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7th -8th June 2022 - Mahon - Porto di Alghero, Sardinia (194.1 nautical miles)

We left George and Amelia to have a romantic last few days in Mahon. They were really good about us having to leave when we did, but when weather windows appear you have to jump on them. So at 6am we weighed anchor and set out through the channel back into open water and a beautiful sunrise. As soon as we came out from the Mahon channel the wind looked good to raise the sails. We had rigged the Code 0 as the winds would start off light. Not far behind us were Innamorata II who were doing the same thing, followed by Falkor. It would be the last time we were all together. Almost immediately Innamorata II headed off to the SE away from us. We were heading ENE toward an anchorage near Alghero, Sardinia. Falkor were going to try to do the same but if they couldn’t get enough of an angle on the wind they would arrive in Sardinia a bit further down in Bosa. The wind was coming from the NW and we had a glorious day of sailing with the full main and the penguin sail out. As we sailed away from land we got a text message from our friend Richard on our Lagoon 42 UK owners group who saw where we were headed and told us that there was a town quay in Alghero that you could tie up to free of charge for up to five nights. Something reasonably commonplace in Italy. It was first come first serve so, we had a quick look on Navily and some kind soul has taken a photo of the sign on the quay which had the details including a phone number. We decided that we would give them a call when we got closer.

At the start of a reasonably long passage Carl and I generally stay up on the helm together. By about 6pm though we split into our watches and Carl took the first one through til 9pm. We’d lost sight of Falkor a fair few miles back and were out of phone signal range. By the time I took over the sea state was a little more bouncy but the wind had held at around 10kn from the NW so we were still flying the Code 0 with full main. We don’t often fly the Code 0 at night but the wind had been so consistent throughout the day and we needed to keep making progress. By midnight we had sailed 100nm, about halfway, so we were on track to arrive in the daylight which is always a bonus. When Carl came on watch the wind was starting to pick up so we took the precaution to furl the Code 0 (which takes both of us to do) and roll out the jib instead. I then went downstairs to try and get some sleep. The wind was starting to shift round to the W so in order to maintain course we were effectively side on to the swell. Not a great recipe for sleep. By 6am that morning we had had to gybe twice to maintain course. The wind had also dropped off so Carl furled the jib and rolled out the Code 0 again. Unfortunately it continued to drop so by 8am we finally admitted defeat and started the starboard engine. We kept on faffing about with the sails to see if we could catch a bit more wind but by midday we had given up and all the sails were furled. It wasn’t the most comfortable of seas to motor through. Nearing land we finally got some phone signal and heard that Falkor was indeed making for Bosa instead of Alghero. Before Richard’s message on Whatsapp we were going to anchor in Porto Conte, a bay just up the coast from Alghero. When we were about an hour or so out we phoned the port authority of Alghero to see if there was space on the quay. No point spending an hour heading to the marina only to be turned round and have to head an hour back to the anchorage. A very helpful man told us that there was one space left on the town quay and that he would hold it for us. Trying to remember ‘grazie’ rather than ‘gracias’ at the end of the call, (which we failed at) we headed on in. Just outside the marina entrance we radioed the marinero again and he came out to meet us on his rib. We followed him all the way down to the end closest to the castle wall and to the corner. Carl swung her round and backed her in. The marinero was there to take our lines which was helpful as there were only rings in the stone wall. Our next door neighbour, Wolfgang, on his boat Black Dream came out to say hello and assist although none was needed. It was such a lovely arrival to Sardinia and we had a prime spot. Thanks must go to Richard for letting us know. It was 6:20pm, just over 36 hours from when we set off and 194 nautical miles later. The Dark and Stormy tasted pretty good!

