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August 2011- USA, Eastern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia

Italy | Sardinia | Olbia | Artemis free mooring Olbia quay

August 29, 2011

Hi Everyone, We had a very relaxing week in Olbia, Sardinia We arrived a week ago Sunday afternoon and tied alongside to the Old Commercial Quay. The town doesn't have much to see but great provisioning and chandeliers. There is room for at least 16 boats on the quay we were on and another 8-10 on the other quay. The bigger quay had some ballasting that didn't look to good if we were pushed on shore at all and it was a long reach for us to get off the boat as the wall was so high and we have a low freeboard. So on Thursday we moved over to the other quay. We celebrated both our 36th wedding anniversary and my 59th birthday this week. Both occasions demanded we eat ashore:-) Our friends from Eden Praire MN on "God Speed", Cindy and Bob arrived on my birthday so they had us aboard for cocktails and went to dinner with us to celebrate my birthday. We had great mussels followed by a walk to our friendly Gelateria for gelato:-)

Italy | Sardinia | Olbia | Car trip inland

Friday we rented a car together and drove about 200 miles exploring the very scenic mountains/gorges in the area. Then on Saturday we took advantage of having a car and went to a larger supermarket to provision our boats. Cindy and I also found a self serve laundramat and did some laundry. The wind howled from the NW on Saturday and Sunday but both boats were snug. Several more boats came in rafted off of boats tied along the quays. Another 6 were at anchor so it was a busy place. We had our sun cover on that covers most of our forward decks but the wind managed to blow lots of gravel, sand and cigarette butts onto our deck and cockpit. What a mess but without the cover it would have been much worse.

The guys got to play rescue for a Czech boat yesterday. He had no engine and an anchor wrapped on something so couldn't haul it up. The guys with two other dingy's helped maneuver the boat until the anchor came loose and then hauled them into the quay. Turns out it was a charter boat with a captain. We felt sorry for the six young adults aboard as it didn't look like the engine was going to be a quick fix and this was their vacation. Nothing much to do but shop and eat in Olbia and harbor water isn't the best for swimming. Oh well at least now they were ashore and they could wander around whenever they wanted.

We went out with Cindy and Bob again last night for mussels and pizza as a farewell party. They'll south tomorrow and we are heading north today. The La Maddalena Islands are in a very expensive Park Reserve. Lots of cute coves filled with lots of boats on expensive moorings. August and first part of September is still vacation time for Europeans. We'll poke around in the islands on our way north but will probably anchor on the mainland side where we can still anchor for free. Wednesday we plan to cross the Straits of Bonifacio and head up the west side of Corsica. Our main goal before heading to Barcelona is to see Corsica and the French Riviera. Hope all is well and no one suffered to severely from the quake and hurricane of last week. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Italy | Sardinia | Cagliari | entrance Marina del Sole in Cagliari

August 20, 2011

Hi Everyone, We went into Marina del Sole in Cagliari on Tuesday and Wednesday. Had a great time exploring Cagliari, Sardina. It's a very clean town with interesting streets and architecture. Cagliari is Sardinia's capital. It's also a very busy port. Many lovely church's, cathedral, and a pilgrimage site to Nostra Signora di Bonaria. People come to pray at a statue of Virgin Mary that is said to have saved a 14th century Spanish ship during a storm. When the trunk containing the statue fell into the sea, the seas went calm and the storm was over. We met another cruiser "Orion" an English flag boat with Irish guests aboard father and daughter. We celebrated the daughter's 17th birthday one night and had dinner with them another. After dinner we sat about the marina "bar" and sang, listening to guitar/drum music. Mostly American and Irish songs.

Thursday we headed 20nm back to Carbonara anchorage SE tip of Sardinia where we stayed after crossing from Sicily. Wind was on the nose but this time we had the luxury of just sailing it. Lots of tacking but we actually sailed! NO MOTOR. Friday we woke to strong NE winds when E and SE winds were forecasted. Capo Carbonara is known to be a windy area so we decided about 8:00 to head north anyway. Again lots of tacking with the engine running the first 20 miles but gradually as the day went on the wind switched east and then South so we could motor/sail a bit more in the direction we wanted and picked up a knot of speed. We anchored in a quiet bay outside of Arbatax a commercial port around 6PM. Then today we motor sailed another 55nm to Porto Brandinghi NE Sardinia. We'll stay here a few days and then move 15-20nm up the coast to Olbia. Hope everyone is well Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Italy | Sicily | Cefalu | Duomo di Cefalu

August 15, 2011

Hi Everyone, Well we took a chance Tuesday night on Capo D'Orlando (mentioned last email) and anchored around 1PM. Beautiful sandy bottom. We had a nice afternoon swimming but as predicted the wind did pick up and by morning we had 2m swells coming into our anchorage. We motor sailed to Cefalu, Sicily and anchored in the harbor. We met a nice young South African couple on "Skebenga" (Scoundrel). Al and I hiked into town and picked up some groceries.

