Sardinia is the second largest island in the Med - an area of 24,100 sq km. The Strait of Bonifacio is directly north of Sardinia separating it from Corsica, 8 nm away. We crossed the Strait on 19 July, passing the Iles Lavezzi and Iles Razzoli, Budelli & Spargi(Northern Maddalena Islands) clocking up 16.8 nm - The wind is never in the right direction!!! The Archipelago Maddalena is located on the North Eastern Coast of Sardinia and consists of 7 major islands. The area was declared a National Park in 1994 and a daily or weekly pass must be purchased to enable anyone to enter the area by private boat. The area has numerous coves & beaches with clear blue water similar to the Caribbean. We would visit later on in the month.
The Italian Flag is Flying
We sailed passed the Maddalena islands and anchored in Porto Pozzo on the North East of the Island but were unhappy with the ‘holding’ so moved to the next bay, Porto Liscia. As we entered the bay we were welcomed by the spectacular sight of over 40 colourful kite surfers flying back and forth across the bay between the anchored yachts. It was quite a welcome!
We spent almost a month in Sardinia and I feel that one of the best ways to ‘blog’ our stay is through photographs. The area is one of immense beauty, all along the coastline there are spectacular rock formations with properties sympathetically built into the rock. The sunsets are simply wonderful, every single evening. Although we were experiencing this Island during late July & August and had been told that it would be extremely busy, we generally managed to find quiet bays away from the crowds - Unlike Majorca last July, we had very little issues with crowded anchorages or boats anchoring dangerously close to us.
The Costa Smeralda, “Emerald Coast” is the coastal area of some 20km in the North Eastern corner of Sardinia. White sandy beaches, golf clubs, private jet & helicopters flying overhead and exclusive hotels. Apparently this area is the most expensive location in Europe. We were in the middle of it!!!! Super Yachts were all around us. How the other half live. As you can see from the photographs, these yachts have toys galore and whilst at one of our anchorages we spent the evening just watching as the tenders to these huge yachts past back & forth taking their guests to nearby restaurants on shore. Some of the tenders were as big if not bigger than Money Penny.
We took a walk around one of the hotels ashore.
Our anchorage amongst the Super Yachts
One of the ‘super yachts’ Dilbar……Launched in 2015 with 80 plus crew and 40 guests and the fourth largest yacht in the world by length (156 m) If you look to the bow (front) on the photograph you should be able to just see a yacht of similar size to Money Penny! We felt dwarfed as we sailed alongside!
We were looking forward to Sophie, Phoebe & Eva visiting at the end of July but we needed to organise the boat before their arrival. Our guest cabin is also our storage room! We needed to find somewhere to store all of these items before their arrival and also do our laundry which had not been touched since Ajaccio.
Spot the washer woman!!! Guest accommodation! Cannigione
A few days before they arrived, we anchored in Cannigione next to an Oyster 56 flying an Australian flag. It was almost identical to Steve’s (Jude’s brother)yacht Moana. Hoping to take a closer look and compare the two boats we launched our tender and headed over to ask where the best place was to leave our tender whilst we shopped & did the laundry. As we approached the yacht, the man was staring at us and Judith was staring at the man! The penny suddenly dropped! Alan, had sailed with us from Southampton to Porto (Portugal) last September when we crewed on Moana to the Canaries! As we’ve said before, it is a small world! We were invited on for coffee and chat and definitely were able to ‘compare’!!
Before departing Cannigione we topped up with diesel and water (cost of water 10 euros) and made our way down the East coast towards Olbia where Sophie and the girls were due to arrive on the 30th July. On the 27th July we anchored in Portisco to sit out a forecasted westerly wind. The cost of entering any of the marinas along this coastline is astronomical but we decided to check it out as the wind was due to be exceptional. The response to our enquiry was that their pricing structure was ‘dynamically adjusted online’. Quote – 165 Euros for the night. The busier they were, the more expensive the price…..we decided to anchor! We were at anchor for three nights with winds in excess of 35 miles an hour. The boat swung backwards and forwards on the anchor and we googled ways to stop this happening. Eventually we placed a drogue in the water and it seemed to do the trick, just before the wind died!!! At one point we were beginning to wonder whether we would make it to Olbia to collect Sophie & the girls.
We arrived in Olbia on the morning of the 30th August just in time to take a bus to the airport and collect our guests later that afternoon. The town quay at Olbia is free of charge and proved useful as a collection and drop off point for our guests. It was also a great place to stay and explore the town although the quay was also a meeting place for the young on their mopeds from about 7 pm – 2am!!!
The bus to the airport is 1.50 euros and takes about 15 minutes so we collected Sophie, Phoebe and Eva before leaving early evening for a bay just outside of Olbia. During their stay we spent time in the Golf di Aranci (where there is a fish farm and dolphins come to feed daily) & Tavolara a small island 3 miles long and 0.6 miles wide with spectacular steep cliffs and clear blue water. The island is only inhabited by a handful of families and has a beautiful beach which the girls made much use of! It is extremely busy during the daytime with day trippers but at sunset we were left almost alone (apart from the other yachts).
We also took a trip Northwards to Porto Rotunda (Costa Smeralda). A small purpose built marina port with (as we were to find out!) extremely expensive restaurants. We walked the area trying to find a restaurant that catered for children. Eventually a restaurant agreed to serve pasta for the girls – Bowl of plain pasta & butter 10 Euros, one scoop of icecream 9 Euros! Our final bill was 130 Euros and we only had three starters, a few drinks and the pasta!
Time flies when you are having fun but on the morning of Sophie & the girls’ departure, we received a message from Easyjet to say that they were not going to ‘fly’!!! The flight had been completely cancelled due to, and I quote! ‘staff not turning up for work’! It would be possible to transfer to the next available flight. Great……the next available Easyjet flight was in 7 days time and we had more visitors arriving the following day and Sophie and the girls were missing Chris who had stayed at home due to his vigorous training routine for Ironman Wales in September. After a stressful couple of hours talking to Easyjet Customer services and finding out that if there were no available flights within 48hrs we were entitled to book with another airline and claim the cost back, we found that the only alternative was a flight to Birmingham the following day, via Barcelona (£895).
We had hired a car for two days to explore the island so for the rest of the day the girls enjoyed a fun time in the nearby waterpark and finally departed early on Sunday morning leaving us to once again prepare for arriving visitors.
The Quay – Olbia. Wash Day again!
Mia, Judith’s eldest grandaughter & her cousin Ella arrived on Sunday evening. After exploring the town of Olbia and a second night on the town quay, we departed once again. We had another fantastic week exploring various different coves and beaches and the girls spent much time in the water and also made use of the Kayak. Ella was even brave enough to follow Judith up the mast after she had had to release a trapped sail!
Sadly the time came all too soon to say goodbye and for the rest of our stay in Sardinia, as the weather looked settled, we decided to purchase a pass for the Maddalena Islands. The pass cost us 57 Euros for the week as we received 40% discount for a sailboat.
One of our anchorages in the Maddalena Islands
Maddalena Town as we sailed by
Walking around the streets of Maddalena Town.
Statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi who retired to the Maddalena Island of Caprera, an Italian general & leader of the struggle to unify Italy in the 1800’s. You may have heard of a biscuit named after him!!
After three days exploring these beautiful islands and also meeting up with Nick & Paula who were again ‘just passing’ in the other direction! we headed back to Corsica to meet up with ‘Moana’ - She was finally arriving from Gibraltar with Steve, Jo & Freddie onboard! We were both so excited to be meeting up as Alistair had not seen them since we left the Canaries before their Atlantic crossing in October 2018 & Judith had not seen them since Barbados in February.