Log #34k Maddalena Islands of Sardinia, Isola Razzoli

May 19, 2005 in Log Series 30-39, Logs by Series, Series 34 Rome - Corsica - Sardinia, The Logs

Marseilles, Provence, France

May 19, 2005

Hi Folks.

We are cruising the coast of Provence and some of the offlying islands. We didn’t bother with Nice, Monaco or San Tropez, but were in Toulon before coming here to Marseilles. Our friends Jacques and Andree spent a little over a week with us from Sardinia, and just left us a couple of nights ago for the luxury of a hotel (hot water, shower, a big bed that doesn’t rock, space to hang up clothes, privacy and other minor things like that) before heading off to Paris for a few days and then returning to Canada. We enjoyed their company and gave them a wide range of cruising experiences in a short time.

We have had some very heavy weather of force 8 and 9 gales in the last week or so. Fortunately we were well anchored or in a secure marina. It is still cool at night, but the days are warm and sunny.

All is well with us and Veleda.

All the best,

Aubrey


 

Log #34k Maddalena Islands of Sardinia, Isola Razzoli

Marseilles, Provence, France

May 19, 2005

The Maddalena archipelago consists of two groups of low rocky islands off the northeast coast of Sardinia, all part of La Maddalena Archipelago National Park and Marine Reserve. The Northern group consists of the three major uninhabited or sparsely inhabited islands of Razzoli, Santa Maria, and Budelli, plus several smaller islets and shoals. Crossing the Strait of Bonifacio eastwards past the Corsican islands of Iles Levezzi we headed for Cala Lunga on the west side of Isola Razzoli. A cala is a long narrow fiord-like inlet. This island is low, the highest point is 65 m, or 213 feet, uninhabited except for the occasional park warden, and barren in a fantastic, desolate, craggy, rocky, heavily indented, surreal landscape washed by clear azure blue and emerald green waters.

We had the GPS waypoint for the anchorage, but the coast was so indented that we mistakenly entered the northern section of bay on a direct heading for the waypoint. We were only 100 feet from it, but the rocky surroundings did not compute with the chart or pilot diagram. We were noticing shoals all around us and it was near sunset, limiting our vision into the clear water to identify treacherous rocks. I did not have my bearings! I was thankful we were doing this in settled weather, otherwise it would be very dangerous shoal water to wander around in. We turned around to exit the bay and then realized the anchorage was around the next low rocky outcropping. The last 100 feet to the GPS waypoint would have taken us through the jagged rocks, but going around this low craggy point was a bit easier. Once around, the contours of the cala were more identifiable, but still a bit confusing because of the many distorted granite outcroppings along this treacherous but beautiful rocky shoreline. By 1955, we were finally anchored in about 4 metres of water, in the proper part of Cala Lunga (41˚ 17.94’N, 009˚ 20.59’E). During supper in the cockpit we watched as a fantastic red sunset threw an ochre glow over the west-facing rock columns and sculptures, and cast into dramatic silhouette the lowlying crests around us on three sides, the western horizon radiating yellow turning to a crimson patina across the skyline. This has to be one of the most rugged, treacherous, magnificent, anchorages we have been in since arriving in Europe.

We were the only boat in the cala; no signs of civilization could be seen except for the flash of a distant lighthouse on the Iles Levezzi ten miles away; we were in an isolated paradise. Next day we dinghied around the cala and went ashore to explore a bit of the coastline. The granite rocks were eroded into fantastic shapes that would appear as different images at different angles. We saw images of hawks, pterodactyls, griffins, unicorns, faces of dwarves and monsters, mini caves, gaping holes, studded spires, and some smooth rounded undulations of polished stone plazas, not unlike the scouring of the granite rocks on the Benjamin Islands in Lake Huron, caused by the passage of glaciers during the ice age. I’m not sure if the glaciers came this way or not, but the smoothness and contours looked similar to those in Northern Ontario. The shapes made me think of the abstract sculptures of Henry Moore, but he is a novice in comparison to the craggy dynamic multi-dimensional works of art Nature has endowed on Razzoli. Many of the outcroppings would look like one image from one side but morph into another as I walked or dinghied around them. The crystal clear water revealed the shoals, some jagged, ready to rip the bottom out of an unsuspecting vessel, others covered with seaweed waving in the slight currents like wheat in the field bowing to the unseen currents of wind, or the silk flowing taffeta of a dancer in a caliph’s palace.

By late morning a bit of a wind was coming up and so we left this idyllic anchorage to go through the southern group of islands over to the fabled Porto Cervo, in the Costa Smeralda on the NE mainland of Sardinia. I say fabled as it is a prime location for the international jet set with a luxurious marina for the millionaires’ yachts, and a lush resort for the rich, the super-rich, the famous and their entourages, such as rock stars Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger. Judy wanted to see this and perhaps stay one night, as she did when she wanted to go to the marina in Capri, an unfortunate experience. More about this famous resort in my next log.