II Sailaway Logbook 2019 - We eventually begin sailing!
To view our previous log entries please use the following link:
2019 - Journeys across Europe to/from Carloforte (Jan till 9th June), the journeys across Europe and preparation of Sailaway.
Log Entry Friday 15th July - A windy day, a lot windier than forecast but it does not keep the people off the water?
It is fascinating as we sit in a constant 25-28 knots of wind gusting well over 30 knots to watch the people at work on the water. It is amazing to see them handle their vessels especially when you consider that we would definitely not go to see in this weather! Even more amazing is the small red submarine (glass bottom vessel) operating out of the marina, it never stops, even night trips, it underwater lighting system illuminating the immediate area around it.
There is only one yacht sailing today, heavily reefed obviously. It does a single trip down the bay then returns back towards the marina. A problem he develops with his headsail furling system has him floundering in amongst the anchored boats for a short period but he in time gets it under control and returns into the marina.
Log Entry Sunday 14th July- Our Sunday morn starts with an inspection by the "Guardia di Finanza!"
We are patrolled daily by both the "Guardia di Finanza" and the "Guardia Costeria" (Coast guard), we are also covered daily by the Guardia Costeria helicopter. I guest the two primary focus must be smuggling and illegal immigration or people trafficking, not surprising when you consider our location, approximately 120 miles from the north African coastline? The "Guardia di Finanza" enter the anchorage and show no interest at all in any of the boats with the exception of a Spanish flagged motor yacht? They drop over fenders and circle the vessel, the owners comes up on deck. After a conversation he returns below and hands the crew "something?", certainly a file or documents. The officer returns into his cabin for some time as the vessel remains close by, he eventually returns the "something?" back to the Spanish owner. The poor guy clearly checks out as the Guardia move away and disappear into the distance at speed?
It's Sunday and within a couple of hours the bay fills up with local boats, some just from Mariana Poetto, just in front of us, some from the main Cagliari marina's only a couple of miles away around the headland. It is clear from the "rafting up" of the boats that many know each other. Unfortunately for them I guess, they have work in the morning as all but one or two of the new arrivals are gone by the evening?
Log Entry Saturday 13th July - Our early morning starts with dolphins in amongst our boats.
As sitting drinking coffee a dark shape catches my attention in the water in front of us? After a second submerge it is clear we have two dolphins in amongst us! Unfortunately by the time i get my camera up they have moved some distance off in search of food no doubt? We watch as they move around and then make off into the distance.
Around 0930 as they do every morning the activity starts around us, always something new to see!
Log Entry Thursday 11th July - So much going on around us?
We are constantly amazed at the variance of activity around us, with the exception of 2 hour lunch break? The kids are not only taught how to sail but all of the supporting activities, safety, recovery etc?
They say "pictures paint a thousand words!" we even learn of new sports, we knew of wind surfing - but with a hydrofoil?
Well, some of us have some work to do, our hull is beginning to look a little "hairy" for the first time in over two years I put on a snorkel and give it a light brush, still impressed by the anti-fouling done by the yard in Carloforte. Ann will not let me back on board without a scrub with soap, I have to comply or there is no lunch?
Log Entry Wednesday 10th July - A trip ashore into Poetto, effectively a suburb of Cagliari.
This morning we wake to strange cloud setting, quite a heavy shower just passing to the north of us? In the hour or so we are hit 3-4 times, the showers consist of very large droplets, each shower lasting 2-3 minutes? In this heat some what of a blessing, we do not even look for cover? It is six days since our last step on firm ground, a little rain will not keep us from going ashore today. We are passed every morning by the local, small fishing boats from the marina as they "to and fro" to their work.
"Nutters" start arriving and setting up on the beach from about 0700 - Honestly! The beach in front of us must run for about two miles, there is a disused, or certainly what appears to be a disused pier. There is never a person or even a light seen on it at night?
We head into the small marina in our dinghy and tie up on one of the internal walls just off the sailing school club and slipways. Our first job was to dispose of the garbage, not so easy to do now in Sardinia without paying a tax, the second job was "coffee!"
