Heron sailing is a story of Lili and Tomaz and our sailboat Heron.
We were cruising for two years, now we are land lubbers for a while. We still try to go sailing as often as we could.
We invite you to be part of our dream. Read about it, feel free to write a comment or send us an email.
Today we managed to start sailing already before 9 o'clock - we knew the day will be long, with wind on the nose again.
This is how Isola rossa looks in the morning sun. Right here in front of this island (in the middle of the photo) we spent the night.
The wind was not so strong as yesterday and luckily the waves were a lot smaller, so the ride was not so uncomfortable. But we still had to zig-zag. We decided to sail closer to the coast to at least see some interesting scenery. And one of the prettiest things we saw was for sure town of Castelsardo (i would assume that means Castle of Sardinia - my Italian is getting better and better :-). Old town sits high on the hill above the sea and looks beautiful, while there is new part of town behind the hill (not looking pretty). I was sorry we didn't have more time, i'm sure it would be great to walk those narrow streets.
We also saw Porto Torres while sailing by, but it is ugly, so there are no pictures.
At 6 in the evening we reached our destination and we dropped the anchor near island IsolaPlana that lies between Sardinia and Isola Asinara. We couldn't believe the color of the water and of course jumped right in. It was cloudy all day, so we were glad that sun came out and gave us the feeling that summer is back. If tomorrow morning wind is not very strong, I'll go swimming again - before we sail off.
The clouds came back some time later just to perform spectacular sunset.
Even in a dim light the water still looks emerald green.
Tomorrow in the morning we are leaving through the opening between those two towers in the picture. We have some 190 nautical miles to sail and we expect to reach Mahon on Menorca on thursday evening. We will post couple of the messages from our sat phone, for "regular" posts with photos we will need to get Spanish SIM for mobile internet again. So it might take a while.
This is the photo of our chart plotter with our today's trip (and part if yesterday's). Today we started where the blue spot is and now we are where the black arrow is. You can clearly see, why it took so long.
Today was a very frustrating day. But let me start at the beginning ...
We slept in Golfo delle Saline. Night was peaceful - at least after the Italian animators stopped forcing the guests of the hotel on the nearest beach to participate in caraoke (hotel was ugly, so no photo). In the morning i wanted to have a swim, but realized that water got much colder than it was last days - instead of cosy 27 deg C temperature fell to 24 deg C. On top of this quite strong wind that was still blowing from the west, so i decided to pass. Shower seemed much more inviting.
Bay itself is very pretty, lots of space for anchoring and nice green water.
We read that there is suppose to be the rock on one of the hills that looks like a bear. The only hill with interesting rocks was this one.
But bear? Dinosaur maybe ... with lots of imagination. Maybe the bear is on another hill?
We sailed off again relatively late, around 11. When we came around the corner, wind hit us with full strength. Of course - on the nose again. So we were motoring. Our main was reefed, we were hoping it will help our speed a bit and stabilize the boat. But it was very hard trying to keep some wind in the sail, since we were maneuvering between Sardinia and Maddalena islands while trying to avoid ferries, motorboats and other sailboats.
The fort on Maddalena island ...
... and the biggest town on the same island, also named La Maddalena. The whole group of islands is a national park and Italians charge entrance fee for this archipelago, as for so many other islands around Sardinia. So we stayed away. Not just because of the fee - we tried to understand the different zones in parc and different rules, but it is just to complicated and of course it was in Italian. We decided not to bother.
While we were on our way i turned the head and there in the distance he was - the bear.
Despite of all the work with sailing we still noticed the beauty of the place - it still looks wild and unspoiled despite many houses built in the area. And when i'm filthy rich and to old for sailing, i'll buy me one .....
Once we passed Maddalena islands Corsica came into sight in the distance, with it's islands with unbelievably white cliffs.
On the northern side the waves were even bigger, but we killed the engine and rolled out the genoa and were sailing. There was no way Tomaz would motor with so much wind. But the wind stayed in our nose, so we were tacking against the wind (for non-sailors: tacking means sailing against the wind as high as possible in zig-zag pattern. This way one has to make twice as much distance as if wind was from the side or on the back). And i was so envious of all the boats going in the opposite direction as us - they had good speed, they were not cold, they did not bump in the waves .....
I still managed to make o photo or two ... this one is of the Punta Abbatoggia
After a while the wind did slow down a bit a waves got a bit smaller, so i decided it was time to cook lunch. Of course it was going to be something simple - spaghetti with aubergines-tuna-tomato sauce. The stove is on the hinges, so the pots were always leveled horizontally, the problem was with other utensils. I had to be careful where i put things, they had the tendency to slide or fly around the boat. And of course i had to use one hand to hold myself to stay in one place. But all went fairly well until i was putting the meal on the plates - while i was filling the second plate and the first one was sitting full at the counter on my left, a wind gust came and rocked the boat and suddenly spaghetti jumped from the plate and landed on the counter. Together with the sauce of course. It was big mess. I was mad, started yelling at Tomaz, who didn't do anything wrong. After couple of moments i calmed down, put the food back on the plate and we ate. And i decided to buy bowls with higher rim that we will use instead of the plates.
