We had a lovely couple of nights in Cala Giorgio Marino in La Maddalena National Park. Went out for an early morning paddle around Isola Santa Maria and Isola Razzoli and on the way back to the boat I ended up racing the 10am arrival of a thick fog. Drakkar was just disappearing into the mist in this photo. Glad I was cautious paddling by myself in uncharted waters… Shortly after getting on board we could not see the shore 100m away.
These islands are right in the middle of the Bonafacio straights between Corsica and Sardinia. You know it’s a windy place when the shrubs hide behind the rocks! Bit hard to tell from my photo attempt but the wind blowing past the upright rock on the left has left a deep channel on either side in the bushes hiding behind it.
One thing that has disappointed but unfortunately not surprised us is man’s disregard for the planet. The same forces that shape the shrubs also blow the garbage into the funnel shaped islands. Why do we make disposable junk out of very durable material then throw it away? The plastic was piled deep at the head of each beach and blown well into the undergrowth behind. Rather than just winge about it we make a small difference where we can leaving each place a little better than we found it. From Isola Santa Maria amongst other things we retrieved a 20L Shell bucket still with a hefty coating of grease inside as a great boat bucket.
Another wind change and more strong winds coming. This place sure is a wind factory. It blows hard from the West till it gets tired, maybe a day or so break if you are lucky, then blows hard from the East. Shannon caught a lovely moment watching the world scroll by with my son as we head for shelter from the next wind.
Big walk into Maddalena township for our record of 17,000 Max sized steps. Here the kids are in their favourite occupation, browsing one of the many toy shops we see. Seems this is a tour of Europe’s toy shops rather than cultural highlights.
One of the many acts of kindness we come across was shortly after taking this photo outside the large naval base the officer inside noticed us and passed his formal hat outside for us to pose in. Unfortunately the solid 25-30 knot breeze promptly cleaned all the papers off his desk! Oops. And we could not persuade Boston to have another photo.
The Perils of Parenthood.
Here Amelia is scootering along the “footpath.” We certainly have some moments bringing our kids along on this adventure as well as the normal moments that don’t get social media photos. How much freedom do we give them? How much risk is OK? How well can we keep track of them in crowded busy cities? One of the best things about this trip and sometimes on of the hardest parts is being together as a family 24/7 in a small space. You certainly don’t go cruising to fix family problems as there is little chance to escape/hide/be distracted like there is in a shore bound life as well as more stresses. Amazing how your paradigms and habits stick with you even in such a new situation. Is it hard work? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely. It is fantastic helping and watching the kids grow up. The kids are closer together now with less sibling bickering, even though it still flares up. Amelia is rapidly becoming a young lady and Boston is growing up fast. One of the things we have not found much of is other kids to play with. Little did we know this was about to change.
Another windy sail, this time under #3 reef only for a change took us around to Porto Palma on Isola Caprera.
Here we walked across the island to see the Naval and Mineral Museums that looked excellent. One for me and one for Shannon! Only to find they were closed. They joy of cruising early in the season is quiet anchorages that are packed in summer, not so joyous to find places closed.
Never mind, we explored some abandoned wartime buildings on the hill overlooking our bay.
And then we made Boat Buddies! With kids! As kiwis we wave to most other boaties, rude powerboaters excepted. Often they are staring at us crazy kiwis anyway and we get a nice wave back. Sometimes no response, sometimes they even wave politely first. Then there is the friendly wave initiated from the other boat. Despite them being put off thinking we were blue blooded forces flying a blue Union Jack, then spotting the stars and calling us Australians. (Current strike rate 8 Ozzie calls to 2 correct Kiwis) we quickly became friends with Peter, Lucia and Beatrice from S/V Sula.
Making good use of the strong winds to blow dry our washing.
Sailing school making use of S/V Sula as target practise. Note the heavily reefed down mainsails and storm jibs for another +30 knot day. Was great entertainment watching them getting schooled and seeing how many they could fit into the corner of the bay by the stone wharf trying to pick up a bouy. Credit to them as amongst the many very close calls I only saw one crash and got my camera ready for one errant boat headed our way.
Another beach expedition to burn off steam. No, I don’t wanna go to the beach!
3 hours later on the beach. Can’t we stay longer, I don’t wanna go back to the boat!
A day in the life of cruisers. You want to drink lots of milk with your cereal in the morning Boston, you will have to carry it back from the supermarket once we have worked out where it is, translated the foreign language products and walked there.
Hmmm, we have been shopping and got a tub of ice cream that has to be eaten as we have no freezer…
Memories are made of moments like these.
Tiny beautiful church and rocky Cala Francese on Isola La Maddalena.
We had great farewell drinks with our good friends Mattia and Cesare. We look forward to catching up again, maybe on the other side of the pond. The only damper on the evening was we were having so much fun we forgot to take photos so here is a cute one of Boston on the way back to the boat. We are still not used to Italian time, their dinner time is our bed time.
Last preparations for the crossing from Sardinia to Rome had me installing the AIS. Here I am thinking I have just blown up the NZD 900 AIS trying to mate it into the scary loom in Drakkar. Darn. Thankfully Vesper Marine’s excellent design includes reverse current and overcurrent protection and the unit is alive and well now. Yay for Kiwi design and no wonder they get rave reviews.
Admiring the beautiful Cala Coticcio before the 125Nm jump to Rome in a gentle (?) +25 knots. Guide book and Google earth have this bay as packed out in summer with the Riva set sunning themselves on the fancy fizz boats. We had it to ourselves before a lone powerboat disturbed my last swim for a while. Water was so clear we could see the anchor in 8m. Cool to be buzzed by joy riding helicopter who circled around to wave back.
Sorry farewell our friends, next stop, Rome!