Rob and Jacky Black
Fri 15 May 2015 15:30

39 12.1 N 09 07.6 E

Sant Elmo Marina Cagliari

Having called ahead and spoken to the Cruising Association HLR we were met on arrival at this marina (well it is an area within the main harbour to the east of the port with several pontoons and facilities), by a rib and shown to our allocated berth. By this time the winds had begun to pick up to a NW 5 and to our dismay as we tried to start our manoeuvring the engine wouldn't go astern!! So we had to seek a tow and with the help of the very able marinero in a rib and the use of our trusted bow thruster we made it onto the berth without any damage. However we then had two problems to sort out - the first being the engine the second the damaged gimbles on the cooker.

We were very pleased to have the HLR Enrico's help with both these problems and very soon had a couple of young men on the boat to take the offending cooker away for repair. It was back in just over an hour with the two gimble parts renewed - we re-conned that was pretty good service. However the engine issue was another matter and getting an engineer to even look at the gearbox on the sail-drive leg was difficult. Eventually we had one chap come who spoke no English and decided he couldn't do the work; the Yanmar engineer was not available for nearly a week and the in house engineer was too busy to come for 3 days.

However Rob went to the office again and fortunately the boss was in so he called the Yanmar engineers and one technician arrived the next morning for a brief inspection. In the meantime we began to explore the city and the locality of the marina. We found the covered market (reputed to be the largest in Italy) and stocked up on some wonderful fresh produce. We took the bus to the station and walked into the old city visiting the ancient citadels the Cathedral and the archaeological museum all of which were splendid. We enjoyed coffee and beers en route and on our return and were delighted to find that the entry to all the places of interest were free on the day we went as it was a special annual event to celebrate the history of the city! (Good timing or what!!) We got the bikes out and explored the bike trail which took us some 20K on a route along the canal and around the various lagoons and saltwater marches where we saw many Flamingo, some Stilts, ducks and moor hens. The marina has a bicycle rent facility so Wiz, Watson and Jacky were all able to go while Rob stayed on board waiting for developments on the engine repair front!

As the engine situation was still not resolved we decided to hire a car and on Wednesday W,W and Jacky headed off to explore some of the inland areas near bye. Having previously seen some of the finds from the Nuraghi (up to 3000 years BC) settlements in the museum we decided this was the first priority. It was a reasonable 75 minute drive from the airport from where we had collected the hire car at 1000. The countryside was rolling hills, well cultivated some small vineyards and we saw sheep and cows as well as early hay-making in progress. The colours on the hedgerows and fields were lovely with bright yellow flowers predominating with splashes of a deep pink and many patches of red poppies and beautiful verdant greens in the wooded areas. To the west was a line of jagged hills/mountains which we later drove through.

Our visit to the Nuraghi Hill fort at was fascinating - this civilisation were in Sardinia from as early as 5000 BC and some of the finds date from this time. The site we visited is unique in the world and was an old hill fort built primarily for status and rarely if ever used in war. The design of the fort was not unlike a traditional mediaeval fort from the middle ages in Europe but of course from some 2000 years earlier. The main section was the central tower and to get into this we had to climb up steps on the outside of the retaining wall then go into the top of an outer tower (of which there were 4) and then down again on the original stone steps hewed from the rocks - very perilous (UK Health and Safety would have a fit!!) At times we had to duck down to avoid protruding rocks and it was more like caving than a tourist visit! We had a very informed guide who spoke excellent English and we found the whole trip most interesting especially after having seen in the museum some of the amazing bronze relics found at the site.

After this we decided to drive to the west and see some of the remains from the mining area in the hills. This involved a somewhat tiring drive up and down numerous winding roads with hair-pin bends for miles! We were most impressed with the landscape and we saw many relics of the now defunct mining industries with some amazingly pretentious buildings now sadly in a great state of disrepair. After some 3 hours of this we decided it was time to head home to the boat and we were glad to get back at 1900 just in time for a quick shower, change and G and T before a farewell dinner with Wiz and Watson.

Jacky took them to the airport on Thursday morning and managed to get lost in the city on the way home - ugh!

Today Friday the Yanmar engineer finally arrived and removed the offending gear box section from the sail-drive. We are still awaiting the results of his investigation as to whether it is repairable or if a new one is required! As it was the last day of the car hire Jacky went to Lidl for a big shop and took 3 of the other ladies from the marina as well - the car was full to bursting on the return journey!