Our night at Teulada was settled and pleasant. Once the cars had left the beach car park we alone, even the marina appeared devoid of people.
Over night we had 10 knot winds from the north but they didn’t trouble us tucked away in the lee of Torre Budello.
We had a suitably relaxed Sunday morning, which, once the wind died away was quite warm. We set off at 1030 in almost calm conditions and didn’t even bother with the sail.
Once we set off along the coast the wind remained behind us and never actually got about 7 knots, not much use to us so we settled down to an uneventful Sunday drive to Cagliari.
Just until 1230 when we got pulled over by the Old Bill; well, Guardiã Finaza which we think is something like HM Customs. They turned around and came up behind us waving a fishing net wanting to see our papers; “Licence, insurance and registration please! Oh, and your VAT receipt.” All our papers are ready to go in my smart new Tarp dispatch bag and so were dropped straight into their net. Fifteen minutes later the bag came back and we were on our way again. I can see why we were stopped, we were the only boat out there, but on a Sunday lunch time !!!
The rest of the afternoon was a bit of an anticlimax! We arrived as planned and we all tied up in the Marina del Sole by 5.30.
On first impressions I am not sure what to make of the ‘Marina of the Sun’. The pontoons are a well used as you might expect, but as you get closer to the harbour wall they become down right shabby and rickety, and the Marina Office is a table in a tent. It is a substantial tent, with a bar in it, but still a tent! But we have been quoted a very reasonable rate so we’re happy!
Day 3 of our voyage to Cagliari started bright, breezy and still rather chilly.
Calasatta may not have been the most picturesque anchorage but it looked a little nicer in the morning. It also served it’s purpose allowing us quiet night. Best of all, with only 30 miles to sail to Teulada, 6 hours, Valeria could have her lay in as well.
We left at just before 11 and our day was completely uneventful, other than the wind hugging the coast as were we and each time we changed course, so did the wind so that it remained stubbornly right behind us the whole way, and I mean directly astern. Annoyingly the wind built to 15 knots and I couldn’t keep the main sail up as the wind was flicking it from side to side, so we spun round, dropped it, and motored the last half of the journey.
We dropped anchor at 5 pm outside Teulada harbour, over looked by an old stone watch tower, the Torre Budello, on the headland; if you don’t look at the harbour it is very picturesque!
Teulada is a rather large harbour in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It is home to some fishing boats and some yachts but there doesn’t appear to be anything else here at all; other than a nice big harbour wall to anchor behind out of the wind. We’re looking forward to another quiet, restful night, with a late start in the morning for our 6 hour trip round to Cagliari.
Thursday night off Tharros was rather uncomfortable. The wind continued from the east most of the night not dying away until about 5 am. That position is only properly sheltered if the wind is from anywhere other than the east!!
However, in the morning the forecasts were all good again and so we decided to continue on south and we set off at just before 9 am.
Leaving a buoy is simple; far easier then catching the thing! You just let two lines and you are away, so within 15 minutes we were under sail, with an engine to assist.
And that was it for the rest of the morning with the wind behind us but not quite enough to get us to Calasetta on the Isola Antioco before dark.
Then, after lunch we spotted dolphins. We love dolphins but who doesn’t?
Valeria’s squeals of delight sound like she’s trying to speak with them; Portuguese, Spanish, a little Italian and basic Dolphin and who needs Google Translate! There were two of them, one bow each, and they spent about 10 minutes inspecting our nice clean hull!
Probably a coincidence but shortly after they left the wind shifted and steadied from the north west at 10 to 12 knots and we were off, wind on the quarter, Code Zero out making 7 to 8 knots at times!
We sailed right up to Calasetta, dropping the sails and creeping into a shallow anchorage off the harbour entrance, all done by 5.30.
My new markers on the anchor chain proved useful; although the chain counter is still accurate it is good to have visual confirmation as well.
Hopefully tonight will be far more pleasant than last night. The scenery is not so appealing but at least the cutlery and dinner dishes don’t have a mind of their own.
Tomorrow we have more favourable winds forecast and will be sailing for just 6 hours to get to Porto Teulada and on Sunday to Cagliari.
Once Ana, Charlie and ‘Spider’ had left we started looking closely at the weather for our planned run down to Cagliari.
We needed a day to go shopping and do laundry and so kept our eye on Thursday. Ideally we wanted calm conditions first thing in the morning so it would be easy to leave the pontoon and 3 or 4 nights of calm weather to make anchoring easier; I plan to anchor off Tharros in the shelter of Capo San Marco on Thursday, then off a place called Calaseta on Isola di Sant Antioco on Friday, off Porto Teulada on Saturday before reaching Cagliari on Sunday.
The best way to achieve all that was to leave Alghero on Thursday morning. The winds over the rest of the week were forecast to be mostly light and mostly from the east or north, the only fly in the ointment would be Thursday afternoon when we had a couple of hours of 20 knot winds as we approached Sinis.
We left Alghero as planned at just after 8 am on Thursday. It was still surprisingly chilly and I had to put the heating on to coax Valeria out of bed.
The trip south was pretty uneventful. We spent the morning motor sailing through billions of tiny jelly fish. One lone seagul seemed to be snacking on them so we threw hom some bread so he could make himself a jellyfish sandwich.
The weather forecast was accurate and the winds slowly increased so that we could sail for the last few hours into the bay outside Oristano, the plan being to anchor off Tharros. When we got there we found a free mooring buoy and made fast to that instead of anchoring. And our timing was perfect, no sooner were we all secure than the evening strong winds arrived and we suddenly found ourselves bobbing around in 20 knots of wind from the opposite side of the bay; our sheltered anchorage no longer so sheltered!
Unfortunately it was rather uncomfortable but the views of Tharros were better from the boat than they had been from the site itself!
So we settled down for a far from comfortable evening, consulting the weather forecast for Friday. We have three sources, all giving slightly different forecasts but it now seems we may not be leaving here at all tomorrow as the winds might be 20 to 25 knots in the morning, not a good way to start the day, and the winds at our next anchorage might not look too favourable either. Might be spending Friday admiring Tharros!
Valeria came to Alghero 10 years ago and loved it so much she wanted to come back, so when Ana and Charlie said they’d be able to spend Easter here with us we were over the moon. They arrived on Thursday 13th, bringing Ana’s nephew Mateus with them, and we met them at the airport.
Once settled in and following a glass of Prosecco in welcome, we spent the evening wandering around Alghero. It is an old walled town and a the streets are a delightful maze of narrow cobbled lanes between 3 and 4 storey buildings. Being Easter the place was quite busy, and got busier, giving the place a fantastic atmosphere. In fact, apart from a visit to the Neptune Caves we spent most of our days either relaxing on the boat or strolling around the town.
Valeria found us a great little family run restaurant called La Cullera; great food but they also served such fantastic ‘seadas’ (a Sardinian cheese pastry with honey and lemon) that we booked to return just for the Seadas. They even made two lactose free ones for Valeria and Ana, their first ever, and it will now become a part of their menu.
Ice cream parlours were everywhere, which pleased Charlie. I was just happy we didn’t have go searching for Haagen Dazs for Valeria. Basically we had such a good time in each other’s company I didn’t even have the time to find out much about the history of the place ! It is pretty much the same as the rest of the island but there is a strong Catalan influence left over from the Spanish period, so much so that the town flag is the Catalan flag.
Our one excursion was by boat to the Neptune Caves at the foot of Capo Caccia. These are limestone caves with magnificent stalagmite and stalagtite formations. You can get there by bus and a steep stair way down the cliff or by boat; we chose the latter. It was interesting watching how the boatmen actually got their quite large boats into the narrow cleft in the rocks without smashing them to pieces.
But once inside the caves were quite magnificent. A path has been built through the caverns and unfortunately everything within reach of the walk way has been damaged by souvenir hunters but the rest of the formations are fantastic. The caves are flooded with sea water making still pools which reflect the formations above.
Our other ‘excursion’ was a walk along the coast towards Fertillia to the beach area which is bounded by a pine forest. Ana had said she’d like fried squid for lunch, so we set off on our ‘Squid Hunt’. The beach is very picturesque and is backed by hundreds of holiday flats; in the summer it wil, be heaving! We failed to find anywhere we fancied for lunch and so walked back to Alghero to a place we’d had squid before. We had worked up a good appetite covering about 9 km on our ‘Squid Hunt’ and really enjoyed our rewards, beer, squid and pizza!
