XI - Eventually we begin Sailing.
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XII - We continue sailing.
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X - Living back on board Sailaway in Carloforte, Sardinia Italy.
Log Entry Monday 28th August - Back to Carloforte Marina.
We decide it is time to return to the marina, no reason in particular, we have swam, snorkelled and all that good stuff. We lift our anchor, the wind for the next couple of days is forecast to be almost none existent? We have about 8 miles to motor, out of the bay, turn left and keep going.
We find these type of trips so boring, still the only plus to it is that there are numerous pot markers to avoid?
The local traffic both moving and anchored also provides a little interest to keep the mind occupied.
Each little cove, where possible has a beach bar, eventually we see Carloforte in the distance, we eventually arrive at the harbour entrance, only the ferries to avoid now?
Log Entry Saturday 26th August - Out of windy Porto Pino and north to Calletta on Isola San Pietro with a "tourist map!".
As we wake we find a couple of rather large additions behind us in the anchorage, it always prompts the same question from us "Yes, but are the owners really happy?
We have had a couple of days of strong southerlies, today is to be no different, no wind at all at the moment, but it is on it's way. We did not go ashore yesterday as initially planned, we thought we would leave it until earlier this morning to avoid a soaking? Laura & Jacopo are also heading ashore with their dog, we will head ashore, get Ann her latte and catch up with them on shore.
Just before we left Sailaway we saw a rather ugly vessel arrive to join us all, we were told it belongs to a Russian billionaire, you think with that sort of cash he would spend it more wisely? Still, it's up to him, he can waste it on what he wants? You may gather that the vulgar looking strange vessel has no attraction to us, I would prefer a motor yacht rather than that thing and the motor yacht would be a last resort for us?
The beach cafe was quite good, the beach itself as we said earlier one of the best examples we have seen in Sardinia, it is still a bit too early, we have to wait until they are set up before they can serve us, we are in no hurry.
Ann gets her latte in due time, they always have a calming effect on her, Laura & Jacopo return from their walk and sit with us. They explain that they are moving back to Isola San Pietro, to Calletta, only a few miles from Carloforte. We are unsure as to wether we want to move today, so we explain that we may, or may not seem them there, we are in no need to return towards Carloforte as yet? There are to be good winds today, south easterlies, in excess of 20 knots later today, ideal to push to back towards "Isola San Pietro." As we sat in the cafe we watched as our friends motored off heading to Calletta, we talked it over and decided to join them, spend a few days there rather than here. We paid the bill and made our way back to Sailaway, the wind was already beginning to pick up, by the time we got back on board and ready to go, we had a good 20 knots - off we went.
Great sailing once again, we had to round Isola San Antioco, then cross the channel over to the west side of Isola San Pietro.
Crossing the narrowest part of the channel, where the wind was strongest we reef our canvas to suit and made good way in the two metre plus swell on our stern.
I have a confession, I feel we ought to come clean? When we had agreed to leave Porto Pino, I had, as one would do checked what pilotage information we had on Calletta, the answer was none! We had to improvise, so I actually used a "Tourist Information Map" we had picked up on the island, Calletta was clearly marked on it so I looked for a bay of similar shape on our charts, that was our target for today - I am ashamed to admit! I believed I had a "back up plan", it would be easy to spot "Soleil Rouge's" bright yellow hull, no way could we fail to find Calletta? Image our surprise as we arrived at Calletta, or where we thought was Calletta and there was not a bright yellow hull in sight? I was pretty adamant that we were in the right place so we dropped our anchor and settled down where we were. It turns out on their way her they had decided to return to the marina and did not let us know?
The beach was full, as was the bar, we jumped into the dinghy and went over for a couple of beers before dinner. As we sat under cover we chatted and watched the activity on the beach, to our disappointment this "Dad" spent a significant time burying his daughter but never completed the task?
As the sun began to set, we headed back to the dinghy and Sailaway, the kid still not completely covered, disappointing?
Log Entry Thursday 24th August - Strong easterly winds coming we head for Porto Pino, better shelter we are told.
The strong south/south easterly winds were always coming, here in Capo Malfatano we would have exposure to south easterlies and the resulting swell. We pop over to the beach for coffee, we can see Laura & Jacopo's dinghy ashore? We have coffee and eventually the wanders return and join us, they are looking to return west to Porto Pino, apparently there is a lovely anchorage with long sandy beaches and a lot more shelter than we would have here. The guys return directly to their vessel and disappear before we finish our coffees, we plan to sit a little longer and await the stronger winds, rather than leave early and motor. As time passes so quickly by the time we get back to Sailaway, we decide to have lunch before we begin our trip, I am like a small child, I have to be fed and watered every four hours!
