17th to 18th June - Carloforte to Malfatano (into a war zone)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Thu 18 Jun 2009 22:42
After Carloforte it was three days along the south coast of Sardinia to
Cagliari and another crew change (with the added excitement of the Ian and
John showdown). We had two nights at anchor on the way, firstly in the
beautiful bay of Malfatano and then by the ruins of the Roman city of

Leaving Carloforte we again had a reasonable 10 knots of wind but as usual
it was coming from the wrong direction, so we had spells of good sailing
and motoring to ensure that we arrived in time.

Our route would take us through a restricted gunnery firing range.
According to the chart and pilot book, the restriction was only against
anchoring and fishing but as we got closer we heard the boom boom of big
guns and saw fires breaking out on the shore. Jackie was becoming rather
nervous but as there were no shells actually landing in the water near to
the boat it seemed fine to carry on. As we rounded the headland some of
the smoke cleared and found that we were sailing towards a small aircraft
carrier with a helicopter making sorties and two other navel vessels
maneuvering close by. However, there was another yacht ahead of us and as
no move was made to chase us either of us away I think that Jackie's
cowering in the cockpit with a saucepan on her head was a bit extreme.

That night we anchored in Malfatano and the next morning a navigational
warning appeared on the Navtex peppered with words like "explosions"
"danger" and "ships beware" for the area we had been sailing through.
There was also a warning about a WW II mine that had been discovered near
to Carloforte - so it was perhaps a good thing that we did recognize the
ship displaying three black balls.

That night we ate home made pasta and watched the sun set. As it got dark
we found ourselves being dive bombed by a large bird that kept swooping by
on a regular passes. We got out the searchlight to find out what was
going on but for some reason whenever we turned the light on the bird went
away. It was several minutes before Ian spotted that what we were
actually seeing was the beam of a lighthouse reflecting on the rock. The
others felt rather foolish but personally I think it was rather silly to
design a lighthouse light to look like a bird.