21st to 23rd June - Cagliari to Villasimius (the Railway Children)

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Tue 23 Jun 2009 22:04
The wind grew steadily stronger after Jackie and Ian left, at one point
reaching 47 knots across the boat. Marina Del Sole may have been pretty
grotty but it did at least provide good protection and we were quite
secure. In the afternoon we checked the Italian Meteo forecast and winds
for Monday were forecast to be even stronger, so we decided to postpone
our departure until Tuesday and headed off to an excellent meal at a
restaurant in the Marina district called Il Buongustaio. The restaurant
was full of locals and serving lots of local fare, unfortunately the menu
was in Italian and we were not really sure what we had ordered. Our
vegetables came after the main course and consisted of a large plate of
raw celery and fennel.

On Monday we awoke to virtually no wind but wary of the Italian Meteo
forecast, which was still showing gale force winds, we decided to remain
in Cagliari and take the "trenino verde" scenic train ride to Mantas - in
the footsteps of DH Laurence. It was described in the Lonely Planet as a
slow steam train journey through wild country. We should perhaps take
notice of the locals from whom we asked directions and who tried to
persuade us against the trip..... It started with a 30 minute tram ride
to the station which was on the outskirts of town, apart from a small
railway museum with several model railways that were not working; there
was only a very local station bar. We spent an hour there waiting for the
train which, instead of a romantic steam train turned out to be two
graffiti strewn 1970s electric railway carriages. The scenery on the way
to Mantas comprised very pleasant rolling hills but it was hardly "wild"
and in Mantas itself there was nothing apart from another station bar,
where we sat for another hour eating mouldy pasties and crisps until the
return train. We eventually got back to Cagliari quite late to find that
the Italian Meteo had changed their forecast and it had in fact been a
pleasant mildly windy day and the strong winds were now forecast for

We were now running a day late and so were going to leave on Tuesday even
if the weather was uncomfortable. In the event, the Meteo got it wrong
again and we had an excellent sail almost all the way to Villasimius. Our
original plan was to anchor in the marina reserve but because the Meteo
was still forecasting strong winds we decided instead to go into the
marina. It was one of the most interesting dockings. Although it was a
large marina and only half empty, they put us in a fairly tight spot and
just as we were coming to our berth we were hit by a squall and torrential
rain with rain drops the size of golf balls. Despite the wind and the
rain the crew managed a superb bit of docking and we were safely tied up
in a matter of a couple of minutes - then down below changing out of our
completely sodden clothing.

After the squall the wind died completely and it stayed that way all
night, the failings of the Italian Meteo again apparent. What made it
more annoying was that the marina is a complete rip off. My most
expensive marina to date at €105 per night, including €15 for electricity
(they also charge you an extra €1 to use the shower). Despite the fact
that the meal we had in the marina restaurant (bizarrely decorated as the
bridge of a ship) was excellent, Villasimius marina does not have much
going for at and is definitely not worth the money.