We leave around 1300 hours the wind is now here, the anchorage completely empty, other than us, all long gone, the swell at the moment no more than 30cm. We progressively see the wind increasing to 20 knots as we make our way along the south coast, as we turn north west the wind is now off our beam. It is accelerating over the land and down the numerous valleys we have to pass up to Porto Pino. We are by now making good speed with our heavily reefed main and small jib, the wind always in excess of 25 knots, gust to 30 knots as we cross the valleys - interesting? We fly up the coast to Porto Pino, the whole bay offers very little shelter from the winds, in fact it's valleys cause the acceleration of the wind onto the beach. There is however, plenty of shelter from the resulting swell, as the wind needs time across the water to create the swell, here it does not have enough time to do so.
We again position ourselves a little out side the group, huddling into the beach for shelter from the winds, as long as your anchor is good why worry? We would not be happy so close to so many others with winds constantly over 25 knots. It looked, from the whites on the water and their flags that the winds where they were was very similar to where we where - our wind generator, charging our batteries loved it!
I must confess the beach was one of the best we had seen in Sardinia, let alone in the last couple of days, there was every thing you could need. We would sit out today on board, not a great deal of it left, and go ashore in the morning?
Log Entry Wednesday 23rd August- We go exploring the nearby coves in the dinghies.
While sitting on Sailaway, Laura & Jacopo appear with their trusty hound, time for his walkies? They have decided to take him to some of the nearby bays they have seen from their wanders, they ask if we would like to join them, we accept and follow them in our own dinghy.
We continue on, leaving Capo Malfatano and turning to the west, following the "cliffed" shoreline. Eventually we come across a small, deep sandy bay set right back in the cliffs. We enter slowly, there is a natural rock bar across the front of the tiny beach so caution is needed.
Once ashore, we are surprised by the nearby terrain, almost "moon like", we leave the guys on the beach, Ann and I head off to see what is nearby in land?
In the distance we are again surprised by the terrain, very remote, we look across the bay of Malfatano, I get my eyes on Sailaway's mast. The poorly wrapped genoa a give away - that was Ann's fault!
We turn and wander slightly further west, another remote beach, people utilising it of coarse, there are no roads, these guys must carry their gear some distance?
We turn and head back to our dinghies, it is almost 1900 hours, another day disappears?
Log Entry Wednesday 23rd August - We wake up, not a bad morning in Capo Malfatano.
We had been here several times back in 2009, there is literally not a lot here to change, a pleasant place to sit in good weather with plenty of shelter from the north, but exposed to almost every other direction.
Ann's face lit up when I pointed out the cafe on the beach, a couple of days since her last "latte" she is in desperate need as I note in her mood swings joking obviously? At least it immediately becomes clear where we will have breakfast?
The cafe is good, the staff very friendly, we are met by one of their employees as he wades out to us, pulls our dinghy to the shore to allow us to disembark. He then secures the dinghy away from the immediate beach and secures it 2-3 meters off shore. The reason for this becomes immediately clear, the traffic of ribs, bringing and taking people elsewhere is quite amazing. We look out as Sailaway enjoys her time at anchor, with boats coming and going from the anchorage.
When finished our breakfast, we move into additional drinks, wasting time on the beach, then back to Sailaway - play time!
The anchorage empties by about lunch time, it seems to be the way, to move on to the next anchorage as soon as possible, I guess to get there before it begins to fill up? We are set here for at least another night, so we are here to stay for the evening!
Log Entry Tuesday 22nd August - We leave and make for Di Torre, Capo Malfatano, on the southern coast of mainland Sardinia.
We wake to a fine morning other than the mist, but the sun will soon burn that away?
The morning soon begins to brighten up, we see Jacopo take their trusty hound for his constitutional. He is a lovely dog, who's name unfortunately, I cannot even pronounce, let alone spell? As the mist clears we see the Sardinian mainland immerge in the east, following that coastline south, then east, is our next destination.
Laura & Jacopo surprised us a little with a sms message mid morning, "we are leaving now!" we watch them motor into the distance. There is no rush, so we prepare ourselves, and as it is approaching 1200 hours, we decide to settle down for lunch before we depart.
After lunch we tidied up, raised our anchor and left, with the wind behind us we had our canvas up and engine off within 15 minutes of beginning to raise our anchor, almost a record for us? It was then just a case of pointing Sailaway towards "Capo Teulada", on the mainland, settling her into the winds and letting her take care of us all. We had a good 3 hours, perhaps a little more to kill! We passed Isola del Torro out to the west, it almost surrounded by small craft?
We kept ourselves busy as we headed towards "Capo Teulada".
As we approached and rounded Capo Teulada, the wind turned more easterly than south easterly and came dead astern, we reset our sails accordingly, the wind also began to stiffen, forcing us to reduce our canvas.
With only a couple of miles to our destination the wind was now constantly over 20 knots, we needed to reef our main? With only a short distance to cover, and being lazy we rolled in our genoa completely and continued the last couple of miles under mainsail alone! Upon arrival we dropped our main and motored into the cove, so late in the day it was quite full, we could see Laura and Jacopo deep in the bay. We settled down a little further out with plenty of room and no aggravation of "others" disturbing our anchor.
Log Entry Monday 21st August - We head for the Pto. di Torre Cannai, Isola di Sant Antioco.
The "Isola di Sant Antioco" is a nearby island as the name suggests, slightly to the south east of us, it is in fact joined to the Sardinian mainland by a causeway. Our friends and neighbours, Laura & Jacopo (Soleil Rouge) are going out sailing for a few days and have invited us to join them. Their first stop is "Pto. di Torre Cannai", they left this morning. We have a trip to the pharmacy to do first and plan to meet up with them later. It is a short sailing trip, only 15 miles or so, but the Pharmacy comes first then we will leave Carloforte sometime in the afternoon.
We leave in late in the afternoon, the more positive aspect of our late departure is more wind from the north, it typically peaks about mid-afternoon, the forecast today is light winds, so, the more the merrier! The local bays to the south of Carloforte are busy, as soon as we leave the harbour and the ferry routes our canvas is up and the engine off.
We have about a 3-4 hour trip ahead of us in these winds, the first leg of about 12 miles is a single track, we then turn east and follow the south coastline of Sant Antioco for the last couple of miles.
It is just a case now of keeping our minds occupied, always plenty of traffic on the water to keep an eye on, being so close to a shoreline also means plenty of small craft, fish/lobster pots to avoid! Unfortunately this coastline seems littered with visible wrecks on the shoreline, a clear indication of what can go wrong?
The majority of this area is the result of volcanic activity, the results can be both, colourful and hidden with the small narrow recesses in the cliffs creating small beaches etc. Most have at least one cafe with beds and umbrellas for rent? We see some beautiful property too, set in beautiful settings and views - well we like them?
Still the trip passes well, not a lot for us to do, Sailaway takes care of her self. We easily find our friends in a small cove, they know the area well. The marker given to us, as there is nothing in the Nautical information for this area, is an approximate position with a tall tower on a cliff top. We have our anchor set and settled for about 1800 hours, nearly time for dinner?
Log Entry Sunday 20th August - We plan to go out sailing for a few days again tomorrow.
We make plans once again, a few local anchorages to the south, not too far. We have the bulk of our stores, only fresh fruit and salad to pick up in the morning, then when ready we will leave. There is a strong wind forecast for the weekend, we will either return by then or find somewhere to sit the weather out?
Log Entry Sunday 13th August - Dinner on Isola Piana.
When we returned to the island at dusk in the evening we saw a further secret of the island, it's sunset and surrounding skies. The skies colours reflected on the water was amazing, we had not noticed this from Sailaway?
The restaurant was interesting, the staff amazing, great fun as we struggled with our translations, my Italian seems to confuse everyone?. However, everything was presented as we ordered, our "self specified pizza's, as there was no menu" were great, we probably indulged in a little too much of the local wine, but so what?
In the morning we return to Carloforte Marina.
Log Entry Sunday 13th August - The winds and sea swell fall off, time to visit Isola Piana.
The island has a fascinating history, a couple of links below add more detail!
Piana island is part of the Sulcis Archipelago and falls under the territory of Carloforte. Over the centuries it has welcomed communities of monks, it was once a penal colony, it then developed into a historical centre of tuna fishing and a noble holding. Today it hosts a prestigious tourism residence with 200 homes and a marina for pleasure boats. On the island there are no cars, motorcycles, it is a nature reserve, and any kind of noise or environmental pollution could disturb the "Eleonora's falcon", Royal Gull and Plovers that nest here. However, the island is small and easy to cross on foot, putting you in contact with the untouched nature and clear, surrounding sea. It is an ecological oasis, completely self-sufficient in terms of water and electricity, with energy saving technology, and no waste water discharging into the sea. The water is purified and recycled for watering the gardens and vegetable gardens bordered by palms and Mediterranean brush.
