Sardinia Kayak Tour, August 2012 – part 1

For this tour I did about half the coastline of the island.  It might be possible to do the whole island in a month but I was more interested in enjoying myself.  As I’ve noted in another post here I eat “dinner” in the afternoon, and “supper” in the evening.  “Pineta” is Italian for a grove of pine trees that grows near the water at many parts of the coast.  At many places where I stopped I went for a dip in the crystal clear Mediterranean waters.  The satellite maps at the end of each day show where I stopped for that night.

Day 1, July 31st

In the afternoon I vacated the 2 bedroom apartment I had been renting in Santa Maria Navarrese for almost 3 months.  The last of my Airbnb guests had left and  I had already sent most of my luggage to Barcelona where I would meet up with it in September.  During the day I had walked some supplies down to “la Pineta”, the beach bar where I had been keeping my boat, a brand new dark grey Feathercraft Heron, since May.

During my final preparations near the beach the diminutive, ancient Sardinian priest who always hangs out at the bar there came up and asked me a few questions in Italian, like if my huge straw hat was from Mexico, where I was from, etc…  and then wished me a good trip.  I took this as a sort of blessing and good omen and finally set off around 6PM.

My first stop was only 2 hours away at Portu Pedrosu, the hidden cove at the some times treacherous cape of Monte Santu that I was already very familiar with from previous excursions.  There were not so many moths harrassing me during my supper as there had been on the previous occassions so it must have been a temporary phenomenon linked to the insects’ reproductive cycle.  The small trees there are just big enough to hang a hammock so I was very comfortable.

 

Day 2, Aug. 1

The next morning the sea at Monte Santu was unusually calm.  I decided to skip Cala Goloritze and take a short cut to the shore further north.  As I approached the boat traffic became heavy and big wakes swept water into my cockpit a number of times.  My electric bilge pump removed most of the water very quickly every time.

This morning I realized that my nearly brand new Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 waterproof camera had stopped working so unfortunately there are no more photos until much later in the trip.

I stopped for dinner at a tiny beach with a small sea cave that I had used for the same purpose more than a month ago, at which time there was nobody there.  This time there was barely room to beach my boat with all the tourists there.  A group of young people asked me a few questions and I thought they were Italian at first but they turned out to be from Albania.

I cooked a packet of instant Rissotto and threw in a can of tuna for a satisfying, if not quite gourmet meal.  After eating I headed north again and enjoyed many amazing views of the cliffs and mountains that meet the ocean in that area knows as the Golfo di Orosei.  I found a cave with a small opening that opened up into a huge gallery with stalactites at the far end and a small Madonna icon hung in front of them to turn the place into a natural chapel.

Not far from there I found another narrow cave opening at the bottom a huge nearly vertical crack in the cliff face.  I went inside and followed it more than a hundred meters back into the rock face as it got even narrower and amplified the waves making things challenging until after a point where the waves began to dissipate.  At the end it was getting quite dark and a small boulder blocked the kayak from advancing any further.  I could have continued on wading and/or swimming another 20 meters or so, maybe more, I couldn’t be sure and decided to turn back rather than risk getting stuck so far underground.  I pulled the boat backwards with my hands on the rock face and as it got wider and wavier I was able to back paddle and got out relatively easily since I was trying hard to keep the boat straight in reverse and not get stuck at an angle.

I continued north to arrive at the popular beach Cala Luna around 6:30PM.  I staked out a spot behind a big rock, the only place on the beach where you get some protection from the 7AM sunrise as I knew from a previous stay there.  A young, friendly couple of Spanish rock climbers came by and asked me if it was OK to camp on the beach and I replied that many people seem to do it, though I wasn’t sure how legal it really was.  A number of people showed up later to sleep on the beach so we weren’t the only ones plus there were a few sailboats moored off the beach where people slept tossed by the swells that were crashing onto the beach that evening.  I was glad to be on solid ground myself though it would have been nicer if there had been trees to hang my hammock instead of sleeping on the air mattress that I had also brought.

 

Day 3, Aug. 2

In the morning the French hippie family that had camped near me seemed a little perturbed at the amount of time it took me to pack up and vacate the spot behind the shade rock and they finally ended up taking refuge in one of the many huge, dank caves that characterize one side of Cala Luna.

After I finally got on my way I found a number of other small sea caves on my way north along with too many power boats again.  I also went into the sea cave entrance of a large system of caverns that seems to be quite popular with tourists who are brought there in large boats that dock at the mouth of the cave.

