Our time from mid September to the end of October was spent island hopping; with Sicily as our ultimate destination for our winter stop over. The first set of islands on our path were Formenterra and Ibiza, renowned for their crystal clear waters and colourful nightlife. Given their party loving reputation, we were not sure what to expect from these islands. On our arrival there it quickly became clear that their coastlines are stunning with the most beautiful clear, warm waters we had seen on our trip to date.
Although not busy with long term cruisers, both islands were very busy with holiday and day cruisers, with a marked increase in motorboats. This made for busy and noisy anchorages with jet skis, jet packs, loud music and boat parties the norm. However the season was winding down and so we managed to find quiet corners to nip into. The noise did little to spoil the beauty of the gorgeous bays where we swam, snorkelled and went fishing to our hearts content. For the first time since Galicia, we shook off the long passages and relaxed for more than a week.
Majorca was our next stop but only fleetingly as we had to leave Tabasco to go to Genoa for Fil’s Dad’s 80th birthday party. We left the boat in the beautiful natural port of Porto Pedro. We booked our flights to Genoa through Barcelona, managing to visit Barcelona’s football team’s home stadium of Camp Nou as per Patrick’s wish. We also caught up with our super friends (Kath, Vincent and their kids) from Australia who were visiting Spain.
On our return to Majorca on 16 October, we had to hot foot onwards, conscious that autumn was well underway with the risk of weather becoming less settled. Suffice it to say that our cruising in Majorca was too brief. We have to go back!
On setting off from Porto Pedro, we hoped to stop in Menorca for a few days. The weather however was not on our side. After checking the forecast just south of Menorca and with gales forecast for later in the week, we made the decision to take our weather window and continue onwards to Sardinia. This therefore turned into a 55 hour trip, the first 24 hours averaging 15 knots of wind on the beam, followed by intermittent light winds. We were in good spirits on this trip, baking biscuits, reading and playing, our family now settled into the rhythm and routine of such passages.
On entering Sardinia waters it was an emotional moment as the boys raised the Italian flag for the first time on our adventure. We were arriving to a familiar language, culture and people. Alongside the Isle of Wight, we consider Ireland and Italy as our homes too… it felt really good.
We were immediately struck by the beauty of the Sardinian coastline with green forests bordering the crystal clear blue waters of the sea. A favourite sailing holiday destination of Filippo’s family since he was a child, he was thrilled to be back in these enchanting waters. However knowing that gales were on their way, we headed straight to capital Cagliari. We settled down to a week in this fun city where we spent time eating wonderful food, eating lots of ice cream, as well as catching up with Filippo’s long lost cousin and old sailing friends.
Now already the mid of October, we were keeping our fingers crossed for some nice end of season weather to experience the beauty of Sardinian waters. We were not disappointed. Received like a gift, we spent a stunning week, post Cagliari, on the south coast of the island. We swam, snorkelled and paddle boarded with delight. Patrick had another wish come through by having his first scuba diving experience which he adored. He behaved like a pro and was very proud to come up close to pods of barracuda. As parents, it was wonderful to see first hand how his love for the water and sea life was emerging.
Outside the marina of Villasimius on the south coast, we experienced our first thunder storm aboard, with lightning all around us. An interesting moment! We managed to get Tabasco safely into the marina in torrential rain and strong winds. Entering into a marina in these conditions is never easy as the boat is difficult to control and you risk to hit other boats. Luckily there were not many boats around, so we made it unscathed. Phew…
The following video gives a good idea of what we have experienced in this part of our journey.
We left Sardinia on 30 October having loved it and thrilled to think that we will be going back to the island in spring 2020. Farewell Sardinia, see you next year!