Pembroke Haven Yacht Club

Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock

Sardinia & Visitors 19/7/19–23/8/19

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.

20190719_122750The 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.

 20190723_183827We took a walk around one of the hotels ashore.

20190810_144141Our anchorage amongst the Super Yachts


20190724_153429IMGP3751One 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.

20190722_111027Spot the washer woman!!!       20190722_134058Guest accommodation!  20190722_211314Cannigione

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.

Screenshot_20190728-110037_Marine WeatherIMG-20190913-WA000020190729_172415

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).


IMG-20190913-WA0004We 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. 

20190811_102052The 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.

20190820_152818One of our anchorages in the Maddalena Islands20190820_15304920190724_111225

IMG-20190915-WA0008Maddalena Town as we sailed by

IMG-20190915-WA0006Walking around the streets of Maddalena Town. 

20190821_115241Statue 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.

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Corsica (Part 2)

As usual, when we arrive in a main port, we have jobs to do!  Supermarket, laundrette, plus topping up with water and, if necessary, diesel.  Whilst in Ajaccio we were in the laundrette collecting our washing when a lady offered (in French) to help Judith fold the washing.  It was a few seconds before they realised they were both British!   On returning to Money Penny on our dinghy, we approached a boat tied up in the Marina - Infinite Blue – Penarth.  Obviously we had to stop to say ‘hello’.   On board……the lady from the laundrette!  We chatted for a while and found out that they live around the corner from Alistair’s brother in Penarth,  what a small world!  We continued to talk about each others plans and found that they were also heading South.  We were planning on meeting up with a Nick & Paula from Saundersfoot who were heading up the West coast of Corsica.  So far we have met them at least once during our travels each year, but we always seem to be going in different directions!   Nick & Paula were travelling with another couple, Elizabeth & David, who, would you believe, Amanda & Jonnie (from Penarth) were friends with and planning to meet that evening as well!! 

We left Ajaccio at mid day and sailed/motored (on & off) to Port Pollo, 26 nm down the coast.  We anchored in the company of Nick & Paula onboard La Perla, Elizabeth & David onboard Sega & Amanda & Jonnie onboard Infinite Blue.  We had a fantastic evening on the beach exchanging stories of our Summer so far and ending with the men playing ‘boy scouts’ and lighting a fire!  The trip back to the boats was also interesting as David’s shorts got caught as he attempted to jump in the dinghy before a wave ‘hit’…..he ended up swimming back which was perhaps not the best idea after a number of glasses of wine!


The second night at anchor in Port Pollo was extremely ‘rolly’ with very little sleep, so on the 8th July we decided to move on to somewhere more sheltered just across the bay.  We said our goodbyes to ‘La Perla’ & ‘Sega’ hoping to meet up later, and headed off.   Jonnie & Amanda would follow on later.    We picked up water off the quay in Port Pollo……only 2 euros, Bargain as we were soon to find out!

Two more beautiful anchorages were our destinations for the next 3 nights, Campomoro & Roccapina. Corsica was such a beautiful island and I would highly recommend it for either a beach holiday o a walking holiday, or both!         Infinite Blue joined us at both of these and we enjoyed spending time together talking about our adventures so far.  They had left in June 2018, a year after us but had bypassed  Brittany.


Infinite Blue had already visited Bonifacio on the South coast of Corsica …. apparently it was a town we should not miss it!  They were not wrong!  The 11th July saw us enter the spectacular entrance to Bonifacio.


Spectacular is certainly an understatement!  The entrance to this natural harbour is via a narrow, deep, fjord-like inlet with high vertical sides of white rock.  A medieval walled town and Citadel sit prominently above the harbour on the high cliffs.  In 1963 the French Foreign Legion took over the barracks in the citadel and since then the tourism trade has grown.


A berth in the actual marina would have cost us over 100 Euros per night so we moored in a small cala opposite the Citadel which provided us with lines to tie up to for 25 euros per night.  We took ‘possession’ of two of these lines as they didn’t look too trustworthy if the wind picked up! 

20190713_140805    The Cala opposite (home for 3 nights)         20190713_133816 The Marina

20190713_134812Narrow streets of the walled town/Citadel

We spent three nights in Bonifacio exploring the historical town and keeping fit climbing the hill each time!  During one of our walks we came across a small underground cafe in the middle of a large carpark, next to the Marine cemetery.   What a surprise when we realised it was also the entrance to an historical tunnel.  Le Gouvernail (Rudder) is a tunnel of 168 steps dug into the cliff ending up in an underground room 10 m above sea level, with spectacular views over the Strait of Bonifacio (the stretch of water between Corsica & Sardinia).  Built in 1880 by French Military, it was a watch tower at the entry to the port and the Strait, equipped with a powerful projector which was able to illuminate the Strait right to the Sardinian coastline (8 miles away) during the night.   Easily missed, this is well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Bonifacio.  On our final night (13th July) we were lucky enough to see a fabulous firework display as part of the 14th July celebrations.

 20190713_145012View from the Rudder   20190714_071122view of the Rudder as we depart Bonifacio

We were expecting visitors in Sardinia between 30th July-20th August so we decided that we would remain in Corsica for a little bit longer.  We left Bonifacio on the 14th July and made our way up the coast to the Gulf of Porto Vecchio where we anchored near to Infinite Blue again. For the second night in a row we were entertained by spectacular fireworks.


