Tag Archives: Sardinia

Back on board Linea

21 June 2020: We arrived back in the late evening having had a lift from my Roman friend Michele.  We were so excited to see Linea again. We took all the clutter out of the front bunk so that Erin had a sliver of space to sleep in and we all crashed out. 

We retrieved the bikes from their spot in the marina and began to put the boat (Bavaria Lagoon 430) back together.  Sheena came down from Rome for a night and we cycled about and swam.  We re-acquainted ourselves with Pepe from the vegetable stall and the vini sfosi (Wine on tap shop! £2.10 per litre, bring your own bottles!)  I bet his sales had gone right through the flour since our departure in November.

Erin was a joy to have on board.  She got stuck in to the many tasks we threw at her.  She produced some videos for her You Tube Channel The Travel Tapes, too.  We played Rummykub.  We had our own mini lock down/bubble. 

Soon we were ready for a shakedown sail and this years’ blue water cruising. We decided to go to the Pontine Islands about 35miles southwest of Gaeta.  We were due to be lifted out of the water the following week to have the hull cleaned and to fit the newly refurbished and shiny Max Prop propeller and fancy new rope cutter, so a few days away would be great.  On the 1st July we headed out of the marina to the anchorage.  We finished off the remaining jobs and checked the wind.  We were off with our buddy boat TakaMaka.  Initially, we were heading for Ponza but the wind angle was better for Ventotene so we headed further south.  We anchored off between Ventotene and San Sebastion.  It was a very swelly anchorage.  Maik came over for dinner.  It was a nice evening.  The next day things had calmed enough for us to get the dinghy off and go ashore.  Ventotene was delightful. We liked the old Roman harbour hewn out of rock and the town square perched up high on the rock above.  We had a people watching coffee in the square.

Later, we sailed over to Ponza, seeing a huge pod of dolphins on the way which lifted our spirits some more. 

The anchorage in Ponza was spectacular.  Sheer cliffs line the shore.  Fallen arches remain stranded in the water.  Caves and tunnels abound.  We explored the next day and Erin and Ian bravely dived through the tunnels with the numerous jelly fish whilst Maik and I manned the dinghy.

We then moved round to the west side of the island as the wind was due to change in the middle of the night and boy were we glad we had.  By 0200h there must have been at least 20 yachts coming in to escape from the wind and the waves that must have been pounding the eastern shoreline!

Later in the morning, my friends Sheena and Cecilia came into the bay on their friend Lorenzo’s beautiful yacht which they had chartered for Cecilia’s birthday.  Erin and I paddle-boarded over and we had a lovely chat and catch up. 

Then it was time to leave again.  We went back round to the east side and anchored just north of the harbour at Ponza.  We took a trip to shore but Ponza town was nothing like as charming as Ventotene, so after having a coffee and purchasing some delicious pizzas and breads for lunch (£27!) we went back to Linea to do an hour’s bottom scraping.  Sheen arrived and came over for a chat.  It has been so nice to see more of Sheen since we have been in Italy.  It is almost 40 years since we first meet at Carnegie College of PE and HMS, Leeds.

We had a lovely downwind sail with the gennaker flying all the way back to Gaeta only to be told that the lift out had been postponed.  Hey ho!

We still had things to do and soon it would be my birthday.

I had a fabulous day.  Some gorgeous pressies, a lovely lunch at Le Macellerie in Gaeta old town and then film night on board Maik’s spacious catamaran TakaMaka!

The lift out never actually happened as it was postponed again until Tuesday and we had to catch the wind for a suitable crossing to Sardinia.

We waved goodbye to Maik and the next morning at 0600h we motored out of Gaeta for possibly the last time.

Our sail across to Sardinia was fantastic and stress free.  We arrived in pitch dark and had to hove to just off the anchorage until dawn when we could safely go in to Brandinchi bay and anchor.  It is nice to be back in familiar territory.  We chilled for a few days.  Marvelled at the visiting dolphin and took a walk along the beach.  Ian and Erin practiced their SUP (stand up paddleboarding) techniques.

We moved to San Paolo bay with a stunning view of Tavolara mountain and met up with Heatwave, Heiko and Birgit, friends from MDR.

Chores to be done:  laundry, shopping and trying a Sardinian beer, Ichnusa.

We managed to get our gas bottle refilled here by the delightful Stephano who came down to the small marina to deliver it!

Next stop was Olbia Town quay where we were to pick up Josh.  All went smoothly except that I needed to go to the dentist to sort out a sore tooth after I bit on a very hard piece of dried fruit in my muesli!!

One root canal treatment later all was good.  We had re- provisioned, fuelled up, and filled up with water.  Fantastic – good to go!

Or maybe not.

During the last few days Ian had noticed that the house batteries were not keeping their charge. We really need their power to pump water to the taps, provide light and power for phones and charts etc.

So the decision was made that they needed to be replaced.  We sussed out where we could get them.  The lovely Claudio at EuroNautica organised everything and delivered them to us on the quay in Olbia.  We tested them and winched them on board.  We winched the old ones out and he took them away for disposal.  Ian connected them all up and we have full power again.

Brilliant.

Thunderbirds International Rescue

Being rescued last week spurred thoughts of Thunderbird style rescues that we have been involved with since embarking on our adventures; those in which we have been on the giving rather than the receiving end!

The first occasion was in Mallorca in Cala Portal Vells when, in the middle of the night, there was an urgent knocking on Linea’s hull. We were roused from a deep sleep and adrenaline ensured that we were rapidly on deck.  We  leaned over the side to see a very frightened man in the water.  He kept saying, ‘Boat tip!’ and in the dim light from the moon we could just about make out the silhouette of a small yacht far to close to the beach and leaning over at an alarming angle.

Ian deployed the dinghy whilst the man swam back to the boat to his friend.  Initially, Ian tried pulling the boat forward off the sand but that didn’t work. Next, they pulled the boat over with a halyard to an even greater angle in an attempt to lift the keel out of the sand.  This together with their engine and the dinghy eventually allowed the boat to move out of the shallow water.

They anchored again and kept a watch and left early the next morning to head back to Palma.  It was their first trip out in the boat and we hope that they weren’t put off and that they have invested in a more substantial anchor.  Thunderbirds were, ‘go’!

In Sardinia, we had gone ashore in the dinghy to do some shopping and came back to the beach just as another family of six was climbing into their dinghy.  Unfortunately, they started their engine in a froth of seaweed and the engine gave up.  In my faltering Italian, I asked them to jump in our dinghy so that we could take them back to their yacht.   We towed theirs behind us.  It was fairly slow progress with eight of us in the dinghy but we made it safely back and they were most grateful.  Eat your heart out Virgil.

In Ormos Panormou on Skopelos, Ian whizzed off in the dinghy to help a crew member from another yacht secure the long lines to the shore.  They were really struggling to attach the heavy lines and then bring them back to the boat.   Puppets on a string!

In Porto Koufo this year, we were watching the rapid approach of a thunder-storm one evening when ahead of us across the huge bay I saw two people on a lilo kicking their way across to the opposite headland; snorkels poking up and face masks clamped to their heads.  As the rain began to bounce down on us like bullets and the wind whipped up the water, I was concerned about the safety of these snorkelers.

Ian shot off in the dinghy and reached them whilst they were still in the sunshine.  He asked if they were ok and they assured him that they were.  He pointed out the looming storm and they shrugged nonchalantly.  They refused a lift back to the shore and again said that they were fine.  What more could he do?  We watched them anxiously as they paddled back soon after; clearly they had realised their folly and were heading back to the safety of the shore.  Safely back to Tracy Island.

In Limnos this year Ian disappeared off the front of the boat to help a couple whose anchor was fouled on another boat’s chain.  He helped them disentangle the knitting and reset the anchor.  Lady Penelope would be proud.

Recently, when we were anchored in Aggias Annas trying to fix our own engine, we realised that we needed more diesel and a full tank of petrol for the outboard.  Just about at dusk, Ian set off across the bay towards the quay. He walked up to the petrol station and replenished our dwindling supplies.  On the way back in the dark he was approached by another yachtie on the quay, asking if he could help him.  He had run out of petrol for his outboard, too.  Could he use some of ours to get him back to his boat?  Ian obliged and Dimitri and his crew were very happy that he had turned up just when he did.  International Rescue whilst rescuing us!  A chip off the Gordon Tracy block!

The other day a couple came down the pontoon looking very tense and anxious.  They had anchored in the bay and brought people ashore but now their dinghy had died on them and they couldn’t paddle all the way back.  I offered them the use of ours.

Just yesterday, we were watching as a huge motor yacht pull out of the town quay here in Naxos.  Their anchor was fouled on the bottom and then the port propeller was fouled on a mooring line. They were pinned in.  Ian attended in the dinghy and with the assistance of other yachts nearby managed to secure the boat before it bashed into others boats moored on the wall.  He freed the anchor and the harbourmaster dived into the water to free the mooring line.  Job done!

This morning a yacht beside us that was pulling out and had his anchor trapped under the chain of a boat that arrived after him. With help from Thunderbird 2 and the harbourmaster’s Dad, (AKA Jeff Tracy!)  Ian managed to free the anchor and the yacht was soon on its way. Another rescue completed.

Parker served drinks on the deck!

My hero!  Ian, not Parker!

 

 

Sardinia to Siciliy

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Towards the middle of August we headed south down the East coast of Sardinia. We were fueled up, watered up, provisioned up and left for Sicily on Tuesday or Wednesday 23rd or 24th August.

The weather had been remarkably settled but just prior to our departure for this long leg of 150 miles it decided to have an eppy. We scuttled into a marina on the east coast and sat out 38 knot gusts of wind.

We departed early on Thursday morning at 0540, effortlessly gliding out of the berth in zero knots of wind. Within a couple of hours a perfect 10 knots of wind arrived from the north east. Out came the genaker and she was pretty much set then until 2000 when we took her down in preparation for night sailing.  The engine did have to go on briefly but from 0200 the Genoa was out and we were doing a steady 6 knots towards our destination and bang on track too!

Twenty six hours later land is in sight. The Egadi islands

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Il Marettimo Island The Egadis, Sicily. Shaped like a whale, the cloud forming a plume, as if spouting from its blowhole.

to the north west of Sicily. We are welcomed by a flotilla of dip-diving dolphins. Lovely.

Later we headed for an anchorage off the south west coast to recover.

We managed 155 miles in 29 hours. Average speed 5.5

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Wind speed to boat speed comparison. Good conversion rate on a run.

knots approx.
Top speed 7.1 kn Top wind speed 15 knots
Amount of sleep – not enough!

Anchored in 7-9 m over sand and some weed in Cala Rotunda, Favagnana Island.

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Entrance to the restored, and amazing, tuna fish canning factory.

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The HUGE anchors that used to be used to weight down the tuna nets. Tuna canning factory in the background.

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Pretty bicycle in Favignana

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Heading to Favignana town next and then off to the south coast of Sicily.

Sojourn in England – August 2016

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Venice and the Grand Canal

I left for Manchester, via Venice! The most convenient route,honest.  During the lay over in Venice I took a quick bus trip into the city, since I have never been, and walked along the Grand Canal for 30 minutes before returning to the airport and my onward travel home.
I met up with Keira at Manchester Airport because she had had to go to Manchester to apply for her visa for China. Together we drove down to Oxford to begin the packing and despatching of belongings and thorough clean of Keira’s student house to ensure that she and her house mates got their entire deposit back.

Job done. I left for Yorkshire with all Keira’s stuff with the aim of squashing it into the house back in the Shire!

Then img_3452commenced ten days of delightful dog, hen and house sitting at Lydia and Paul’s – a huge thank you to them!

Keira arrived on the Sunday and I had a busy few days helping her sort out for her year of teaching English in China and have a final fix of greenery and Yorkshire scenery! And catching up with friends. Bliss.

Then, before I knew it it was time to bid Keira farewell in an emotional parting at Manchester airport.

