17 August 2016 | Marine Service Yacht Carloforte (position: 39 08.423'N 08 18.735'E)
the marina office, shaded bar and shower block
Looking at the sky this morning there was potential for rain or even thunderstorms. Not long after leaving Tharros we looked behind to see that it was raining quite heavily but as luck would have it we were just staying ahead! If the wind had picked up just a little, those rainbands would have reached us giving us a good soaking!
As we passed Capo Frasca the light air coming off the land sent a sweet but powerful smell of pine over to us. This wonderful natural air-freshener stayed with us for a couple of hours before the sun finally broke through.
The coastline along this stretch of the island is mountainous, rugged and with very few places to shelter from the NW or W winds. We decided to give two potential anchorages a miss (just N of Buggeru and the leeward side of Isola Pan di Zucchero) on the basis that swell can work its way around the corners... we've had our fair share of swelly nights! Instead we pressed on (sighting a lone dolphin :-)) covering some 45 miles under engine until we reached Isola do San Pietro. This is a small island approximately 4 miles off the south west coast of Sardinia with just the one town - Carloforte, which is home to the commercial port and three marinas.
According to our pilot there are no anchorages nearby so our choice was limited to which marina. We emailed all three marinas beforehand to check both availability and costs. All were prompt in responding and price varied considerably from €35 to €75. We decided to try the cheapest being Marine Service Yacht Carloforte
despite having read some not so positive reviews from the cruising association's app 'CAptain's Mate'.
The approach between Sardinia and Isola do San Pietro is shallow enough to be able to see the bottom passing underneath which was a bit unnerving at times! Having navigated to the breakwater we then dodged a ferry, several larger RIB's and few yachts before arriving safely. Whilst donning Flirtie with fenders and ropes we noticed another RIB heading straight towards us at great speed before it came along side. The cute guy asked if we wanted a berth... touting for business for Marina Tour. We thanked him and informed him that we were heading to Marine Services Carloforte. He promptly responded with "when you've had enough, give me a call on VHF channel 9" before heading off again at great speed. This took us by surprise and we were left wondering what lies ahead?
Marina Services Carloforte is a small private marina, barely 50 yachts with few visitors. We didn't get any response when we radioed ahead however someone was there to greet us and take our ropes. We'd prepared Flirtie earlier for med-style mooring however he asked/gestured for us to go alongside the pontoon and face the bow to the North. We were of course totally unprepared for alongside mooring so whilst Bruce sent Flirtie around in circles a quick adjustment of fenders and ropes followed. By now the wind arrived (typical!) making the potential of mooring awkward as we were going to be blown off the pontoon. However, thanks to some nifty rope work by the mooring attendant ropes were passed through hoops and tied back on board. He then handed us a bow and stern slime line which we duly tied off to the remaining cleats. This allowed us to position ourselves nicely away from the pontoon - very handy should the NW wind strengthen, no fender squeaks and if a short chop comes across the bay we can adjust ourselves to 'point' into it!
The marina staff are extremely friendly; speak little English but enough to get by. There is a brand new shower block (with disabled access) which is immaculate and they've gone the extra mile by providing free shower gel in sachets. There's also a small bar and shaded seating area on-site, free wifi, electric and water. The town is a 10 minute walk away which is fine by us because it allows us to get away from the late night music emanating from some of the bars or clubs. What more could we ask for at €35 per night in August - so far so good!
Total distance this season: 1188.06 miles