But it wasn’t all rest and relaxation. Charlie helped with some of my routine maintenance; truth be told I was saving them up for him! The main halyard and main sheet needed untwisting again, I had bought some markers for the anchor chain as a visual check of my chain counter and he and Mateus helped mark and stow the anchor cable. Most importantly he helped trace a fresh water leak which was setting off the bilge pump under the deck in their cabin. I’d been searching for this for ages and a fresh set of eyes found the trail of water I’d missed. I’ve now tightened up the jubilee clip on the hot water pipe at the water heater.
When we first met Mateus in the UK we decided he should have a cool nickname. His surname is Aranha which means Spider, so it was a no brainer really! He is staying with Aunty Ana and Uncle Charlie for a year studying English and to his credit he spent a lot of time studying. He’s only been in the UK a few weeks and just managed to master ‘up, down, left and right’ and suddenly finds it is now ‘aloft, below, port and starboard’, not to mention galley, heads etc etc, all whilst visiting Italy!
By the end of their time with us Ana and Charlie were making themselves far too comfortable for my liking …… !
All joking aside, their visit with us was over far too soon and before we knew it we were saying good bye as they headed for the airport. We set off for the shops as they left but once we got back on board it did seem very quiet without them. We’re really looking forward to them coming to sail with us later in the year.
The leg of our journey from Bonifacio to Alghero took us three days, spending two nights at anchor on the north coast of Sardinia.
Before leaving Bonifacio on Monday morning I had to book in, pay and book out as the office was closed over the weekend. I had rung the previous week and had been quoted a price of €70 per night; a bit steep off-season even for a catarmaran, so I was pleasantly suprised when I was charged just €42 for our two nights!
Our route took us back across the Bonifacio Straights to Sardinia, our first anchorage on Monday night in a bay called La Marinedda north of Isla Rossa before heading west along the coast to Cala Yacca on the north west tip of Sardinia north of Stintino. From there I planned to sail between the islands of Assinsra and Piana.
The highlight of our day on Tuesday was cruising passed San Pietro a Mare, where the Brackenburys and the Melos are spending a holiday in the summer and taking some photos of the picturesque Castlesarda, a fortified town close by.
On Wednesday morning I wanted to be up and away early to get through the Fornelli Passage. This is a short cut between the islands of Asinara and Piana and with a strong wind the swell makes the passage dangerous. If we left later when the wind was due to pick up we might have needed to go all the way round Asinara, an additional 20 miles, or 4 hours!
The Passage is a ‘dog leg’ channel about a mile long and shallows to 3 metres; not a problem for us with a 1.3 metre draft and no wind! But even so there was still a bit of swell running and waves were breaking over the rocks at the exit; initially we couldn’t see the opening which worried Valeria.
To ensure you stay on the right course ‘leading marks’are used. These are pairs of beacons which you line up with each other and keep them in line showing that you are in safe water. At the ‘dog leg’ you alter course and line up two more beacons behind you and keep them in line to leave the channel. Reaching the ‘dog leg’ the exit became clear and so was the sigh of relief!
Once clear of the passage we got the sails up and motor sailed south along the coast towards Alghero passing the massive cliffs of the north west of the island.
On our way we found ourselves passing through ‘slicks’ of little things we could not identify, so we went ‘fishing’ with a bucket and managed to catch two of them; they were small jelly fish.
These two laid on their backs in our bowl but they have a small flap of ‘skin’ on their backs which act like sails, it was that we could see as we sailed through them.
Just after lunch we passed Capo Caccia and turned to the east into the Radar di Alghero. That put the wind behind us so I hauled out the Code Zero and turned off the engine and we had a nice quiet final leg into Alghero.
At this point I rang the ‘Ser Mar’ marina as previously instructed and before I had even given the boat’s name Frederico, the Marina owner said “Yes, yes, I know, I watch AIS.” On arrival I found out we were the first visiting yacht of the year and he’d been watching us all the way from Olbia!
And then it was ‘All hands to cleaning stations’. The whole boat needed washing, cleaning, beds making etc in readiness for the arrival of Ana, Charlie and Mateus, due to arrive on Thursday.