I continued north as the cliffs and mountains receded and stopped at the small marina town of Cala Gonone.  It’s definitely a bit bigger and more touristy than Santa Maria where I stayed.  I had an opportunity to stay there back in May but instead opted for the smaller and more local town further south.  By August I had come to realize that in Sardinia bigger and more touristy is actually better, up to a certain point at least.

Fully loaded again I headed north towards Orosei.  After Cala Gonone there were almost no power boats at all which was refreshing, but there was absolutely no breeze either which was not refreshing at all and I started to sweat profusely in the relentless Sardinian sun.  I finally made it to the long pinetta at Marina di Orosei where the terrain was now completely flat and stopped there to cook a late dinner of spaghetti, tomato sauce and the chicken cutlet I had purchased at Cala Gonone.

After dinner I headed north again past more beaches and pinettas and decided to stop at the very last substantial pinetta that I could see on the satellite map, near the mouth of a small river.  When I got there I found to my dismay that the pine grove was completely fenced off and though the fence was down in one or 2 spots I decided not to go in and instead found a few more pine trees at the other end of the dirty beach there in a much moew open and presumably public area.

Becuase of the river mouth the beach was quite popular with beach fisherman and underwater spear fisherman alike.  I met one Sardinian man on vacation with his wife and his cheeky teenage son and daughter who tried to parrot his English which was not bad at all.

 

Day 4, Aug. 3

After packing up I headed out of the pines down to the beach where spear fisherman were already active.  As I paddled north I experienced severe irritation near my armpits due to crystallizing salt water and had to stop at the first beach to dig my tiny tin of Bag Balm out of the back of the boat in order to treat the rash.  After that I made a point of rinsing down every evening with fresh water that I carried in my MSR Dromedary bag which was no longer any good for drinking water at this point as it imparted a nasty chemical taste  (a known issue with this product).

After this I reached a more arid zone with many beaches and fewer pines, mostly just Junipers and other bushes.  There were many people out but the beaches were not obnoxiously packed, there was a lot of space for everyone.  I stopped to cook spaghetti with clams in a shady spot under a large Juniper bush.

After this I paddled past an extremely rocky zone that extended for a number of kilometers.  I think I only saw one person in this whole area.  As the afternoon progressed the Scirocco wind got stronger to the point where I was able to put up my mast and sail northward until I finally passed the lighthouse at the cape of Comino where I entered a very different area than what I had seen so far.  Generally things looked a bit nicer and the rolling hills reminded me of northern California with groves of green trees surrounded by meadows of dry, tan colored grass.

I passed a barren island on my right, and headed left towards the shore past 3 large yachts tied together.  I wanted to check out an area of high dunes with Juniper trees nestled among them.  As I pulled up to the beach a man standing there took off running.  It seemed strange but I guessed he had been just taking a break from his exercise and just happened to start up again at that moment.  I had also noticed a couple of men standing on top of the highest part of the dunes as if they were on guard duty or something, strange.  As I approached the dunes I noticed more men here and there, no women, and by then it was apparent that I had stumbled across an unofficially designated gay beach.  I decided to scale the high dune anyway and after I had found the summit the guys that had been standing there suddenly left, I guess I was not their type, lol.  Not wanting to intrude on this scene any further I quickly made my way back to the boat and the open water.

A bit further north near Santa Lucia I found a public park in a pineta with huge trees, picnic tables, and segregated recycling and trash cans everywhere.  After I setup camp I heard the sounds of drums echoing throughout the forest.  Apparently someone was practicing and stayed just until it was very dark then drove off again.  Later a group of Sardinian teens showed up in a car to sleep at the tents that I had noticed setup there earlier when I arrived.  Luckily they weren’t obnoxious.

 

Day 5, Aug. 4

I headed north again and stopped at La Caletta for water and supplies.  In the port I found a boat ramp that was fenced off but it was easy enough to climb around it.  In town I was able to get online, check my email and buy a disposable waterproof camera, which did not survive the trip, so no photos yet 🙁  I also found a really cool little ‘enoteca’, or wine shop, where I bought a bottle of high proof Filu e’ Ferru (Sardinian home style distilled wine leavings, like ‘grappa’) at 50% alcohol.  I noticed that in La Caletta there were absolutely no public trash receptacles any where in town, not on the streets nor at the port/marina.