While we sit having coffee we keep an eye on what is going on, the small red submarine, a glass bottom boat we think as it never submerges runs on an hourly basis - lots of school kids? We have seen it run in the bay at night illuminating the sea bed underneath it. After a couple of hours we head along the promenade making for a supermarket, we are almost out of fresh produce?
The beach area is very busy with café’s and ice-cream parlours every 300 meters or so. Sailaway sits out at anchor away from the noise and crowds.
We walk down the promenade behind the beach, during the months of June, July and August the road is pedestrianised with access only for residents vehicles. It is controlled by number plate recognition cameras. One excellent feature are the drinking fountains supplied periodically, we like many others, fill our water bottles, the water is ice cold!
The beach goes on for miles, very busy and well supported with everything one might need, we grab refreshments at one of the beach bars before we shop and return to Sailaway. We, as usual have a good laugh with the staff, our waitress speaks excellent English and corrects my mistakes when ordering in Italian? As we leave she bids us farewell, I call her over and say "You need to improve your Italian language as you do not understand me?" There is a short silence then she laughs loudly and agrees explaining what I have just said to her college?
Log Entry Monday 8th July - More strong south-easterly winds on the way, time to move to better shelter.
We arrived here with the plan to travel up the east coast of Sardinia, around the north and return down the west coast - all change for a number of reasons. Our latest plan is to spend time in the local areas around the south coast of Sardinia. It was literally yesterday we reviewed our plans so, as we debated, we sat out the "unforecast" south-westerlies at Villasimius - every one else left the anchorage, too "rocky" I guess? Today we head back west, later this afternoon they forecast more, stronger, south-easterlies, whether they arrive or not is the question?
We are leaving early to get ahead of the winds just in case they arrive, a new neighbour had joined us during the night, nice vessel too! When we came up on deck at dawn she was all lit up, both masts and the waterline, not much chance of missing her in the dark?
Our goal was to be on the move by 0700, we started our engine at 0630, Ann taking control at the bow in her usual manor, we disappear into the mist leaving Villasimius behind. Our original target was "Pula", across the bay, but the south-easterlies began to set in a lot earlier, the sea was soon to built against us. A further change of plan was required as our speed dropped to 2/3 knots against the sea - we turned due east making towards Cagliari, better shelter lay ahead from most winds?
Our coarse took us relatively close to the coastline, the developments were not only of great interest but also helped passing the time? There were magnificent hotels and resorts, this particular development has also rebuilt the historic towers that define the Sardinian coastline.
Through one particularly large bay the true size of the investment in this coastline became apparent. Within approximately 1.5 miles there were three magnificent bridge constructions supporting the infrastructure. Apologies for the poor images, difficult through the mist and early light.
Our destination was to shelter behind "Capo Saint Elia" just of "Marina Piccola del Poetto", "Poetto" being effectively a suburb of Cagliari. The capo slowly came out of the mist, we arrived and dropped anchor in amongst 6-8 vessels, we prefer the outer perimeters.
Poetto is a fairly large resort, in time the whole anchorage filled with water-sports, quite impressive as to how they worked around the vessels in front of us - plenty to watch and keep the mind busy. A cooling dip was gratefully received as the motion of the vessel at Villasimius due to the sea had kept us out of the water.
Log Entry Saturday 6th July - moving east to Villasimius, declared as "The official first day of summer!" read on!.
With the target of Sicily now changed due to the mixture, or rather the lack of consistent winds we now head due east to Villasimius and north up the east coast.
We leave the "Maria del Sole" and enter the great harbour and tidy ourselves up, store away our ropes and fenders, we have plenty of time as the traffic is mainly pleasure craft!
It was quite unbelievable to see the section of harbour wall knocked down by the storm? We leave Cagliari behind and exit the harbour, turning east to Villasimius.
We are not alone but, we loose our company as they turn into the various bays as we make our way along the mainland towards "Capo Sant Elia".
As we arrive at the cape the mainland coastline disappears to the north, mostly hidden in the mist, as do all or the remaining pleasure craft, well all but one?