9th - 10th June 2022 - Alghero

Making full use of the free dock we spent a fantastic couple of days in Alghero. We were a stones throw from a petrol station so opted to cart a few jerry cans of fuel back to the boat to top her up. Having been in Spanish territory for quite some time it was interesting to experience the differences of a new country. How many times we responded in Spanish before correcting ourselves I cannot tell you but the waiting staff seemed reasonably good natured about it - at least to our faces. The town within the castle was really beautiful to just wander round, with lovely views out to the sea that we had just crossed. We took the bikes out for a cycle along the coast to Fertilia, around a 7km ride. After quite a while on the boat it was great to get out and use the legs. The coastline between the two towns was pretty much all beach so on our way back we stopped at one of the bars along the way and had our first Ichnusa beer. When we got back to the boat we invited Wolfgang and his friend, another Wolfgang, aboard for a sundowner. Both were solo sailors who had met when they were wintering in Licata in Sicily. German Wolfgang’s boat was a bit further up the quay; Austrian Wolfgang was the one next to us. Whilst we were chatting over our G&Ts it seemed that the town was gearing up for some parade and barriers were being erected just in front of our boats, along the street. Whilst Wolfgang and Wolfgang hopped back onboard Black Dream for their steak dinner, Carl and I wandered into town for ours. We had decided to head off the next day so it would be our last night in Alghero. After a lovely dinner we made our way back to the boat. At around 10pm we saw a policeman talking to Wolfgang. He was also gesticulating towards us. When we asked him what was being said he told us that the policeman wanted us to leave the town quay as the parade was going to be starting the next day. Wolfgang kindly informed him that we both would not be moving that night as a) it was dark and b) we had all had something to drink. We told him that we would leave by 9am the next morning. He seemed to reluctantly agree to that and sauntered off. The only complication with leaving at 9am was that we needed to ‘check out’ of the port on our ‘constituto’. Oh yes, it would not be a European country without some pointless bit of bureaucracy that needs to be done. It’s effectively an Italian transit log for the boat. Carl had reported to the port authority the day after we arrived and was issued with one. We now needed to get it stamped to leave and the office didn’t open til 9am.

11th June 2022 - Porto di Alghero - Passaggio della Pelosa ( 36.9 nautical miles)

Shortly before 9am the next morning, whilst I was flapping about the boat looking busy and making out that we were going to leave soon, Carl went off to get the stamp. Wolfgang had already moved off across to near where other Wolfgang was so we were just there, standing out like a sore thumb. A couple of policemen hovered around us and, in the phone conversation that he was having, I understood the word ‘catamaran’ so he was obviously talking about us. At 9:10am I texted Carl to ask how he was getting on. He told me the office wasn’t open yet! I continued to fret and removed the breast lines, turn the nav instruments on and removed the instrument covers. At 9:15am I finally saw Carl walking back to the boat and I started the engines. Once the passerelle was up we were good to go. We slipped the lines and headed out of the marina. Wolfgang had told us of this amazing anchorage on the north side of the island so that was where we were heading. Out in front there was another Lagoon 42 called Malaika. They had full sails up and were making a valiant effort to sail in 8kn of wind. We were heading north and the wind was coming from the NW so there wasn’t much of an angle to the wind. We were shamed into raising ours and what followed was an extremely slow sail for the next two hours, tacking back and forth. Eventually we decided if we wanted to arrive before sunset we needed to put the engine on. For a couple of hours we motored before the wind filled in a bit and we opted for unfurling the Code 0. Engine off. We were floating nicely along until a small speedboat with two guys fishing on it kept manoeuvring itself in our way. I kept trying to pinch as much as I could to get out of their way whilst still keeping the wind in the code 0 but then they moved off and positioned their boat about 20m directly in front of ours and stopped. I swear they were doing it on purpose. I had to start an engine and move around them which collapsed the sail. D**ks. Once we had passed them they moved off and did the same thing to a sailing vessel behind us.