Back by the port I had a light lunch of square pizza slices by that I had found at a very nice but sweaty little bakery and then headed back out onto the water.  By this time the Scirocco had come up and was pretty strong again so I hoisted my sail and let it hurl me northward.  I was getting a lot of water in through the cockpit with the following seas but the bilge pump handled it nicely every time.

As I approached a point to the north the wind direction would not allow me to clear it with my downwind only spinnaker sail so after getting very close to the beach I took the sail down and paddled out though the chop to a point where I could hoist it again and make it past the rocks.  I continued to sail north as the wind weakened to the point where I finally took the sail down again and started paddling.  I didn’t get far before the wind came up again so I again hoisted and sailed.  I reached an area with long, crowded beaches punctuated by an irregular rocky point that was not crowded at all and home to an even nicer pineta than the one I had camped at the night before.  I used the water bag to shower with soap this time.

 

Day 6, Aug. 5

I headed north again, this time without the sail.  The region become more arid as I progressed and I finally stopped for supplies and dinner at the small tourist port at Puntaldia.  The power boats in this area were getting pretty dense again while the yachts were getting bigger.

Puntaldia is an artificial community of condos and a mall like shopping area that were all built at the same time, in the same style, to appeal to some affluent tourists.  I had pizza for dinner there, a luxury in Sardinia and most of Italy, where most places don’t fire up the wood ovens until the evening.  A few restaurants will use an electric oven in order to offer ‘pizza a pranzo’ (pizza for lunch).  It’s not as good as what you get from the tradtional wood fire but it’s cheaper than getting the usual 2+ course dinner that most restaurants offer as the only mid-day meal option.  The many pizzerias in Santa Maria Navarrese never have ‘pizza a pranzo’.

At this point I had to head east in order to make it around the cape of Coda Cavallo, which means “Horse Tail” in Italian.  The seas were very heavy at this point and they were made much worse by the wakes from the large boats the were coming around the point and heading back towards Puntaldia.  I was travelling to the far left of the boat lanes so I would be closer to shore and make it easier to turn my bow into the wakes of boats that were passing me in the opposite direction to my right.  Pointing my bow into the wakes so often kept moving me closer to the boat lanes and I kept having to angle in towards the shore to try to get further away from the boats again.  It was not a very pleasant paddle until I finally got around the point.

When I made it around to the north side of the point I found a beach on a wide shallow bay that looked like a power boat parking lot with what seemed like a hundred boats or more.  Apparently this place was the source of all the traffic I had encountered on the way there.

Beyond this bay I found a small cove with a kind of private looking beach and housing development but with no posted signs or anything.  I landed there and the people seemed to be nice and there was a friendly family atmosphere so I figured there’d be no problem to setup my hammock in the back of the open pineta there for the night.  After supper and sunset I went back down to the now nearly deserted beach to relax a little.  There the guy who was apparently in charge of the beach told me that I needed to leave because because it was all private!  I asked where can I go at this time?  So he relented and said ok, just for the night.

 

Day 7, Aug. 6

At 8AM a much older and politer man asked me how I had slept and then asked me to get myself and all my stuff back down to the beach as soon as possible since apparently some of the householders in the community had noticed my light at night and complained.  On the beach, which is technically public, I met the younger fellow from the previous evening who was much nicer now and full of questions and compliments for me, the boat and my adventure.

From here I headed to the south side of the island of Molinara, a hunk of rock uninhabited except for a few goats, 3 of which I observed on the slope on the far side of the island.  One of them was all black which I felt should be meaningful somehow, just daydreaming.  I saw some interesting rock formations while the sea was pretty calm with gentle swells while the sky was over-cast giving me some relief from the summer sun.

From there I headed to the west end of Tavolara island where I landed on the sand bar and was greeted by 2 older Italian women who were very friendly.  I walked over the sand bar and noticed that the north side of it was mainly deserted and would be a good place to cook my afternoon dinner so I paddled around to that side to cook a little spaghetti alla putanesca.

After my meal I decided to circumnavigate the island.  Near the eastern end I found some type of military installation with a very tall steel tower with extremely long wires hanging from it to the massive rock outcroppings that surrounded it.  I didn’t get close enough to this area to be able to read the signs warning boaters not to get any closer.

