Tag Archives: Olbia

Olbia to Cala Lunga

As Valeria announced to Facebook ‘The sailing season has started’ and the first voyage of our season was from Olbia to Alghero where we are now to meet Charlie and Ana; we plan to be there on Wednesday 12th April.   The first leg was from Olbia to an anchorage in Cala Lunga, Isola Razzoli on our way to Bonifacio.

We’re off!!!

We left Olbia on April the 7th, just before 10, waving good bye to Jayne and Graeme from Scarlet, checking that they had Isabella with them as she apparently has a habit of getting stuck on other peoples’ boats! 

 We are grateful to Jayne for the photos of us as we set off.  

We had a trip of about 35 miles which would take us about 7 hours.   Our course took us north from Olbia along the coast and through the La Maddalena Islands.   The islands are part of a nature reserve and are very picturesque.    The islands are apparently granite outcroppings and have a vaguely pink colour to them and the elements have managed to carve the rocks into some fantastic shapes.  As we wove our way through the islands the wind was surprisingly chilly; Valeria was wrapped up like an Eskimo and I even had to put a jacket and warm hat on!

Although Valeria said earlier that the sailing season has started, I think it would be more accurate to emphasis that only our season has started; there were almost no other yachts about at all and the beach front hotels we passed were deserted, awning frames without awnings, no sun loungers, and no people – anywhere!

It was a pretty uneventful passage until about half past 1 when the starboard engine started to judder.   When motoring we generally use just the one engine and so I swopped to use the port engine and as we carried on our way I wondered what the problem was.   Whatever it was we couldn’t do anything about it until we stopped.     In Olbia as I had checked the boat over before it went back into the water I had joked with the engineer that he had bolted the propellers up properly.  ‘Ha Ha, yes, yes of course my friend!’ he had laughed!

We arrived in Cala Lunga at 5 and once anchored it became immediately clear what the problem with the engine was; a large sheet of heavy duty orange netting had tangled around the propeller and was floating around under the stern.   I had no idea what the water temperature was but it felt ‘bracing’ and so rather than mess about I burrowed into the sail locker and dragged out my wet suit!   This last saw action a couple of years ago when I went for a sail with Marco in his Laser dingy off Southend, that was definitely bracing Mercifully it still fitted and so armed with my mask, Go Pro and a knife I went to do battle.   Happily it wasn’t too badly tangled and I cleared it away easily! 

While I was in the water I took a swim out to find the anchor to make sure it was dug into the sand.   Part of the anchoring process is to drag the anchor in to the sea bed with the engines but it is always good to actually see it is set properly.

And so we settled down to our first night at anchor in a deserted bay, watching the sun go down as we had our dinner. 

Cala Lunga at sunset
Sunset at Cala Lunga

And it was quiet.   The island is uninhabited and the only noise were the waves washing against the rocks.   It was fantastic being the only boat in the anchorage and possible the only two people on the entire island. Starting off early has distinct advantages!  

A Cat on a Cat

Finally back home after almost 5 months away travelling and it is a fantastic feeling.  They say ‘East, east, home is best’ and that applies even when your home moves east, west, north and south as well as up and down and side to side!

I had promised Valeria a week of ‘Nada bem feito’ which translates to ‘Do nothing, done well’ but that sort of became lazy mornings with coffee in bed.   There was a lot of unpacking, tidying and cleaning up and we also had to completely restock the boat with food, and then  freeze a number of meals while it is easy to do so, and prepared meals take up less space than individual ingredients.

There has also been some routine maintenance and testing stuff ahead of setting off.   That annoying squeak from the spinnaker halyard block required Valeria to haul me 18 metres up the mast to lubricate it ….. Block lubricated but Valeria has now discovered that in addition to the Naughty Step and Naughty Hull we now have the Naughty Mast Head  ……. for when the other two just won’t do !

But at least the view is good!

The generator works, so we can keep all the meals frozen.  The radar, chart plotter and anchor  work, so we can find interesting places to eat them, and the water maker works so we can make the water to wash the dishes.   As you can see we are very food orientated!

And then of course there is the socialising ……. There are three British boats here at the moment, Red Rooster – Derek and Claire, Scarlet – Jayne and Graeme and Solent Salamander – Michael and Joyce.    Add into the mix Marc and Rosita, a Dutch couple who live here and it has been almost one endless social whorl.

As we prepare to leave Derek and Claire are off to the BVIs to help sail a friend’s yacht, Supertramp, to the US via BermudaMichael and Joyce have left for the UK and so it was just us, Graeme, Jayne and their cat Isabella for a farewell dinner on Wednesday.   Ourselves, Scarlet and Red Rooster are all headed in vaguely the same direction and so hope to bump into each other again.

“I’m really not a cat person!”

So now we have paid the marina fees and planned our passage round to Alghero via Bonifacio and have our fingers crossed that the weather will hold and we’ll have an easy start to our year.

Best news of all though is that will Charlie and Ana will be coming out to see us for Easter in Alghero!


