Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Cagliari and the big hop

We pulled into Cagliari a few days ago to load up on food, do a little tourism, and prepare for the big hop from Sardinia to Sicily (150 miles). We were told that Marina del Sole was the cheapest marina in Cagliari and heard rumors that it was possible to negotiate the price for longer stays. We prepared our negotiation strategy and wrote out our phrases in italian, all for nothing. As soon as we asked about weekly discounts, we were given a price that was less than what we had planned to ask for, so for 35 euros / night (instead of 65), we decided to stay 7 days.

The weather is in transition and everyday we have an afternoon monsoon, with thunder, lightning, gusts up to 30 knots, and rain. It doesn’t last long and it has mercifully cooled the temperatures, but it is very unstable and not particularly suited to the sort of relaxing days at anchor we have enjoyed thus far. It’s too early to tell, but there may be a good weather window for heading to Sicily this weekend or early next week. We will leave Cagliari a few days before and position ourselves in the Porto Guinco area, a lovely protected anchorage at the southeast tip of Sardinia, well positioned for "take off ".

We took a day to visit the Phoenician-Punic-Roman-Vandal ruins in Nora, just south of Cagliari.  As with most of these archeological sites, the magic is in the imagination of what it must have looked like in its heyday, since what's left is mostly, well, um, ruins.  

And here are some creature features that I put on the Facebook page but that didn't make it into the last blog post.  The flatfish (sole) like tagging along with the rays because rays are sloppy eaters.  The flatfish also hang out around our anchor chain because the chain stirs up the sand and apparently uncovers tasty tidbits.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Sardinia's East Coast notes

As mentioned in the last post, our Imray guide ( 2016) misses large sections of the east coast of Sardinia, as if it were just a zone for transiting to somewhere else.   Thankfully, there is a brillant document on the sea-seek web site (sea-seek.com) for East Sardinia that points out many wonderful anchorages.

Along with Cala Ginepro (our anchor coordinates: 40°26.491 09°47.522) and Cala Luna (40°.14.323 09°37.485) mentioned earlier, we have discovered the cala Santa Foxi Manna (sea-seek coordinates 39°41.56 09°39.67) and now, a little corner of paradise named Cala Sinzias with no chart information in OpenCPN, MaxSea, or Navionics at 39°11.297 09°34.133.

Photos of sea slugs (nudibrachs) from Cala Frailis.  Almost didn't see these little guys.  They are about 20 cm long (8 inches or so) and move around faster than I imaged.

Photo bombed by colorful fish, who, when you WANT to take his picture, is very evasive...

We left Cala Frailis just south of Santa Maria de Navarrese a few days ago headed for Cala Santa Foxi Manna, but after lunch en route, Patrick announced that he had broken off a few bits of a tooth.  He wasn't in any pain but it was clear that we needed to have it looked at before it really cracked .  With good winds, we changed course slightly and headed for Porto Corallo, arriving at 8 p.m.  The next morning, we discovered that the port had a small medical clinic on site, where we were informed that we needed to see a dentist.  (Fortunately that advice was free...).  After calling 4 different dentists in the villages around the port, we managed to find one that was not closed for vacation and could see us in the afternoon.  All was taken care of rapidly if not painlessly within 24 hours of discovering the problem.  We were quite pleased with ourselves.

And now we are enjoying a beautiful day in a beautiful cala.  A day at anchor goes something like this:

Up at the crack of 8:30.  Adjust solar panels.
Patrick skinny-dips before breakfast; Maria watches, amused but still groggy, with a cup of tea from the cockpit.
Internet time: emails, news, weather check. Discussion and decision on day's plans.
Put up sunbrella panels anywhere there is sun coming into the cockpit.  I feel like I spend most of my day moving these bits of cloth around...
Hand-wash some laundry, repair worn seal around refrigerator.
Move boat to a better spot (closer in to shore now that we know the rocks are far away).
Snorkeling: 1 hour or so.
Prepare and enjoy a long languid lunch. Watermelon, lamb chops with steamed potatoes and carrots, aged goat cheese on toast with honey and herbs de provence, red wine.  (There is a great butcher shop in Santa Maria.  I mentioned earlier that one of the first phrases a cruiser learns in a foreign language is "where is the hardware store."  If you are a foodie like Patrick, the second phrase you learn is "can we have this vacuum packed?"  After pantomiming vacuum-packed for the butcher and after the laughter died away, we learned the magic phrase:  "sotto vuotto".)
Calls and skypes to kids and parents.
Nap time !
Second snorkel session.
Internet (download pod casts, e-books, check weather again, discussion of plans for coming days based on weather).
Reading, lounging, light housework and cleaning.
Aperatif time !  Sundowners (well before sundown)
Prepare and enjoy dinner (usually inside watching the Italian evening news).  Fresh ricotta and spinach raviolis with tomato sauce and bresaola (salt-cured thin-sliced beef).
Mosquito patrol: put up mosquito screens and light mosquito incense coils.
Movies, reading, cockpit contemplation time.  Okay, okay...yes, one more weather check...
Mooring lights on, inside lights out.

Friday, 3 August 2018

The Gulf of Orosei

Our sailing guide only lightly describes the Orosei gulf as an exposed stretch of coastline only suitable for day anchorages, but with a long stretch of calm weather and lots of targets on the AIS showing other boats anchored overnight, we bravely pressed forward to explore the area.  Cala Ginepro was a sheltered anchorage with beach resorts (tasteful ones) dotted around the beach, and Cala Luna was an exposed and rolly marvel of caves and grottos.  During the day, one gets the impression of being in the middle of a swarm of wasps as tourist boats zip and zoom all around, but after 6 p.m. they all go home.  We managed to get some quality snorkeling in at 8 a.m. when the swell was call and before the hords returned.

We are now in Sainta Maria de Navarrese, visiting the oldest church in Sardenia and its 2000 year-old olive tree as we load up the fridge and water tanks for some longer hops down the coast.

Mareda in Cala Ginepro

Cala Luna

Sainta Maria de Navarrese

2000 year-old olive tree