At 11:00 am (GMT) Eileen left Porto Rotondo for the last time. While the wind from the East had slackened a confused swell made for a very uncomfortable run.
Within a few hours, despite having taken a dose of Sturgeron, Eva was overcome by motion sickness and reluctantly retired below deck. Sleep appears to be the best remedy for her, something I evidently would not be getting much of during the crossing! I must grudgingly admit that I wasn’t feeling well either, but I seem to function adequately despite occasional spates of nausea.
Before dark a couple of porpoises gave me a great display in the fading light as they playfully leapt from the waves. I tried to encourage Eva to come witness the spectacle but she was in no condition to move and told me as much in no uncertain terms.
Impressed as I was with Porto Rotondo, I had planned to finish my trip in Olbia, a mere 4 hours away by boat (25 minutes by car). After checking the forecast for the next few days with the marina office, I set sail.
Three hours later, just outside the buoyed channel to Olbia harbour, I experienced my first taste of the unpredictable Sirocco winds. It had been an easy run past Punta Filasca headland into Gulfo Aranci and I was already bringing down the mainsail when Eileen shuddered as we were hit by an incredibly strong and sustained wind from the SSE. Although somewhat sheltered by the bays southern peninsula, the mainsail was not fully lowered making the next few minutes interesting to say the least.
By the time I had motored the last five miles into the port the wind had dropped to a gentle breeze and tying up against the old commercial quay proved a cinch.
I spent one night on the exposed wall (no charge) and made enquiries about extending my stay in the nearby marinas. Contrary to the information published in my pilot book, visitors are not so welcome here. I quickly concluded that Porto Rotondo was a far superior place to leave my boat and resolved to return there in the morning.
Cala di Volpe
I rounded Punta Galera, the northern tip of Isola Caprera at 10:20. Turning southeast, I kept Isolotti Monaci and the Secca delle Bisce shoals to port adjusting my heading to almost due south after passing the east cardinal marker at Secche del Cervo.
A regatta was underway several miles east of Porto Cervo but I kept close to the coastline to admire the extraordinary villas dotting the rocky shoreline. The remainder of the trip to Porto Rotondo was uneventful, I spotted a couple of dolphins in the distance, anchored briefly by a small beach just east of Cala di Volpe for a quick swim, and leisurely made my way to the marina, arriving just after 5pm.
The Costa Smeralda, developed by a consortium led by the Aga Khan in the 60s is evidently still a playground for the rich and famous, but by October only a few travel hardy German tourists remain. The good life in these parts is scheduled for July and August where prices soar. In high season expect to pay 60 to 70 Euro a night for your 6m boat. In October however, the marina fees are a bargain at 2 Euro and 28 cents a night.