At the south eastern corner of the island I saw a huge natural arch carved out of the cliff face towering high over the waves among boulders where I tried to find a little shelter.  The south side of the island was all cliff face affording a little shade here and there from the sun that was back in full force by this time though getting lower.  I had hoped to find some sea caves among these cliffs though I only found one which I attempted to enter but the swells were going so high up and down the sides of the cave walls that it didn’t seem wise to proceed and I backed out of there before I even got past the entrance.

I returned to the sand bar where I had a beer at the beach bar and then headed further down the strand to camp on the beach.  There were a few very large yachts moored just off the beach there including a massive, ostentatious double masted sail boat with a British flag that pulled in just after sunset.

 

Day 8, Aug 7

From la Tavolara I headed northwest into strong head winds towards the gulf of Olbia.  I was planning to cross the gulf to Golfo Aranci on the north side but I started to feel rather weak and a little ill so I stopped at the first beach I could find on the north side of the peninsula that defines the south side of the gulf.  I found a tiny piece of beach between large boulders next to a small beach with a few people.  I pulled in there as it was the perfect little kayak port with over hanging Juniper bushes that I used to hide out from the sun.

I had just planned to rest a while but instead of feeling any better I started to feel a little bit worse.  I wasn’t sure what the problem was but now I’m pretty sure that it had to do with being out in the sun all afternoon the previous day without a drop of sunscreen.  This was just the first time the sun got the best of me.  I was very tan at this point and I only burned slightly.  I felt fine the previous evening so it seemed strange that it would hit me the next day.

Near where I had landed I found a bunch of very cheap and totally empty small tents set up between small trees.  It seemed like they were meant for a large group of small children.  On the other side of a dirt road paralleling the shore I found a series of lovely hidden camp sites nestled amongst the boulders and trees.  Many spots had been creatively landscaped with smaller stones and one had a simple wood table.  There was even an excavated latrine where the inhabitants had used charcoal from campfires to cover their business.  This whole unofficial campground area was completely deserted.

After cooking my dinner by the beach I moved back up into the camp area hoping nobody would show up to claim the space.  The types of objects and tarps that were still hung up there seemed to indicate that the usual inhabitants were regular Sardinians, as opposed to Italian hippies or other tourists.  I setup my hammock for an afternoon nap then cooked a little supper and slept there the whole night without interruption.  I was almost glad that I hadn’t been feeling well otherwise I wouldn’t have found this unique place.

 

Day 9, Aug 8

Feeling better but still not %100 I decided to cross the gulf to Aranci which took about 2 hours.  There I was able to procure excellent quality supplies and was pleasantly surprised by the cordiality of the beautiful young Sardinian woman behind the deli counter at the supermarket.  When I was loading everything up back on the beach I was overwhelmed by a group of small children who had a seemingly endless stream of questions.  One kept asking me what happens if you flip over as if not willing to accept my assertion that I never flip over 😉  I didn’t really have the energy to try to explain a ‘wet exit’ and re-entry to a small child in Italian at that moment.

I decided to look for an afternoon pizza again and found a restaurant for that was not too far away on the beach.  When the pizza arrived I could see it was not fresh at all.  It was a plain pizza cooked the previous evening and then re-heated for me after adding the requested toppings.  It was ok but I did complain to the waiter who played dumb and ran away.

From Golfo Aranci I headed east and in less than an hour I had found a very cute little beach with a lovely park and pineta just behind it on a low bluff about 5 meters high.  There were a number of people there but not too many since the closest parking was maybe a kilometer away. I rested there during the afternoon and camped there at night.  There was a house nearby but the inmates did not bother me directly, though I over heard their shouting argument during the evening and their 2 dogs that were prowling the area barking at different things for a long time though thankfully not at me.

 

Day 10, Aug. 9

This morning I was feeling even better and headed west around the point that defines the northern edge of the gulf of Olbia.  It was quite early and I saw some fishing boats so I let out my fishing line to do a little trolling with the silver spinner I had used with a little luck previously in the summer.  As I went around the point I was surprised to see a huge tuna jumping out of the water ahead of me.  Neither it nor any other fish hit my lure.

As I headed east along the peninsula, behind Aranci now, the west wind started to pick up.  I finally reached a small bay on my left at which point the wind was quite fierce but I decided to fight my way across anyway and try to find a place to cook dinner on the western shore out of the wind.  I finally made it across after dodging power boats among the waves as I approached the shore that was acting as a wind block as I had predicted.