The day stretched on and we made slow progress up the coast. It really did feel like Sardinia was one really long, thin island! By 4pm both us and Malaika were clearly motor sailing. Our destination was an anchorage formed in the stretch of water between the main island and Isola della Pelosa. There was a narrow, and shallow entrance between the two islands or you could go round the outside of Pelosa which was deeper. Malaika was about a mile ahead of us and we saw them drop the sails and head into the shallow passage. After checking on Navionics, a more accurate application for depth soundings than our generic European charts that came with the boat, we opted to follow. It would probably shave off an hour of the journey and if, when we got there, Malaika wasn’t stuck on a shelf, we surely could make it too. We watched them on AIS and attempted to follow their route as well as the most sensible one given the information on Navionics. As we came through the cut we saw loads of boats at anchor ahead. The depth gauge dropped as low as 1.2m below the keel but then rose. We entered what can only be described as Caribbean-like waters. A large expanse of crystal clear, turquoise water, about 2-3m deep. Plenty of space around us to anchor. We passed by Malaika who gave us a wave and anchored behind them in 2.3m of water. It was 5:25pm. It really was astonishing how clear the water was.

It was so beautiful we decided to stay and extra night. We hadn’t tested out the dive gear yet so the following day Carl donned the kit and flopped off the back of the boat. He finned round the boat and took a good look at the anodes on both props. That sacrificial metal designed to stop corrosion of the propellers was looking a bit eaten up and we started to think when a good time would be to replace them. Now that we had the dive gear it was doable underwater but the whole propeller had to come off to fit it and the likelihood of dropping something was pretty high. We’d keep an eye on it for now. That afternoon as we chilled on the boat, the stillness and beauty of the spot was somewhat distorted by the club music coming from the resort ashore. We didn’t mind the music so much but there was clearly some competition going on and a guy on a megaphone bellowing out some stuff: BELLISSIMO!! was mentioned repeatedly. It was mildly irritating but not enough to take away from the absolutely gorgeous spot that we found ourselves in. Truly beautiful.

13th June 2022 - Passaggio della Pelosa - Baia de Santa Reparata (48.2 nautical miles)

Since we had decided to stay two nights in Passaggio della Pelosa we had a near 50 mile sail to get us to our next anchorage. We had to cross the large bay on the north of the island to a spot near Santa Teresa de Gallura, a little bay called Santa Reparata, right in the Bonifacio Strait. We set off at 5:50am to a gorgeous sunrise. Once we cleared the anchorage we started off with just the Code 0, gliding through the water at 3.5kn SOG. She is a lovely sail but she is big and sort of blocks the view so trying to dodge the many lobster pots that were everywhere became difficult, especially with the sun low in the sky and glinting off the water. We furled her for a bit but by 10am the wind had built enough that we flew her again and achieved around 4.3kn SOG. By lunchtime the wind had built sufficiently that the Code 0 was put away and the main and jib were raised, we were comfortably moving through the water at 5kn. As we entered the Bonifacio straits it got a bit lively, tacking back and forth aiming for Santa Reparata. On our way there we heard over the radio on channel 16 about a collision between a super yacht and a catamaran. The skipper of the super yacht urged them to change to channel 11 to discuss the incident. We hurriedly did the same to earwig on what had happened. We came round the corner and spotted High Power III, a beautiful Italian made 58m super yacht. Bit of an uninspiring name though to be fair. She was anchored in a bay a couple over from us. No sign of the catamaran that hit her. I guess one doesn’t hang around after exchanging details. After putting the sails away we motored into the bay just after 4pm and found a spot to anchor. We dropped the hook in 6.5m of sand and weed. It was still a bit breezy so I opted to jump in the water to check the anchor. Never comfortable with weed. I followed the chain out and then it disappeared into the weed, no sign of the anchor. Eeesh! Well, we’d backed down on it and it didn’t budge. As long as the wind didn’t change direction we should be ok. Obviously little sleep for me that night!

