Vintage Sailing across La Maddalena Seas

by Joelle

The day is splendid. Inside my backpack,  a beach towel, another bikini, sunscreen lotion, sunshades, camera, I-pod, I-Phone, my cotton bandana. We are now ready for our  adventurous day on high seas as we are  kindly welcomed by the captain of  Pulcinella , the old and  stylish wooden sailing vessel dating from 1927 from the Capo d’Orso private pier’s . I am exited as  It’s my first sailing experience ever. Used to yachts all my life, I started to find them believe it or not boring and predictable and at last after so many years, it’s going to be different story.

We are shown  the map by the captain’s assistant on the well polished wooden table at the center of the boat.  The itinerary includes a voyage among the islands of the La Maddalena Archipelago and the north coast of Gallura with stops at Budelli on the famous Cavaliere beach, and the island of Spargi.  The forward journey journey to the islands will  be conducted with the help of the engine we will use the boat’s engine and due to the winds we’ll use the sails during the return.

We leave the Palau coast overlooking to the  La Maddalena Archipelago,  in the  Straits of Bonifacio between Corsica (France)  and north-eastern Sardinia ( Italy). It consists of seven main islands and numerous other small islets such as  Caprera and Santo Stefano. ” We are not going there because you can reach those islands by ferry and use a car” says in blue shorts and tee and a strong Italian accent.

I take hundreds of shots of  La Maddalena Archipelago  from far while my husband loves to chat with a few other guests from the hotel . The archipelago  is  made up of over 60 islands and islets and is considered one of the most enchanting in the world, in terms of morphology, landscapes, seascapes and marine life. By my side a beautiful girl, She’s African American, and Italian. Her father a US marine meets his mother  a Sardinian native, here in Palao  twenty years ago. Later , she meets another young marine, marries and goes to live in the US. She’s unhappy and returns alone to the steps of her mum. ” I love Sardinia, she says, I want to found a Local real estate and  luxury travel concierge  and live here all year round.” She shows me proud her brand new cristal mask and snorkel, she says I can borrow it, but the truth I don’t care about the underwater scenes. I am fine just diving into the the sea with its deep blue, light blue and emerald colors, the emerging rocks, the uncontaminated greenery of the coastline making this unique place for my NYC longed  dream  coming true.

” La Maddalena Archipelago has been declared a National Park, with strict rules governing its administration.  I tell you this because we have arrived  in front of the  Spiaggia Rosa ( the pink beach) in the island of Budelli, closed to the public for a few years now.  You are not allowed to take any grain of sand with you, or if you get caught you’ll go to prigione!! (Jail)  ”  I don’t care about that as well.

The fabulous Spiaggia Rosa a pink color beach formed by tiny peaces of coral, owes its name to the colour of its sand, rich in fragments of coral, seashells, mollusc shells and tiny specks of granite. Apart from its beauty, it is also famed for the filming of the movie “Red Desert” by Michelangelo Antonioni, that, in 1964, used Budelli for some of its scenes. The beach and the whole island, positioned within the Archipelago of La Maddalena National Marine Park, constitutes a priceless naturalistic wealth, rich in endemic flora and fauna and can be visited with a special guide from the Cavalieri Beach.

We jump in the water with enthusiasm and taken with a gommone  to the shore. In the meantime, a delicious ‘ 5 stars’ luncheon with sea food pasta,  and typical local Sardinian chess, melon will soon be served on board accompanied by an excellent wine from the Gallura hills. What a life right?

Lunch is delicious. We are now gently sailing . Sitting on a wood and canvas director’s chair , my feet  comfortably crossed on to the deck’s balustrade, under the original vintage red sails against the deep blue sky and silver sea, I  am listening to Cafe Del Mar  Ibiza Chillout  Mix April 2013 while admiring the  island of Santo Stefano , characterised by the fortress of San Giorgio and Napoleon and then the island of Spargi, a small community of shepherds, on which we find Cala Corsara. More to the north, at the entry to the Staits of Bonifacio, we reach the uninhabited island of Razzoli, and then that of Santa Maria, on which there is a small gathering of houses.

After another long swim in Cala Corsara, black tea, expressos,  watermelon and custards we are on our way back,  gold suntanned and exhausted . The crystal clear waters and wind blown granite coastlines remains a haven for wildlife and a memory of this journey for the rest of my life. Thank you captain,

Joelle’s Tips:

Excursions of Hotel Capo d’Orso Palau in northern Sardinia – Delphina


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