Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sardinia (early 2007)

Sardinia (3)

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Photo left: the marine growth on Chinook's bottom on haulout


Time flies when you are having fun. And the "winter" has certainly flown for us too. "Winter" in Sardinia has, for the most part, been sunny and "warmish" - days averaging 15 degrees C and nights of 8 degrees. True there have been a few cloudy rainy days lately, and the recent snow on the mountains (photo) was but just a "blip" in the spring. Everything is green - blossoms and wildflowers have been blooming for the past month.
We have made several trips inland to experience festivals in small towns: Mardi Gras in Tempio in the mountainous north, Festival of the Masks in Oristano on the west coast, and an Asparagus and Wild Fennel Festival in Boronedda in the centre of the island. All three were very traditional Sardinian events and extremely interesting. Sampling food, wine, listening to music, watching parades and dancing were all cultural experiences we were glad not to have missed. Two of the trips were bus excursions with the group "Legambiente" (the environment); Deborah improves her Italiano with a Sardi lady, Luisella, who is a member of the group, and she kindly invited us to participate in these festivals. There was also the Mardi Gras Parade in Cagliari itself.
Photo: Luisella and Deborah

And Debby's Italiano is improving by leaps and bounds and she is often the designated interpreter for some of the yotties in the marina. Brian still carries a dictionary, mimes, does sign language and draws pictures.

Photos: stalls in the Cagliari market - note the murals

The city of Cagliari itself, where our marina is situated, never ceases to amaze us. There are museums, art galleries, cathedrals, and the old walled city. Centuries-old buildings, tiny narrow streets, salt flats, piazzas (open squares with their statues and monuments), the huge public market, the Sunday flea and antique markets, the extensive waterfront. We still stumble upon "hole in the wall" places such as artisan's workshops and tiny shops, which are not advertised with any semblance of signage and looking inside proves to be fascinating.

Boat "Stuff" (i.e. the-never-ending-job-list): March was the month to be hauled out so the bottom (hull) could be cleaned, checked and repainted with fresh antifouling. A tremendous amount of marine growth had attached itself in the few months we have been here but three days "on the hard" were sufficient to scrape it all off and repaint. No new gel-coat blisters were found which meant that the last preventative treatment for osmosis was effective. Many other wintering-over cruisers came out of the water around the same time so we could all commiserate about our problems. (Photo of us two courtesy of Hejira)
Other smaller jobs that were completed: some electrical wiring was revamped and improved, an engine-room blower was installed, sanitary hoses and galley sink hoses replaced, Brian was winched up the mast and checked the rigging, the bowsprit and caprails were sanded and revarnished, Debby put new calking around the cockpit coaming, the mainsail was changed (the original put back on), new lettering was made for the bow with "herself''s" name, stainless cleaning, two new anchors (Bulwagga and Rocna) now gleam dully side-by-side on the bowsprit, the sole (floor in the cabin) was sanded and oiled. Each job had its own "adventure" and set of frustrations and took the obligatory three times the planned time to complete. And the local chandleries are so much richer because of us...
The Day our Bicis went AWOL. We loaned our bicis (say "beechees" - bicycles) to a couple of friendly Norwegian cruisers who had berthed beside us, with the stipulation (stressed) they locked them if they left them (we are fastidious about that after Brian's bike was stolen in Portugal). Well, they stopped for a "quick" coffee and didn't they leave the bikes unlocked. Of course they disappeared. The highly embarrassed cruisers graciously paid for replacements - unfortunately (for them) the bikes were relatively expensive. That's life! We would not be without bikes in this live-aboard life - so much more can be seen from above the spinning spokes.
Photo: The largest man-made lake in Europe (Lago Omodeo) - Sardinia's water and electricity supplies

In a couple of weeks the weather will be a little more settled and we hope to visit some anchorages around the island spending about a month exploring before flying back to Canada to David and Felicia's wedding (June 2nd). On returning, the summer and the north of Sardinia await us, as do Corsica, the island of Elba, the west coast of Italy, Sicily, and then Tunisia.
In the meantime, one more intense flurry of social events with the liveaboards here before everyone disappears: we had a BBQ last Sunday; dinners and general partying are scheduled to the bitter end...

Keep in touch once in a while - always love to hear from you.
Ciao, Brian and Deborah

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A pristine bottom once again