Storms and dead fish

Cagliari, Sardinia to Sicily

21st February 2014
Favignana harbour

Cagliari, Sardinia to Sicily. Storms and dead fish

Sailing to Cagliari, Sardinia

At the end of August we sailed along the southern coast of Sardinia from the underwater town of Nora to Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia. We had also gotten ourselves a convoy with Tinkerbell and Zazen.

We had read that one of the marinas in Cagliari was a little rickety but cheap. We wanted somewhere to wait for a weather window to cross the 150 miles or so to Sicily so this seemed like the perfect place to wait and also see some of the capital.


Dead fish in Cagliari

Cagliari, Sardinia

Cagliari, Sardinia

Going into Cagliari main harbour we began noticing fish sunbathing on the surface of the water. Not just one or two but hundreds. They were everywhere and they were either dead or doing a very good impression. We never really did get to the bottom of what had happened but were told that the floods from recent rain had brought fresh water down into the harbour killing the fish. They said it was a yearly event and the dolphins would come into the harbour to feed on them. Personally I found this hard to believe but then again I am a bit of a sceptic. (Angelina says I am septic but I know what I am). If you asked my opinion it was a form of mad fish disease. What was quiet strange to see was the fishermen sat on the  Cagliari harbour front trying to get there lines in the water between the dead fish.  Now I may be missing something here but I suspect dead fish are pretty difficult to catch with or without bait. They just don’t seem interested. It must be a bit like using a bicycle wheel as a remote to change channels your television. You could literally use a JCB to scoop a bucket or two full of fish out if you were so inclined (or had a JCB handy which we didn’t). Then again to me those men who sit anywhere for hours hoping to catch a fish on a little hook don’t have a lift that goes to the top floor anyway.


Cagliari was a bit boring.

So what is Cagliari like?. Being a capital city is big but also the parts we saw were a bit boring. I am told by Mr Wikipedia that there are things to see and do there but we didn’t find a lot. In fact the most excitement we got was from haggling over the price of the marina and getting a free bottle opener thrown in.

Within a couple of days we found our weather window. Again there was a storm brewing well to the north which would give us winds to sail but this time it should keep well north of us allowing us a mellow sail to Sicily.


Crossing from Sardinia to Sicily

Our convoy set off round from Cagliari about lunchtime as we estimated this would get us to Sicily the following afternoon. The winds we not quite as predicted so Zazen went eastwards under engine hoping to catch better winds later to take her south. We decided to take the wind whilst we could so we headed south towards Tunisia whilst Tinkerbell took the mid-point between us both. That afternoon and evening was a little choppy but we were sailing and quiet comfortable. Tinkerbell had fallen in some distance behind us and although she is a like a greyhound in season under engine being smaller she is no match for Cygnus III under sail, especially in a choppy sea.


Probably the worst conditions we had sailed in

As dawn broke giving us some light the picture was pretty grey. The wind had gotten up meaning we had to take a lot of sail in and the seas had really picked up. Again this was not forecast. During that day we had some of the worst conditions we had sailed in so far. The waves were picking Cygnus III up so her bow was pointing skywards and then dropping her 17 tonnes down into the water in a belly flop. Cygnus III doesn’t usually slam and only rarely have we had water rushing over the decks. Now we had both. Kangaroo’s testicles on a bungee rope bounce less than we did that day. Chatting on the radio to Tinkerbell who was now several hours behind us confirmed they were having probably worse problems as their boat was smaller. Tree is also prone to seasickness which can be a real disaster when you are expecting brownies in Sicily later that day. I certainly didn’t want brownies with diced carrot in them and should she have said she was making carrot cake I would have to turn her wonderful cooking down flat.


The conditions were bad but we trusted Cygnus III

During the day the weather did not improve and if anything it got worse. We were never really worried. Apprehensive maybe, but by now we had gotten to know and trust Cygnus III and her seagoing capabilities. She would look after us and I had a chat to her on several occasions that day just to make sure. Why is it that if someone goes to a house of worship to talk to their gods no one thinks anything of it but if someone says their god talks to them we think they are a raving lunatic or a priest which is the same thing anyway.


Levanzo, Sicily

Cala Fredda, Levanzo, Sicily

Cala Fredda, Levanzo, Sicily

That day was a rough day but we had managed to sail all the way and by early evening we were closing on Sicily. It was going to be getting dark not too long after we arrived so we went behind a small island called Levanzo, less than half a mile off the coast of Sicily. It had a bay called Cala Fredda and should offer good protection overnight. (Strange to think that we had sailed from Nora to Fred)

The bay was pretty small and already had several boats anchored for the night making it crowded. We found a space and the island blocked out most of the swell and wind. We had reached Sicily, our winter home and the crossing was soon to become a faint memory. Several hours later Tinkerbell anchored next to us but by then all we both wanted to do was sleep.


Genuine classified ads in U.K. Newspapers:



8 years old,

Hateful little bastard.




1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbour’s dog.



Mother is a Kennel Club registered German Shepherd.

Father is a Super Dog, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.



Worn once by mistake.

Call Stephanie.


And the WINNER is



Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 45 volumes.

Excellent condition, £200 or best offer. No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything.


Statement of the Century

Thought from the Greatest Living Scottish Thinker–Billy Connolly. “If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, How come they can’t have a headache and sex at the same time?”


 Sicily, the best kept secret in the Mediterranean

Over the next month we would be taking the long way round Sicily with Zazen and Tinkerbell. I will tell you now in confidence that Sicily is the best kept secret in the Mediterranean and in the blogs to follow you will see why this is such a special island everyone should visit.



Other posts we think you will enjoy


  1. Scary image in my head now, of a small boat and large wave, stormy weather and a tight squeeze into a safe harbour. Glad your all ok

    1. Lorraine, When the seas are like that the only place you want to be is anywhere but where you are. It is often said that the crew will give up long before the boat does. There is no one to help, only you so you manage and afterwards you soon forget. Luckily it does not happen too often unless you have an idiot like me aboard who gets the weather wrong.

Leave a comment