Off the cape we see a Nautical School vessel, as we approached a life-raft was thrown into the water and inflated. A group of kids then jump into the water and all clamber aboard the life-raft!
We continue on east, our mainsail up and motoring directly against the wind, the forecast promised south, south easterlies - what do they know? The wind strength grew well above forecast strength, consequentially so did the seas, we battle on arrive at Villasimius around 1500 hours.
We were very surprised at how many vessels were in the large bay, still, July is the main holiday period and it is the weekend? We are now in the shelter of "Capo Carbonara" and "Isola Cavoli". Tomorrow we will take the narrow channel between the cape and "Isola Cavoli", the exit of the channel then puts us on the east coast of Sardinia.
And finally, the reason why today is officially the first day of summer - Ann has her first dip of the year in the water, yes, that's official!
Log Entry Thursday 4th July - A look around our favourite areas of the city.
We awoke this morning all ready to pack up and leave, then we realised that we had not seen any of our favourite areas - we decided to stay another night to do so. We walked along the harbour promenade to ward the "Via Roma" area which now also houses a fairly new, city centre marina.
To day was also market day, held in the square opposite the cities great Cathedral, plenty of interesting, local produce.
We had a look around the newish marina, situated on "Via Roma", we crossed the road into it's malls, time for refreshments!
We picked one of the many cafés, then, continued on looking at some of the other "local attractions - we found this "cat and mice" show very amusing?
It was then into the alleys behind Via Roma, just to have a look around, one thing we did notice was a great increase in the cheaper type of gift shops?
We arrived back to marina to see the finish of a launching of a brand new sizable steel police vessel being lifted from a low loader and put into the water - shame we missed that I would have been very interested in seeing that? The marina boat yard has changed completely with new larger cranes, it has been "re-branded" and is now clearly a very professional organisation, with lots of work I was told, good luck to them!
Log Entry Wednesday 3rd July - Early evening, finished work and watching the world go by!
Our plan was to leave in the morning, we had completed all we had planned too today and even managed a beer in the gazebo - just like in the olden days?
We had even been shopping, renting one of the marina's cars and visiting the nearby "Auchan" super market. We had been checking the weather daily, our original plan was to make for Sicily but the tradition northerly winds have been no where to be seen for some weeks, nor in fact in the coming week? We therefore were to change our plan and head up the east coast of Sardinia, around the north, perhaps Corsica and return to Carloforte via the west coast - all we can see for the near future were south, south easterly winds - so annoying! They, also bring increased temperatures, blowing the warm air north from the Sahara.
Log Entry Monday 1st July - We move around to Cagliari, a couple of "bits" needed to make repairs!
We were up early as we always are when we are due to travel, and remarkably fresh considering the evening we had, perhaps it will catch up with us later? We had about 30 mile to cover, not much chance of wind so mostly on the motor. We headed east across the large bay, past "Isola Teredda" towards "Capo Spartivento", passing the numerous anchorages and beach areas as we travel, keeping our eyes open for lobster pot markers. To hit on of the many laid in the sea could easily disable any vessel?
As we travelled the large lighthouse on the Cape became clearer through the mist, as did the many small islets and rock outcrops.
Once past the Cape and it's lighthouse we turned north towards Cagliari, passing many developed beach areas and holiday developments. People already laying claim to their areas for the day.
As we passed "Capo di Pula" we could make out the cape beyond, after which we would pass the "Sarroch Oil Terminal" we discovered so strength is what had until now only been a light breeze, off went the engine and we made way under sail - great! We could make out 5 tanners at anchor to the east of us and 3 at the terminal being service - all 8 gained our full attention until well past. Through the mist Cagliari began to appear, we checked into the "Marina del Sole", we had first visited back in 2009 where we met a lot of our friends we still stay in touch with now, some still travelling like us!
We had a couple of hours of today left to try and source the components we needed, our friend (Gary) had pledged to take us further afield if we were unable to source the items in the local nautical stores in the city. We returned to Sailaway empty handed, they would definitely be found in the morning with Gary's help.
