We left Cagliari 6.8.2012 and anchored in the same bay on the south coast that we had used on the way to Cagliari .It was much more crowded this time but John inspected the bottom of the boat only to find the oceoprotec copper based antifouling had not been applied properly in Turkey and there was growth on the keel …it seem the problems generated in Turkey will follow us forever. We motored around the SE tip of Sardinia to make some progress up the east coast and had good anchorage in Cala Pira a small bay but John was singled out by a jelly fish and stung. It was very painful and caused the usual swelling and inflammation but it had improved by morning .We learned from the pilot book that they are called sea wasps..not seen only felt.
We continued up the east coast pleasantly and uneventfully with the usual erratic Mediterranean winds we have become accustomed to. It is a scenic coastline with beautiful red cliffs near Arbatrax.
The beaches are unspoilt , there are very few buildings and all are low rise and designed to blend with the environment rather than dominate it .The anchorages are all only a day sail apart and all were straightforward .Further north there is Isola Taverola which rises vertically out of the sea and it is quite tricky navigation to get through the inland side of it and trying to look at the view as well .I think the chart plotter paid for itself that day !
On 11th August we went to the marina on Olbia to meet Sam and Gilly who were arriving from Edinburgh that evening so great jubilation welcoming them on board again .After a jolly evening we set to work the next day preparing for our cruise of the la Maddalena archipelago .The islands are all very close so we had long days luxuriating in turquoise water of amazing clarity ,swimming was a real pleasure.
Isola Caprera on the east of the group is home to a memorial museum of Garibaldi because he lived the last 27 years of his colorful life in a beautiful house on the island .He wanted to die looking at the sea .The house is now a museum and was interesting to visit.
All the anchorages in the islands were crowded during the day but became much emptier at night , but there always seemed to be room for everyone.
The main problem was the numerous low lying and semi submerged rocks most of them on the chart but not always where they were supposed to be or marked as expected ! We had one very near miss and I think without the chart plotter things might have been more dramatic.
We decided to have drive by to see Porto Cervo the Mecca of the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast) to see some outsize motor yachts and other super yachts all very interesting and it certainly is a beautiful bay so not really surprising it has been chosen as a playground by the rich and famous.
After a week of island hopping we went to La Maddalena town to provision again .It was difficult to find a place in the marina but eventually we did but in a rather awkward place.
Gilly and I were treated to an excellent night off from galley duties and we all had an excellent meal accompanied by very palatable Sardinian wine .The next day we sailed towards the northern islands of the archipelago and found a truly delightful anchorage on Isola Santa Maria , such beautiful water of an amazing color and clarity we were persuaded to stay for two nights.
We then decided to try and see Bonifacio in southern Corsica and we stopped en route on the Isola Cavallo named in Italian but in France! We saw several other yachts at anchor in the bay on the island and decided to join them .The island appeared to be a holiday resort with some rather beautiful houses on the shore but we could not take a close look as we were not allowed further inland than the beach .We sailed to Bonifacio the next day along dramatic steep white cliffs with a fantastic view of the old town perched on the top, sometimes rather precariously as the sea has eroded the limestone lower down underneath them.
There is a long inlet into the harbour and despite our best efforts to get some help to tie up none appeared. The pontoons were very crowded so we just picked a spot. As so often seems to happen at the moment of tying up the wind was quite tricky but luckily with four hands on deck we managed to get tied up safely in the crowded harbor.
The next day was sightseeing and a wonderful lunch in a tiny dining room overlooking the sea from the of the old town .It is too hot for anything other than a siesta in the afternoon so by the evening we were ready for another delicious meal ….fish again accompanied with the local rose wine!
Our intended departure was delayed by a day of strong wind so we finally left on 28th August and found quite a heavy swell immediately outside the protection of the harbor .We were heading for Castelsardo a small marina on the north west coast of Sardinia as we had arranged to have the water maker pump renewed. The journey was about 35 nm and the coast was much less populated than the Costa Smeralda, more remote and more natural .Castelsardo was another town on a hill built by the Genoese as a natural defensive point .The marina was a working fishing port as well with slightly more normal sailing boats!
We could only have one night there because the weather forecast showed bad weather coming for the Gulf of Lyon the so called tramontana so we left in order to make Menorca before it arrived. Luckily we had good wind and we arrived around 02.00 on 30th august anchoring in an easy bay on the east coast. We had the benefit of a nearly full moon but as nothing is ever that simple we had no depth sounder temporarily! A cold beer in the moonlight was very welcome and we were glad to have got across without any sign of the heavy weather.
After a refreshing swim the next morning we entered Cala Addidia on the NW of Menorca to find a sheltered anchorage .We provisioned quickly and by afternoon the wind had risen to force 4 .We put out a kedge anchor and then as the wind strengthened a German boat behind us advised us to put out a stern anchor as well which he lent us. The dinghy provided most of the traumas; Sam nearly got blown away by casting off without the kill cord! Then in the course of laying the kedge anchor in the dinghy Sam and Gilly were seen rapidly disappearing towards the end of the bay (luckily not out to sea) when the outboard failed and one oar broke! They were rescued by another sturdier RIB .Then later when they were all back on board the dinghy flipped over twice during the night with the loss of the other oar ,the pump and the bailer. The sea water dunking did little for the already parlous outboard function !It seemed we were up the creek again literally without a paddle .
Once the weather calmed Sam and John gave the outboard a nice fresh water shower and this seemed to work the magic and after reaching the shore John bought some new oars and we were mobile again. Sam and Gilly left us and returned to land life in a rented flat nearby..already arranged not in desperation! We prepared for another two nights of forecast bad weather but a land excursion is planned together later.