Sailing in Sardinia & Corsica
This is an account of experiences made during our time sailing in Sardinia & Corsica. Each day`s story was written by a different crew member. Hope you will enjoy experiencing this trip through their memories! This was our first trip organized to this location and the result it that we are going to organize a sailing trip to this location next year too!
Sunday, June 26th, Sailing in Sardinia
Portisco to Porto Massimo
The sea was welcoming us with big waves on the first day. Our boat was a 50 foot beautiful yacht named Tina, and she was acting like a proper woman from the start. She cut through the waves with a rough kind of grace and the crew was shaken well together, as our skipper Nico instructed us with the basics as we went along. Tina seemed to enjoy the waves and as we tacked she leaned from side to side and threw splashes of salty sea water on the hard working crew. As pleasant as the deep blue color of the Mediterranean Sea is to the eye, as irritating is it when the water with the high salt level actually gets into your eyes.
The crew consisted of 9 savage pirates and one brave skipper. On board we were 7 nationalities with varying sailing experience. Of the 3 bad behaved Danish guys (Stephan, Rune and Morten) Morten had never sailed before, so, feeling the effect of the wind and the waves, he chose to carefully watch the more skilled ones in the crew performing the maneuvers, as they raised the sails, released the sheets, prepared to tack etc and all the while our skipper, Nico (from Belgium), taught us the useful sailor lingo and yelled orders like “Ready about!” and the pirates yelled back “Aye!” Among the experienced crew was a skillful Fin, Artu, who knew his way around a boat, and nursed around Tina like a teenager in love. He constantly made sure that she looked her best, and did his utmost to keep her performance high. Aboard was also a Russian princess, Irina, who preferred to communicate in dancing movements over English; a swim suit model, Linda, and a cunning, vegetarian toothbrush murderer, Isabella, both from Switzerland; an Australian emigrant banker, Danielle, who were let in charge of the provision money and a German witch named Sabrina, who avoided churches and long stairs, since both would allegedly make her burst into fire. All together the crew and the skipper made sure that Tina managed the first day in the water without any casualties.
As we reached the shore of La Magdalena, the sun was about to set. In Porto Massimo the coast was east, so a few of us decided to go explore the island and find the best place to watch the sunset. First we scaled the nearest rock hill, and we discovered there was more to this island than met the eyes. The granite rocks, that somehow seemed oddly fake, were actually hollow. Some of them had holes and revealed a big hollow inside. We immediately developed conspiratorial theories of how this island had been created, and decided at the end it must have been built by ALIENS! We found more signs of this as we went along, and there were weird buildings that were just placed on top of unreachable places – which of course was not gonna stop us, so we started climbing rocks and traversing thorny bushes. Finally at the top of the biggest rock hill we went inside an abandoned round towerlike building with west facing windows that made for a nice frame around the beautiful sunset.
On our way down we decided that the other side must be easier to scale, but we were utterly wrong and had to pass through even more thorny bushes, and with most of us wearing shorts, that quickly became a hurtful experience. And halfway down the Russian Princess yells “tick!” and we discovered that we had a few ticks climbing on us.
Finally back at the boat – an hour later than the agreed dinner time and well hungry – the impatient cooking team wouldn’t let us on the boat before we had showered and made sure there were NO ticks going on the boat. (“We don’t want a tick doing tacks”) After dinner we decided to indulge in a card game that apparently involved exploding kittens and belly buttons filled with Nutella – some people took the last one rather literally and it got a little messy in the end.
And so ended the first day of the Naleians and first day of the sailing in Sardinia & Corsica trip.
/ by Stephan
Monday, June 27th, Sailing from Sardinia to Corsica
Porto Massimo, Sardinia to Porto Vecchio, Corsica
A new dawn drew upon the ghostly marina di Porto Massimo, the whole night the wind had howled around Tina’s rig, and the Naleians were slowly emerging from their cabins to a windy forecast, their heads still full of exploding kittens, nutella still shyly fringing their bellybuttons. We briefed our different options around the breakfast table and decided to give a try towards Corsica and Porto Vecchio, with a forecasted 25kt on a beam reach. Shall the wind be higher in the straight, it was decided we would turn back to our shelter in Porto Massimo.