Our first of what turned out to be three sunsets in Cagliari brought back some questions and thoughts regarding people from the past, what had happened to them etc, and, what they were doing now?
Log Entry Sunday 30th June - Our farewell to Malfatano dinner ashore!
We had booked the table for this evening 3 days ago, the "Malfatano" is so busy it is difficult to get a table in the evening - we had now turned this evening into a "farewell dinner!"
We had booked for 7:30pm, but arrived about 6pm and began our celebrations, it was clear that they were never going to be ready for 7:30 anyway - we almost got to the point where we did not really care? What a great start to the evening, Ann with her "Moito's" and me with red wine, we do not touch alcohol too often but tonight we were making an exception! It was nearer 8:30 before they were ready to even take orders, still we were happy enough in more ways than one?
The food was excellent, contrary to the pictures Ann took I was having a really great time - what a "miserable git!" I look in the photographs! Some would say "that's how I always appear, apparently?"
Our party finished about 11pm, it was then a dinghy trip back to Sailaway in the darkness, but no issues of coarse, Sailaway was easy to find being the only vessel at anchor in our bay.
Log Entry Saturday 29th June - We look around the bay of Malfatano.
We have a problem with our stern gland, this is the "collar" that surrounds the prop-shaft and it is manually fed with grease to keep the water out of of the hull of Sailaway. The tube feeding the grease to the collar/gland has split - we have no spares to make a repair on board, the ingress of sea water into he hull is not life threatening but certainly not good! Cagliari is the only place where we know spare parts would be available to rectify, this issue along with a couple of other, small issues make us decide that Cagliari should be our next destination, two or three days in the city will see us resolve all. There is no point in arriving there until Monday when all suppliers will be open and the required items can be sourced quickly.
We decide to spend today having a look around the bays in which we are anchored, we take lunch and water with us - time to explore the local area. The beaches of true sand are all developed and exploited for the tourists so, we are left with the more isolated, pebbled areas? After wandering around for a couple of hours we head to the very north of the bay, occupied by the local fishermen.
It is interesting to see how they have developed the area to assist them in making a living, wooden jetties and moorings, even a car park area. There are no villages nearby, most must travel by some form of vehicle, and, of coarse there is the transportation of their "catch?"
There is even a "fixed net" stretching across the top of the bay but difficult to see whether it is still in use or not? There are also numerous pot markers in the closed section, they may even be "muscle ropes" to cultivate muscle growth?
There is however on all area's of "none developed" areas plastic wastage. We have all heard so much in the UK and global discussions on saving our marine life with the reduction of plastic waste? We do not truly see any change as yet in the Mediterranean, when sailing you cannot do so for any longer than 15/30 minutes without coming across empty plastic bottles or plastic bags passing you by - a great shame? All that talk and publicity, it will probably take years if not decades to see real positive change?
Log Entry Friday 28th June - Ashore at Malfatano.
Checking the weather this morning again we are faced with a week of clam or little winds at all, we had, or would consider a jump to Sicily from here but that is not likely, certainly in the next week? We will spend a few days here then perhaps continue on to Cagliari or Villasimius until the winds arrive, if not we may continue up the east coast of Sardinia? Still we head ashore to Malfatano Beach, we are welcomed and soon settle in.
After an hour or so, Ann heads off for a walk along the beach and up to the Cape. The waterline is a mix of rock and sand, it's entire coastline made up of small sandy beaches in amongst the rocks, water lovely and clear of coarse.
From the Cape Sailaway sits in company now, and vessels arriving all the time, should be swamped with local boats by tomorrow?
Log Entry Thursday 27th June - We move around to Porto Malfatano on the south coast of Sardinia.
The winds are still not good for us, but we do have a break in their strength so it's time to move on. We are up at 0600 hours, we leave earlier to avoid as much of the developing head winds as possible. Ann lifts the anchor and we begin motoring south, the waters already with lots of small to medium fishing vessels, most of them probably from Porto Pino? As we approach "Pta di Cala Piomba" to the south of the large bay, "Capo Teulada" opens up in front of us.
Capo Teulada is quite intimidating, as you round it and follow it's shore line in it's shadow? The fishing boats vary, from the traditional pots to trawling nets we are obliged to alter coarse a couple of times. As we continue now almost due east "Capo Malfatano" begins to appear out of the mist. Today we are pleased with the inaccuracy of the forecast, we receive very little wind against us at all?
With the Cape now behind us it displays it's true size, a military coaster dwarfed against it, more of the southern coastline appears out of the mist.
Capo Malfatano is easy to find even without electronics, it's ancient tower is extremely conspicuous even in the mist.
Once into the bay we drop anchor in our preferred place, just over two years since our last visit here, the bay holds many more small boat mooring that what I remember? We are surprised how deserted it is we are the only vessel here at anchor, I am sure that will change with the weekend coming?
Log Entry Tuesday 25th June - Time to stretch our legs out ashore!
Our anchorage is filling by the day, we counted around twenty vessels this morning, still, not a bad place to be stranded for a couple of days? Our plan today is to head ashore, we have our eye on one of the beach bars as our destination?
We are helped ashore by one of the bar's staff, we settle down onto the white sand, miles and miles of it. Sailaway looks some what dwarfed against our new neighbours? In fact the equivalent of our dinghy is almost as long as Sailaway, their "garage" holds two of them and just about every "water toy" you could think of?
As I "people watch" Ann multi - tasks, drinking, chatting on her phone, eating ice-scream and occasionally speaking to me about how she would love a holiday?
Log Entry Monday 24th June - We sit out the unfavourable winds ahead.
All we have ahead of us is medium head winds, not much use to us as we intend to round "Capo Teulada" and head for Porto Malfatano so we decide to sit them out instead and wait for a break in the winds. The winds have still not settled into their typical direction for this time of year, the weather is just as fickle in the Mediterranean as the rest of the world?
Log Entry Sunday 23rd June - Porto Pino's beaches from our perspective.
Today for us is a day of rest! We are up in the cockpit by about 0730 hours, plenty to see on the two miles of white sand here, said to be one of the best beaches in Sardinia. People are beginning to arrive for the day, it looks and sounds like some may have been here all night. A few of the beach bars had music playing until about 0400 hours, this was after their firework display at midnight!
The small harbour/canal is certainly busy with both fishing and small pleasure craft, ribs and the like. Some fishing boats are clearly also doubled as "trip boats".
Within 2 hours it appears as if the complete beach is taken by people, their chairs, toys etc.
Our day passes quickly sitting in the cockpit "people watching" as we call it, soon time for dinner - Ann performs her usual "military style" performance, I am exiled until the washing up is to be done!
We will sit a couple of days of unfavourable weather ahead here, then leave and move onto Malfatano, further along the south coast for a few days
Log Entry Saturday 22nd June - Off we go on our travels again!
We today’s forecast shows nothing alarming for the near future, not that it means a great deal as the forecasts change daily, anyway nothing nasty showing a head? Sailaway is stocked to the roof with provisions, we will leave today for Porto Pino, then onto Malfatano taking us along the southern coast of Sardinia. We have in our minds Sicily, then perhaps Malta but we plan to take our time and see how we get on? There is quite a bit of things to sort before we leave the marina, in the marina we are completely electric, kettle, hob and toaster. At sea that all changes to gas so we store securely the electrical items until we return.
The winds are light against forecast but we leave regardless, we have about 20 miles to Porto Pino, we move into the main harbour and tidy up our lines and fenders, leaving the harbour around the many ferry movements. We turn south making for the "Capo Sperono" on the S.E corner of Isola di Saint Antioco and then almost due east to Porto Pino on the Sardinian mainland.
We are motoring for about an hour or so when the wind does appear setting in from the west instead of the north as forecast, who cares we can use it and do. We average a steady 5 knots as "Capo Sperono" appears out of the mist.
As we round the cape we make between "Vitello Rock" and "Saint Antioco" heading east, somewhere ahead of us is "Porto Pino!
