On the Sunday we walked around the town and returned to the dinghy at about 1pm. We stopped for a chat with Andy and Denise Hurley on Comet, our acquaintances from Soller, who have lived in Pateley Bridge…so, practically from The Shire. They invited us for a drink.
‘How kind,’ we said. ‘Just the one,’ we said.
But at 2300hrs we poured ourselves into our dinghy and zigzagged our wobbly way back to Linea out in the bay. Well and truely ‘Hurley-ed’!
We spent almost an entire week anchored in the bay, thoroughly enjoying the cool winds that blew into the boat as the thermometer rose to a high of 35 degrees. One morning was spent trying to mend a leaking toilet. One day was devoted to fixing the sewing machine. One morning to fixing a leak on the impeller faceplate. You know what they say about living on a boat? It is all about sailing the seven seas, meeting interesting people and doing maintenance in exotic places!
In the harbour, we met Christopher, a local Sardinian, who is the self-appointed custodian of the Town Quay. He speaks excellent English and is clearly an Anglophile. His favourite drink is tea. (Milk, two sugars) We were assured by Christopher, and by Andy and Denise, that it was perfectly legitimate to park on the town quay and that as long as you used your own lines there would be no charge. However, there would be no services (water or electricity) either.
So, we planned to come in on the Friday so that we would be alongside when the Clements-Hunts arrived. We edged into the tight spot in the far right corner of the quay. I jumped ashore immediately to go to the coast guard office but it was closed. We thought that they might have been on a siesta so I planned to pop back later.
In the mean time a huge pantechnicon truck drove up the wide quay and gradually a whole stage set up was constructed in front of our bow. In town, posters declared that there was to be a gala with various famous Sardinians, so we were hoping for great things.
Still no sign of the coast guard.
A wicked trumpeter raised our hopes and we smiled smugly at each other. Then the compère came on stage….he was still there, waffling on half an hour later! The saving grace was a couple of numbers by an incredible tenor, who finished his (short) set with Nessum dorma, followed, after a further interminable chat, with a couple of other singer’s numbers. The sound check had proved to be more interesting than the main event. Judging by the audience’s response to the chatter, they weren’t all that impressed either! Ah well…at least it wasn’t raining, or muddy, Gillly and Stephen.
Ali, Paul and Jojo arrived on Sunday morning. It was so lovely to see them. We stocked up on provisions, went off to find a bar showing the Wimbledon Final (Yeah! What a joy to watch Andy Murrey’s high quality tennis! )
Next morning, first thing, the coast guard came to us and began asking questions. I am sorry to say that my paltry Italian wasn’t up to the job but fortunately Alison speaks it fluently.
There were lengthy and rapid discussions and finally it transpired that the coast guards office was not in the building clearly labelled ‘Coast guard’ on the quay front. We promised we would go immediately to see the officials. Our combined charms and Ali’s incredible Italian soon had Fabrizio the head coast guard smiling and joking. We were forgiven for parking in the wrong spot and had to promise to leave by 1100hrs We followed our instructions to the letter in radioing the coast guard to let them know that we had left our mooring.
We anchored back out in the bay so that we could have a bite to eat and put the dinghy back on the boat. Then by early afternoon we set sail for Bosa about thirty miles down the west coast of Sardinia.
We had a good quiet sail down there and anchored in 8 metres over sand and weed tucked in behind a huge newly built breakwater.
It was incredibly hot as the sun angled its rays right at us under the sun awning. We spent a lovely evening swimming and snorkelling around the boat. Jojo and Paul even swam over to the rocks and back. We had some nibbles with pre dinner drinks and then between us, rustled up an enormous chicken and chorizo stew.
Despite the anchor alarm going off in the night as our anchor dragged slightly through the weed, we had a comfortable night’s sleep. In the morning we took the dinghy into the town and walked for quite some time before finally finding a bin in which to chuck our rubbish. As we crossed a huge river bridge we glimpsed the surreal sight of two elephants chomping on hay, in a field beside the river. The animal circus was in town and they clearly had a wide selection of animals, including lions, tigers, giraffes and zebras.
After a cooling drink we decided to head back to the boat. A vicious maestrale wind was forecast for the back end of the week. We wanted to be tucked back in against the town quay, safe and sound against the predicted 30 knots of wind.
As we sailed north, hurrying back to Alghero, the wind increased and we we tonking along at a rakish angle with all the Clemmies taking turns at the helm. It was exhilarating. We did have time for a little keel hauling of the naughty crew members!
However, I discovered on trying to use the loo (heads) on the leeward side of the boat that the sink had been slowly siphoning water and the whole vanity area of the forward heads was awash with water. I shut the door! We’ll deal with that later, I thought.
Later on, I checked on our heads at the back of the boat to discover that they were awash with water that had been siphoning up out of the loo! The shower room was full of water. Nice! We are learning that it is important to close sea cocks when the water is washing the windows (port lights).
As previously instructed we called the Harbour Master. He allocated us a spot on the right hand side of the harbour against the Town Quay on Bha Sanita. We went to see the coast guard to double check that this was correct. He assured us that as long as we were 10 m from the corner we were absolutely fine. We settled in for the night and at 0830 hrs in the morning the coast guard was round at the boat demanding to know why on earth we were parked back here when he had expressly told us that it was an emergency area and was not to be encroached!
We explained about the 10m rule. He seemed mollified, but minutes later returned with a tape measure. Alison and Ian decided to go back to the Coast guard office and just see why there was this confusion and seeming lack of communication between members of the same team.
In typical Italian style, Ali upped the ante and became more heated in her vocabulary and her delivery. More hand waving went on and she raised her voice. Almost immediately the Fabrizzio, the head coast guard with whom we had talked on our first visit, appeared and calmed the situation. He assured us that if we moved to the spot on the east edge of Bha Doganale we could stay for an additional 5 nights with no further interference.
We prepared to move. Ian was worried about reversing out of a very tight gap between buoys and boats so I was detailed to be in the dinghy to work as a tug and pull a rope to help steer the stern round. Paul was on slip lines. Jojo on video! I tried to pull the designated rope but succeeded in giving myself a rope burn as it slipped right through my palm. Then, I tried to get round the starboard side of the boat to push it away but in a rush and a panic crashed into a yacht and the quay! I managed to turn the throttle fully and nearly tumbled out of the dinghy backwards, as my feet came off the rib bottom. After I heard myself shrieking and a gathering crowd of onlookers openly laughing at my Laurel and Hardy antics, I scooted away to pull trailing lines out of the water. A lunge to grab the rope nearly had me over the side but I recovered before that embarrassment took place.
Finally, I pushed Linea’s port side so that she neatly slotted alongside the quay in her new position. I jumped ashore, heart racing, pulse thumping and blushing from head to toe. Luckily, Jojo’s video camera had been pointing the other way.
So, the maestrale duly arrived and even in the harbour we noted wind speeds in excess of 30knots. We had a noisy night with water slapping the hull and fenders squeaking against the wall, but we were so happy to be here in the thick of the ‘passegiato’ where families stroll up and down the quay in the evening breezes. Our main activity over the next few days was people watching. Fantastic!
All too soon it was time to say farewell to the Clemmies. They are off for a week in a villa on terra firma. We slipped quietly away from the town quay, waving goodbye to Christopher, and anchored back out in the bay. (More on that another time.)