This area was all very expensive private property.  I noticed waterfalls coming over the low cliffs at the water’s edge which seemed quite out of place.  When I investigated them more closely I found them to be fed by large man-made tubes.  I guess that was to supplement the artificially green grass and sandy beaches that these kinds of developments usually have in this part of Sardinia.   Apparently those that occupy real estate in this area don’t want to be subjected to the typical, arid Sardinian landscape.

I found a rocky piece of shore under a Juniper tree just outside a fence where I was able to cook in the shade.  I was fairly comfortable but it kind of felt like camping by the side of the road in a ditch next to a private golf course.

From there I headed north taking advantage of the intermittent protection from the wind that had, if anything, gotten stronger in the mean time.  I quickly reached the end of the point where I didn’t have many choices of direction.  To the west on my left there was a larger bay but the wind was much to strong to make any forward progress in that direction.  I decided instead to head north, across the wind, to a small archipelago of barren islands in the middle of the big bay.  I knew that would be challenging also but at least I’d be able to make decent progress.  Before I headed out I put on my spray skirt which was absolutely necessary with all the strong waves that were soon washing over my deck.  I would have wasted too much battery power trying to use the pump instead of the skirt, not to mention the time and concentration wasted on turning it on and off.  As usual the height and strength of the seas were intermittent and as it got stronger I turned my bow into it and as it dissipated I headed more northerly, though aiming my bow well to the west of my intended landing point to make up for the effect of the wind blowing me sideways to the east.  I believe this wind was a Maestral whose dramatic energy I would encounter again later on my journey.

The crossing was a little scary though mostly exhilarating and it didn’t take very long before I was in a protected cove between small islands.  I found a tiny sandy beach where I could rest in the shade of a small bush with my feet in the water.  In the evening I moved to an isthmus between 2 other small islands as that was the only level, sandy spot I could find to sleep on.

 

Day 11, Aug. 10

Without any shade I got up with the sun at 7AM and after breakfast headed north again.  The west wind had stopped over night.  The day before I had noticed that this bay was populated by a number of huge white yachts.  This morning I counted at least 25 of them, some were hard to differentiate as their silhouettes merged together in the distance.  I guess if you own a mega yacht and take it to Sardinia for the summer you want to see and be seen by all the other mega yachters there.

I reached the shore again on the north side of the mega yacht bay and found some interesting rock structures there including a towering boulder split in half that I paddled into.  I almost made it out the other side but smaller boulders blocked the way so I had to back paddle out again.

I needed supplies so I stopped at the next port, Porto Cervo.  It was soon obvious that this was the home base for the mega yachts and the center of the infamous Costa Smeralda, playground of the rich and famous.  It was hard to find the supermarket at the back of the outdoor shopping mall.  I was practically invisible as I made my way though the maze of high end boutiques.  I bought a salad and a whole roasted chicken which I ate in the small Juniper grove next to the commercial center, the only other person there a young female employee on a cigarette and cell phone break.

As I packed up to leave an Italian man with his family asked about my boat and my trip, clearly able to appreciate what I was doing just by seeing the kind of boat I had even though it was dwarfed by the massive crafts at the marina.

From here I headed north and west around the rest of this ’emerald coast’ area, fake beaches, grass and palm trees everywhere.  As I headed into a long bay stretching to the south I passed the Phi beach club where perfect young bodies were taking in the sun on massive wicker chairs like thrones.  As I headed further south into the bay all of a sudden I was in Sardinia again and as I checked different beaches for a good campsite I was subject to the blank, mute stares of the locals.  I found a nice little beach with a pineta not too far up on the bluff behind it where I was able to sleep very comfortably except for when I was awakened by a barrage of fireworks that went off very nearby at around 11PM.

 

Day 12, Aug. 11

I slept late in the shade of the pineta and eventually made my way back down the cliff to the beach below.  I packed up the boat and headed to the end of the bay where there was an estuary at a river mouth.  I tried to enter a series of lagoons through a shallow channel but soon found they were much too shallow to navigate, even in a kayak.  I went back into the bay and headed west until I found the actual river mouth which is much deeper.  About a kilometer up the river I found a place on the right bank where I could land and enter an open gate into a cork oak grove where I cooked putanesca again.  The river itself smelled a little funky but back in the trees there was no smell.  After dinner I sat in the shade on the river bank watching clam diggers and fish jumping in the dirty water.