Soon the crew was fully briefed, mooring lines were cast off, and both sails were up, fully reefed. Tina was gently heeling over and cutting her way through the white horses, ahead of us laid the windy straight of Bonifacio, and further in the distance, we could just make out the misty Corsican mountains. As the middle of the straight already laid astern, the sea became more lively, heaping up in foamy steep crests, while the wind increased, at first to 30kt, to finally reach 35kt, with the occasional 40kt gust. It was decided to push through the remaining miles and seek shelter behind the eastern coast of Corsica. Some of the brave crew turned yellow, then green, then white, became strangely mute, and finally disappeared in their cabin. Some regurgitated breakfasts were offered to the sea, as a manifest plead to Neptune to ease off the bashing. Tina was bravely up to her duty, meandering the waves like a sailing queen, and the remaining crew to keep the morale burst in singing wild sea shanties while holding on with all their hands. Finally, as the bay of Porto-Vecchio appeared in the distance, the wind eased off, and the remaining 25kt of wind felt like a relaxing Sunday afternoon stroll on a Swiss lake. However the sailing was not yet finished, as we had to beat our way up the bay, and it was not before we made our lines fast on the pontoon that we could sigh with relief of having achieved the first international Naleia crossing. We hoisted the French and Corsican flags (better late than never) and sang the Marseillaise, before realizing it may actually be an ill idea in rebellious Corsica. It was more than time to brush up our French however, if we wanted to find our way to the showers.
As the sun had already disappeared behind the Corsican hills, the reckless crew made its way up towards the old town, thirsty for frenchness and malted beverages. Ice cream shops were duly attacked in a well-prepared and coordinated offensive. It was decided to leave no ice cream parlour unharmed, and what would become a legendary ice-cream crawl, to be told by Portovecchians for many generations. The bravest of our crew duly launched an ice-cream duel which, alas, ended up bitterly in disgust and stomach aches. Barely capable of walking, we rolled down the hill to the comforting protection of Tina’s womb.
/ by Nico
Tuesday, June 28th, Sailing in Corsica
Porto Vecchio to Bonifacio
The happy crew left Porto-Vecchio with two new crew on board. An outlaw going by the name of ‘Captain Corsica’ had been recruited the previous evening in town, eager to take duties as substitute skipper. He was of calm character, had a long tail, and a unique stripy grey and blue pattern adorned his long-nosed face. We never found out where exactly he was from, or who brought him up, but some had heard that his mother had been a zebra, and his father a smurf. Captain Corsica would however not step into the adventure without his old sailing buddy, One-Eye Joey. A seasoned pirate, Joey was smaller in size, but not in experience. Although he had lost his right eye in a wild battle long ago off the coast of Panama, we decided to trust his remaining eye and set him in charge of navigation.
After a couple of hours of sailing along the coast of Corsica with our new crew in command, Tina dropped anchor in a bay which incredibly azure water had been imported directly from the Caribbean. Masters ordered their slaves to bring them beer on their floating air mattresses, and the Russian princess was nearly lost at sea with the Stand-Up paddleboard. Against all odds, she made it safely back once again, to the crew’s great relief.
After another couple of hours, Bonifacio’s cliffs appeared in the distance, and we could soon discern the silhouette of the town perched atop. We rounded the majestic cape, victoriously entered the narrow fjord defending the old city, and confusingly moored right by the promenade.
Our pontoon neighbours were a famous band from Switzerland, but after some glasses of wine, we found out that they were not only 50% professional, but also only 50% famous, and -apparently- only 50% seductive.
Deceived and disappointed by our 50% neighbors, we made a run for sunset. Perched on an inaccessible citadel, we serenaded our Sabrina and celebrated the end of another beautiful day. It was time for a late assault on Bonifacio’s cuisine.
/ by Nico
Wednesday, June 29th, Sailing from Corsica to Sardinia
Bonifacio, Corsica to Porto Liscia, Sardinia
We decided to spend part of the day in Bonifacio so there was no hurry in getting up. Some of us were up late the night before and the sleep was much needed and appreciated. After enjoying a delicious breakfast buffet on the boat we needed to top up our provisions with new groceries. Wine always disappears very fast into our stomachs – it must be the hot Italian and Corsican weather, that makes the crew thirsty!
The village of Bonifacio lies on a hill surrounded by old city walls. The village has lovely streets with narrow alleys and, most important, many ice cream shops. Ice cream became our daily habit. There are so many different flavours to choose from that choosing is a hard task. Tough life!
