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Goodbye Menorca: we cross to Sardinia

  • Flavio 

Our stay in Menorca comes to an end. We visit the East side of the Island as we wait for a good weather window to cross to Sardinia: we make our longest crossing ever to Carloforte, where we stay for a few days before exploring the South of Sardinia stopping by in Teulada, Malfatano, Cagliari and Villasimius.

Last days in Menorca (and still plenty of things to see)

We have been waiting way too long to write this new blog post, but the last couple of weeks have been pretty hectic, with plenty of things to do in Menorca and the preparation for our first crossing ever to a foreign country.

The Favàritx Lighthouse

We knew our stay in Menorca was coming to an end and we wanted to get the most out of the last few days. We had “big” plans and to make sure we were not going to miss a thing, we marked on a map all the places we wanted to visit.

Menorca has many unique lighthouses, so we first went to Cavallería: a well-known lighthouse situated at the tip of the most northerly point of Menorca. Next to the lighthouse of Cavallería, there is a small cave. It is possible to enter this cave and enjoy a very good view of Illa des Porros. Nearby Cavallería, we spotted a cheese factory along the way: we couldn’t resist and stopped to purchase some typical Menorquin cheese.

And the Cavallería lighthouse

Then it was time to visit another emblematic lighthouse: the cape of Favàritx is located in the Tramontana area of the island (the northern area) and is geologically very ancient, specifically from the primary era, also known as Paleozoic. The lighthouse is surrounded by low cliffs with a style that we thought looked rather lunar.

From there we went to Cala en Porter, located on the island’s south coast: it has a beach cove with high imposing limestone cliffs. The resort is home to a number of restaurants and bars, as well as the nightclub Cova d’en Xoroi (commonly called The Caves).

Cala en Porter

Our journey continued to Cala Coves: a set of coves and caves protected by spectacular cliffs. Once we parked the car, we walked for 30 minutes before we could spot the cave, a small paradise that must be a perfect place to anchor boats and spend the day.

Our beloved neighbors offered us the opportunity to take their kayak and row around Port d’Addaya: we spent the morning discovering the surrounding bays characterized by its shallow calm water and green landscapes. As a reward, we anchored the kayak in a nearby cave and enjoyed the sun with a well-deserved fresh beer we had taken with us: sometimes we are really good at predicting our future needs…

Kayaking around Addaya

Then it was time to get to know the area around Mahón: we went to Cala Longa, a green residential area lying on the north side of the bay of Mahón. From there we stopped at Isabel II fortress, Sant Antonio, and ended up in Cales Font (Es Castell), on the opposite side of the bay. There, after enjoying a good fish meal on a terrace along the village quay, we met with Anke and Uwe (our neighbors!) who had also decided to spend the day in Es Castell: the decision was quickly made and we had a gin tonic together as bars were closing at 6 pm because of COVID-19 related restrictions.

Cales Font: view from the quay

After scrupulously looking at the weather forecast, we understood that we only had two days left in Addaya. It was time to say goodbye to our friends. After a nice dinner on board of Madrugada, Anke gave us two handcrafted bracelets she had prepared for us: they’ll help us keep alive the memory of the great time spent together. Saying goodbye is never easy…but we know for sure that our sailing routes will cross again soon.

Enjoying a Gin Tonic with our salty neighbours

Our longest passage ever

The day after we got up at 5 am, and after having the last breakfast in Menorca, we set sail (or we’d better say “we started the engine”) direction Sardinia! Indeed we knew we would have encountered pretty calm conditions with some light wind from the stern, waves and favorable currents, so despite we hate motoring, this time we had no choice (unless we wanted to wait for at least another 7-10 days for a better weather pattern). During the passage, as already happened in the previous ones, we took care of a bird who decided to take a free ride to Sardinia.

“She” was clearly not scared!

Conditions were indeed calm and we made a direct course to Carloforte. The night was incredibly bright thanks to the super(pink)moon who appeared just after sunset (the term “supermoon” was coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and refers to either a new or full moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth – source: NASA).

On a boat, you have to read boat books 🙂

At 2 pm we landed in Carloforte, in the Sulcis Archipelago. For 20 euro a night, we took a berth at Marinatour: once again we were the only visitors.

Carloforte is a fishing and resort town on the Isola di San Pietro, which is well-known for its beautiful sandy beaches and transparent waters. In 1739 the then-uninhabited San Pietro was colonised by people of Ligurian language and ethnicity. They had fled the Republic of Genoa’s colony on the small Tunisian island of Tabarka, established in 1542 for the purpose of coral fishing after it had been taken over by the Bey of Tunisia. Today most of the population has retained a variant of the Genoese dialect, called Tabarchino (source: Wikipedia).

A typical corner in Carloforte

The village has a pretty big port, busy with ferries that connect Carloforte to the mainland. Discovering its narrow streets means being prepared to walk uphill, something which is particularly tough after a 36-hour passage on a small sailboat. But the most important thing you need to know if you visit Sardinia is recycling, way more important than wearing a mask or respecting social distancing; don’t say you haven’t been warned.

We are moored in Carloforte, no neighbours this time

And finally, after waiting for weeks, we had our first Pizza (in a month): we scrupulously avoided pizzerias while we were in Menorca, knowing that some good ones were waiting for us. It’s crazy to realize how small things, especially if they involve taste, can make you feel fully realized!

Another achievement that we had been envisioning was raising the courtesy flag: it is flown by a visiting ship in foreign waters as a token of respect. Below the courtesy flag, you can also hoist the regional flag: we went to a shop nearby and bought the flag of Sardinia also called the flag of the Four Moors, which represents and symbolizes the island of Sardinia and its people. The flag is composed of the St George’s Cross and four heads of Moors.

Hosting the courtesy flag(s)

From Carloforte to Cagliari

After three days in Carloforte, it was time to keep moving east. On a cloudy and windy Saturday morning, we left the dock and set course to Teulada. We spotted dolphins as we got pushed by westerly winds, which increased up to 35 knots (almost 70km/h) as we were approaching our destination: the nice cove of Budello. We would have loved to stop at Porto Zafferano, a well-known cove in the Teulada area, but unfortunately, the zone is off-limit being a NATO base. The military installation occupies an area of about 7000 hectares, in one of the most beautiful spots of the Mediterranean. The area can only be accessed, from the sea in the summertime. It is a training base for the navy and air forces. Old weapons, explosives, and missiles are also exploded, burned, and buried – ensuring pollution of air, land, and water sources. It is also a hop-off point to North Africa. In a nutshell: it’s a big shame.

Teulada NATO base – Do you see those yellowish tracks? Those are from the military tanks and are well visible from Google Satellite

Back to our journey: after spending the first night in 2021 at the anchor in Cala Budello, the day after we decided to move only 6 nautical miles away and drop the anchor in Cala Malfatano: a large and very well-protected bay that offers a combination of beaches with shallow transparent waters. Once again we were completely alone surrounded by nature.

Sunset at Cala Malfatano

It was then time to reach Cagliari, it took us nearly 8 hours before we could touch land again at Marina del Sole: a medium-size port 1 km far from the city center. We spent three days in Cagliari, mixing work and leisure time. We have been very positively surprised and impressed by the city: an ancient town with a long history that has seen the rule of several civilizations.

View over Cagliari

Cagliari (Casteddu in Sardinian) is a regional cultural, educational, political, and artistic center, known for its diverse Art Nouveau architecture and several monuments.

While we were in Cagliari, we kept watching the weather forecast so that we could plan accordingly our next trip. Immediately it was clear that Villasimius was going to be the next stop. It is described as “a place with stunning beaches and nightlife in southern Sardinia”. No idea about the nightlife, but the beaches were simply incredible. And guess what? We were all alone when we set the anchor in Porto Giunco: what a fabulous place. We observed one of the most magnificent sunsets I can remember as we enjoyed a drink while we were watching the show.

Stunning sunset in Villasimius

All in all, the few days spent in South Sardinia have been so intense that we struggle to keep all the memories well organized in our minds. We clearly feel there are a lot of places that we would have liked to see, but we also knew that South Sardinia, this year, was going to be a relatively quick stop: a nice way to get closer to Sicily. We will definitely be back here sometime, hopefully soon.

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