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Sardinia – Sunbaking, Swimming and Sixteen hundred year old Ruins…

ITALY | Friday, 15 August 2008 | Views [1358]

Sailing in Sardinia

Sailing in Sardinia

My apologies to all my friends back home in wintery Tassie at present but the weather here has turned hot, hot, hot with averages of 30 degrees during the day perfect for enjoying the warm but still refreshing water. In the afternoons a cooling sea breeze blows in to mediate the heat and by nightfall the wind has dropped and a balmy atmosphere reigns supreme under the stars.

Our owners were on board for 20 days and with the partying out of the way things soon settled into a routine. We began the trip in the north of Sardinia sailing around the famous Maddalena archipelago which is a marine reserve in order to protect its sparkling white beaches and granite shores. Each day we moved to a different anchorage for the night and sometimes to two or three anchorages during the day stopping to explore and swim.

My duties when the owners are on board are a little easier than when preparing the boat in port. In the morning I must clean the stainless and the windows with a chamois and remove any salt spots. Usually I then head downstairs for breakfast of the leftover fruit and yoghurt and then we sail off for the day. I am responsible for lifting and setting the anchor, taking the owners into the beach, ensuring that the dinghy is always full of air and fuel and when sailing I must put the sails up and down, put the covers on or off, fix the runners etc etc. Basically my day is filled but I still have time to read and when we are on the move I can generally relax in the crew cockpit and absorb the scenery passing by.

According to the skipper I have been designated Captain of the dinghy – WOW my first skippership and it’s a whole 3.6m long and inflatable! “Rubber Ducky – you’re the one, doodedoodedoo.” Still Im quite comfortable now bombing around in my little machine and with 30hp on the back she’ll fly along quite happily on the plane. Sometimes I am going back and forth all day taking the owners ashore, into the port, taking Ila in to do the shopping, taking the rubbish in and quite often I have to jump in the dinghy while the boat is still moving outside a port and then burn in with the rubbish, quickly back and jump on board again so we don’t lose any time anchoring!

One good aspect about the owners being on board is the gourmet treats prepared for us for lunch and dinner. Ila generally cooks the same for us as she does for the owners and we feast on two or three courses for every meal although the atmosphere is not quite the same as we chow down piled around the central kitchen bench in the cramped crew quarters while the owners enjoy the vista dining outside in the cockpit. After dinner and cleaning up the day usually ends about 11 and if we have time we sneak in an episode of ‘Sex and the City’ on Anita’s laptop in the cockpit.

In Sardinia we had two gorgeous young children on board – the daughters of the owner so the atmosphere was naturally very relaxed. This meant that we could experience a little more of Sardinia. It’s a huge island – about the same size as Tasmania and quite dry but forested by evergreens. The beaches along the east coast are long and white and the mountains are spectacularly high. Many of the capes we passed looked similar to Cape Tasman near Port Arthur at home. The beaches and scenery are wonderful but what makes Sardinia so special is the clearest water I have seen yet in my adventures around the world thus far. In some anchorages you could see the smallest pebbles on the sandy bottom in 12m of water. When we reached the south there were a lot less mega yachts around but the area was no less beautiful.

We stopped at a place called Porto Pula where there were the ancient ruins of the Roman settlement of Nora. The ruins dated back to 450 AD and were situated right next to some high class holiday resorts… if only the Romans could see it now. Another highlight was Porto Pino where small but picturesque sand dunes made for an exhausting climb in the heat. Once we reached the top we used small stones to write messages in the sand – I drew a picture of Tassie (rather unsuccessfully – photographic evidence attached) and wrote ‘Aussie’ and Anita wrote ‘Wish you were here.’ Another favourite place was Malfatone Bay where we dined ashore at a small laidback restaurant literally on the beach with the owners. Spaghetti Botarga, a Sardinian speciality (spaghetti with dried tuna roe) and platefuls of fishy delights turned up as we watched the sun set behind the boat anchored out in the bay.

Sardinia fulfilled my expectations and as hoped the season got off to a good start. We dropped the owners off in Cagliari, the southern capital of Sardinia (about the same size as Hobart) where the skipper promised us a few days holiday as a reward for a successful trip – time to play again!   

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