Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sardinia - early summer 2007

Photo: The four of us anchored off the Roman ruins at Pula - May's "shakedown cruise"

Admittedly, we have been a bit slow keeping you up with the latest news - apologies. Trips to Canada (for the big wedding) and delays to get untied from the marina in Sardinia (Cagliari) made for a belated start on our summer sailing. But we are finally off the dock! Presently (early July) we are in the little east-coast town of La Caletta waiting out a Mistral (a strong north-westerly from the alps) which is howling through a little further north of us.

Our plans are not quite as ambitious for this year. We intend to do a 1200 n.m. "circuit" of the Tyrrhenian Sea (see the map) including the east coast of Sardinia, the coastline of the French island of Corsica, the Italian Island of Elba (where Napolean was exiled in 1814), hopping south along the west coast of Italy to Sicily and across to Tunisia. We may winter-over in Tunisia but at the moment it is more likely that we will return to Sardinia to put Chinook "on the hard" for our planned trip to NZ in January 2008.

Spring in Sardinia was longer, cooler and wetter than usual according to the locals, but to us, it sure beats any cold Canadian spring. In the marina with the other liveaboards there were birthdays to celebrate, barbecues to enjoy, festivals and parades to watch, football (soccer) cup finals to cheer, cricket world cup matches to listen to, America's Cup (Louis Vuitton) finals to race out. But all our winter friends drifted away to other destinations (most to Greece and Turkey) one by one until there were only three of us left.

Photo: Pat, Deborah, Fiona and Robyn happyhouring aboard "Full Flight"

We did "getaway" on Chinook for a weekend mid-May to an anchorage 15 miles south of Cagliari in a small bay called Cala di Pula where, onshore, we roamed well-preserved ruins of a Punic-Roman (previously Phoenician) city of Nora. As a "shake-down" cruise with three other cruisers it got us off the docks looking for potential boat problems - none found! A very uncomfortable rolly anchorage on the second night had us scooting back to the marina early.

Sailing to Cala di Pula and pushing over Pula's punic public leaning posts (photos thanks to "Roam")

Flamingo flights nightly over the Cagliari marina were an awesome sight. Honking like Canada Geese, pink necks stretched out and in classic V-formation, several "sorties" to unknown targets were made. The salt ponds on the outskirts of the city are their home.

The wedding of Brian's son David and his lovely bride Felicia was held in Ontario on June 2nd. Of course we were there! Very tastefully orchestrated with Italian style and flair, the 250 guests were treated to fabulous food, great music and a beautiful ceremony. On their return from a Hawaiian honeymoon Dave and Felica settled into their new appartment in Burlington, Ontario - and back to reality.

Deborah had actually gone back to Canada earlier and went to visit her son Andy in B.C. which gave Brian a chance to get stuck into (uninterruptedly) those inevitable "boat jobs"... Boat "jobs" - never "work" - it's all play on a boat... But plenty to keep us busy this spring. In addition to the boat jobs mentioned in the last blog. we replaced the primary diesel fuel filter with a Racor 5000 series to save on the high cost of previous elements, had repairs and improvements made to the bimini, rewired the navigation station electrics, stripped and revarnished much of the brightwork (exterior woodwork), installed dry-mesh under the v-berth cushions to eliminate condensation, replaced our wooden spreaders which had rotted out at the bases and, yes, brought back from Canada "yet another anchor" - a Fortress FX 23 for a stern kedge.

Sister Ships: Brian made a quick trip to Sicily by ferry to meet another Westwind/Youngsun and its potential owner, Gioi, and to give some advice about the breed. A very pleasant day was spent with Gioi and another cruising couple on Chaliventures (Chuck and Alison), looking over Zephyr, sampling local wines and lunching. Gioi did buy Zephyr and is currently working on it to sail later in the summer. Another Canadian Westwind/YS named Zephyra is still in Tropea, Italy not too far away (see the Blog of June 2006 for the photo of the two of us).

We must report that every time we have dropped the 'bulwagga' anchor it has dug in immediately and deeply and has not budged an inch in strong (30 knot-plus mistral winds with gusts of 40 plus) Our trials on the NZ designed Rocna will begin soon and that having one of the highest ratings of all the new-generation anchors, we expect good results. (For the techie readers, and )

Always love to hear from you - keep those emails coming.
Ciao, Brian and Deborah

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Photos: Mountains near Caletta (east coast) snapped on a recent bike ride, the rotten spreader base - the screwdriver had no trouble...