The history of Piana is tied to that of tuna fishing, in the late 17th century, the King of Sardinia granted the licence for tuna fishing and processing to Don Francesco Pes, who was raised to the royal status of "Marquis" in 1774. The island was made a holding and assigned to the Villamarina family, the Marquis and his family lived alongside the tuna fishermen and their families, who inhabited the island during the seasonal work. In 1898, Marquis Salvatore Pes began activities again with advanced equipment, and rebuilt the homes, but, in 1964, activities ceased and the village lay abandoned until 1975. It was then today's luxury resort was created with homes also for the island's owners, staff and residents. The rite of the tuna slaughter continues, every year in May and June, the tuna fishing vessels are launched, the catch being processed locally on the island of San Pietro.
There is one particular tradition on the island, diving off the pier to say goodbye to a friend as they leave the island, not so much a goodbye as an "arrivederci" - until we meet again.
The winds fall and consequently the sea falls too, we decide to take a look ashore in search of a coffee? We launch our dinghy as the locals begin to return to the anchorage for the day and we make our way into the small harbour. As we had noticed the "Private" signs we make our ways towards the staff and inquire if we may come ashore for a coffee? Permission is granted and we are asked to register in the office, a formality I guess? In the office we are allowed an hour by the staff for coffee etc in their restaurant, during the registration we are questioned by a gentleman, who turns out to be Matteo Testino, the now owner of the island.
Matteo asks if we would like a tour of the island, obviously we said yes! It was fascinating to here Matteo's story of the island and it's conversion into a holiday resort. He also had now a clear definition of the statement "Mad dogs and English men!" as we were introduced to his staff as the English that had sat at anchor outside during the recent weather? At one time apparently we were rolling around so much the thoughts were that "perhaps we were dead?" until confirmed otherwise by one of their service vessels passing us by.
The old sections are all protected by the government due to the historic links, few new sections were built, if so they were kept in similar style with the island.
The holiday complex was amazing, clear to see why it was busy, complete isolation on your own private island, just a short distance away from civilisation.
It was explained to us that they had a recycling centre, clearly hidden to convert "black water" into water used for the gardens etc, all well kept and fully utilised by the guests. There were also a significant number of fresh water wells on the island to cater for other needs.
The island even has it's own chapel, and priest during the season - what else would you need?
Matteo graciously asked if we would like to visit his apartment, a section of the original Marquis's house, we were taken up a large spiral staircase. Within the large staircase was a hidden, much smaller spiral staircase, originally build for the staff. As Matteo opens his front door we were welcomed by rug in the form of the original Marquis's "Coat of Arms" as we would call it.
The Marquis's master bedroom had the original ceiling, still in perfect condition, portraying the tuna industry, the initial purpose of the island centuries ago.
Matteo took us through his home out to one of the balconies over looking the island giving us an "bird's-eye view" of the complex and Sailaway. At the end of the tour we thanked Matteo for his time and asked if he would join us for coffee in return? He accepted and he took us to his restaurant where our conversation continued to cover many aspects of both historic and modern day issues - very interesting!
From the restaurant we said our farewells and made our way back to our dinghy in the small harbour. As we left Matteo he offered the use of the restaurant for the evening, should we wish to return. That too was a positive "yes please!" and we booked a table for that evening.
Log Entry Thursday 10th August - We decide to sit out the coming winds at Isola Piana.
We have strong northerly winds building over the next couple of days, we quite like the solitude here, so we decide to sit them out here? We are unsure of the shelter the island and reefs extending to the west and east will provide. If a problem develops with the 2.5m swell forecast we will just run down to the marina at Carloforte. As the weather develops we are usually the only vessel here, an Italian flagged sailboat arrived last night, they unfortunately dragged their anchor at 4 am this morning. They relocated, and left this morning, heading south, they did apologise for waking us as they passed us, not really an issue they would never have hit us, just all part of "anchoring!" We thanked them and wished them a good journey, where ever they were going?
We are now just killing time as the weather develops, it's interesting seeing the island carry out it's daily functions, transporting guests, bring in supplies, even disposing of garbage etc. The service vessels know us well by now, waving as they pass, probably thinking "aren't the British strange, sitting here in this?"
Our times passes quickly as we have plenty to occupy our minds, always something to fix, plan, or movies to watch!
Log Entry Wednesday 9th August - We move on to Isola Piana!
When we arrived last night there was about 8 - 10 vessels here, all but 1 had gone by 8pm? These anchorages are very dependant on wind direction, more like day, or calm weather anchorages. We had a peaceful night, all went well with Sailaway, no issues at all which we were very happy with.
The wind will turn from the north, and stiffen to 20 knots plus for a couple of days. The opening of the anchorage is facing north so staying here is not an option, we need to relocate? We are heading for "Isola Piana" off the north east tip of "Isola San Pietro", the plan is to anchor to the south and see what shelter it provides. The marina is only a couple of miles to the south, so if no good we can run back to the marina but we prefer not too unless necessary. There are a couple of anchorages on the south coast but we have been told that with these strong winds the swell builds up passing through the channel and finds it's way into those anchorages, so they are not an option in our minds.
Some weeks ago we had visited the old Tuna processing plant, at "La Punta" by car, it was far more impressive by sea. As we approached the point we had a couple of options to take us to the southern anchorage of "Isola Piana". We chose the narrow, shallow channel between "Isola Punta" and "Isola di Ratti". We sailed to about 200 meters from the channel, dropped our sails and started our engine - it ran for a short time, then died, it restarted but would not continue, there was clearly an issue? The channel was a risk under sail, the anchorage beyond had about 8 - 10 vessels in it? A change of plan, we rolled out our headsail and made our way under sail down "San Pietro's" coastline. Ann took Sailaway through a couple of on-coming vessels while I worked on the engine below. It did not take long to identify that our dear old engine was being starved of fuel, there was a blockage somewhere?
I came back up top and we decided to drop our canvas and drop anchor to sort out the issue, we were in clear, shallow water, the anchor set easy and I returned to our engine. The problem required the changing of two filters in the fuel system, and rechecking delivery to the engine fuel pump. After the corrective work the engine was started and was back to normal, job done! After spending 8 years associated with pharmaceutical manufacture I use one of there principles in life. To, "identify an assignable cause" to eliminate from the fault reoccurring, in this case it meant identifying the debris that had block the filters. The debris had come from the refurbishment of our 3 fuel tanks over the last 18 months, we clearly had not been as careful as we believed cleaning after the rework? The filters had still lasted 105 hours, we change after every 200 hours without issue, the next time, hopefully there is not a next time, we need to consider this fact - a lesson learned.
We decided to sit a little longer, I needed to cool down, working on a hot engine in outside temps of 30C is no fun. The wait also allowed many of the day visitors to return to the marina, we were not expecting many staying with the strong winds forecast?
We were sitting in the anchorage, just outside the harbour entrance by 6pm, on our own by 7pm, perfect, we had dinner down below as the wind was now in excess of 20 knots!
Log Entry Tuesday 8th August - We leave Carloforte with Sailaway, "practice makes perfect!"
We always have a degree of nervousness when going out for the first time, be it after a single month's break or ten months? Still, all goes well, we are able to miss all of the ferry traffic, not a single collision, not even a ferry's horn sounded at us which we hear regularly! We have a southerly wind developing, our plan is to head south down the "Channel di San Pietro" and along the south coast of Isola di an Pietro.
Portovesme and mainland Sardinia is covered in mist as usual, we have only seen a couple of clear days since we arrived back? With good wind we soon have all canvas up, and the engine off! Sailing will also help clean some of the weed that has grown on our hull, the faster the better.
With the arrival of good winds we are easily able to reach 7-8 knots, in fact, soon time to begin to reef down our sails a little too much up. As we round "Pt. Nero" on the south east corner of Isola San Pietro we continue along the south coast at speed. In time we turn north up the west cost, time is getting on, still with good winds, behind us now we decide to round the north coast, where the wind will leave us for today and find somewhere to spend the night? Sure enough as we round "Pt. di Cala Fico" on the north west corner of the island the wind begins to drop off as expected - time to find somewhere to try out our anchor skills?
We very quickly find a small cove, in which there are a collect of mixed vessels, good enough for us, in we go. As it happens our neighbours in the marina are also there with their visitors, they have with them, 4 adults, 4 children and their rather large dog!
I am very quickly aware of large birds of pray soaring over our heads, I get a shot of one of them but the picture is of poor quality, never mind.
We anchor behind "Isola di Calvoinagro", once secure it takes Ann no time to get below decks sorted and our dinner ready, out first meal at anchor! We sit and reflect on the day as the sun goes down, the darkness gives clarity as to just how many fishing vessels are active from their lights.