First sight of Sardinia at sunrise
Monday 11th August
Having looked at forecasts Sunday it was still looking most likely we would cross to Sardinia mid week so a curry was planned for Sunday night. And a very fine curry it was too. A noodling exercise session was planned for Monday morning and I was getting myself ready when Duncan on Red Snapper came over to tell us they and Riverdancer were leaving today as the wind later in the week was looking a bit feisty.
We spent some time looking over forecasts of light winds Monday and Tuesday but strong mid-week with a mistral poking its windy fingers south, we were in two minds as to whether to go as we didn't want to motor 200nm but at the same time didn't want an unpleasant and risky crossing. We decided to follow along now and so began a frantic scrabble of packing (the boat was a mess with the detritus of being a week in one place), fetching water and making a chili.
A couple of hours later and we were off, a year since we set off from Falmouth to cross Biscay. The journey didn't start too well as the wind wasn't playing ball by being more east than north; our course being 105 degrees we were too close hauled to sail. We needed a battery top up anyway so motored for a few hours by which time the wind had filled in and we could sail around 15 degs off course. It didn't last long and we were motoring again.
Colin was just warming the chilli for tea when the wind reappeared. I suggested we sail as it would be much nicer eating whilst sailing than motoring. So what does the wind do mid-chilli? Increase and have us postponing tea whilst a reef was put in. So much for a gentle sail whilst eating!
It stayed as a F5 for some hours, dropping off overnight but we managed to keep sailing, averaging 4kts. The supermoon was still almost full making it a bright night but it meant the Perseid meteors were hard to see and I only saw one. The night was cool enough that we needed thin fleeces and trousers but was quite pleasant after the heat of the day. We both slept well under the gentle conditions and by midday Tuesday we were about half way across.
Tuesday continued at a very sedate pace, barely getting above 4 kts apart from during the two hours of motoring to give the batteries a boost. The wind stayed from the north. We saw very few other ships and one yacht going in the opposite direction. It was a very pleasant way to make the crossing.
The gentle pace continued until just after midnight, Wednesday morning when the wind gave up, our speed dropped to 1 kt and it was time for the engine with 45nm to go.
This night the sky was clearer and I saw 7 shooting stars, including one that left a long after trail, it was amazing. Even the still bright moon couldn't dim it. Colin also saw a good few. Then during my second watch Venus appeared and not long after the rosy wisps of dawn began to spread across the sky, soon followed by the sun and Sardinia appeared in silhouette.
A flat calm sea helped us speed towards our destination and by 9am we were passing between Isola di San Pietro and Isola di Sant Antioco heading for Calasetta. Red Snapper had arrived a little before us, we anchored south of the harbour in 3m and rowed ashore to find a weather forecast and hopefully some internet. Very friendly people and some muddled language and we were directed to the town square where the commune building provided free internet. Armed with my passport I headed inside to get a logon, finding signs only in Italian some arm waving got me to the right place. At least wifi is the same in most languages! Over a very strong coffee I downloaded some forecasts and email, then back to Emerald for a short hop over to the south of Isola di San Pietro where we anchored in a place hopefully sheltered from the strong north winds due over the next few days.
First impressions of Sardinia are very positive!
Alongside the anchorage there are some rocks where the cormorants like to gather in a line along the top. I wonder what is a collection of cormorants called?