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We have had a great couple of weeks with Jez’s brother and his family. After a brief trip south of Olbia to San Teodora where we anchored off a very long busy beach with a great little restaurant, we purchased our permit to visit La Maddalena and surrounding protected islands on the NE tip of Sardinia. Having read all the bumph we were led to believe that rules on anchoring were quite strict and many places had buoys laid which you had to use, but after hunting for a buoy we gave up and ended up in Porto Palma on the south of Isola Caprera and anchored just as the many other boats had. After a visit from the park officials to check our permit, we were told it was ok to anchor wherever we liked, it was no problem!
Isola Caprera was beautiful and unspoilt, very few inhabitants and Porto Palma is quite a large natural unspoilt harbour with two sailing schools, so you were sitting ducks for the sailing dinghies practising around you! We snorkelled around the many rocky coves, lots of beautiful fish, sea urchins and star fish. With a rather low level of wets on board, we ventured ashore for a shop and found a tuck shop in the sailing school which sold beer and wine! With visitors happy we spent a few days around the islands, with a short stay at La Maddalena marina to top up with much needed water and some holiday shopping. A quick lunch stop too, Jez ordered a ‘grande’ beer so we all followed suite and the beers that came were hardly liftable for Saff and I – two hands needed for us girls!! Then we received a stroppy phone call from the marina staff telling us we had ten mins to move, so as Jez and I left the table our pizza’s arrived and we had to leave them! After crossing the marina manager’s palm with 20 euros (it was 30 euros yesterday when we had enquired, obviously whatever they choose to get away with at the time) and we got Joy ready to depart. Chris and Saff followed with our takeaway pizza’s and we headed off around the island on our way to another fab anchorage amongst the rocks for some more swimming. The diving board was now out (the boarding ramp!) and so Tom was impressing us all with back flips. We had a great anchorage at Santa Maria, one of the northern islands, and with encouragement from Lily who jumped off the diving board first, I followed suit and Saff did a graceful star jump. We ventured ashore the next day to another very busy beach fuelled by the small ferry boats from the mainland, and Jez and I swam the length of the beach snorkelling before joining the others for a walk up to the almost derelict lighthouse for some great views.
We also had an overnight stay at Porto Garibaldi on the NW coast of Caprera, and after a long walk ashore down a sandy track we found their one restaurant, Garibaldi’s. A table booked for later that evening we walked back and moved Joy a little closer to the beach now that all the local boats had disappeared. We had a great meal, a set menu of several courses of local dishes which included the famous suckling pig which was superb. Fat as badgers, we attempted to walk off our dinner on the way back to the beach, and then another infamous card game of Oh Hell on board, Tom was getting closer to winning every night and tonight was his night!
Our last port of call for our visitors was at Golfo di Aranci just north of Olbia, and as we went between the mainland and a small rocky island we spotted dolphins by the fish farm there. A perfect end to their holiday to have a dolphin riding our bow wave! With a visit to the beach and lunch ashore we found a very pleasant town with a fishermans’ co-operative restaurant. We had a wonderful meal there in the evening, although it is a very basic looking restaurant in a pine building still being built on the quay, but the fresh fish was amazing.
We said farewell to our visitors the following day, and after a few of the usual boat repairs we have become accustomed to and fitting the parts that Chris had brought out, we stocked up at the local market with fresh produce and made our way to Olbia marina to fill with water ready for our return passage back towards Gibraltar.