Over the next couple of days we explored the surrounding area on foot & in the kayak, including a number of yachts that had broken free from their anchors at some stage in the past and had sadly been left to rot. 


On our second night wind was forecast…..worried?  yes, just a little when the evidence around the Gulf spoke for itself!   Having been anchored safely for the last 48 hours, we made a difficult decision to move across the bay for more shelter from the forecast wind.     Unfortunately we should have remained where we were!  By the time we had made the decision and moved across, there were a number of boats in the bay and we found it hard to find a secure anchorage.  During the night we dragged a number of times and at daylight decided to head back to our original anchorage.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing!  On heading in to the town the following day we passed a small yacht that had broken free and ended up against some rocks.  We managed to pull it away from the rocks and reset the anchor.  We earned our lunchtime ‘Tapas with a view’!

IMG-20190718-WA0001IMG-20190718-WA0000View of our anchorage in Porto Vecchio from the Tapas Bar!

One more anchorage before Sardinia 18/7/2018

Jonnie & Amanda were heading North, we were heading South, so we said our goodbyes and arranged to meet up in Cardiff, in December.

Rondinara Bay had been recommended to us by a number of people.  It was on our way back towards the Straits of Bonifacio so we decided to spend a night there.  Unfortunately when we arrived it was ‘over loaded’ with boats and we had to anchor in the entrance.  The wind was strong with many boats anchored far to close us, so we were unable to leave Money Penny unattended.  We left early the following morning feeling very disappointed!       Unknown to us at that point, we were however to return!!!

At 10 am on the 19th July 2018 we left Corsica and crossed the Bonifacio Straits towards Sardinia……ITALY!

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28th June 2019–Corsica (part 1)

Our crossing from Ville Franche on the French Riviera to Calvi in Corsica took 18 hours – 15 of those under motor!  We witnessed a beautiful sun set, in the company of Blue Papillion, a 98ft luxury sailing yacht built by Jongert, (worth a google!)  & a beautiful sun rise as we approached Calvi.  We later shared the photograph with the new Dutch owner of Blue Papillion who was anchored close to Money Penny in the bay at Calvi the following day.

20190628_204809Sunset    20190629_060849Sunrise  IMG-20190629-WA0001Approaching Calvi

Calvi is a town on the northwest coast of Corsica.  A medieval citadel overlooks the marina and cobbled streets lined with restaurants and shops make it an interesting town to explore.  During the war with Revolutionary France, the British Forces under Admiral Nelson, captured the city and it is during the bombardment of Calvi that Nelson is said to have sustained the injury that lead to him losing his eye. 

We anchored in the bay outside of a field of mooring buoys which are situated outside of the Marina and following a morning catching up on sleep, we took the dinghy in to explore.  The views from the Citadel across to our anchorage were stunning, with the Corsican mountains in the distance.  The Citadel was a disappointment as it was almost completely deserted, although there were signs of cafes & shops that must open at some point during the peak season!!!    We spent two days in this very attractive town before moving on.


20190701_1244502 hrs free on the Quay at Calvi including Free water & Electric. This is a service offered in a number of marinas in Corsica to enable boat owners to leave their boats for a short period of time at quiet times of the day to shop or visit a restaurant.


We filled up with fuel & (free) water in Calvi and over the next few days we visited a number of beautiful coves on the West coast of Corsica whilst heading Southwards  -  Galeria,  Girolata, Cala di Palu. 

Giirolata was recommended by our friend Herve and it certainly met our expectations!  A small village in the Scandola Nature Reserve, inaccessible by car,  during the summer months it becomes a busy tourist destination.  People arrive either by boat or foot to find the most amazing scenery.  Small cafes (tents mainly) pop up along the shoreline, and we even found a cow selling icecream!!!


On the 2nd of July we reached the milestone of 4000 nautical miles since leaving Milford Haven!


On the 4th July we headed for Ajaccio, the Capital of Corsica, stopping onroute at the lighthouse ………………for a swim before anchoring east of the marina.  We anchored outside the marina, beside the main road into the town, where we spent the first evening exploring the ‘old town’.  Napoleon was born in Ajaccio in 1769, his ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is now a museum, and we stumbled across a celebration of Napoleons life in the form of a re-enactment.


We were slightly disappointed with the town as we found it to be dirty and unkept.

On our second day, we had read about a train journey that was a must apparently.  The ‘little train’, which runs on a narrow gauge railway, takes passengers through the stunning scenery of Corsica’s interior, with mountains rising to over 2,600 metres.  The full journey involves 32 tunnels (one of them 4km long) and 76 bridges and viaducts (including the 140m long viaduct above the Vecchio River, engineered by Gustav Eiffel).  We took the 2hr journey to Corte in the centre of the Island and spent 3 hours exploring this beautiful hillside village with its pavement cafes and prominent citadel, before returning to Ajaccio. 


On our way back to the train station we stumbled upon the finish line for a mountain endurance race.  The winning competitor was expected any moment and the race commentator was full of excitement at the impending arrival.  We stood with the waiting crowds (a reminder of Ironman in Tenby) and watch the winner cross the line.     The race had commenced at 11pm the night before and involved 107.7 km/7200m+  of endurance running.  Definitely not for the faint hearted!


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