From Sorrento we did the backward march west toward Sardinia via Ponza again and Ventotene where we took on fuel for the trip across the Tyrrenian Sea. The fuel dock had 3m of water next to the sheer rock wall but at a stern-to mooring we swayed around worryingly as the massive car ferries came barrelling into the tiny port to offload tourists to this out of the way island. 140Nautical Miles across to the Eastern coast of Sardinia where I missed Brett going past Isola di Tavolara by possibly ten minutes so only saw the white side of his boat reflecting the sunset as he powered further North to his port.
A clockwise circumnavigation of Sardinia was settled by the weather and we took off South to a little town along the coast called Arbatax. Not much to see here, a good little port with huge car ferries again but a very small town where we literally had to skip across the railway tracks to locate the restaurant for dinner that night. Leaving Arbatax and heading further South, we passed Cape Bonavita with its red crumbling stone edifice that looked sharp to the touch bound for Cagliari and some guest reshuffling and the much anticipated day off.
Guests back on and our circumnavigation continued out around the southern tip of the island and heading west toward 2 islands, one of which is connected to the mainland by a causeway bridge. Isola di Sant Antioco is the fourth largest island in Italy after Sardinia, Sicily and Elba. We came into the shallow windswept bay through a channel that was pockmarked with Fish pot markers in a howling Norwester only to have a fellow on the dock near all the fishing trawlers yelling out to us in Italian asking if we had a reservation. Desperately trying to keep the boss off the wheel and talk to our marina contact in my very poor Italian and keep the boat being swept into the concrete walls or worse the mud flats surrounding the entrance, I finally got the fellow on the end of the phone to give in and come and find us upon which we followed very closely his tell tale on the outboard through all the trawlers ( and the fellow following us in his car and waving at us) under the causeway bridge and into a barely marked channel and the township of Sant Antioco, a relief to tie up eventually at the toothpick floating pontoon. The ‘breeze’ dropped in the night and we headed back out the way we had come to round the southern tip of Sant Antioco and roll through the NW swell checking out the crashing sea swell onto the Western shores out and further west to Isola St Pietro another small island where Tuna is their mainstay diet. This island was settled by Genovese coral divers who had left for Tunisia to locate the red coral this area is famous for. When the supplies in Tunisia were exhausted they headed home but fetched up on Isola St Pietro for a while and were granted lands by Charles the Strong the then king of Sardinia and became the keepers of his fort and island. They have a major event each year where they corall tuna into a very large net known in Italian as the Tuna massacre. Locally built traditional lateen sail fishing boats (luggers) are seen all around the island as this used to be a very big industry here.
As the wind dropped off we left the amazing clear waters and grottos and headed further north along the West coast following the coastline to Scoglio Pan di Zucchero a massive rock rising from the waters just to the south of a town called Buggerru (boo gare oo). More incredible rock formations and craggy edges along the Costa Verde bound for the gulf of Oristano, Bosa and eventually Alghero where we had a last day with this set of guests before our change out for the next influx.