In the afternoon we went to the King Aragon Steps. The King Aragon Steps is a stony steep staircase carved into the vertical side of a limestone cliff. It cuts across the face of the cliff at a near 45° angle and is comprised of 187 steps. From the side of the sea, it appears like a dark slanted line. Legend has it that the Escalier du Roi d’Aragon (how they are called in French) in Bonifacio’s cliff face were carved by the Aragonese in a single night in 1420 as a surprise attack. The steps however existed before then, probably used by locals to carry water to the citadel from a well that was discovered by monks. The staircase offers a brilliant view to the open sea with beautiful turquoise blue water, cliffs and rocks. At the bottom of the staircase we found ourselves a picnic spot on the cliffs to have the lunch we prepared earlier. What a nice place to enjoy a picnic! With full stomached we climbed back the 187 steps.
We left the port in the late afternoon and set the sails to get back to Italy. We sailed in the beautiful evening sun to Porto Liscia where we stayed for the night. It was our first night anchoring in a bay and we enjoyed a deliciously cooked 3 dish meal on the boat! Yum!
/ by Isabelle
Thursday, June 30th, Sailing in Sardinia
Porto Liscia to Porto Palma
Waking up on anchor just Northwest of Porto Pollo. Forecasting little wind for the day, we had decided to have a long lazy morning and have the opportunity to hang out on the long sandy beach or get to know the kite-surfing school nearby. Some with sunscreen, others without. Ouch. A few sailors dedicated to the fine art of sloth decided to spend time mostly peeling and eating pumpkin seeds, maybe a little SUPing as well. Despite dinghy difficulties, raising anchor was not delayed for even an hour and soon sails were up.
The wind alone may not have been enough, but we made it to port. The crew was so enchanted by the wonders of anchoring that it had to be repeated, so we only stopped to refill water. A boat slave stayed behind to look after the refill and swab the decks but was generously rewarded with gelatto.
A bay was found, anchor dropped, head seacocks closed, and free spirited swimming commenced. All bellies were filled with pasta, heads with wine and ears with stomping, chanting, and singing. Lanterns were installed with carrots as darkness fell, the bimini went down, lanterns were re-installed with carrots and we all howled like wolves. As did other boats. Then like cows, chickens, goats, sheep and whatever we could think of. The wise turned in to bed while an enthusiastic delegation went to make friends in the bay. Winching the dinghy up 3 hours before raising anchor was met with little compassion. Oops…. 😉
/ by Arttu
Friday, July 1st, Sailing in Sardinia
After the animals had quietened down, what felt like only a few minutes, the wake-up call came pretty early just before 5am. Getting the boat ready when everybody else was still asleep at dawn was an amazing feeling. When final check-up was done it was just before sunrise that we started our last journey. The landscape was romanticised in mist and the sun began to rise, bathing everything in golden morning-light. The absence of wind made it even more mystical and breathtaking. It could not have been more perfect and well-worth it.
Even with the calm, it was decided to set the sails and do some smooth sailing to our midday destination. For those of us who returned to the cabin for some more sleep, it felt like anchoring in a very steady bay. The remaining people on deck enjoyed the slight breeze and beautiful views.
Later in the morning when everybody was up again, Danielle worked her magical cooking skills in the kitchen and served us the world’s best pancakes accompanied by several toppings – with other words “food porn par excellence”!
At that stage we had arrived in a beautiful bay at Costa Smeralda – “Spiaggia del Romazzino” – enjoying the late breakfast looking out at the Caribbean-like water and rich surroundings. Bellies still full, we immediately started the water activities of the day – SUP, diving equipment and other toys ready at hand. The hours ran by too fast and it was a hard parting with a quickly-prepared lunch around 2pm.
Last time we set the sails for the refueling across Portisco bay and finally arrived just-in-time in the home base before 4pm. Tina did a last big sigh – of relieve or sadness, we will never know – and we fell into a strange state of idleness and nescience what to do next at this time of day ashore in the heat. Some of us went to a last bath in the Mediterranean Sea, the others remained on the boat for some rest after this long day.
For our final dinner together we decided for one of the posh restaurants in the Marina, enjoying some Sardinian dishes and Italian wine before most of us retired to the cabin for the last time. Only the adventurous stayed behind and explored the (strangely quiet) night life before also saying goodbye to this sailing trip.
/ by Sabrina
Thanks for reading the crew`s log of sailing in Sardinia & Corsica. Hope that you could feel at least a fraction of what they experienced! This trip was one of many that we organize. Feel invited to explore this website and if you wish to, join us for one of our next adventures!