She will be teaching English in Foshan, Guangdong province in Southern China for a year..  Follow her blog on  https://keiramoulding.wordpress.com/

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Full moon over Isola Del Ogliastra, East Sardinia

I then set off for a day jaunt to see The Hodgson’s and Heane’s before flying off back to Sardinia, via Geneva and Ali and Paul’s for a quick catch up and over night stop. Thanks again!

Nice to be back on Linea with my Skipper!  Preparing for a sail across to Sicily – just the two of us.

From Isola Rossa, Sardinia onwards – Early August 2016

In the interests of brevity, I won’t bore you with the details of the weeks around Northern Sardinia, suffice to say that a certain amount of sailing, swimming, lazing about and reading were involved!

We gradually made our way round the staggeringly beautiful coast of Northern Sardinia, hugging the Costa S’Emrelda like a long lost friend!brandinchi-bayliscia

We saw some big motor yachts ( and, by contrast, an old schooner) and plenty of celebrity look-a-likes, but not Orlando Bloom and Katie Perry who were reported to be there! (‘Who?’, asks Ian.) Budgie smugglers bountiful, though, for added entertainment.

We arrived in Liscia delle Saline near Olbia, in the late afternoon. The Tavolara island’s imposing granite table top providing a stunning backdrop.golfo-delle-saline-2

No one else was in the entire bay! Why???? It was shallow, sandy bottomed and gradually rising to the beach in a most accommodating fashion. Why was nobody else here? We ignored the nagging doubts and anchored anyway. We jumped in the crystal blue waters and swam to the anchor. Beautifully embedded. We sat down in the cockpit to dry off and have a glass of vino when we noticed the planes landing and taking off from Olbia airport, literally a couple of miles away! Oh well!

From here, we tried to suss out a bus to the airport for me. We ended up dinghy-ing to the beach, walking miles and met with a modicum of success. In the end, we decided to go into Olbia Harbour. Although it is a good three miles down the bay to the Town Quay we were hopeful that we could park there for free. In this way, Ian could drop me off and pick up David and Angela in one swift movement.

This we duly did. However, the usual shenanigans occurred.

First, we arrived at the quay and pulled up alongside in a very deft manoeuvre to see signs on the bollards announcing that the quay was to be kept free. On further inquiry it appeared that a very smart, luxury yacht was taking preference for the space.

We anchored out in the harbour. Once the yacht had arrived we went alongside.olbia-3

I radioed the coast guard to ask permission. I was told to take my documents to the office.

I went – it was shut.olbia-1

I set off early the next day – already it was exceptionally warm. The men on the door of the coast guards office by the quay told me to go to the head office of the coast guard right at the bottom of the mole. I walked the mile involved, crossed a huge car park went to one office, was redirected, went out through passport control, in through another door, up a flight of stairs and into a tiny office on the second floor of a circular tower at the end of the mole in the heart of the commercial traffic area.

I exclaimed in my appalling Italian that the office was very difficult to find, which, on reflection perhaps wasn’t the best start to the ensuing conversation (nevertheless, true!) and was met with blank stares.

I battled on; ‘I am on the sailing yacht Linea, I arrived on the town quay yesterday evening and have come to show you my documents as requested.’

The rejoinder was an immediate ‘Perche?’ And a wholly Italian shrug of the shoulders.

It would seem that these coast guards have far more important things to be doing than taking details of small, private sail boats on the town quay. I was sent away!

At 1800 hrs the same evening, two coast guards, smartly dressed as always, appeared by the boat demanding to see my documents and to be given a form and tax docket! Available from a nearby tabacchi!

Humph!

I filled in the form, bought the docket (16€) and returned it to the gentlemen. They said it is possible to stay for three days and after that to move on. Perfect for us – minus a day. Iannew-cockpit-cushion-covers would have to hide in the evening when the coast guards make their customary daily checks! We had time to wander around lovely Olbia and do various jobs before I shot back to UK leaving Ian all alone.olbia-2

David and Angela duly arrived and, by all accounts, a good time was had by all!