for the night. Finally dropping the hook at 0021, we put Arya to rest and then ourselves. An Amazing first day, with a Father proudly looking at his son and the joy and happiness in Alex’s eyes and soul.