July 9 – July 12, 2013
When we saw Tavolara from our anchorage in Porto Taverna we knew we had to go and explore it. We sailed the short distance over and found it looking even more beautiful than we had pictured it in our minds. No wonder that there were about 15 other sail boats, three super yachts and numerous little motor boats full of Italian families out for a weekend excursion anchored with us in the bay.
What an amazing place! The little island East of Olbia mainly consists of a huge rock shaped like a table mountain – hence the name. One side tapers into a long narrow dune forming the large crescent bay we anchored in. For you people in BC: It reminded us a lot of Sidney spit without the towering rock face in the West, of course. When I first swam on shore and walked around a bit, I thought I was thrown into an Italo-Western movie backdrop: the dry desert like feel of the landscape, the heat, and the rickety waterwheel squeaking sluggishly next to a run down house. There even was a tiny walled in cemetery with a drift wood cross at the entrance and about ten very well kept graves of people of the island, born and buried here. One of them said “king Paolo II, 1929-1962”. As we learned later, Tavolara used to be a kingdom with several kings and a queen who ruled from 1836 until the Sixties, claiming independence and only was occupied by Italy in 1962. It never got formally annexed to Italy but is considered part of Sardinia now.
The other striking discovery we made was a large dusty area behind the island’s beach bar were about 200 green plastic chairs were neatly lined up in front of a large square metal structure facing the impressive face of Tavolara mountain. As we were told this is the set up for an open air cinema as part of the “Tavolara film festival” which is taking place annually the third week of July. A handful of families still live on Tavolara, running the large beach restaurant, the bar and the film festival which, unfortunately, we couldn’t stick around to experience.
But we did get to see an open air movie as part of the festival in the Marina de Olbia on Sardinia. That was last Friday night, when really, we didn’t want to be in the Marina anymore at all. Let me explain why. We left Isola Tavolara Monday, June 8th early in the morning to anchor in Olbia harbor for an appointment we had with Giancarlo, the rigger. The parts we were expecting from Milan were supposed to come in on Monday. Of course, they didn’t arrive on Monday, nor on Tuesday, but finally Wednesday afternoon they came in. So we headed to the Marina de Olbia to dock there, fill our water tank and to get the backstay and another rig installed Thursday morning. The time in Olbia harbor (and Marina) was hard for the kids because it was very hot and they couldn’t jump and swim in harbor water. We also had to run a lot of errands, bringing supplies to the boat with the dinghy, getting gas for the generator and so on. Not great fun, but had to be done. We did get to go out for pizza once, Sol and Leonie both got haircuts (their heads feel so much cooler now that all that wool is off) and we toured the free and very nice archaeological museum in Olbia.
When Giancarlo was finally finished with his work Thursday afternoon, we had stocked up with food and water and were ready, really ready, to leave for a nice bay just outside of Olbia to relax, swim and cool off. The kids could hardly wait to go and leave the hot city. As always before departure, Bill routinely checked the engine oil. That’s when he noticed some carbon build up and a crack in one of the diesel injectors. Not good. The engine had been sucking a lot of oil, so maybe that was why. The verdict: We can’t leave, we need to get to the bottom of this. Meanwhile it is Thursday six pm and likely no mechanics around. The kids were so disappointed! After I got them an ice cream to cool them off I frantically searched the whole Marina for somebody that looked like a mechanic. In the bar I found two guys just settling in for a drink of Red Bull who’s polo shirts said “yacht services” and who were willing to follow me to the boat to take a look. So nice and helpful. Yes, they agreed, we need a mechanic and they knew one. They called him and the guy actually came out to the boat at 7.30 pm to take a look. Massimo, his name, only speaks Italian, our Spanish, English or French is of no use. Thankfully there is google translate and that’s how we communicate also the next day when he actually gets the parts in Olbia and installs them Friday night. 8.30pm he is finished, just in time before the weekend. I almost hugged him and actually did say “Massimo, ti amo!”. We were so happy to have the problem solved so quickly.
So that’s why Thursday night we had the rare pleasure of seeing a free open air movie in the beautiful velvet air of the Sardinian summer night. They showed “Oceans” a documentary about ocean wildlife from 2010, which was perfect since there was very little talking (in Italian) and a lot of great pictures and music. The other gift having to stay brought us, was the acquaintance with a nice family docking their sailboat Friday afternoon next to us. Leonie and Sol got to play with 10 year old Minnako from Germany until 1 am at night. Now they didn’t want to leave anymore!