A big city and busy port with everything a cruising sailor needs, that is if you like big cities and busy ports. Cagliari is also very old and historic with lots of charm, and although we found the marina facilities adequate, they certainly lacked the polished appearance of some of the fancier places we had been in Portugal and Spain. Everyone was helpful and friendly, and we managed to stretch our legs quite a bit on the long walks into the city center.
A beautiful day to sail around the south end of Sardinia, some of the time in the company of a Swedish-owned yacht with the owner and three crew aboard on their way to Malta. In very settled conditions, we anchored at sunset for one night in shallow water in the small bay which has been used since Phoenician times and is the site of Nora, an important Phoenician-Roman archeological site.
We arrived in Sardinia after a rougher than expected crossing from Menorca and had no problem making a night entry just after sunset. We followed a ferry into the harbor and tied up alongside a floating dock recommended by friends on s/v Onyx which turned out to be part of Marina Sifredi. With no one around after hours, we checked-in the following day.Carloforte is a wonderful, small town on Isla San Pietro, connected to Sardinia by ferry. Like many small islands we visit, the pace of life is slower here and the people are more relaxed than on the mainland. The locals are very friendly and eager to chat with sailors arriving by sea. We struggled a bit to make the transition from hearing and speaking Spanish to Italian, but luckily the marina staff spoke English to help smooth the way.
We had a nice breeze and a wonderful sail to Mahon and were almost tempted to just keep going, but we were not confident about the weather forecast. We waited for two days in this beautiful, natural harbor. Mahon is another place where we could easily have spent a week or two, but we were feeling anxious to put the long, overnight crossing to Sardinia behind us. We waited for only two days for what looked like a good weather window. In retrospect, perhaps we should have waited another day or two. On Monday, 09/22 we departed at dawn for a rougher-than-expected passage to Sardinia.
Dates: 09/16/08 – 9/20/08 Distance: 22 nm Sailed from: Porto Cala de Ratjada, Mallorca Lat: 39°59.9’N Long: 03°50’E
Although there was still a large swell, we had a relatively smooth crossing to Menorca in light winds (motoring and motor-sailing again). We arrived in Ciutadella during the early afternoon when everything is closed for siesta, so we tied to the fuel dock until a berth was assigned on the other side of the harbor in a small cala. Yachts are not allowed to tie-up to what used to be a visitors dock because this is now the main channel for the huge car ferries with service to the other islands.
Dates: 09/15/08 – 9/16/08 Distance: 18 nm Sailed from: Porto de Colom, Mallorca Lat: 39°43’N Long: 03°28’E
Just as we were about to continue and make the crossing to Menorca, the wind switched, so we decided to put in at Cala de Ratjada for a night. What an experience! We rafted off a 48′ charter boat with eight Austrians onboard, and by the end of the day, we had four boats rafted off us. And we were only one of about five rafts, all five and six boats deep. It felt like a mini-Horta marina experience, the Azores being another place where rafting up to a seawall is the only option. Almost every other boat was a charter boat, and most of the people aboard were German.
After an exhilarating sail to Porto de Colom, we could have spent at least a week in this attractive, well-protected harbor, which is why it was hard to tear ourselves away after only one night. But the weather was beautiful, and with the season getting on and only three weeks left before Lisa’s family arrived for a visit to Italy, we wanted to keep making progress in that direction. We weighed anchor, adding this to places we could always visit again on the way back.
We stayed at the Real (Royal) Club Nautica de Palma where we found plenty of space at the nearly empty visitor’s dock. Although the high season is technically over, the prices have not gone down to reflect this fact, but it was our best option for staying in Palma.
Dates: 09/06/08 – 9/08/08 Distance: 52 nm Sailed from: Puerto de San Miguel, Ibiza Lat: 39°33’N Long: 02°23’E
The day started with great wind for sailing and ended with us motoring through confused seas in light winds — the swell seemed to be coming from several directions at once making it very uncomfortable near the end of our crossing to Mallorca.