We’d come this way as Bonifacio, in Corsica, was on our list of places to visit in the Med. It was a pin on the travel wall back in the UAE. We could leave our boat on the quayside at Santa Teresa de Gallura and get a ferry across or we could put our big boy/girl pants on and head into the marina in Bonifacio. It was hideously expensive, a narrow (but spectacular) entrance, really busy and they tended to put catamarans on the end of pontoons without a hammerhead so you’d have to tie up to something about 2m long. There was an anchorage on the way in but that seems needlessly complicated with a bouy to pick up at the front and a stern line to the shore. Also they charged per bouy so it would be at least €100 to tie up with no assistance. And it was a bit far out from the town. Carl rang the marina to see if there was space for us which there was…for €159/night. When we were planning our great expedition we always said we would splash out every now and again if it was somewhere we really wanted to go and this was one of those places. The weather was supposed to be calm the following day so there was no better time to do it. Big pants went on!

14th June 2022 - Baia de Santa Reparata - Bonifacio, Corsica (9.63 nautical miles)

I was unusually quiet the next morning when we left at 10:15am. Nerves I guess. No-one wants to damage their boat but also no one wants to look like a tit doing it either. We were heading to the realms of the rich and famous with our little Rockhopper. This was made pretty evident when, over the radio, we heard that High Power III had just got permission to cross the Bonifacio strait to go there too. They had to give an account of their crew and passenger complement: 19 crew, 2 guests….at this point we googled it and you can charter the yacht for the princely sum of €490,000 per week. We were motoring across at 5kn towards the entrance. Behind us we could see HPIII coming across at 10kn. We decided not to race her and let her go first.

Approaching the entrance you see the Maritime cemetery up high on the cliff face. Then the citadel de Bonifacio comes into view. You enter what feels like a canyon and immediately do a dog leg to head towards the head of the bay, with marina pontoons on both sides. With ferries coming and going and boats near constantly heading out we manoeuvred ourselves as far over to the starboard side as we could to allow boats to pass on our port side. If HPIII could make it through, so could we. As the marina came into view we saw HPIII hovering around at the entrance. Listening to the radio it was clear that there was a another large super yacht against the town quay at the head of the bay and it needed to come out first before HPIII and its two guests could move in. A marinero on a rib came out to welcome us. Just before my ‘bongiorno’ came out I realised I was in France and changed it to a ‘bonjour’. He informed us that we had to wait there for a moment. That moment became 45 mins with Carl trying to keep Rockhopper pointed into the wind and stationary with HPIII hovering too and ferries coming in and going out. Eventually the other super yacht ‘Apogee’ glided past, blocking the sun, and HPIII spun round to reverse into its spot. The marinero came over to us and apologised for the wait and told us we would be on the end of a pontoon (brilliant) and we could give it a go on our own or wait until HPIII was settled then he would come back and help us. We opted to wait. When he finally came back we followed him and and spied our pontoon. I had lines ready but looking at the end of the pontoon there was nothing to connect them too. Just a lamp post in the middle. The marinero tied up his rib and I flung a bow line to him. He put it through a ring on one side of the pontoon and handed it back to me to tie off at the midships cleat. He then grabbed the lazy line from one side of the pontoon and handed it to me to tie off at the bow. The same for the stern. We were effectively alongside the end at midships so after a bit of faffing we were sorted. Glad we did wait for the guy. Difficult to explain - the photos will make it clearer. Anyway, we were in and tied up at 12:15pm. We felt incredibly pleased with ourselves and celebrated with a beer.

We only had one night there so had to make the most of our time in Bonifacio. It was stinking hot, not helped by the walls of rock all around us. What a view though. Once we had checked in at the marina and helped out a few other boats to tie up we took the little tourist train up to the citadel. Sorry but it far too hot to walk up. I had shorts on and burnt my leg on the faux leather seat of the little train! We walked through the narrow streets and again marvelled at how, in such a short distance you can be in another country with a whole other feel to it. After a couple of hours soaking up the atmosphere and the views we made our way back down towards the marina, taking plenty of photos of Rockhopper on the way down. We spied a cocktail bar on the opposite side of the marina to us and made a beeline for it. The late afternoon was taken up by sipping a margarita and watching the chaos of boats coming in and heading out and the marineros working incredibly hard to manage it all. There is nothing better than boat watching when you are all tucked up. Suddenly you’re an expert.

