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 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.
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!