Sunday June 29th. 2014 Marina Di Portisco, Sardinia.
Last Sunday Lizzy and Tony Dyson joined us and we explored the southern port city of Cagliari. The town has grown around a heavily fortified hill-top, which is now home to Sardinia’s most secure prison (where all the Sardinian banditti are held we were informed) and some fancy restaurants and bars with spectacular views over the city and the harbour.
At one of the latter we tried a drink called an Aperol Spritzer, which appears to be very popular with the locals. It is a mixture of Aperol, a decidedly medicinal flavoured spirit, mixed with the local prosecco. It is a lurid fluorescent orange colour but in our minds fails to improve on either drink alone. At our next visit to the supermarket it was Gordons that was placed in the trolley.
During the next few days we did some fairly long trips up the Sardinian east coast. The Roman writer Pausanias, two thousand years ago, called it “an unbroken chain of impassable mountains, and if you sail along the coast you will find no anchorage on this side of the island, while violent but irregular gusts of wind sweep down to the sea from the tops of the mountains”.
Well, he was right and on Wednesday we set off from La Caletta, a small harbour and marina two thirds of the way up the coast. There was a light breeze but when we had gone about half an hour Julie noticed dark clouds to the north, right in our path, with a few bolts of lightening and some thunder. We decided to stop and see if they would continue blowing towards the north east but new rain bearing clouds gathered just west of us so the decision was made to return to port. Unfortunately we were overtaken by the weather just as we got back into the harbour and a fierce wind and driving rain, whipping up the water’s surface, made it not only impossible to come alongside but hard to control the boat within a confined space. We therefore opted to return to sea and safety. For a brief period there was virtually no visibility and, as we had seen two other boats heading for La Caletta, we were concerned that we might collide with them. Fortunately the storm passed very rapidly and within about twenty minutes the wind and rain eased and we were able to re-enter the harbour and tie alongside without difficulty. Even managed to retrieve our fender which miraculously stayed in the harbour after blowing off during the storm. A few more valuable lessons learned.
Within a couple of hours the wind had dropped, the sun returned and in perfect weather we set off for Porto di Puntaldia, which is a purpose built resort and marina with beautifully manicured lawns – not something you see often in the ports of Sardinia- designer shops and good restaurants.
Here we dried out and debriefed on an interesting day and enjoyed 2 nights in this stylish marina.
Yesterday we bypassed the city of Olbia to overnight in Porto Rotondo, a marina with 640 berths, mainly superyachts, however the shower and loo, yes there was only one for the whole marina, were so ghastly we are now in Porto di Portisco another marina one nautical mile away on the fringe of the famous Costa Smeralda. This is the Sardinian equivalent of the French Riviera, conceived and bankrolled by a consortium headed by the Aga Khan in the 1960s. It is now the playground of the rich and famous. The Italian Waters Pilot, our absolute bible on the trip, states “In July and August the beautiful people arrive; movie legends and rock starts like Bruce Willis and Mick Jagger rub shoulders with royalty and celebrities, the rich and super-rich show off their new floating toys worth millions of pounds, the hangers on and the minions run around in circles disappearing up their own nautical specifics and the place hums and buzzes with activity. It has to be seen at least once and the yachtsman is lucky to be able to drop in and see it.