There were restaurants and bars all long the marina and we picked a nice restaurant for dinner. Later on the music at one of the clubs was in full swing with people spilling out into the street. We had got all dressed up (rare for me I know) so we pushed our way into the fray, got a few drinks and found a spot to mingle and have a dance. All in all a great 24hrs in Bonifacio.

15th June 2022 - Bonifacio, Corsica - Maddalenas, Isola Budelli, East (13.6 nautical miles)

We dragged our feet the next morning. €159 buys you til 12 so we were going to stay til 12. Our next destination was back towards Sardinia. There would not be a lot of places to eat out so we took the opportunity to provision the boat. The national park of the Archipelago of La Maddalena is a collection of 62 islands on the north east coast of Sardinia, with white sandy beaches and rugged rock coastlines. Thanks to Lucy, we realised we had to apply for a permit to cruise the area which we could do online. Thank goodness for google translate. Shortly before 12 we slipped the lines and started to make our way out of Bonifacio. Again, boats, ferries and ribs were coming and going constantly. We weren’t followed out by HPIII this time. I guess their two guests could afford a few more nights. We made it safely out of the harbour and, amidst several other boats, we raised the sails. It was only to be a short 14 mile sail towards Isola Budelli and we only had around 10kn from the east but we could afford to take our time getting there.

Travelling through the gap between Isola Razzoli and Budelli, we arrived around 3pm to find the anchorage heaving with day trip boats both large and small with a few other cruisers amongst them. We had seen on the chart that the area we were in was pretty shallow in places so we needed to be careful (see photo). There was no room in the beautiful sandy spot near the beach so we had to look a bit further out. We initially anchored in around 5m over sand and weed. As the afternoon wore on we could see that several boats were starting to move off. After about an hour and a half a spot opened up so we thought we’d head over to check it out. We raised the anchor and as we were approaching it another boat came round the corner and nabbed it. Summer time in prime anchoring spots, it’s just the way it is. A large day tripper boat behind us in a nice sandy spot had left so we headed over there instead. We dropped the hook in 3m in a lovely patch of sand. Where the boat finally settled was a great deal shallower so we jumped in to investigate. The boat was over a clump of posidonia but the keels were a couple of metres off the sand so we were all good. If the wind changed to the opposite direction it might have been a bit touch and go as it shallowed off considerably but we didn’t have much chain out so it looked alright. We were finally in a lovely sandy spot with lots of fish under the keels. We spent the afternoon having a swim.

We had a bbq onboard that night and slept peacefully. The following morning we decided to take the paddle boards out and explore the rock formations around us. There was a bit of a breeze blowing us away from the boat but we figured we’d be fine. It was all plain-paddling on the way out but the way back against the ‘breeze’ was a proper slog. In the end both of us had to kneel on the boards to be able to dig the paddle in more to make any headway at all. We eventually got back to the boat and flopped on the deck. More exercise required!

Later that afternoon after all the day tripper boats had gone we took the dinghy over to Budelli island for a walk along the beach. We also wanted to visit Spiaggia Rosa, or pink beach. Unfortunately no-one is allowed to walk along the shore anymore as it a protected area but we tied up the dinghy to the swimming moorings opposite the beach to have a look. Didn’t look that pink to us but hey ho, tick.

