40:55.25N 09.30.31E Olbia
As predicted the wind dropped and after breakfast we motored out of Pozzo bay and headed for the Maddelena’s islands enjoying the scenery. Fay and I were busy snapping the scenery and enjoying the sail past some very beautiful places. We dropped the sails and motored into Porto Cervo for lunch. Absolutely magnificent with beautiful houses down to the shore. We swam in the very clear water enjoying the view around the harbour.
Onward we needed to travel in order for Fay to be in Olbia for an early start on Wednesday morning. We sailed around the island of Nibani and past the coast line of Costa Smeralda and down the outside of Isola Mortorio taking in the views of the Golfo di Congianus. Due to the windy weather we were unable to explore this coast line in depth with Fay but we will in the next week or two.
We rounded Capo Figari which is 1115 feet high into the Golfo di Olbia giving us full view of Isola Tavolara. Tavolara is a narrow solid chunk of granite whose silhouette is unmistakeable and stands out for many miles.
Once into the bay it took over an hour of sailing up to the head of the bay where we anchored. We past miles of mussel beds and we even saw chaps wadding in the water trying to catch fish with nets. The harbour is surrounded by sea marshes and it is popular with wading birds. The light house is very grand but desperately needs a coat of paint. We left Ariel a couple of hours later when we were sure she was settled and took the dinghy ashore. We were surprised at the lovely shops and buzzy restaurants. We found the information office and they advised us on bus time tables and where to pick up the bus and a good pizza restaurant which we duly found. Yes, it was good!
Olbia was founded by the Carthaginians and called it Olvia. It prospered as the best natural harbour on the east coast. When the Romans arrived it further increased in power but declined thereafter with the arrival of the Goths and Vandals when Rome was overthrown. Over the centuries its buildings were picked over for building materials by the Sardinians and at sometime it was named Terranova Pausanias. In 1939 Mussolini renamed it Olbia.
As Olbia is closest to the mainland it was chosen to provide port services to Corsica, Elba, Naples and Livorna. We watched 100’s of camper vans arriving on Tuesday evening for the night ferries or the early morning ones. This is the end of the Italian holiday month so it should be quieter from now on.
We like Olbia as it is a busy town with lots of interesting shops of which some are very expensive. Hundreds of restaurants with outside tables but the best restaurant we found has the ice cream parlour attached.
There are hundreds of little alleyways and many terraced houses and flats. One dated back to 1642. In between some houses there are some houses which have been completely stripped and all that is left is the front wall and the windows are boarded up waiting for some renovation.
The main attraction of the town is the Chiesa di Simplicio church which was built in the 11th century and upgraded to a cathedral in 1503. The granite façade is of the Northern Italian Roman style. Inside are numerous old tombstones and many old milestones rescued from the main road to Cagliari.
It was very sad to see Fay onto her bus to the airport but we had had a fun time and she was able to sail with us around the coast from Alghero to Olbia in ten days.