Hugh, Anne and Hector's Sailing Adventures
El Capitano's Log 11th August 2006 Well it's been some time since I reported in. This has been partly caused by computer malfunction and partly due to running a floating guesthouse for six weeks (more later). This log is very much "we did this and we went there" but that's how its been. Until recently the weather has been perfect the boat has held together and we are still talking to each other! When I was last in contact we had just downed the most expensive beers in Sardinia prior to Brian's departure on the 12th of June. We then holed up in Olbia and went cruising on our own around the beautiful Madalena Islands, met up with some new cruising pals on "UNDA" and "SOVEREIGN" and returned to Olbia to berth at the marina (Circolo Nautico Olbia). Nice surprise here was that the friendly Capitano treated us to a mussel spaghetti lunch. At this point our Floating Guest House opened and would run at full occupancy for six weeks until the 7th of August. Kevin and Kirstie arrived on 28th June when it was very hot and humid but the good news was that Kevin had brought new software (XP) (thanks Fergus) to run the computer. The bad news was that he also brought a stinking cold which he then generously passed on to me. We did the usual circuit of Cala di Volpe (37knts wind) and on to Porto Cervo. All the time we were sort of following the World Cup football and with the absence of a Scottish team and the early departure of Jamaica we were supporting Italy. In Aranchi we saw the Italy vs Germany game in a local bar and for the first half we got a civil but chilly reception. However, at half time I explained that we were Scots and supporting Italy, whereupon, the crisps and nuts and smiles began to appear. Italy won the game in extra time and the cafÃ© went wild Kevin got a hug and a kiss from the owner ; or was it Kirstie......anyway the town went mad with tooting horns and flagwaving. Back to Olbia and a BBQ on the pier with langoustines and tuna steaks. Kevin and Kirstie left on the 6th July and Anne and I saw the rather disappointing World Cup Final in which Italy beat France on penalties and Olbia went wild...... The Wolframs (Julian, Margaret and Hannah) arrived on the 10th for three weeks. Back on familiar territory now; Aranchi, Porto Cervo and across to Porto Palma in the Madalenas. On this and only this occasion we were relieved of â‚¬ 35 for the privilege of mooring in the National Park. Around the same time we heard that the Sardinians were going to levy a luxury tax on yachts visiting the island to the tune of â‚¬1000. A quick check with the RYA established that the charging started at yachts of 14m length and we scrape under the bar at 13.5m; phew! On with the cruise: on July14th we moored in Palau and took a ferry across to the town of Madalena. Unfortunately it was in the heat of the day and trudging around looking for the ideal lunch stop is not much fun at 37C. We then went back to Cannigione and found the owners of "UNDA" looking rather glum. They had gone ashore to watch the World Cup Final and in their absence, thieves had swum out to their boat stripped it of all valuables, including jewellery, to the tune of £8,000, made a raft out of fenders and swam ashore whilst Italy were scoring the vital penalties. This has made us a bit more security conscious but a boat left alone at anchor is rather vulnerable. Anyway, cruising again we went to Porto Liscia, very quiet and unspoilt and on to Porto Pozzo where we had pizza on the beach. Well actually in a very nice beach restaurant! All of this cruising was punctuated by at least three swims per day. Air temperature was about 35C and water temperature about 25C.....perfect. Hannah may well be developing small webs and gills from the amount of time she spent in the water, Margaret has cracked snorkelling and Julian still makes the biggest splash.(See photos of the Wolfram formation swimming team). On to Bonifacio. Great sail across to Corsica and then the madness started. Because the wind had piped up a bit, about twenty boats were trying to get into Bonifacio at the same time as local cruise boats and ferries were trying to get out! After about an hour of spoofing about we were escorted to a berth where we promptly went aground! As we were moored right next to the pierside which is lined with restaurants and cafes, we soon attracted attention and got off with the help of passers- by (about eight of us pushing the boat sideways, all 18tons of it). Bonifacio and the citadel are spectacular but busy tourism has just about overtaken the old town and it's a bit artificial. However just as interesting in its own way was the largest single masted yacht in existence , Mirabella 5 for which the word "huge" is far too small. On the 20th we escaped from Bonifacio and went up the coast to Figari which is a long inlet ending in shallow salt flats. Nice place scenically but there is nothing on shore other than a hotel and a camp site. It's a place where the Forest Firefighting Service pick up water in their seaplanes and we had a ringside view of them in action. Onwards and northwards to Porto Pollo with a nice lunch stop at Anse d'Arana where Hannah fed the fish by hand. Later we had a good dolphin viewing as they swam alongside the boat. Our meal in Porto Pollo was not huge success!! The service was dead slow and then all hell broke loose as "Musical Mickey" plus electronic backing began his selection of hits from bygone years. We scoffed our pizzas and left but even back on the boat there was no respite from his dulcet tones until someone pulled the plug at midnight. We departed Porto Pollo to head south and had a lunch stop at Anse de Roccapina. This is a superb spot with steep cliffs and a Genoese tower on the hilltop, clear water and a sandy bottom. This contrasted with our return visit to Figari which we found to be crowded. I mean crowded in the Italian sense. There was loads of room but Bonzo or whatever the Italian equivalent is, has to anchor in the smallest possible gap so that without even raising my voice I can tell him that he is a complete idiot and please move off and bother someone else. Julian's approach is rather more direct in that he shoots up through the hatch and bellows "my god they can't stay there they must be mad!!!" They moved! We were now heading back to Sardinia to S.Teresa Gallura which is another strange place with nothing much down at the waterside but climb the hill and a bustling town is revealed with hundreds of people strolling around, mostly eating ice cream and masses of kids who would be long since tucked into bed in the UK. An overnight at La Colba and then it was time for the Wolframs to head back so it was Cannigione, Aranchi and Olbia. Things were a little complicated at this stage because in the best guesthouse tradition we had double booked! The Gilroys ( Sherron, Ian, Craig and Euan) would arrive before the Wolframs had departed and we cannot sleep nine. However the Wolframs booked into a hotel and we all nine of us went out for a meal on the Sunday (30th August).The Wolframs departed next day and we set of with the Gilroys and a rather dodgy weather forecast. Here we go again, fresh crew, fresh bedding, fresh winds (37knts). We went to Aranchi for the first night and then up to Porto Cervo in a freshening wind. By the time we arrived it was a full- on gale which kept us in port for the following day as well. For various reasons we had to re-anchor. The holding in Porto Cervo is terrible so it took many attempts (maybe six, I lost count) before we were secure. Next day we moved round to Cannigione which is where we stayed for the rest of the week because of the strong winds. In the meantime there was saturation swimming with the boys leaping off the boat in increasingly complicated ways. We also went a day trip to Porto Saline which had interesting snorkelling and a few jellyfish .It doesn't sound like we did much with the Gilroys but it was a good week with lots of laughs and life is not dull with two teenage boys on the loose. As I write this, we are back in Cannegione with westerly force 7 blowing through with a forecast of more to come. I thought August was going to be a quiet month!