17th June 2022 - Isola Budelli, East - Santa Maria (1.24 nautical miles)

The next morning at 8:50am we weighed anchor and made the short hop round to Santa Maria. It was a very calm morning and we wanted to get there before the tourist boats arrived. As we came round the corner and entered the bay we were in luck, there were only a few other boats there and plenty of space for us. The beach was empty. We dropped the anchor in 3.8m of lovely sand. There was an isolated rock not too far from us, between us and the beach, but we had plenty of room to it. Feeling very pleased with ourselves we sorted out a late breakfast. As mid morning turned to late morning we realised why there were no boats anchored on this side of the bay. The large tourist boats came within a few metres of our boat towards a little pier that was ahead of us. At any one point there were three of them med moored against the pier, offloading hundreds of people on to the beach. The ones that weren’t on the pier were anchored around us, waiting to pick up there passengers. Because of the rock near us there was very little room for them to manoeuvre between it and us so we felt properly in the way. Having done the whole, move and then get caught out in a worse place thing, we opted to stay put. They didn’t seem to mind, smiles and waves were happening so we figured we were good. And they wouldn’t be staying beyond 4/5pm so we would just ride it out with a fender in each hand.

Once it calmed down a bit and the tourists (yes, not us, the other ones) had left the beach, we took the paddle boards to the shore balancing a small cool bag with a few beers and snacks in. Walking up the beach we met a young French couple who had anchored behind us. They asked whether it was ok to stay the night there. We could see no reason not to and said as much. As always, it’s nice to exchange a few stories with fellow sailors.

18th June 2022 - Santa Maria - Cala Garibaldi & Giardinelli (6.97 nautical miles)

We’d heard from Falkor that they were in the Maddalenas too. Today we were a stones throw away from them so decided to meet up. They had said they wanted to go to Cala Garibaldi, a bay that once housed a Club Med resort, long since abandoned and reclaimed by the forest. Sounded interesting so at 8:20am we set off, again, trying to miss the tourist boats that would arrive where we were and miss the ones that would arrive where we were going. There wasn’t a great deal of wind but we raised the sails anyway and picked up around 10-12kn as we came across the top of Isola Maddalena. It was then that we spotted Falkor on our starboard aft quarter. We had a brief exchange on the radio and headed towards Garibaldi. To enter the anchorage you have to pass through a narrow gap between two small islands. As we came in we saw quite a few boats in there. We left the slightly deeper water for Falkor and found a shallower spot to anchor in 2.7m off to the side, tucked behind one of the rocks. Unfortunately the swell was coming straight into the anchorage and, for Falkor, it was a bit rolly. After about 25mins they called to say that they were going to move across the channel to an anchorage on Isola Giardinelli. As we were going to have a bbq with them that evening we decided to up anchor and move over there too. It was a beautiful anchorage surrounded by shallow areas of reef. A lot of boats were already there. Falkor had managed to nab a great spot in amongst the other boats but as we motored around in-between the other yachts it was clear we would not fit there. Just outside the reefed area there was just enough room for us to anchor. It was a bit more breezy and more in the channel but it was ok. We were sandwiched between the beach and a shelf of rocks between us and the channel. Lucy and Jig felt a bit bad about us being stuck out there but we were good. A few large motor yachts came to anchor near us so we were hanging with the big boys.

We were not too far from the main town of La Maddalena. From this side we wouldn’t be able to take Rockhopper there as we had to pass under a low bridge so Carl and I opted to hop in the dinghy and zoom across the channel and round to the town. We hadn’t been to a town since Bonifacio so fancied a mooch around. We had some rubbish to get rid of too. Finding a spot to tie up to in the harbour was a bit of a thing but we found some guys sat by the dock who told us it was ok for an hour or so. No to dumping the rubbish though. It was good to have a walk around and stretch the legs. A bit further up the dock was the Amerigo Vespucci, a beautiful 1930’s tall ship which now acted as an Italian naval training vessel. Very smart. That got me googling about Amerigo Vespucci, the 15th century explorer who is credited with identifying the New World as a separate continent. It’s were the term America comes from.

