Adventures of Berkeley East

21 October 2021
05 October 2021 | Genoa, Italy
15 September 2021
26 July 2021 | Caprera, Italy
22 July 2021 | Balearic Islands, Spain
01 July 2021
09 August 2020
30 March 2020 | Lake Norman, NC
31 October 2019 | Barcelona, Spain
30 September 2019 | Mallorca, Spain
15 September 2019 | Sardinia, Italy
08 September 2019 | Pantelleria, Italy
31 August 2019 | Favignana, Italy
22 August 2019 | Vulcano, Italy
17 August 2019 | Charlotte, NC and Gaeta, Italy
12 July 2019
12 September 2018 | Cala del Core Ponza, Italy
22 August 2018 | North East Sardinia

Gunkholing the Maddalenas

10 August 2018 | La Maddalenas, Sardinia Italy

Lying at the southern end of the Straight of Bonifacio, the La Maddalena Archipelago is a group of seven islands (known as the seven sisters) and 55 tiny issolatti (scraps of land). A geomarine Italian national park, La Maddalena spans more than 20,000 hectares of land and sea, and meanders along 112 miles of stunning granite coastline chiseled by the wind and currents.

We have a friend who loves La Maddalena and misses cruising there, and others who feel it is overcrowded, and overrated. We trust the sources of both opinions so we were confused about what to expect. But we know that different times and different situations influence views, first impressions are often dispelled with a closer look. So off we went to explore the La Maddalena Archipelago and see for ourselves.

When we turned Berkeley East into the first cove that we had selected, shock and disbelief was our reaction to what we saw. We had expected a lot of boats, it was nearly August after all, but there were a gazillion of them, everything from small inflatables to super yachts. Our second option was the same, jam-packed; we were beginning to grasp the overcrowded judgment. For a moment, we wanted to turn and run, but we brought out the cruising guides to search for alternatives instead.

Nearly two weeks later, we were still gunkholing around La Maddalena. Gunkholing is a boating term meaning wandering through coves that are shallow and difficult to navigate due to rocks and other obstacles, like a gazillion boats. We weren’t in a hurry, we knew it would be congested everywhere given that all of Europe was on holiday, and having Berkeley East at anchor in the islands was a better alternative for the sweltering August days, and hot August nights.

The Maddalena islands are a short distance from Sardinia, but just as Sardinians feel culturally distinct from the rest of Italy, the 10,000 island inhabitants, called Maddalenini, have always seen themselves as a world apart from Sardinia. The archipelago’s position in the Strait of Bonifacio made the island group a strategic military locale. From 1972 through 2008 there was a U.S. Naval Support Activity base, as well as a NATO base, in attendance. Abandoned military buildings can be seen on many of the shores.

We discovered gunkhole after gunkhole, all packed during the day with boats rafting together and super yachts squeezing in to be closer to shore, Italians baking on deck in the sun.

There is very little to do in the archipelago. Swimming, paddle boarding, long walks on the rocks, boat watching are the default activities.

Most boats would leave at the end of the day, going back to marinas for the night, and a sense of peace would fall upon the anchorages. Those left would gather on the decks of their boats to watch the sun set over the horizon. We came to appreciate the unique beauty of La Maddalena; it is understandable why a gazillion Italians choose the turquoise lagoons for an escape.

Vessel Name: Berkeley East
Vessel Make/Model: Hylas 54
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA
Crew: Larry & Mary Ivins
About: We quit our jobs in July of 2007 and began our adventure, sailing the US east coast in the summers and then spending our winters in the Caribbean. In 2010 we sailed across the Atlantic and will be cruising the Med for the next few years.
FAQ Q: Did you go to UC Berkeley?

A: No. The name Berkeley East came from a ferry boat, "the Berkeley", that we met on over 30 years ago in San Diego. The East came as a result of seeing the boat being built in Taiwan. There was 30-foot Chinese symbol on the wall behind her during [...]
Berkeley East's Photos - Caribbean 1500 2008 (Main)
Street art from our 2019 stay in Barcelona
25 Photos
Created 7 November 2019
Photos for blog post
15 Photos
Created 2 August 2016
18 Photos
Created 17 May 2013
Extra pictures for Croatia
12 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
Venice June 2012
20 Photos
Created 12 July 2012
Tuscany trip summer 2011
30 Photos
Created 18 July 2011
Pictures from June 2011 - The Ligurian Coast of Italy
29 Photos
Created 29 June 2011
Wardrick Wells - Exuma Land and Sea Park May 2009
11 Photos
Created 4 May 2009
6 Photos
Created 22 April 2009
20 Photos
Created 21 April 2009
24 Photos
Created 19 April 2009
Pictures from our trip to Los Testigos, Venezuela - March 2009
5 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
4 Photos
Created 28 March 2009
Pics form the 2008 Caribbean 1500
No Photos
Created 26 November 2008
Octopuses Garden Highborne, Exuma Cay, Bahamas
15 Photos
Created 22 May 2008
4 Photos
Created 22 April 2008
13 Photos
Created 28 January 2008
Chistmas 2007 in St Maarten with other crusiers and Mike and Linda (frends & meighbors from CA)
6 Photos
Created 28 January 2008
5 Photos
Created 23 December 2007
5 Photos
Created 21 November 2007
3 Photos
Created 5 September 2007
4 Photos
Created 28 August 2007
7 Photos
Created 28 August 2007
6 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
10 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
In early July 2006 we made a quick from Sydney, Australia to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to check on the construction of our Hylas 54. She was a little behind schedule, but the build quality was excellent.
4 Photos
Created 22 July 2007
4 Photos
Created 17 July 2007
After 28 days aboard Sigrun Bolten from Taiwan, Berkeley East arrived in Port Everglades Florida. Mary and I helped unload her and motored up the river to be hauled and rigged. We where joined by our friends and next door neighbors (from CA), who were in Florida cruising from California to the Caribbean.
5 Photos
Created 17 July 2007

Profile & FAQs

Who: Larry & Mary Ivins
Port: San Diego, CA

Our travels


July 2019- Return to Gaeta, Italy

August 2019 - Gaeta to Sicily, Tunisia and Sardinia

September 2019 - The Spanish Balearic Islands

October 2019 -Barcelona Spain

November 2019 - Charlotte, NC