Porto Cervo – La Caletta (37 miles)
our Jeanneau 43 DS, in three persons we set sail from our home base at Porto Cervo Costa Smeralda on the North
East of Sardinia, around mid-day with a providential North wind pushing us
southwards. While off Cape Figari, the Coast Guard contacted us over the
radio to keep a look out for a presumed boat on fire in the area. After a
long search, we all concluded that the sighting must have been a smokey
ferry storming out of sight over the horizon. So we proceeded, keeping an
eye open for the many fast ferries going in and out of Olbia, to sail
around the spectacular steep cliffs of Tavolara and headed for La Caletta.
This we found to be a very good marina as far as Sardinian standards go,
very well run with a most helpful manager, who did most of our mooring
work himself. There is a good fish restaurant in the main street, “Il
Ristorante”, a walk all the way around the darkened marina.
Caletta – Santa Maria Navarrese (41 miles)
set off from La Caletta early in the morning with a very strong tail wind
and a heavy stern sea, initially at Force 7, but settling to an acceptable
strength after Capo Comino, though continued to difficult to steer, being
fully astern. Occasionally I tried to butterfly the sails, but the gybes
made me decide for a less direct course. There is only a small port on the
way down, Cala Gonone, but it has very little space available, as it is
all taken up with fishing boats and should only be used in an emergency or
in very good weather. The gulf of Orosei provides no other shelters,
consisting of unbroken sandstone cliffs. In good weather it provides a
very spectacular scenery and some of the most beautiful beaches of
Sardinia: Cala di Luna, Cala Sisine and the paleolithic grotto of the Bue
tail wind and waves accompanied us all the way to Santa Maria Navarrese,
which lies just 3 miles before Arbatax, a small industrial town with a
large free port. However I preferred Santa Maria, as it is smaller and
prettier, snuggling up against the rocky cliff face. During this trip we
encountered several sail boats, of all nationalities, all heading home
north after a long summer’s sailing; we were the only ones going south.
In Santa Maria we were suggested a good fish restaurant, “just a bit
along the beach”, which turned out to be 1.8 kms, however it was worth
Santa Maria Navarrese – Villasimius (56 miles)
was an uneventful and tranquil trip. There is a new marina half way down,
Porto Corallo, which is in an open country area, without a local town to
provide some spice, so we gave it a miss.
lies on the Capo Carbonara point, which is a national park, with its
particular restrictions, the first one being a narrow passage permitted,
of only 600 metres, on the western side of Serpentara island; so you must
keep close to the mainland. For the rest, this park is strewn with rocks
and islands, though all well charted and makes an interesting internal
passage, daytime, in good weather and proceeding slowly. I would give it a
wide berth at night time.
is a modern marina just around the point and makes an excellent stopover.
There is a beautiful beach right next to the marina and a fabulous beach
500 metres eastwards across the isthmus. You either wade across or walk
around a shallow round lake, to the main beach, with its lovely sands and
warm waters. Southern Sardinia can get quite hot in Summer, but the off
season is delightful. The lively township of Villasimius is, alas, 1.5 kms
away. In summer there are regular busses, otherwise you take a taxi or ask
a marina worker for a lift, as they often go back and forth.
– Cagliari (20miles)
makes an interesting coastal cruise, along the developed coast, with its
mixed assortment of constructions. As you approach Capo Sant Elia, you can
make out the long flat coastline of the Poetto, the famous beach of the
fortunate inhabitants of the city, who have such a lovely beach so close
by. At the western end is Cala Piccola, and as the name suggests, it’s a
very small harbour for the local yacht club. It can provide some shelter,
but first check to see if there is room. I prefer the main port of Cagliari, as you are closer to the city centre, well within walking
distance. The main shipping docks are to be avoided though , as I have
heard that they are subject to petty thefts, so I chose the Lega Navale,
which is fenced off and guarded.
old city on the hill-top is very well worth visiting, and the museum, with
its Nuragic, Punic, Greek and Roman artifacts, tracing the history of
Sardinia over its various stages of 4000 years. Another main attraction of
Cagliari, is the abundance of excellent restaurants at reasonable prices
– they express an agreable mixture of Sardinian, Italian and Moorish
cuisine, much based on seafoods.
city is well equipped with ship chandlers and boat repair facilities. On
this stop-over I had a Navtex installed and purchased from Ga.Pi.Mar. (tel
070-5212519) a wide C-Map GPS chart of the central southern Mediterranean,
since I planned to sail to Tunisia. Marino, who is an institution at the
Lega Navale, took me to a sport fishing shop for a trailing rod and
tackle, which was expertly prepared with bait and ready to go. My friend
Giuseppe supplied me with print outs of weather forecasts, which bode well
for the crossing. It took me a while to set up the Navtex and get the hang
of it, but now I would not go without it and recommend it for all
installation got behind schedule, as a bug got into the works and I was
most dismayed with all the boat’s electronic guts strewn around the
cabin, just before our planned departure. At 10.30 pm the workers wanted
to call it quits for the day, but some salami, cheese and beer gave them
the strength to finish the job.