The weather forecast was for strong westerlies (on the nose) in a couple of days, so we resigned ourselves to motoring for the entire 160nm 30hr passage across from Ponza to Olbia on Sardinia. We only got a few hours out when the engine died again. Not to worry, I thought, it was easy enough to clear the day before. Two hours later we had turned back in frustration as everything I tried seemed only to work for a few minutes. We ended up with a gallon of diesel in the bilges in the process, but eventually got the blockages under control. We pressed on, but I was nervous the whole way that another lump of goo would stop us and we’d have to make the final approach in the strong headwinds that were forecast. However it finally behaved itself, and we enjoyed a quiet passage being visited by another warbler (reed warbler this time) and a good sized pod of dolphins. We broke our on-passage rule and had a celebratory glass or two of wine as we motored into the setting sun in the warmest conditions we’ve had so far this year.
Olbia was a pleasant surprise as the pilot book makes it sound a rather dull commercial place. In fact there is a delightful town quay (free!) next to a lovely town. Nothing to write home about maybe, but a really good place to relax for a few days and catch-up on jobs. The 1st of these was to sort out the fuel problem: I set about cleaning out the bottom of the tank and sucked out best part of ½ a litre of black gunge (diesel bug) as well as another 5l of contaminated fuel. Yuck. Then L winched my up the mast so I could fix a problem caused by hoisting the dingy out of the water. I was up there for over half an hour in the end, causing much interest amongst the locals fishing next to the boat.
Our feathered visitor:
A mad fool up a mast:
The church in Ponza with its colourful dome reminiscent of a Missoni design