Nice quiet night but the swell started into the anchorage by 7AM and picked up as the day went on. We decided to get off the rocking boat and hike to Temple of Diana (Artemis). Nice trail and steps but toward the top the rocks were so worn they were slippery. Nice breeze on top and views of the coast and town were spectacular so we walked around for a while. Visited the Cathedral, winding streets of town then back to the boat. Cefalu is a great little Sicilian town but very touristy this time of year. It was much quieter when we were here April 2007. "Skebenga" Luki and Almari had us over for cocktails. They've been out 5 years just now entering the Med. They did Indian Ocean and eastern South America before heading to the Med.

Italy | Sicily | Palermo | Duomo of Palermo

We had a very rocky night. We decided to head straight for Palermo about 34nm. We got fuel 1.59Euro a liter Ouch! Then we took a berth for 50E a night. Al had an upset stomach. Guessing now he may have had motion sickness from the rolling in Cefalu. We walked around town on Friday night but skipped dinner out as Al needed to go back to the boat. On Saturday Al slept most of the day and I went in search of some parts we needed, fresh produce, bread and site seeing. I successfully found the part we needed for the dingy gas tank but didn't get the valve we need to make our grill work. Dang it says on it that it's made in Italy but the man had every other kind of valve but the one I needed. Great produce market. The tomatoes, and nectarines are fantastic right now. Well by 12:30 I was loaded down with produce but decided to visit the cathedral before heading back. Gee wouldn't you know earlier in the day I was only a few blocks away. It was worth the hike back up to visit. Decided to hop a bus back to the sea, a much shorter walk in the hot sun back to the boat. Al still not the best but able to eat some bread.

We decided the weather looked good for an overnight passage to Cagliari, Sardinia 220nm. So we left Palermo 6AM Sunday morning. We had light easterly/SE winds most of Sunday. Sunday evening it became more SW. Beautiful full moon so a bright passage. Lightning on African Coast but never came our way. We had a little rain Monday morning and the winds died about 10AM. So we decided to anchor outside Marina Villasimius in Carbonara Bay SE tip of Sardinia at about 1PM. We'll rest here today then go into Caligari tomorrow when we are fresh and ready to be tourists:-). Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

August 9, 2011

Hi Everyone, We left Brindisi, Italy on Saturday for an overnight to Rocella Ionica about 185nm. We had a good overnight passage but unpredicted winds picked up as we approached Rocella Ionica. This harbor is subject to silting at the entrance and drops to about 8' in places and we draw 6.5' so with ground swell we decided not to go in and we continued down the coast another 20nm and found a lee anchorage on sand. We were glad to have an anchor down after 37 hours especially after the last 10hrs of pounding into it. The dodger/windshield configuration Al designed a couple of years ago came in handy to hide behind and avoid salt spray.

We left anchorage at 0530 Mon. morning heading for Messina Straits. Light southerlies were predicted in the Straits which would have been great for us about 55nm passage. Unfortunately the forecasters were wrong again and we had 30+ on the nose up the 25nm Straits passage. So we tacked back and forth finally breaking free of the Straits at 1630. Unbelievable once out of the Straits the winds died right off. We decided to anchor 4nm west of the straits along Sicily on sandy shore. We went for lovely swim in crystal clear sandy bottom water. We had hoped to grill but the propane valve was frozen up after such a long time of no use. So we had to George Foreman our steaks. Had a calm great night sleep.

Left the anchorage this morning 0630 heading 74nm to Cefalu on Northern Sicily. We had hoped to anchor near Capo D'Orlando about half that distance but the winds are expected to pick up later today making that not possible. But perhaps the forecasters will be wrong again. All is well and we hope with Cefalu we can slow down and be tourists for a while before making another long passage to Sardinia. Hope all is well with family and friends. We enjoy getting your email. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

August 3, 2011

Hi Everyone, We arrived safely in Brindisi this morning. Sad good-byes to Maddie and baby Jack. We had one "hairy" moment when just over the Atlantic we had some turbulence and hit an air pocket. We dropped substantially. The lady 3 seats over from us started tossing holy water and passing our prayer card. I expect she was with a group on a pilgrimage. Other than that we arrived looked for a taxi they wanted 25E for a 2 km ride so we took the bus for 1.20E each and the bus dropped up in front of the boatyard. We got things unpacked, electrical hooked up and too a nap. About 5 we got up had a beer and then walked to town center to get internet and some groceries. Tomorrow we plan to give the boat a good scrubbing and prepare to move on to the town quay for a night before heading to Otranto where we'll clean the prop and thru hulls before we start really cruising again. So tired so off to bed now. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

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