We had been dying to get away and spend some time near the ocean. Kuala Lumpur is land locked and we had been missing the sun, sand and salt water something bad. We decided to try and get a good crew together, hire a yacht, chase some European sunshine and spend a week sailing around the Italian island of Sardinia.
We went ahead and booked our yacht through Italy Charter. The girls there were super helpful and we ended chartering a 45ft Grand Soleil called “Em“. The boat was based in Portisco, on the Costa Smeralda, one of the larger and busier ports in Sardinia.
The weeks run Saturday-Saturday, setting sail on the first day at about 3pm and disembarking on your last day at 9am. This is plenty of time to hoist the sails (be prepared if it’s your first time, like me, I was terrified! As soon as the wind catches the sails you’re flying and 90º to the water) and explore everything Sardinia has to offer.
We were somewhat eager on our first day and overshot our first anticipated stop by about an hour, ending up in the islands of La Maddalena. As the night hit twilight we pulled into Spiaggia di Spalmatore which is a smaller beach bay just south of Porto Massimo and anchored on a buoy. We got stung 70€ for the pleasure of floating around there for the night. The guys that run the beach organised a car for us to take us up the hill to a restaurant for dinner. We ate, drank and collapsed back into bed, exhausted after our first day.
Our morning started with a chilly dip into some of the clearest waters I have ever seen and then a very slow trip in our inflatable over to Porto Massimo for much needed caffeine.
Next stop Cannigione. An epic storm rolled in just as we arrived. We dropped anchor, opened a bottle of red and waited for the wild weather to pass. We took the inflatable (which was not the most reliable mode of transport) into the jetty and heading for a bite to eat. Cannigione is a large town in comparison to a lot of the other tiny ports. Bars, restaurants and gifts store are scattered all along the main drag. We ate a small restaurant in a courtyard by the church and all ended up buying matching “I ♡ Sardegna” jumpers after the weather turned cold. Phi Beach was thrown at us as a must see by a few people so we called a car and headed there just after sunset. It was a stunning spot and would be phenomenal during peak summer or to sit and watch sunset.
The next day we headed off in search of the Pinterest worthy Pink Beach on Budelli, another island about an hour sail away. We got there just after lunch and found a spot to anchor near the other yachts. The water was about 7 meters deep and you could see straight down to the sand. It didn’t seem real. We blew up the floating rings, set up the charcuterie and cheese boards, grabbed an Aperol Spritz and lazed the afternoon away.
Note to self: Turn down the fridge and switch to one battery instead of both to ensure you have a mode of transport the following day.
Yep. We ended up with a completely flat battery and had to call back to Portisco for a maintenance guy to get a speed boat out to us. I guess there are worse places to be stuck!
We had no real luck with the Pink Beach, to be honest after all of my Pinterest pinning I was a bit disappointed. I’m not sure if it’s a seasonal thing but June is definitely not the month the for the pinkest sands. The waters at Budelli are the bluest of blue though, it’s definitely worth a stop for the afternoon or spend the night like we did.
From Budelli we left the Archipelago and headed north for the French island of Corsica. We had to run the engines for at least 4 hours and plug into power at a larger port for the night so we decided on Bonifacio.
Bonifacio was breathtaking sailing in. There is an entire portion of the town perched precariously on the cliffside just staring straight down at the ocean. There is blue grotto greeting you at the entrance of the channel into the port and the clifftops are lined with medieval walls and turrets protecting what was once a castle.
We arrived late and the boat boys couldn’t really be bothered with us as we weren’t of super, mega, jumbo yacht status but that did seem to work in our favour as we were quickly ushered into a super yacht berth instead of squeezing in next to all the other guys our size. We saw boats larger than apartment blocks (one was called Skyfall which is cool enough in itself but it was SO massive it even had a tennis court… yep) and wandered the cobbled stoned streets to find dinner. This was by far the prettiest port we stopped in. It had everything, amazing restaurants, gelato stops, jewellery stores and resort wear shops even market style grocery stores. We wandered around and dreamed of hitting squillion dollar status and cruising around the Mediterranean on one of these exquisite boats.
One of the super yachts crew had the night off and hit up the bar at the end up the boardwalk right near our boat. Cristal was flowing and some really bad dance moves took them all the way to 3am.
We had hoped to spend an extra night but got ushered out as fast we were ushered in. We wanted to head back down towards to Portisco as we only had a day or two left and headed down to Palau for the night. The port was full so we picked up a buoy and headed in for dinner. There was a night market on on the main street so wandered through and saw all the trinkets that were for sale along with some local art and fashion. We stopped by a little restaurant with an amazing courtyard and had a really relaxing dinner with red wine and way too much pizza.
On our second last day we headed to the island of Caprera to spend the day at Spiaggia Tahiti (Tahiti Bay). We put the sails up, turned the engine off and headed into the wind. We arrived on lunch time and it was getting pretty busy. There are a load of tourist ferry boats that come in and out every hour or so that have a dedicated stopping point which is almost in the middle of the bay. Around 2pm they stop coming as frequently and most people head off to get into port for the night so this is the perfect time of day for a little more space on the water. It was truly stunning. The waters at every stop were phenomenally blue. Photographs don’t even do it justice.
We headed back to Portisco for the night to drop a friend off and cruised past Porto Cervo. Porto Cervo is home to the rich and famous on summer vacay. It’s also home to 10€ cappuccinos and a whole bunch of other things that are in the realm of look but don’t touch. (It’s totally worth stopping by though. Head up to the headland and look down over the port. There is a cute church perched up there and the whole outlook is beautiful)
We spent our last two nights in port back at Portisco. The winds were strong and manoeuvring in and out through the slim channel would have proved a bit difficult of just the two of us. It was nice to end the trip with a homemade pasta and a couple of drinks as the sunset. The Costa Smeralda definitely did not disappoint. Emerald waters, turquoise waters, a million other shades of magic blues. It hasn’t quite attracted the crowd of Yacht Week in Croatia (yet) but that makes it feel a little more special. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime.