Brindabella

Vessel Name: Brindabella
Vessel Make/Model: Najad 405
Hailing Port: Suffolk Yacht Harbour, UK
Crew: Simon, Fiona and Daisy the dog!
About: Simon and Fiona had Brindabella built in Sweden before she was launched in 2009. They sailed her from Sweden back to Suffolk in the UK. They are now exploring the Mediterranean.
Recent Blog Posts
21 May 2022

Corsica – Port de Taverna

Position update: Anchored off Port de Taverna

20 May 2022

Corsica – Solenzara

The previous port of Santa Teresa was our last port in Sardinia. It was right at the northern end, so easy access to the Strait of Bonifacio. Today the straits were calm but there was enough wind to sail.

18 May 2022

Sardinia – Santa Teresa

We left Olbia at 8:30am and motored through all of the islands that we had previously visited in the Maddalena archipelago. It was a long trip but most enjoyable. Once we reached the Strait of Bonifacio at the north of Sardinia, we turned into the cala leading up to Santa Teresa.

16 May 2022

Sardinia – Olbia

After a quick early morning swim around the boat at the delightful anchorage in Cala Coda Cavallo, we left for Olbia. Olbia is a large town with port. The long entrance had large areas for growing mussels on cords. We passed the lighthouse shown below.

15 May 2022

Sardinia – Cala Coda Cavallo

We moved the short distance from the anchorage at Isola Tavolara to Cala Coda Cavallo. It was just under an hour’s trip.

13 May 2022

Sardinia – Isola Tavolara

We spent two nights anchored off Isola Tavolara. This island is a huge rock rising to 565m from the sea. There is a small spit or sand dune which runs from the western end which is ideal for anchoring off. It is an amazing location, with a sandy beach and a huge tree lined cliff rising over 500m as a [...]

09 May 2022

Sardinia – Porto Rotondo

We moved on the short distance form the anchorage in the Golfo Di Cugnana to Porto Rotondo. We were positioned here specifically for Fiona's birthday. The pilot book described it as a relaxed port and it turned out to be just like that. There were tasteful apartments in the hills and a number of posh [...]

08 May 2022

Sardinia – Cala Dei Sardi

It was a beautiful day when we left La Maddaena for the shortish trip around to the Golfo Di Cugnana. This coast is known as the Costa Smeralda and is a delightful area of very nice properties and charming marinas.

04 May 2022

Sardinia – La Maddalena

We upped anchor at 9.45am to make a slow journey to Port Cala Gavetta and arrived at 10.30am in calm conditions. A friendly guy from the office met us in a RIB in the marina entrance and gave Daisy a pat. He said cheekily "There's no charge for the dog!". He helped us to moor up, trying to encourage [...]

02 May 2022

Sardinia – Isola Caprera - Porto Palma

We sailed the short distance around from Isola Budelli to Porto Palma which is a small bay on Isola Caprera. This is another island in the Maddalena archipelago. Porto Palma is a large sandy bay with plenty of space to anchor. The first night we were the only yacht there but the second night we were [...]

Corsica – Port de Taverna

21 May 2022
Simon
Position update: Anchored off Port de Taverna

Time: 5:00 hours Miles: 31nm Total Time: 89:00 hours Total Miles: 530nm

Corsica – Solenzara

20 May 2022
Simon
The previous port of Santa Teresa was our last port in Sardinia. It was right at the northern end, so easy access to the Strait of Bonifacio. Today the straits were calm but there was enough wind to sail.

As we started to close on Solenzara the wind dropped, and it became extremely hot. We ended up putting the sails away and put the bimini up to get some shade.

I phoned the marina at Solenzara on the way there to check they had space. When I gave her the draft of the boat she was somewhat concerned. We draw 2.1m and she said that was the absolute maximum draft that can enter the marina. The depth at the entrance is a bit more then that but you need to allow for any swell running.

We were a bit apprehensive as there were some waves at sea and it was clearly choppy in the entrance to the port. We took it very slowly as we entered. You need to steer towards the beach and then make a sharp right turn at exactly the correct moment. As it turned out, we had about 0.5m under the keel.

That evening we had moules et frites. The moules are grown in the 'Étang de Diane' on the east coast of Corsica and are particularly good.
Just past the marina, there is a river and the landscape with hills and mountains is beautiful. In fact, the whole of the east coast of Corsica is like this. See photo below.



Time: 6:00 hours Miles: 40nm Total Time: 84:00 hours Total Miles: 499nm

Sardinia – Santa Teresa

18 May 2022
Simon
We left Olbia at 8:30am and motored through all of the islands that we had previously visited in the Maddalena archipelago. It was a long trip but most enjoyable. Once we reached the Strait of Bonifacio at the north of Sardinia, we turned into the cala leading up to Santa Teresa.

The water was really clear, and you could see the sandy bottom as we entered. A large dolphin turned up and swam from one side of the bow to the other a few times before disappearing.
The marina had some pet ducks which were looked after by the marina staff. It took some persuading to get Daisy to leave them!

The next day we walked up to the town which is above the port. There was a good market. We had lunch overlooking a splendid beach with the mountains of Corsica in the background.



This will be our last stop in Sardinia. We did not have enough time to see large parts of the coast but we definitely focused on the best bits. The Maddalena archipelago has so many perfect anchorages that are protected from the swell and all have a sandy beach. Isola Tavolara was magnificent and the beach and anchorage at Cala Coda Cavallo was just perfect.

We will now move back to Corsica to start the return trip to Varazze in Italy. We will cruise up the east coast of Corsica which will all be new territory.

Time: 6:00 hours Miles: 40nm Total Time: 78:00 hours Total Miles: 459nm

Sardinia – Olbia

16 May 2022
Simon
After a quick early morning swim around the boat at the delightful anchorage in Cala Coda Cavallo, we left for Olbia. Olbia is a large town with port. The long entrance had large areas for growing mussels on cords. We passed the lighthouse shown below.



There are a couple of marinas in Olbia. We chose the smaller Circolo Nautico marina which is right up in the town.



There is a large supermarket in town which we used to restock the boat. The first evening we had a pizza in town at the Old Station restaurant. The waiter took a shine to Daisy and when we left fetched some ham from the kitchen.

The second night I cooked Spaghetti vongole. It's one of those really simple but absolutely delicious Italian dishes.



Time: 2:15 hours Miles: 13nm Total Time: 72:00 hours Total Miles: 419nm

Sardinia – Cala Coda Cavallo

15 May 2022
Simon
We moved the short distance from the anchorage at Isola Tavolara to Cala Coda Cavallo. It was just under an hour’s trip.

Cala Coda Cavallo is a large sandy beach in a large horseshoe bay. It was very warm in the bay and we went for a swim when we arrived and after taking Daisy ashore, we had a leisurely lunch.



That evening we had another swim and BBQ later. During the night, we were up at 4am to look at the eclipse of the moon. It was a completely clear night, but the eclipse had not started yet. We set the alarm for 5am to take another look then. Remarkably, it had started. We watched the whole eclipse. Just as the moon was completely covered, it dipped below a hill and sun was starting to rise in the opposite direction.



Time: 1:00 hours Miles: 3nm Total Time: 69:45 hours Total Miles: 406nm

Sardinia – Isola Tavolara

13 May 2022
Simon
We spent two nights anchored off Isola Tavolara. This island is a huge rock rising to 565m from the sea. There is a small spit or sand dune which runs from the western end which is ideal for anchoring off. It is an amazing location, with a sandy beach and a huge tree lined cliff rising over 500m as a backdrop.



The sea temperature is starting to warm up now. We both went swimming from the boat on both days.

Isola Tavolara is in fact a kingdom. According to Wikipedia, it was set up by the Bertoleoni family, allegedly sanctioned by Charles Albert, King of Sardinia. It claims to be one of the smallest kingdoms in the world. Giuseppe Bertoleoni claimed to be its monarch. When he died in the 1840s, his eldest son became King Paolo I. During his reign, in 1861 the Italian government paid 12,000 Italian lire for land at the northeast end of the island to build a lighthouse, which began operating in 1868.

About 100m back from the beach, there is a small graveyard with about 20 tombs. Each of the kings down the generations are buried there.

The population of the island is only around 15 people. The present head of the Bertoleoni family is Tonino Bertoleoni, who runs 'Da Tonino', a restaurant on the island.

The eastern end of the island is now a military zone which has a small number of VLF (Very Low Frequency) transmitters. Apparently, these are used to communicate with submarines.

Sunday morning was a perfect morning at anchor. The sun was out and the water was very clear and still. We both had an early morning swim.

We have run out of dog chews now, so Daisy has to eat carrots.



Time: 2:30 hours Miles: 15nm Total Time: 68:45 hours Total Miles: 403nm

Sardinia – Porto Rotondo

09 May 2022
Simon
We moved on the short distance form the anchorage in the Golfo Di Cugnana to Porto Rotondo. We were positioned here specifically for Fiona's birthday. The pilot book described it as a relaxed port and it turned out to be just like that. There were tasteful apartments in the hills and a number of posh cafes, bars and restaurants around the marina itself. It had a fitting-out feel as many of the yachts were still being prepared for the season.

Fiona had her birthday while we were here, so we had made a reservation at the prestigious Yacht Club Porto Rotondo. This was a lovely location and they prepared a great meal. It's an old yacht club that has both a yachting history and also a fishing division. There were a number of American style fast fishing boats in the marina. I guess they get some large tuna in the area.

