Category Archives: 2018 – Sardinia, Italy


We didn’t leave Olbia until 2 o’clock on Friday 21st September so we headed to the La Maddalena Islands for a stopover on the way to Bonifacio on Saturday morning.  We saw a quay on the Island of Santa Stefano that someone else was tied alongside so Ian being Ian thought we’d moor up there too.  So having moored up I went for a walk around, very eerie as there was no one around.  Whoever was on the other boat was not coming up on deck.  The Island was a NATO base up until 2008 when the Americans left.  There was a hotel resort there on the other side of the hill, we only knew this because of the booming of the music that played into the early hours.  This is one of the downsides of these remote areas you often find there is an “exclusive” resort which equals loud music!!

Our sail was lovely, light winds and hot, just how I like it, not quite so much to Ian’s liking.  We had a number of super yachts pass us.  To put it in perspective how big the one below is you need to look at the helicopter on the top deck.  It is the fourth longest yacht in the world and considered to be the largest yacht by volume in the world.

A3. Super Yacht - La Maddelana Islands 21.9.18.

There was nothing pleasant about the trip to Bonifacio the following morning.  It was one of those moments, rare admittedly, when I (obviously I being Lorraine.  Ian thinks not pleasant but not so bad) thought what the f**k am I doing here!!  The Straits are known to be windy as it funnels between Corsica and Sardinia and the seas are short and sharp.  Should have dug back in my memory to last years’ experience of coming through the Straits of Gibraltar when I had the self same thought.  “Straits” should set the alarm bells ringing.  We are due to go through the Straits of Messina in the next week or so (late October 2018), so fingers crossed it won’t be third time unlucky!  Oh well I survived.  The entrance to Bonifacio was stunning.

Bonifacio isn’t that big a marina but it is popular and they do get their share of superyachts, just a few can moor up on the main quay in the centre of town.  They come in, turn around, where there is some room to do this and then reverse in and drop their anchors to hold them off the quay.  It is quite narrow, so much so they are a few feet away from you when they come past.  When the normal sailboats come in (ie not superyachts) it can be quite chaotic. The marineroes push boats into the moorings with the bow of their rib and then roar off.  People are reliant on others already moored up to help with lines to shore as all mooring is stern to, with the exception of us catamarans who moor alongside the ends of pontoons which are only 6 ft wide so that’s also a mission in itself.  This is the only place we’ve been where there is no assistance from Marina staff.  Whilst doing these manoeuvres you also have the day tripper boats weaving in and out, they can’t wait you know they have a schedule to follow.  There’s plenty to see here!

We had only planned to stay in Bonifacio for a couple of nights to collect our guests then go off.  However, this was not to be, as a Mistral was forecast which brought winds of 50mph for several days.  So, we were “Port Bound”.  Gary and Shelley arrived and we found a restaurant that had been recommended called the “Kissing Pigs”. It was a good recommendation.

Bonifacio old town sits up high above the marina.  We took the land train up but we did walk down.  The citadel was originally built in the 9th century and overlooks the harbour.

Gary and Shelley had hired a car as transfers from the airports were extortionate.  A taxi (no buses available) for a 15 minute journey was €55.  This meant we were able to visit some other areas and we spent one day on a secluded beach on the east side of Corsica where we were out of the wind.  We also drove to Porto Vecchio, which was where we had originally tried to get a mooring but it was full as there was a regatta being held.  The wind was whipping through the bay.

After four nights we did eventually manage to escape Bonifacio and we took a sail across to La Maddalena islands, Sardinia and had a bay all to ourselves for a couple of nights.  Going across the straits this time was great.  We then took ourselves back to Bonifacio as it was time for Shelley and Gary to go home.  A great week.

We were going to spend a few days exploring more of La Maddalena Islands and cross over to Rome on the Tuesday (2nd October) but yes the wind again, was coming in strong so a night’s stopover there and then we headed back to the shelter of the Town Quay in Olbia where we stayed until Saturday 6th October before we departed on our overnight trip to Rome.

E1. La Maddalena islands 30.9.18..JPG


September 2018

Fish, Foiling Catamarans, Friends & Family


We arrived at Calasetta, which is on the north of Sant’ Antioco, to a welcome committee from Arctic Fern, aka Caroline, Howard, Jessica and Olivia.  It was nearly five months since we’d last seen them and it was lovely to see them all again.


We had to be in Cagliari for 8th September for our second visitors of this sailing season, Graham and Lesley, so we hopped along the mainland.  One of the hops was from Malfatano to Pula which was  just two and a half hours, just enough time for a Facetime call with the girls, Tracy and Tracey.  We arrived in Cagliari with Arctic Fern and had a bit of reccy of the city.  Cagliari seemed quite spread out and so we did a lot of walking!

Yes you’ve guessed it we visited another church, the Cathedral of Santa Maria, which has a crypt that holds the remains of 179 martyrs of Cagliari.  Portraits of the deceased can be found on the ceiling.

Graham and Lesley arrived and so spent  some more time looking around the city.

We left Cagliari and headed to a lovely anchorage at Torre delle Stelle.  We had a trip to the beach which made a change.  There were a few other boats anchored here, hopefully we didn’t disturb them too much, Ian likes the music loud and Lesley likes to dance!!!


From here we sailed to Villasimius where Lesley and Graham were jumping ship to a lovely hotel across the bay for another week.  We’d had a great time, as always.

Unbeknown to us there just happened to be a catamaran event being held here.  These were the GC32’s which are foiling cats.  Ian was in his element.  The UK was being represented by none other than  Sir Ben Ainsley and the America’s cup team, Ineos, Team UK.  We met up with Arctic Fern again here.  They’d been into the marina and Jessica and Olivia had met the team and had been able to go on the UK boat for a photo, well pleased they were!  The teams were out practising ahead of the start of the series the following day.  Howard called out to them on his PA system, “Go Team UK, we’re rooting for you”.  This got him a wave from them.  The following day Arctic Fern came onto our boat and we went out to the start line to watch the racing.  Unfortunately the wind really picked up and so the racing was abandoned after two races.

The wind now made the anchorage on the Villasimius side untenable, the swell was building and so we decided to move around to the other side of the headland to Porto Giuno.  Howard and Caroline got back to their boat but the girls stayed with us as getting into a dinghy would be too hazardous for them with the swell.  What a difference on the other side, flat as anything.

We now had to make our way up to Olbia on the NE coast of Sardinia as we had a late planned visit from Jessica.  She’s definitely making the most of seeing some of the places we are visiting which is lovely for us.  On our way to Cala Luna Ian had the fishing rod out and this time we caught a small yellow fin tuna.  Low and behold Arctic Fern also caught one, so fish all round for dinner.

Cala Luna

Cala Luna was a popular beach with caves.  We arrived at 5 o’clock when most of the tourist boats were departing which is always a good thing.  First we had to prepare our catch for dinner, which Caroline kindly showed me, having not done this before, (wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be) and then we went ashore and explored the caves.

On our next passage to Cala Girgola we picked up a stowaway, it never moved from where it came on, Gertrude or could have been Gerald …………. the Grasshopper.  Never caused us any bother so we let him cadge a lift.  We decided to go on to this cala which was a bit further than we’d originally planned.  I realised why by mid afternoon, Ian had timed it so that he could watch the Grand Prix just ahead of our arrival!


We arrived in Olbia a day ahead of Jessica arriving which gave us time to do some shopping etc.  Olbia is just under 3nm from the sea.  As you get nearer you see what looks like mooring buoys which is odd as there are so many of them bunched up together.  We discovered it is a mussel farm.  Olbia is a nice town with small narrow streets and we found a nice restaurant in one of them.  Jessica chose the crab linguine, looked delicious and apparently it was.

E1. Jessica in Cala Girgola 19.9.18.

We took a trip back to Cala Girgola for a night.  I took some photos of Jessica in the water which I was informed are typical “mum” photos, nothing in the photo but her and water, could be anywhere, no scenery, well I am her mum after all what did she expect, I know next time!

Opposite this anchorage is Isola Tavolara.  We ventured over there the following day, unfortunately the weather wasn’t very kind to us and it was very windy and raining.  We attempted to anchor but it wasn’t happening so we took ourselves back to Olbia to the safety of the Town Quay.

Before too long it was time for Jessica to leave us.  It’s always hard having to say goodbye each time but it was great surprise her popping out.  We now had to get a move on up to Bonifacio in Corsica to meet our next guests, Gary and Shelley.  So Jessica stepped off the boat to get her bus to the airport and we let the ropes go and off we went our separate ways.


September 2018

Sant Antioco, Sardinia

Sant Antioco is the larger of the two islands of the southwest coast of Sardinia.  We visited the town of Sant Antioco.  Yachts don’t as a rule go down here (so of course, we did!) as it’s a very narrow, shallow channel but it is marked with buoys.  At one point we went aground (our draft is 1.1m) but that was due to the fact that the port buoy (that’s the red one and should be to the left) we realised we had to leave to starboard (that’s to the righthand side).  There were a lot of windsurfers about on this particular day and one of the locals took pity on us and told us to follow him around this particular section.  You could see the sandbanks, and there were a lot of them.  I was all for going back to deeper water, but no, we are from the East Coast of England, we are used to this, I was told.  It was, I have to admit, worth it when we got there, very picturesque.  It was very sheltered and we anchored in 1.5m of water.  Just a few hundred yards away though there was a guy walking in the water only up to his knees.   The local were very friendly the fishermen gave us an enthusiastic wave each time they passed us.

It was a very small town but surprisingly there was more to see than the usual church.  We went off in search of the Villaggio Ipogeo which are cavernous tombs which were taken over by the islanders in the middle ages and were lived in until the 1930’s.

We followed the directions on the map, but only came to the Fort Sabaudo which was locked.  I was sure that it didn’t shut in the middle of the day.  We eventually found the ticket office.  We paid for our tickets to three venues, the Villaggio Ipogeo, Fort Sabaudo and the Ethnographical museum.  We were told “uno momento”, not quite sure what we were waiting for, after five minutes one of the ladies from the office took us and one other couple off down the street.  We came to a gate which the lady unlocked and in we all went to the Villaggio Ipogeo.  The village had been dug by the Carthaginians since the 6th century BC to create tombs to bury their dead.  It is calculated that there were more than 1500 underground tombs here.

Then we leave the village, the lady locks the gate up and off we wander along a couple more streets to the Fort Sabaudo, where she again unlocks the gate and in we go.  Fort Sabaudo, which is known locally as “su pisa” started construction in 1812 and was completed in 1815.

Once we had finished looking around here, the gate was locked up behind us and we are taken through several streets back to the ticket office which is where the Ethnographical museum is situated.  Again the door was unlocked and in we go.  The museum contains objects that were used in the 19th century.

D3. Strivers for the Virgin Strive Challenge - Aug 2018Looking across to the quayside I can see some banners flying and a blow-up arch, then lots of shouting in English.  People were coming through on bikes.  Hmm something is going on, so good old Google again and it transpired that it was the “Virgin Strive Challenge” which started in Cagliari and their first stop was the town of Sant Antioco on the island of Sant Antioco which is joined to the mainland of Sardinia by a bridge.  The challenge is in five stages and finishes at the summit of Mont Blanc.  Amongst the participants was Richard Branson himself, his son Sam and daughter Holly who are part of the Core Team and will be joined by up to 200 stage participants.  The Big Change Charity is raising money through The Strive Challenge for projects working with young people to thrive in life.  Wandering around town in the evening the group were having dinner at a local restaurant.

We were due to leave Sant Antioco on Sunday 2nd September but we’d heard our Cartagena neighbours on Arctic Fern were heading across from Menorca to Callasetta on the north of island, so we decided to stay another day and meet up with them the following day.  we were so glad we did.  As with most events we have discovered along our trip, it’s normally been by seeing people or boats starting to gather.  Earlier that morning one of the small motor boats alongside us had come along and put some bunting on his boat, I rightly or wrongly assumed this was to keep the birds off his boat, as there are a lot of them.  Off he went and then about 5 o’clock he appeared again along with some other people and motored off.  Then another boat appeared.  Couldn’t find anything on Google so out came the binoculars and I could see further into town there were crowds gathered.  Not wanting to miss the action we jumped in the dinghy and off we went to see what the commotion was.  It transpired it was a procession for Santa Maria.  We stood about waiting with the rest of the crowd for the effigy of the Virgin Mary and baby to arrive, which was by boat, as is the case with a lot of these festivals.

The start of the parade was waiting ahead of us, so we decided to get to the beginning so we could see all of it.  Now Ian has taken to walking slower than a snail, which means I have to keep stopping as it’s really hard to walk that slow!  Today he was a man possessed and he was faster than a hare and I struggled to keep up with him.

Once the parade had finished we decided to get something to eat.  I decided to have a pizza, which was enormous and really would be sufficient for two, but I struggled through.  We then wandered back into the main square and there was a jazz band playing just to finish the evening off.

The following day we headed off for the short journey to Callasetta.



September 2018

Stormy Sardinia

Beautiful Bosa

The next place we visited was Bosa.  We anchored just off the breakwater opposite Porto de Bosa.  The town of Bosa is a 15 minute dinghy ride along the River Temo.  There is a bay on the other side of where we were but you can’t anchor overnight so we settled down or so we thought.  Along came the Coastguard and moved us and five other boats round to the bay, and we managed to understand that we could come back at 9pm, puzzled as to what was going on but we did as we were told, yes even Ian.  From 8.30pm onwards small motor boats started arriving, “heads up” something is going on.  All was revealed when we heard the first loud bang, fireworks.  Very nice of them to welcome us!  We stayed the night here and moved back to our original anchorage the next morning.



Bosa is a very picturesque town, with brightly coloured houses up the hillside and Serravalle Castle at the top.  It was a very steep walk up to the top (and hot) but the views of the river were stunning.

A Carnival is held in February and they revive it in August for the tourists, so we thought we’d stay and watch this.  We found ourselves a front row seat in a restaurant.  However, it isn’t the same as the February one, it wasn’t a parade just people dressed up wandering around, but always interesting to people watch.

We spent a week here and had a few more thunderstorms and plenty of rain.  At least the boat was still nice and clean.  It could be lovely and within minutes all hell broke loose.


The anchorage at Tharros was part of a national park and had mooring buoys laid which you needed a permit for which is available online.  The only issue was the form to download was only available in Italian or French, how did we manage without Google Translate.  So for €32 we were able to use the mooring buoys for no additional charge.  This area had Posidonia sea grass and you must not anchor on it as it is protected.  You can be fined if you do.  The police regularly cruise this area, it was a first to see them on jet skis.  We stayed here for longer than we had wanted to but more on that later………………..

We were anchored opposite the Ruins at Tharros which is believed were probably founded by the Phoenicians at the end of the 8th century BC, then by the Punics followed by the Romans.

There was a very small village just a short dinghy ride away, San Giovanni, where there was a beach and little else but two restaurants and of course, a church.

We had more thunderstorms here, one particularly bad one with 35 knots of wind, torrential rain, thunder and lightning on our second day but we were on a mooring buoy and it held fast.  When we arrived Ian had dived down onto the mooring buoy to see if it was ok.  The lines looked ok but couldn’t get far enough down to check the concrete block.

D1. Thunder clouds, Tharros 14.8.18.

After being here we realised there was a bus from San Giovanni into Oristano about 35 minutes away.  So off we went to have a mooch around on Saturday morning.  The weather became a bit overcast and we had some rain but nothing major.  We were just waiting for a museum to open and sheltering from the rain when Ian received a phone call, an Italian number.  It was someone from the Marine park who we’d got the permit from to say “there is a problem with your boat”.  Shocked was an understatement.  We were asked to get ourselves to his office in the next town, then a few minutes later he told us to stay where we were and he would come and collect us.  Thankfully he spoke fairly good English.  We got back to the boat where the coast guard was waiting for us.  The boat was now anchored in the seagrass.  We never quite to the bottom of exactly what had happened, but someone had jumped on the boat and stopped it drifting and dropped the anchor.  It transpired that the ubolt cast to the concrete block had rusted away.  It was a scary situation and very unlucky for us.  Thankfully there was no damage to the boat.  We had to send a statement to the Coastguard about our movements on the day and were told we also had to report to the Coastguard in Cabras on Monday morning.  Monday morning we checked that we had the correct address and was told no need to now go to the Coast guard, so we could have left Tharros the day before.  Lovely place but we were glad to move on.

Carloforte, Isola di San Pietro

In Carloforte there is a town quay where we were able to moor up alongside which was a relief after the incident in Tharros.  It is also nice to be able to step onto dry land straight from the boat once in a while.

We had to report into the Coastguard to get authorisation to stay there and we had to buy “una marco di bolo” which is a stamp for tax which was €16 from a local newsagent.  We liked it so much and there were some strong winds coming through so we decided to stay a few more days so we had to go through the whole process of getting more authorisation but happy to do that for a total of €32 for a week’s berth.  Marinas are ridiculously expensive at this time of year plus us being a Catamaran makes it even more so, which means we don’t use them as a general rule at this time of year.  Carloforte is the only town on the Island and has ferries from the other island and the mainland of Sardinia, which brings in lots of day trippers.  Again we had more storms here, with some terrific thunder and lightning.  So much for no rain in August.  Carloforte is a pretty town with narrow cobbled streets.  While we were here there was a beer festival with live music one evening and a fashion show the following night.  It still surprises me how often we’ve found events going on while we’ve been somewhere.

August 2018



So, we are anchored outside the harbour at Alghero, along with Copy Cat, Karen and Ronnie.  We can hear someone shouting from the harbour wall, we couldn’t quite make out what he was saying to start with but he was telling us there was space on the Town Quay, which we had heard was free.  The next thing the guy is holding up a Union Jack.  We’d heard about the infamous “Christopher” who helped British people get a place on the Town Quay, much to the annoyance of the marinas.  Karen asked him if he was Christopher and he was very pleased to confirm he was.  Christopher loves everything British especially a cup of tea.  We hadn’t expected there to be any space in July so hadn’t bothered to go in.  Karen and Ronnie went off first and said they would let us know if there was room for us as well.  Shortly we got the nod that there was.  There is only room for two boats, as the rest of the quay is day tripper boats, so we were chuffed we got a space.

A3. Mahe Mates Alghero 25.7.18.

Before leaving Mahon, Menorca we had stocked up with provisions as far as possible, water and fuel as we’d been told that it wasn’t so easy to access these in Sardinia.  So here we are in Alghero on the Town Quay, a public water tap just 20metres, a petrol station 50 metres and a large supermarket just a five minute walk.  Couldn’t be easier!

One downside to being on the Town Quay is that it’s a bit like being in a goldfish bowl.  Lots of people stop to have a look and peer in, so we kept the cockpit nets down to give us some privacy.  The evenings were particularly busy.  The traders set up just outside the boat on the quayside.  We went for the dinner the first night with Karen and Ronnie and then came back and sat on a bench opposite the boats watching people looking at the boats, it was quite amusing particularly when they walk past the first one and then realise the second one is the same, they did a double take.

Alghero old town is very quaint with lots of little streets decorated with lanterns.

Alghero is a very old town and we had a walk around the medieval city walls.  The bastions are dedicated to great explorers – Columbus, Pigafetta, Magellan and Marco Polo.  Of course we had to have a look around the cathedral, I’ve lost count of the churches and cathedrals that we’ve visited on our travels.

While we were here there was a Beer Festival, with live bands.  The festival was held in the Forte della Maddelena, which is the only surviving fort of three built at the end of the 16th century to bolster the city’s land battlements.  The lighting behind the bands looked amazing

C1. Band at Beer festival, Alghero 26.7.18.


After a great time in Alghero we were heading up to the Fornelli Passage, well actually we went into the Pellosa passage which is south of the Isola Piana. Karen took a picture of us as we rounding the Cape from Algerho, it gives you an idea of the sheer height of it by the size of us alongside, our mast is 55 feet above the water.

C7. Cuffysark rounding the cape 28.7.18.

The water at Pellosa was like a swimming pool so beautifully blue.  Copy Cat had arrived with us but they only stayed the one night so we parted company with our Mahe Mates who we would probably see next in Sicily later in the year.

Porte Conte

Most people tend to go across to the East side of Sardinia, but no not us.  We decided that we would go down the West coast, as we have some friends visiting in September who we will meet in the South, we will then go up the East side and onto Corsica after that.  The west side is much quieter than the East, mainly locals and French.  Fellow sailors were finding that the anchorages on the East side were rammed.  This wasn’t the case for us.  So, we left Pellosa and headed back the way we’d come and found a very sheltered anchorage in the NE corner of Porto Conte.  The area we were in was large and we only counted seven boats at any one time, mostly it was just three or four but as can often happen when there’s plenty of room to anchor, a 65ft Catamaran came along and anchored right next to us.  Quite bizarre really but they were only there the one night.

All that was ashore was a couple of hotels, with a few restaurants and a bar which did have loud music one night.  We found just one restaurant behind the water front called Ile Galeone.  They were very welcoming and the food and drinks were very reasonable.  If you wanted fish you could choose what you wanted from the tray she brought out to you.  I watched the waitress holding out the fish for the table in front to have a look at including a long eel, so I decided on steak!  I was a bit taken aback at the size of it when my plate appeared.

We had our first Sardinian thunderstorm here, which was to be the first of quite a few over the next few weeks.  We are also trying to get used to a different language, our Spanish isn’t great but we were both begining to understand a bit more but it’s back to the drawing board again even with some words being the same or similar.

Arrivederci for now!


August 2018