Carloforte, not quite the Italian job
Leaving Spain for Carloforte, Sardinia
We left Mahon and Spain behind at 7pm in company with “Yacht Tinkerbell” to travel the 185 miles to Carloforte near Sardinia, in Italian waters. It felt good to be heading to another country but we were also sad to leave the Balearic Isles behind. Summer there had been wonderful with crystal clear waters and hot lazy days. For the first time in a long time we were going into the unknown. We had seen the “Italian Job” but we were not planning a heist or even to “blow the bloody doors off”.
The storms coming to Italian waters
Raising Italian Flag
The sun soon went down and left us alone in the dark. Over the next two days and nights we had a mixture of light winds and pretty flat seas meaning we had to use the engine a lot. We knew there was a huge storm well north of us but we should get to Sardinia well before it hit us. Well, that was the idea but………
On the second day out we began to get the swell from the storm and then the winds. The winds we could cope with by taking a lot of sail down but the swell was pretty bad. We bounced more than a Masai warriors wedding bed and the sea began spitting at us. Luckily it was at night so we didn’t see just how much swell there was until the sun came up. When we did see it I began to promise Cygnus III my own version of spitting at her but with a lot of polish thrown in if she got us to our destination safely. We could see the islands we were heading for but they just didn’t seem to be getting closer.
Watch the ferries in Carloforte
After an eternity we rounded the outer islands to go into the main channel between Sardinia and Carloforte on the Isola de Pietre. The swell began to drop even if the wind didn’t. It was 8.30 in the morning, we were tired and the water in the channel was quiet shallow in places. We saw the main buoy marking the entrance to the harbour and decided to cut inside it to give the rather large ferry coming out plenty of room. The trouble was he also decided to cut inside and aim for us. We had no choice but to hold our course as going further inside the buoy would also mean going aground. As the ferry passed us I began reading the passengers newspapers it was so close. Welcome to Italian drivers!
Don’t let me negotiate for you
The Harbour at Carloforte
As we entered the outer harbour we saw two ribs racing towards us. So they really did think we were planning the Italian job and coming to “blow the bloody doors off”! As it was there were two marinas in the harbour in Carloforte and both were offering better and better deals to us as we got nearer to them. We were tired but I negotiated what I thought was a good price and went in. The wind was still blowing strongly so the rather helpful dingy that greeted us had to go to our bow and push us in through the wind. With his help were soon tied up and safely on Italian soil. It was only the following day we learnt if you tied up to the town quay in Carloforte it was free. So much for my negotiation skills! If it had been a hostage situation they would no doubt have been wearing wings and chatting to their Gods by now.
Angelina instantly fell in love with Carloforte. She described it as a “Foodies heaven”. You could buy huge amazing pizzas everywhere and they were as cheap as chips (not that chips are cheap anymore). They even understood Spanish which didn’t help us much but it was a start.
Taking the locals hostage
The Rustic town of Carloforte
The town of Carloforte is not touristy at all but has a rustic beauty all of its own and very friendly locals. They even had people walking round the town with printed shirts saying “Information” on their backs. Angelina began chatting to one and the next thing I knew we had taken her hostage for the day. With my negotiation skills it meant she would not be long for this world. She showed us around and even came into shops with us to explain what things were and helped at the till. Unfortunately she did not want to come with us on our boat for the next several months but we did try. Angelina once again said that she could quiet happily live in Carloforte and felt at home in Italy. This meant that to date I had to find the money to buy her 41 homes in various places. Now where was that information girl when you needed her. I am sure I could negotiate a few Euros for her. On the other hand I could start learning how to “Blow the bloody doors off” the Carloforte bank.