The flatbread was served on hot coals to keep it warm.



There was a supermarket in the port which we used to restock the boat. It was a long walk, so we did this over several days.

The weather was sunny and warm while in Porto Rotondo. After 4 nights in this great port, it was time to move on to anchor again. There are lots more islands to explore on the Costa Smerelda.

Time: 0:30 hours Miles: 2nm Total Time: 66:15 hours Total Miles: 388nm

Sardinia – Cala Dei Sardi

08 May 2022
Simon
It was a beautiful day when we left La Maddaena for the shortish trip around to the Golfo Di Cugnana. This coast is known as the Costa Smeralda and is a delightful area of very nice properties and charming marinas.

We motored into the Cala Dei Sardi which is a large shallow bay. There is plenty of sand to anchor on in the middle, but the seabed soon turns to rock at the edges.



We anchored in only 2.9m and went ashore to explore. There was a mixture of nice houses around the bay and small apartment blocks. Unfortunately, one set of holiday apartments had obviously gone bust and was empty.



It was a lovely still evening and after I went for a swim, we had a BBQ.

Time: 3:30 hours Miles: 17nm Total Time: 65:45 hours Total Miles: 386nm

Sardinia – La Maddalena

04 May 2022
Fiona
We upped anchor at 9.45am to make a slow journey to Port Cala Gavetta and arrived at 10.30am in calm conditions. A friendly guy from the office met us in a RIB in the marina entrance and gave Daisy a pat. He said cheekily "There's no charge for the dog!". He helped us to moor up, trying to encourage Daisy into his dinghy for a fuss. Simon washed the boat down, then had to quickly fill out the papers and check in, as the marina office closed at 12 noon and didn't reopen that day.

We saw the forecast for strong winds reaching Force 7, so we were glad to be in the excellent shelter that this marina offered. Several charter boats and catamarans joined us as the day went on, until by evening, all the visitor berths were full.

La Maddelena is a busy local ferry port, which takes cars, lorries and passengers from the mainland to the island. The harbour is central to the small town. There are several cafes, bars, restaurants and a good chandlery in the town. It has a relaxed holiday feeling. On the quay is a wonderful panetteria, a two minute walk from the boat. It sold croissants, pizzas, focaccia, calzones and pastries.



The church contained some beautiful pictures made with tiny shiny tiles, depicting several different religious themes. Displayed on the church wall were photos of the last two popes.

We saw groups of men and women naval officers out in the town and realised that there was a training centre on the island.

We had heavy rain for the last few days, so we used this opportunity to do the washing. The themed laundrette was named The Jungle Wash! The ceiling was made from bamboo and the signs depicted several jungle animals.

In the rain, we took Daisy for a walk to a stone quarry on the west of the island. We saw an old steam engine that was used to carry cut stone to the dock, for loading onto boats. The granite was shipped to several different countries for making fishing docks and roads.



We had a good seafood meal at a small restaurant, where we drank local white wine, which was served in an earthen-ware jug and goblets! While there, we were seated next to two French guys, who reminded me of The Hairy Bikers, except that they were delivery skippers. Once we realised that they were French and sailors, we started up a conversation with them, they had a great sense of humour.

They were also staying in the marina and were delivering a new 50ft catamaran to Split in Croatia. The charter boat had 5 double cabins, each with ensuite shower rooms. We waved them off and shouted "Bon Voyage!" as they left the marina to start their 5-day sailing trip.

The following day, Simon helped a French couple to tie up and we chatted to them. They were heading to Greece to keep their boat there permanently. Simon bought a daurade from the fishing quay and we had that for tea. We swapped over from rain hood to bimini and enjoyed our evening meal outside in the dry.

Time: 1:15 hours Miles: 4nm Total Time: 62:15 hours Total Miles: 369nm

Sardinia – Isola Caprera - Porto Palma

02 May 2022
Simon
We sailed the short distance around from Isola Budelli to Porto Palma which is a small bay on Isola Caprera. This is another island in the Maddalena archipelago. Porto Palma is a large sandy bay with plenty of space to anchor. The first night we were the only yacht there but the second night we were joined by a small German yacht.

We anchored just off a tiny sandy beach which was ideal to get Daisy ashore.



Caprera is associated with Giuseppe Garibaldi, an Italian general who lived in the 19th century and assisted with the Italian unification. He lived on the island from 1855 until he died in 1882.

This bay is used by a large sailing school and there were two groups of large dinghies out sailing in the bay on both days. The second day we walked across the island to the north. Most of the island is a national park.

Time: 2:30 hours Miles: 10nm Total Time: 61:00 hours Total Miles: 365nm
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Brindabella's Photos - Main
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