After two nights in Bonifacio we were ready for our crossing to Sardinia. We wanted to leave early in the morning as the wind was supposed to pick up later in the day. It’s not a long passage (about 15 NM) but the strait of Bonifacio is not known for being a peaceful lake. While making the last preparations before leaving, a French catamaran arrived and moored next to us, bumping into our boat several times in the process. We looked at the damage and noticed multiple scratches on the freeboard which we pointed to our ex-neighbors to be. The guy told us after a while (the woman already completely disappeared): “sorry… you know what helps? smiling” (WTF no 1). He then went to hide inside his boat, never to come out again (WTF no 2). After talking to the capitainerie the only option we had was to go to the police, a lot of hassle for a few scratches and we really had to leave on time. 20 Guineas and a bottle of rum for the person who sinks French catamaran “Diatomee” from “LR” (La Rochelle?). Despite this unfortunate event, we had high expectations of Sardinia and wanted to find out what the fuss was all about. The writer of our pilot book is also very enthusiastic about Sardinia as it’s one of his favorite places in the Med.
We left the harbor with Beaufort 4-5 winds and arrived in Sardinia with a good Beaufort 7 and anchored in Porto Liscia to be sheltered from wind and waves. Porto Liscia is a gigantic beach and has a windsurf village. Many kite-surfers were slaloming between the anchored boats when we were there. We then left for Cala Bitta and tried to access Sardinian ground for the first time with our dinghy. We discovered however that we couldn’t put our dinghy (with paddles!) on the beach (it was private) and had to pay an old guy sitting all day next to a shabby quay to moor our dinghy there… At least the anchorage was quite nice but we were stuck on our boat. We continued our journey along the East coast but skipped as much as possible the Costa Smeralda as it’s 1) crazy expensive 2) crazy crowded in season. We for instance didn’t find out if La Maddalena was as beautiful as it’s supposed to be (from our boat it looked nice but nothing special). We anchored in Cala Moresca in Golfo Aranci, it’s a very nice spot with a lonely rocky mountain and crystal clear waters. In the morning Sarah spotted a dolphin while Thijs was pulling in the anchor and completely missed it. We continued to Porto Brandici (also a nice anchoring spot) and had to hurry to get to a harbor as nasty westerlies were coming our way. We made it to La Caletta and stayed there for a couple of days until the gale subsided. We met there a few friendly French couples and Sherran and Sue, an Australian couple cruising the Med and Black Sea already for a few years, they still have a long way to go since they want to sail all the way back to Australia. We had drinks onboard their very well equipped big Bavaria (it includes a washing machine). Our next stop was Capo Camino and it was the first spot in Sardinia which we liked so much that we decided to stay anchored there another night. With white sand beaches and dunes, mountains in the back and super blue waters, it was for us a highlight after being relatively disappointed by the northern part of the East coast (also, it’s hard to beat Corsica). We then sailed towards Cala Gonone and the Orosei gulf and anchored in Cala Luna. The area has plenty of sea caves, which you can actually visit by dinghy, and the view was stunning. It’s extremely busy during the day but at night all the tourists boats and gommoni are gone, we had the place almost for ourselves with only a handful of other boats anchored next to us. We visited the grotte del bue marino (caves of the monk seal). Monk seals left that cave a long time ago due to overfishing and tourism (the irony) but the cave itself is quite impressive. Further South we anchored in Cala Goloritzè and then stopped in the harbor of Arbatax. There we met Jan and José, a Dutch couple cruising with their Bavaria named Jonas. Funnily enough, they already knew about us as they are good friends with Frans and Martje (the couple cruising with Aveline). After Arbatax we went directly to the bay of Melisenda where we stayed anchored for a few days. We visited Sarah’s aunt and uncle and for the first time in months slept in actual beds. The house itself is quite impressive and comes with a swimming pool that we used a lot to escape the heat. From the house we could see the beach and keep an eye on our boat (luckily, it didn’t drift). We also ate a lot of good food and drunk a lot of good wine. It was hard to leave but when the weather forecasts improved we sailed to Porto Corallo, where we had drinks with Jan and José again and a brief visit of Sarah’s aunt und uncle, and left the next morning at dawn for our long crossing to Sicily.
It took us quite a while to appreciate Sardinia, but in the end we got rather fond of it. We would definitely like to go back there (off season) to visit the South coast and all other areas we couldn’t see this time.