All of a sudden they were next to us. Bill spotted them first. Grey and white, sleek and shiny bodies speeding along just under the water’s surface: Dolphins! The kids and I jumped on deck excitedly. Our skipper, Bill, was yelling at us to stay off the starboard side – where the sails were out. At first we couldn’t see them. They had gone under. But then one surfaced right next to us on our port side. It was BIG and beautiful and surfed in our bow wave. By turning itself around it showed us a white belly which looked turquoise under the water. Right up close we saw a roundish nose and a face that seemed to smile which made us think that this was a bottlenose dolphin.
And there were more than one. A pod of five or six of these magnificent mammals accompanied us yesterday morning on our way to Olbia and absolutely made our day! We screamed and clapped enthusiastically firing them on as they did their fast moves in line with our bow wave. Who knows if they could hear us, but we had to let our joy out and nobody could hear us! I thought about getting the camera, but then decided against it. I didn’t want to give that moment away by trying to capture it. After a while the lively group moved further and further away and finally we “lost” them to another sailboat that went by quite a distance away into the opposite direction. They were swimming next to that yacht the same way they did around us, but the people on board didn’t even notice them.
Since we left Porto Rotondo we anchored in four different bays each one very pretty and idyllic. We learned that the law in Italy now requires you to tie a swimming buoy to your bathing suit if you swim more than 10 meters away from your yacht (we also witnessed a swimmer being hailed and ordered to stop by a coast guard patrol boat for leaving the fenced in swimming area in front of the beach). And another cruising family from Corsica told me they got fined 370 Euros for pulling their dinghy up the beach (they approached it outside the swimming area as they claimed) instead of anchoring it 20 meters away. Lots of rules in Bella Italia. I wonder which other ones we don’t know of and have broken already?!?
By calling the rigger, Giancarlo, in Olbia yesterday and inquiring whether our parts have arrived, we found out that he had to do some more measurements. Grande Casino! Nothing had been ordered, yet. Instead we had to sail into Olbia right away to meet him at the public dock so he could climb up the mast again and measure. In a way it was good we didn’t have much time to think ahead and be scared of all the traffic going in and out of busy Olbia harbour. We took some shots of the gigantic ferries, cruise ships and cargo freighters passing by. Our Sharki felt very small sharing and crossing their traffic separation lanes.
On the public “Molo Brin” in Olbia we docked smoothly in a fine looking spot nicely padded with old car tires – only to be shooed away 10 minutes later by an official telling us politely that this was the official parking place for the PILOT boat. Meanwhile Giancarlo had arrived, advising us to go around the corner to a Marina. There we docked right next to his sailboat and while Bill pulled him up the mast (It freaked me out just looking up at him hanging there in thin air), Sol, Leonie and I went for Panini and ice cream.
When the measuring was done we were glad to head out of the hot and busy port to a nice bay South East of Olbia. The trip only took two hours, but seemed endlessly long for the kids this time. They hadn’t been in the water all day and couldn’t wait to arrive. It turned out, Porto Taverna was a beautiful little bay with a white sandy beach where we had been the year before one afternoon in a rental car. Leonie remembered the floating beach bar vividly and was hoping for another ice cream…As soon as the anchor had set everybody jumped into the water and we had a picture perfect evening. The sunset with the massive table mountain island Isola Tavolara as a backdrop was just spectacular.