La Maddalena


July 2008

Part Two


 July 4, 2008


Yesterday morning with barely a breath of wind we motored across the Straits of Bonifacio to the La Maddalena archipelago. This narrow passage between Corsica and Sardinia is known for high winds but we had exactly the opposite. Having folded up the bimini as a precaution we were roasting in the sun. The water looked so inviting that about half way across we shifted into neutral, stepped over the lifelines and dove off the side. Aaahhhh....


Cooling off in the middle of Les Bouches de Bonifacio


These lovely, low rocky islands off the NW coast of Sardinia, Italy offer good protection from wind and swell. Some are completely natural and some have been tastefully developed. The archipelago is just north of the glamorous Costa Smerelda where our tiny Tenaya would disappear among the enormous yachts of the rich and famous. No need for us to go round to Porto Cervo and see that! We happily sailed among the islands having a look into different anchorages.


Anchorage at Deadman's Reef Passage


We settled on dropping the hook in a bay on the north side of Isola La Maddalena, Stagno Torto. A few other boats were there in the afternoon but by evening just two sailing boats shared the large anchorage. Our anchor didn't set on the first try because of the thick grass so we let out lots of scope on our next try, 6:1 and we held fast. Once we were settled it was over the side for a refreshing swim. Soon I had my fins and mask on and was off to explore the rocky islets in the bay and the rocky coast at the entrance. Jim tossed his snorkeling gear into the dinghy and rowed over. Guess he wanted a bit more exercise.
























The bay looks nice and wide but it is deceiving. Above and below water rocks around the edge must be taken into consideration when figuring swinging room on the anchor. Because the wind was forecast to increase from the west we anchored closer to the western edge giving us plenty of room to swing to the east.

As evening approached the wind picked up and white caps formed on the water. Tenaya yawed back and forth on her anchor. We relaxed and read in the cockpit enjoying the solitude.


Our anchorage at Isola La Maddalena

Katie reading about other anchorages in the archipelago


During the night our anchor alarm went of several times. Rather than set a large radius Jim set a conservative one because we questioned the ability of the anchor to reset if we changed directions dramatically. Having told me to continue sleeping if it sounded and only get up if I heard the engine go on I feigned sleep as he checked several times. When the engine fired up at 0400 I popped up. We had moved more than necessary as we shifted 180 degrees in 30 minutes. After letting out 20 more meters we turned off the engine and waited. I busied myself cleaning up the deck and Jim helped stow the bimini, chores that should have been done earlier. The anchor seemed to hold. We were closer to the little islets on the eastern shore as well as those unseen rocks below the surface but we were safe for the moment.


Whoa, he was too fast to catch on film!


The wind blew force 22-28 kts. gusting to 34 during the day and the following night. We stayed put in our safe haven with lots of swinging room and no other boats. The anchor alarm did not sound that second night as the wind remained from the W. In the morning it began to shift slowly to the NW and subside.

The wind died down the morning of July 5. This area seems to have two types of wind. On and off. Where are the 15-20 kt. winds, preferably on the beam? Not here! With two days before strong NW winds were forecast on the NW coast of Corsica, our next destination, we decided to leave at noon and sail overnight to the beautiful Golfe de Porto. Too short of a time in Sardinia. Maybe we will return on our way back south. But then there is the Italian coast with Rome, Naples, Pompei ....

Go to July Part Three - sailing to Calvi, Corsica

Find Maddelena Island on Google Earth

Go to Contents 2008