The wind is now from the north and stiffens, we have about two hours till we hit the bay so we take turns getting some rest, it feels so good to be at sea making for somewhere once again. I think we are a little taken by the amount of effort we have to apply to manage the sails etc, perhaps the sea air, either way we are able to snooze! A couple of miles from the mainland we are visited by dolphins, only what appears to be two of them, difficult to catch on camera. The rings above show their fins and resulting splashing - trust me?
I call Ann up as we enter the bay under sail, we drop anchor just off the entrance of the canal, effectively "Porto Pino". We are far too large to enter, there are several small boats anchored in the north of the bay, mainly day trippers. Clearly they feed the seagulls, we are instantly harassed by one persistent chap that turns out to be a "bit of a problem!"
Log Entry Tuesday 19th June - Our farewell dinner with Stefani & Kosta.
This evening we had dinner with Stefani & Kosta, the are heading home tomorrow, we are awaiting a break in the weather to return to living at anchor. A local Pizza Restaurant is the venue, great food, great wine and wonderful deserts as you can see from Kosta's?
We were out early this morning we have Sailaway to stock up with provisions for the time ahead at anchor? Of coarse our day starts with our coffees at our favoured cafe in the town square.
- Not all the world has gone crazy under the pretence of "Heath & Safety"?
As we arrive the local authority guys are power washing the square, unlike the UK where I am sure this task would be under taken during the night, or, the square sealed of for the workmen? Not here it's being completed at 0900 hours with the public making their way around the workmen?
It is amazing to watch the task undertake, in all cases of the public making their way through the square each member of the public moved around the workmen, and occasional the guys may cease work to let some one pass - worked very well!
The key point that I noticed was that no members of the public lost their lives or was even hurt during the cleaning process? If it works here why not in the UK?
Log Entry Friday 14th June - Sitting out the strong winds!
It is good to see "Plant" flowering for a forth successive year, a little later than usual, normally May? She sits proudly and secure now against the winds in her protective frame as the "Only English Cactus in Sardinia!"
Carloforte has in past decades had a large sea salt processing site, it still sits proudly as one of the towns monuments of the past. Sea salt was processed from here and Sicily to supply the rest of Italy and beyond - now home to many flamingos.
We await a package from Germany containing exhaust system modifications along with a new alternator bracket under manufacture locally. Once all fitted and the weather allowing we plan to leave Carloforte and head east, perhaps the north of Sicily?
Log Entry Monday 10th June - Time to get the sails up for the first time in 2019!
A minor "turn" in the weather has us sit in the marina for another couple of days, it is so unstable for this time of year? We are hoping they do not see a duplication of last years weather systems? Weather changes fast with very little warning? Our plan today is to get out around 10am and head around to Calletta around on the south west side of St Pietro, probably our favourite anchorage on this island. The winds are to be very light and the seas manageable, lets see?
We take our time, remembering what to do is key, almost two years since our last sail? We tidy up in the harbour, putting away our ropes and fenders, then leave the calm harbour, ready, will and able (ish!) The sails go up and reveal the winter sands from the Sahara, they need a wash - hopefully a good day's sail in the rain will clean them up a little? We had them professionally cleaned and repaired three years ago in Sicily, they carry a number of permanent stains after twenty years and almost 25,000 sea mile?
The resulting swell combined with very light winds make sailing difficult but she behaves well, meeting all our expectations, our work has paid off! We pass a colourful, proud local fishing boat, we remember it from the past?
We arrive at Calletta with relative ease, the sea swell on the south coast is sizable almost 2 meters coming from "somewhere? We get into the bay, drop anchor and settle in, the beach has a few visitors, the bar is open but still being worked on. The main season here being July & August.
Our first dinner at anchor is most enjoyable, eaten out in the cockpit, the spray hood sheltering us from the chilling wind?
We sit for a couple of nights, the forecast shows another "blow" building fast to the west of us the anchorages on this island offer very little protection, more "afternoon anchorages". We will return to Carloforte and await our exhaust parts before we leave for the mainland (Sardinia) and beyond - we also have a list of a couple of jobs that could be resolved, but Sailaway and us did great on our first trip out