39:56.27N 09:42.26E Arbatax
12th May, 2011.
Our journey from La Caletta to Arbatax covered 48.6 miles and was amazing as we saw at least six families of dolphins working the bay after Capo Comino to Capo di Monte Santu. We did manage to attract the attention of two big ones who swam with the boat for about 20 minutes in and under the boat often appearing to be doing symmetrising swimming. This thrilled us to bits and when they give you the one eye look you can’t help but to get excited. Then along came a grand daddy who seem to tell the boys it was time to move on and they all disappeared together.
There are many small villages and a few small fishing harbours along this coast line but the main tourist resort set in the middle of a big bay is Cala Gonone village. It is built on the slopes of an extinct volcano, Monte Codula Manna and is surrounded by limestone mountains covered by holm-oak forests. We did not stop here as were trying to get south but I understand there is the most complete Nuraghic village nearby and the Grotta di Ispinigoli where the world’s second highest stalagmite (125 feet) can be seen. Phoenician jewellery and human bones were found in the cave, possibly as a result of Nuraghic burials or sacrifices.
We tacked in the afternoon breeze to get around Capo de Monte Santu in order to get into the bay for Arbatax. The marina staff at Marina di Carlo Delfino are very helpful and also very proud of their marina. It also helps greatly that the pontoon manager speaks very good English. The port was developed for the pulp and plywood factories and can take vessels up to 10,000 tons. Now oil drilling developments are bringing more heavy commercial activity to the harbour.
The long beach is white sand with the craggy red granite promontory shelters the harbour. The marina has beautiful facilities, a washing machine, a Pizza restaurant and a very pleasant open bar overlooking the boats. We can imagine in summer school holidays it must be heaving with people.