Matthew's visit to Sardinia

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Sat 9 Aug 2014 18:56

End of long silence….

We’ve been busy recently during Matthew’s visit. We had been lucky enough to find a free berth on the town wall in Olbia on 27 July, so very accessible, ready for his arrival the following day. Maggie went to the airport to greet him and as he exited the terminal, the heavens opened and it rained solidly until the early evening. Charlie stayed on board and continued to make the boat ready and, as ever, get a few jobs done. After a night out in the town, we all slept well and the following morning, with blue skies once more, we were pleased to get away from the wall and left Olbia on the morning of 30 July.

We had hoped to show Matt more of Sardinia but the weather conspired against us. We thrashed to windward for a while before giving in and seeking shelter in Cala di Volte in a rising NW wind. We were well tucked up to the shore at the head of the bay, but still took quite a buffeting there as the wind rose to 30+ knots. However with 2 anchors out and well dug in to sand, we had a comfortable night.

The following day the wind had settled and we sailed around to Arzechena, primarily to replenish our water supply and for a run ashore with Matt to visit the bars, eat pizza, (Matt’s favourite) and check out the stalls at the night market.

The following day we sailed to Palau, the principal ferry port serving La Maddelena Islands. After topping up the smaller fuel tank we took a mooring for the night so we could all go ashore and Matt could enjoy the night life and the market - not the same stalls as last night but the produce on sale was much the same. We located the National park offices and bought a 2-day pass to visit the islands from Rachel, who spoke good English, much to Matt’s approval. During the day, the town seemed almost deserted, which is typical in August in a coastal town here, but by the evening the town was bursting and people were out in their hundreds, enjoying the colourful handicraft market, live music, dancing in the piazza and the longest queues in the gelati shops imaginable. Very colourful, atmospheric and enjoyable.

Sunday saw us make a brief visit to southern Corsica, but with Matt’s visit being only for a few days, there no time to go further than this anchorage unfortunately, so we had to return to Sardinia. On the way back toward Olbia, we spent the first of our 2 days in the waters of the national park. We first anchored in Dead man’s Reef Passage. It was a bit like Newtown Creek on the Isle of Wight, on a bank holiday weekend in Summer - the bays and inlets around us were stuffed to bursting point with boats which somewhat detracted from the scenery. However, most of the boats went home in the evening and we picked up a vacant park authority buoy for the night. Tuesday saw us move on to what I had been informed was the most scenic location in the islands at Porto Massimo. Scenic it may be, but friendly it was not! There 8 vacant buoys in the bay and as we had paid and were asked not to anchor we picked up one. We were then asked to move as the buoys were allegedly reserved for patrons of the hotel restaurant who were expected imminently. We moved and anchored so we could go ashore. Four hours later there were still vacant buoys and the one we had vacated was taken by a rib - harassment! The hotel operated a neat little marina - totally empty! We walked ashore amid signs everywhere saying “Private”. Having decided the whole set up was anal, we returned to Alkira and after a brief conference decided to move on. We were really glad we did as we found our way to Porto Garibaldi, across the bay, and a delightful sheltered spot in the lee of an off lying island.

With the clock ticking (For Matthew) we turned south once again toward Olbia. We enjoyed a brilliant downwind sail on the Tuesday in strong winds back to the Golfo di Olbia and with Matt at the helm achieved our best speed for quite some time ( 8.8 knots).

Matt’s last night out was spent in a really pleasant bay on the west side of the gulf - again a little island provided the shelter we needed and a pleasant stroll ashore for beers and ice creams and an opportunity to stretch our legs, followed by good meal on board and a good nights sleep. Wednesday saw us back in Olbia for a combined good-bye dinner and a late birthday celebration dinner for Maggie. Intense cleaning followed on Thursday morning in preparation for the return of Ann. Maggie went back to the airport with Matt and Charlie continued with the job list.

Sadly we consider the much vaunted Maddelena islands to be a damp squid, a disappointment and quite an expensive experience considering they were very crowded and in truth, in our opinion, not that special, although the crystal clear sea was quite something. We are looking forward to moving on.

Ann arrived later that night, met by both of us and after a good catch up together with a bottle of wine, we crawled into bed somewhat later than normal.

Friday morning, Maggie and Ann went off to restock the larder/fridge/freezer at the nearby supermarket and a brief walk through the town for Ann to see Olbia. the wind began to gain in strength and as soon as they returned the boat, it was all systems go to exit our place alongside the wall. The wind was pushing Alkira quite hard up to the wall, another five minutes and we wouldn’t have been able to get away. Thank goodness for a meaty bow thruster!

We revisited a nearby anchorage which provided us with good shelter from quite strong winds and allowed us time to relax and watch boats coming and going. Maggie and Ann have found plenty to talk about, not having seen much of each other during the past few months, which lets Charlie off the hook and will no doubt, provide him plenty of excuses to enjoy siestas and not having to shop!

Saturday morning it was an early start as we’re heading South along the coast. For just for one night we will go into a marina to top up with fuel and water and hose everything down. Hopefully we’ll arrive before the winds kick up and according to the forecast, start blowing in the wrong direction for us.