After our meander, and a surreptitious dumping of some rubbish in a set of bins we found, we headed back to the boat. Lucy and Jig zoomed over on their dinghy for the bbq. As usual, we had a great time catching up with them. They told us of their experience coming in to Alghero. We had explained how lovely the guy was who held a berth open for us on the town quay and how he took our lines. As they came in the guy on the rib said to them, ‘service or no service?’ I.e. do you want water and electricity or just the free dock. They replied with just the free dock please. He went to leave and they asked whether they could get some help to tie up. He prompted responded with ‘No service means no service!’ And left. I guess we were just lucky!

Just before sunset every boat around Falkor left and they had the place to themselves. We contemplated moving but we were settled where we were and the weather forecast was pretty good so we stayed. It was around this time that Lucy told me that they had started to talk about whether they wanted to sell the boat and change their travel journey to a land-based one instead. They had not made up there minds at that point but the lack of getting off the boat at times due to weather or being able to venture too far away from it when at anchor was getting to them. I could certainly relate. I had had times of anxiety where I was simply irritable for no reason for hours. Times when I couldn’t sleep or relax. There were days where I just felt we shouldn’t get off the boat in case something happened. Someone banged into us or our anchor dragged. It would only go away when we were in a marina, or an anchorage with more space around us, or when the wind died down. Sometimes when all those things were true it would still take time for me to wind down and enjoy it. At least a motorhome would stay put if you parked up somewhere. Yes, I could certainly relate. I told her about the Big Red Button. Carl knows about the big red button. If at any point one of us feels like we want to pack it all in (lets face it, its going to be me), we hit the red button. That starts a six month clock. If we still feel that way in six months time then we pack it in. There will always be periods of time on a boat that are shit but the key is if you feel that way for a sustained time period, then it’s serious. For us this life style is a choice, not something to endure.

Case in point, that night, as I lay awake, I could here some scraping at the bow. I got up to see what it was. It turned out to be the anchor chain on the seabed, scraping against a rock. It was reverberating all the way up the chain and into the boat. We had swung round but we still seemed to be floating with enough depth under the rock shelf. It was 4am and dawn was just about to break. The view across to Falkor was breathtaking and I had to grab the camera to capture it.

19th June 2022 - Cala Giardinelli - Cala Portese (7.71 nautical miles)

Our time in La Maddalenas was coming to an end. We need to start making our way down and out towards Italy. We would have one last stop on Isola Caprera. We weren’t sure exactly which anchorage we would aim for as it would depend what the wind direction would do and the swell. Falkor were heading out too. We weighed anchor just before 9am, carefully moving the boat over the chain so we wouldn’t drag the chain over the rocks, or worse, get it wrapped round a rock. Because of the bridge, we would have to go up and round the top of Caprera and then head down the eastern coastline. Once around we had 15kn from the NW so a cracking sail down. Based on the wind direction we opted to head for the anchorage in Cala Portese on the south east corner of the island. We could see several boats in the anchorage, some on mooring balls and some at anchor, all in front of a buoyed swimming area by the beach. We dropped the sails and headed in. Just as we were nearing the anchorage the wind seemed to pick up and swirl right into the bay. The swell wasn’t too bad it was just gusting. Carl brought us in looking for a spot but as we turned around a gust caught the boat on the beam and pushed us into the swimming bouys. We had a rather embarrassing moment wondering whether we were going to cut the line of bouys with our prop but Carl managed to manoeuvre us out leaving them intact. We dropped anchor in 4m of sand, settling close to the rocky shore on the north of the bay. No need to back down on the anchor with the engines, the wind was doing it for us. About 20mins later Falkor came round the corner. We said it was a bit blowy but no swell so they headed on in. They picked a good spot not too far away from us.