Since we were zig-zaging towards our destination, we didn't make the distance we planed. Instead we changed the plan - as our Swedish friend Jonas said: plans are made to be changed. We decided to stop for the night at Isola Rossa, sail to Capo Falcone tomorrow and start our crossing to Menorca on wednesday morning. We checked the weather forecast and the weather will still hold, we might even have better wind.
Isola Rosse got it's name from red cliffs and there are many in the area. We anchored the boat and both went swimming, the water had cosy 27 deg C. And afterwards i cleaned the kitchen.
On thursday we headed to Olbia - we actually sailed back south a couple of miles. Our friend Lidija was leaving on friday, so we had to go back to civilization to get her on the plane. We tied our boat to town quay - for free. There is also a good space for anchoring in front of the quay, if the quay is full. This already makes Olbia sailor-friendly town. This also explains why there were a couple of boats that didn't move from the quay for more then a week.
Our boat beside the quay with the town behind.
There is a good supermarket not far from the port, so stocking up was not difficult. There are plenty of restaurants with reasonable prices and we had a very good pizza (first one since we're in Italy) on friday night. And that's all there is about Olbia. The town itself is not very interesting, no old town center or interesting buildings. We stayed till sunday, mainly because of bad weather forecast. On friday it was very windy, there was strong hot wind blowing from SE, with waves coming all the way through the bay to the port. On saturday picture changed - wind was blowing from W, it was even stronger and quite cold. It felt like the end of summer! The wind was result of the weather front coming from golf of Lyon, which was coming down along the west coast of Sardinia and part of it from west through the strait between Corsica and Sardinia. And big waves came with it. So we knew, that even if we decided to continue our journey, we would have strong wing and waves up our noses all the time. So we decided to wait in Olbia till sunday. Actually, once one gets used to civilization again, it is not so bad - i could have stayed another day or two! We had our hair cut, we had fresh bread every day already for breakfast, trash cans were just a short walk away and there were many friendly boaters to have a word or two with.
We left Olbia on sunday at about noon - lately we always need so much time to get ready to sail off. Don't know why ... This is Olbia looking back from beginning if the marked channel.
A lighthouse is guarding the entrance to the channel.
Although weather was supposed to be less wild on sunday, there was still more then plenty of wind (up to 25 knots) and quite high waves, of course on the nose. We sailed only on our small flock and it was very bumpy. After two hours of what i call hard work, we decided to turn back to coast again and make a stop at Cala di Volpe. And it was such a change - suddenly we were in this little fjord with green water, no waves, less wind, so it was actually warm again. It was beautiful!
There are some great looking houses around Cala, there were some big expensive yachts and sailboats anchored around us, but most fascinating was the nature - the coastline with sandy beaches, interrupted by big boulders, and emerald water, so inviting.
Entrance to Cala di Volpe
Looking up the Cala towards north
Boulders on east side near the entrance
We had lunch, took a swim, then realized that we have to move on. It would be so nice to stay, but ... Our plan is to start a passage to Menorca on tuesday (the weather looks most cooperative on tuesday and wednesday this week), so we have to be somewhere around Capo Falcone on monday evening.
When we came around the corner, we saw that weather didn't improve. This time the wind and the waves were directly in our nose so we motored for couple of hours.
We came by this pretty old lighthouse and old village before sailing by the bay of Arzachena to our anchorage, Golfo dela Salline. It was getting dark and we were fed up with wind and waves, so we stopped for the night. And rewarded ourselves with baked bananas with lots of melted chocolate. But boy do we have some long miles to travel tomorrow .....
After leaving bay of Carbonara we sailed up along the east coast of Sardinia and spent first night in a bay north of Capo Ferrato. Bay was beautiful with crystal water and lovely beaches.
There was a lot of suffering and hard work while on the way .....
Next day we sailed to Arbatax and anchored in a bay on the south side of town. Water was great ....
We only saw one tower (the name Arbatax should come from Arabic language and should mean 14 towers).
Red cliffs on the east side of town
The coast north from Arbatax is full of cliffs and caves
We stopped on one of the famous beaches in bay of Orosai
Look how the color if bathing suite matches the color of water ...
We anchored in front of the most famous of the beaches in Sardinia - Cala de la Luna. Even more fascinating than the lovely beach (but we already seen so many) is the backdrop - great cliffs to the left of the beach and caves to the right.
See how small the man on the picture appears ... (left bottom - if you didn't find him)
We are now in the water for little more then 3 months and here is the status of our anti-fouling.
We had it done in Koper and they used two coats of ablative paint.
Ablative means it is slowly dissolving in the seawater and thus prevents creatures to get a grip on a boat's hull. Bad thing about this is, that if you touch the boat you are all blue - so you do not touch the bottom of the boat. It is also not easy to clean the bottom without removing all the paint.
For the prop we used a transparent spray for prop anti-fouling and of course we covered the prop zinc before - it must stay unpainted. General observation: So far so good, few spots are not 100% clean.
Area not painted was already cleaned a few times and it gets fouled very fast.
Here we are at anchor at Arbatax, E coast of Srdinia. Arbatax means 14 towerts in Arab - we just took a picture of one.
And here is Heron's underwater:
Ruuder is clean. In few spots forward (just behind the prop) the anti-fouling paint is already very thin or missing.
The prop always folds, so I had toopen it to take picture of zinc:
The vinyl rim is not anti-fouled and I have to clean it often. Same is for the grounding plate: