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THE OTHER SARDINIA

July 23rd, 2012 No comments

There is more to Sardinia than La Madellena Islands and Costa Smeralda as we discovered enroute north from Tunisia along the West Coast of Sardinia.

In June, 2009, shortly after we arrived in the Med we crossed the Straits of Bonifacio that separate Corsica from Sardinia and spent some time in La Maddalena Islands, one of many nature preserves in Italy.  We also ventured south along the east coast along Costa Smeralda and spent a couple of days anchored in Porto Cervo before the mega-yachts had arrived for the season.

La Maddalena is flat sandy islands amind rocky outcroppings, while Costa Smeralda and Port Cervo with elegant, pastel houses on a tree covered coast with cascades of bougainvillea are reminiscent of mainland Italy. 

Isola Caprera Anchorage, La Maddalena, Sardinia--rocks and sand

. . .while Porto Cervo is elegant homes and mega-yachts.

In contrast, the southwest shore of Sardinia was more like the wild, rugged coastline of Corsica, its northern neighbor.

At 5:30 a.m. the sunrises after our overnight passage. . .

then "Land-ho" Sardinia. . .

and the first of many Roman towers that dot the coast.

We arrived at Cap Malfatano near Teluda, Sardinia after a 24 hour overnight sail from Cap Bon, Tunisia.  The anchorage was off a white sand beach, with turquoise water.

Our first anchorage in Sardinia. . .a small cove near Capo Malfantano.

After resting for the day and catching up on sleep the next morning, we headed north to the island of Carleforte.  There are numerous small islands on the west side of Sardinia as well, although apparently not as well known as the La Maddelena Islands.

The passage to Carleforte harbor is very shallow, and as a result other than ferries that shuttle vacationers between the mainland and the island, there are no mega-yachts to be seen. 

Most people arrive in Carloforte by ferry from the mainland. . .

and are greeted by pastel buildings and palm trees that line the main street.

Carleforte is a charming little village with ancient plane trees in the square.

Old men sit in the square and socialize. . .

while the younger set enjoy gelato.

There are festivals during  the summer months throughout Italy.  Flags were strung across the narrow streets of Carleforte in preparation.  

This flag display made us particularly proud.

Unfortunately, the passage north along the coast is against the prevailing summer NW wind, which meant lay days along the way waiting for the wind to be light enough that we could motor (Kent hates that word) into it.  We have accepted that in the Med there is either no wind, too much wind, or it is blowing from the direction we wish to go.

Kent is happy when he gets to set his sails.

We left Carleforte early in the day taking advantage of light winds to reach Capo San Marco about 45 NM north.  Another thing about the west coast of Sardinia is that the legs between ports tend to be long.

Capo San Marco was a delightful stop.  Not only were there free moorings in the nature preserve, but they were set just below the Punic-Roman ruins of Tharros.

Our view of the Tharros ruins from Destiny. . .

was as stunning as Destiny framed by the ruins.

 We landed the dinghy at Tharros and climbed over a small fence, but duly paid our admission of  7 euros each.

The ruins extend down a gently sloping peninsula to the sea. . .

but you could say that it has "gone to the dogs".

On the opposite of the Capo was a small beach village and beach with pounding surf.

Some people opted for the beach near the town. . .

while others took a tourist train. . .

to remote stretches of beach that couldn't be reached by car.

Another 47 NM passage took us to the small man-made harbor at Bosa Marina where we were treated to an afternoon kite boarding exhibition.  The wind typically blows strong in the late afternoon—and the kite boarders were taking advantage of the 20 kts. plus to zip through the harbor.

Kite boarders whizzed across the harbor. . .

performing nailbiting aerial jumps. . .

all the while avoiding collisions with several other kite boarders.

By evening, the wind and kite boarders were gone and Bosa Marina delighted us with a tranquil sunset behind an ancient tower that during the day was not nearly so magnificent.

A peaceful end to our day at Bosa Marina, Sardinia

Light wind kept us moving north, so early the next morning we were off on a 24 NM passage to Porto Conte, a large well protected bay inside Capo Caccia marine preserve.

Capo Caccia is at the entrance to Porto Conte. . .

which is part of a marine preserve.

On the outside of Capo Caccia is Neptune’s Grotto which can be reached by boat or a long stairway.

Neptune's Grotto is on the seaward facing side of the cape. . .

and can be gotten to by boat. . .

or a treacherous looking stairway that snakes down the face of the cape.

Landing by dinghy in heavy seas was not an option, so we did not enter the grotto.  The coastline was impressive and the dinghy ride about as much excitement as I needed for the day.

On the bay side of Porto Conte classic boats cruise by ancient towers on a flat azure sea.

After another lay day for strong winds we made a final push north to the Fornelli Passage and the small harbor at Stintino.  Going through the Fornelli Passage between the mainland and another island nature preserve saves about 20 NM enroute to Stintino, but the passage is narrow and very shallow on both sides requiring that you be lined up with two markers.

One of the black and white markers that guided us through Fornelli Passage. . .

to the calm, though shallow anchorage on the other side.

It was a very rough, wet passage but once through the passage, the calm turquoise water was welcome.

When we docked at the marina it was still blowing 18-20 kts. and we made a bow first landing.  By evening the wind had died and we had a welcome dinner ashore at a seaside pizza restaurant called Lu Fanali.

Stintino is a man made harbor with a little beach. . .

local fisherman. . .

and a great little seaside pizza restaurant--Lu Fanali.

All in all, the west coast of Sardinia has been a pleasant surprise.  Lovely towns, great food shopping, ancient ruins,  and NO mega-yachts.

The northwest corner of Sardinia leaves us only half way to the South of France, our next destination.  Since we have already seen the west coast of Corsica we decided to do an overnight passage from here.

Next stop France. . .more to follow.

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