It was a busy anchorage, lots of little motor yachts would squeeze in between us all. Knowing that they wouldn’t be staying made it all fine. We would like to have been a bit further away from the rocks but couldn’t move further because of one of them. We decided that we would move once he did. Boats kept on streaming in to the anchorage, looking for a spot to anchor. It must have been the last (or first) stop for a charter fleet. We spent at least an hour prepped and ready to move when the speed boat ahead of us left. The skipper did not look in a hurry at all. When finally he started his engines it was at the same time that another yacht was coming in. The yacht called out to him to ask whether he was moving, he said in a minute. I tried to yell that we had been waiting to move further forward but he’d already moved off. As the speed boat left we raised our anchor and moved forward about 10m. As we were dropping it the other yacht (called Capitan Quick) came back round and said that they wanted that spot. I apologised and said we had been waiting for it for an hour. He went off in a bit of a huff. I guess not Quick enough! I felt a tad guilty but saw that they settled just ahead of us. We also saw one of his fenders work its way loose and drift towards us. Carl jumped in the dinghy, picked it up and gave it back to him. He was all smiles again.

We took the dinghy to the shore and had a sundowner safe in the knowledge that our boat was just that little bit further from the rocks if the wind picked up. It had thankfully dropped considerably since we arrived. The anchorage was full to the brim. As we sipped our cocktails we saw Capitan Quick raise their anchor and move, then drop it, then move, then drop it again. They clearly weren’t happy where they were. The guilt started to creep in again but was thankfully subsiding due to my margarita.

20th June 2022 - Cala Portese - Olbia (31.4 nautical miles)

The tick tick tick of the Schengen clock was growing louder. We had to get to Albania before the 10th July and we still had to get round the boot of Italy. As the western side of Italy (including the Amalfi coast) is rather exposed, if the wind is coming from anywhere NW-W-SW its not really an option to visit. I had always wanted to go to Positano but if it wasn’t to be, it wasn’t to be. We would instead head down the coast of Sardinia and go straight down to Sicily. To my great delight, the wind was going to be coming from the eastern directions for the next few days so we decided to go for it. Yay! We would set off from Sardinia to the Italian mainland. But first we wanted to stock up in Olbia. Both food and fuel. It was going to be a 250nm journey so we wanted to make sure we were covered.

At 7:15am we weighed anchor. It was another lovely calm morning so we motored out from Cala Portese and back towards the coastline of Sardinia. Carl wanted to do a drive by of Porto Cervo, harbour for the rich and famous, which was on the way. At around 9am we motored into Porto Cervo, dodging super yachts. A marinero came out in the rib to see if we needed assistance in going into the marina. We sheepishly told him we were just having a look around. It cost something like €130 to take a mooring ball in the bay for a few hours. We decided a drive by was enough. It was at this point that I lost my sh*t as Carl started to head into the marina. I didn’t think we needed to go into the marina along the pontoons, putting ourselves in a position to tightly manoeuvre if other boats were coming out. He yelled at me to chill out so I just sat on the chair and sulked. Thirty minutes and a cup of tea later we were right as rain again.

Better yet, the wind picked up and we had a spirited sail, tacking back and forth towards Olbia. Carl had gone for a snooze, and I was really enjoying hand steering with full main and jib. There was another yacht doing the same but we were on opposite tacks plus there were ferries about so lots to concentrate on. We tacked into the large bay of Olbia, trying to avoid the marked shipping lane. The anchorage was quite a way down a river at the head of the bay with a marked channel keeping you out of the shallows. We dropped the sails just outside the channel and made our way up, past the fish farms. As we neared the town we came past the big ferry port. Big ships with Looney Toons characters on them. Massive Tweety! The anchorage came into few with plenty of space and we dropped the hook in 5.6m near the town quay. The water was murky so I have no idea what it was anchored in. About an hour later Falkor appeared and anchored next to us. Time to provision, for tomorrow, we sail to bella Italia!



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1 Comment

Liz Stewart
Liz Stewart
Feb 05, 2023

Just brilliant. I love all of the description you put in to this blog and all of the photos.😊

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