Santa Maria Navarrese to Cala Gonone

Tom Fenton and Faith Ressmeyer
Wed 11 Jun 2014 07:46
40 16.86N 9 38.23E
A couple of pleasant nights at anchor in Santa Maria. The 'Navarrese' part of the name is because of its association with a daughter of the King of Navarre who settled here in the 11th century. She built a church, or apparently extended an earlier church founded by the Visigoths or (new word for me) Bosarabics, in the 7th to 9th centuries. The Navarrese church is quite unlike any other you will have seen, a wide but not tall nave with wide aisles separated from the nave by four round arches. The whole building is much longer and wider than it is tall. Panels of reed wattle and daub support the tiled roof. The church is dedicated to the Virgin and was closely associated with the agriculture: the main feast was the feast of the Assumption on August 15, a harvest festival because that marked the end if the agricultural cycle; September was known here as the month of the new farming year.
The first photo shows Santa Maria harbour. We are the left one of the two boats at anchor to the right of the Martello tower.

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Beowulf and Windsong at anchor, sunset. Isola dell'Olgiastra, and in the distance Capo Bellavista and Arbatax

Although the forecast was for settled and windless weather the whole week, a strong sea breeze on Monday provided what would have been good sailing wind for much of the day. So when there were signs of the same thing happening on Tuesday, we set sail to go north a bit further. Robert and Jo Steptoe in Windsong, whom we met in Arbatax and have sailed with since, understood immediately that this was a race. Although we sailed off our anchorage they used the engine because they have to power their windlass. I pull ours up by hand, but there may come a time... We sailed well for a few hours but the wind being NE we had not made much progress before we agreed to motor. Windsong, a Moody 336, is longer than Beowulf and sails faster, but we held our own pretty well. When the wind died it became extremely hot. Summer is setting in now.

Call Gonone is a very small port in the middle of the most rugged and wild landscape in Sardinia, a place of high mountains (4,500 ft or 1600m) with towering cliffs (3,000ft or 900m) and small bays that you can only get to by boat. The main business here is hiring out small motor boats and taking excursions. The beaches are pebble rather than sand. But its wildness is unspoilt and wonderful.
Anchoring here was not easy. The bottom is mostly boulders and weed. On the recommendation of the pilot book we put out two anchors, bow and stern, beside the west breakwater. Whether we will get them up again remains to be seen. When we explored by dinghy we found that in circling the anchorage we had been far closer than we should to barely submerged rocks. Thank goodness for the windless night.