Back on board Windependent …… briefly

We returned to Sardinia on Tuesday, arriving in Alghero that evening, picked up a hire car and drove across the island to Olbia. We got back on board Windependent at about 2 in the morning on Wednesday and happily everything was exactly as we had left it.  After a quick run around to open sea cocks and connect power we went to bed.  Wednesday afternoon was spent unpacking, washing clothes and doing a little shopping to see us through to Friday.

We also made some new friends. Wintering in Olbia are two other British boats, Red Rooster and Scarlett.   Both arrived after we’d left for Brazil but we got chatting and invited both couples, Derek and Claire from Red Rooster and Graeme and Jayne from Scarlett for a drink on Wednesday evening.

It transpires that they all retired to their boats in 2015 as well.  They followed a similar route to ours arriving in Olbia.    Both have kept bumping into each other, figuratively speaking, as they have travelled along the coast although each have tales of trying to sneak away in the dead of night to loose the other but have found it difficult to hide when you have AIS!   We had a very  pleasant evening over wine and nibbles and Derek and Clare invited us for lunch on Friday after we had deposited Windependent in the boat yard and were ‘homeless’ for the week.

Thursday we spent doing washing and emptying the sail locker as I am having some more shelves fitted next week.   We also planned our week exploring Sardinia went the boat is out of the water, booking hotels and packing our bags again.  Happily we’d left this to the last minute and so could make those arrangements around an invitation to dinner in Olbia on Saturday.

On Friday we were up early to get everything ready to leave the marina to go across to the other side of the bay to the Cantiere Nautico Gottardi boat yard.    We slipped at 9 and by 10 were watching Windependent being lifted and jet washed before being put on blocks for the week.

“Does my bottom look big in this hoist?”

It was then back to Olbia Marina for lunch on Red Rooster before setting off to our hotel in Olbia. We’re here until Monday.

Marina di Olbia


Marina di Olbia is a quiet, and very sheltered marina; it is about 3 km from an airport and from Olbia itself and has a supermarket / shopping centre within 10 minutes walk.    The Marina is also home to about a dozen other Lagoons, all 400s and bigger, belonging to a charter company so Windependent  won’t get lonely; it looks like Olbia will be ideal for leaving Windependent for the winter while we go to Brasil.

During the winter there are very few flights to anywhere useful from Olbia so we booked our flights from Alghero, which is 130 km or so from here.     We have booked a hotel room close to Alghero airport and have hired a car to get there; if the rain stops long enough we may even see a bit of northern Sardinia!

Having spoken with a local boat yard it looks as though we will be hauling Windependent out again on 23rd March and she’ll be out of the water for a week while being cleaned and new antifouling applied, the engines serviced and some minor maintenance conducted.

So it is likely we’ll be on our way again by the end of March / early April.   Currently our sailing plans are to spend some time exploring Sardinia before heading back to the Italian coast and following it round into the Adriatic before visiting the coast of Croatia and then travelling on towards Greece; the ultimate aim at the moment is to reach the northern Agean by the summer before returning east and making plans for next winter.   But we shall see how things unfold!

Settled in for the winter
Settled in for the winter



Olbia – a land of Rainbows

The thing about rainbows is that they come with rain, lots of rain.


20161106_161714We have been in Marina di Olbia for over a week now and the weather has been, well, rather British.   We have had 5 days of chilly (Valeria’s description), generally strong, westerly winds which have brought sun, clouds, rain and rainbows, generally all at once.    This means that we have not been too inclined to venture further than the shopping centre about a 10 minute walk from here and even then have managed to get caught in a rain shower.




Piazza Regina Margherita

We did, however, catch a break in the weather on Saturday, the 12th.   Sunshine, little wind, some light fluffy clouds and no rain-bows, so we  went into Olbia for the afternoon.


Sardinia  itself has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, although little remains of the ‘Nuraghic’ peoples.   Olbia is situated at the head of a long, sheltered and well protected inlet and the town has a long history.  It has been occupied by virtually all the Mediterranean cultures since the Phoenicians and has been known by as many names.

San Simplico
San Simplico
Nave of San Simplico
Nave of San Paolo

The major attractions are the two churches, San Paolo and San Simplico.   Both are fairly simple buildings;  San Simplico was built in the 11th century and I think San Paolo dates from the 17th, although they look very similar in style and construction.  San Simplico lives up to its name but San Paolo has the most colourful, technicolour tiled dome!

Dome of San Paolo
Dome of San Paolo
“May be the Hagen Daz is down here?!”

The cab rides in and out of town were very expensive and we won’t be repeating the trip, having said that, the old town of Olbia was worth visiting.   It is quite a  picturesque town, with narrow cobbled streets and plain, but  colourful, houses.   It was very quiet but this is the off season and I would hazard a guess that, from the sheer number of restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlours (no, no Hagen Daz mercifully), it might be rather busier in the summer.

For the remainder of our stay we’ll remain ‘at home’ sorting the boat out to be left, packing our bags and planning how to get from Olbia to Alghero Airport.