I then headed up the west side of the bay to Cannigione which is a real Sardinian town with the kinds of shops catering to local tastes you find all over Sardinia.  I must say that Sardinians produce some of the best cheeses in the world and their cured meats and wines are top quality also.  At many deli counters you’re given the choice between the Italian or Sardinian version of a product.  You choose the Sardinian if  like me you’re willing to pay a little more for better quality.  I found some really great bread in town also.  Everything was much better quality than anything I could find back in ritzy Porto Cervo.

From the town I headed north to a campground on the western shore but when I got there it seemed so obnoxiously over crowded that I couldn’t imagine actually sleeping there so instead I headed out across the boat lanes back to the same pineta on the eastern shore where I had camped the night before.  After I had unloaded there again a large extended family group of Sardinians showed up and setup camp right on the beach at sunset.  They didn’t bother me as I again slept well above beach level in the pineta but there was loud, live blues music wafting in across the bay from I don’t know where that forced me to use earplugs to be able to fall asleep.

Day 13, Aug. 12

The next day I slept kind of late again then after breakfast packed up most of my stuff and hid it between some bushes and a stone wall at the back of the pineta and paddled across the bay back to Cannigione to have my clothes washed at the laundry there.  After a little shopping and pasta at a nice little outdoor restaurant I headed back to the pineta to hang my clothes out in the sun to dry.  At that point the pineta was over run with locals who were apparently reinforcements for the group that had camped out over night.

I eventually decided to move my camp to the cork grove on the river at the back of the bay.  There I noticed a group of tourists riding around the marsh on horseback. I found a really nice spot with the smell of wild herbs in the air and cork trees close enough together to hang the hammock.  The only problem was that there was an unusually dense population of mosquitos there that began to attack me en masse.  I hurried to bathe in fresh water from my Dromedary bag since getting wet and soapy always provides very effective yet temporary relief from the little monsters.  After I dried myself I applied insect repellent to my entire body and lit up 2 mosquito spirals thereby solving that problem so that I could eat my supper in peace.

Soon after eating I heard the sound of a small moped racing through the grove which soon reached the spot where I was relaxing in the hammock.  The driver shone his head light on me and started yelling “non si puo!” (it’s not possible!).  The issue was that he had let his horses loose in the grove and for some reason my presence was incompatible with theirs.  I didn’t think to ask him at that moment whether he believed that they were a danger to me or I to them or both.  I ended up re-hanging my hammock outside the gate that was now closed, by the river between 2 eucalyptus trees.  At least the river was much less smelly in the cool night air than it had been in the heat of the day.

 

Day 14, Aug. 13

I woke with the rising sun and the site of more clam diggers wading in the shallows of the river.  I packed up and paddled to Cannigione again and bought some very nice supplies.  From there I headed north and out of the long bay towards the island of Caprera.  There was a lot of boat traffic around the southern tip of the island and as I approached it and felt like I was close enough to be out of the way some other boat would come along and decide to cut it even closer to the point and pass in front of me.  I had another close call from one of these yachts whose driver didn’t even look back as it sped away.

I finally landed on some rocks on the east side of the point and got out to explore the abandoned structures there which turned out to be some kind of former military installation.  I paddled to the east side of the point and hauled my dinner supplies up to a series of open and relatively clean rooms in one of the old buildings at the fort.  The dead wood I tried to cook with was from some kind of bush that doesn’t burn very well so I had to scour the area to find just a little dead juniper in the nearly barren landscape.  I finally had spaghetti with clams again.  Meanwhile there were a few other people wandering around the fort grounds inspite of the entry prohibited signs that I had also ignored.

From there I headed north around the east side of the island while the sea got rather rough but not too difficult to deal with.  I eventually reached an amazingly beautiful point with 2 small beaches and a seemingly endless array of weird rock formations punctuated with juniper trees and bushes.  The number of boats and people there was excessive but it was already early evening and they were starting to leave one by one.  The beaches were still too crowded to even land so instead I found a little spot to tie up the kayak in calm water while I explored some of the rocks as I waited for it to clear out some more.

As the last people left I paddled to one of the small beaches where it seemed like I would be able to hang the hammock on two junipers but I couldn’t make it work due to some rocks in the way so I ended up sleeping on the sand instead.

 

Day 15, Aug. 14

I was awoken early in the morning by a lady with a very loud voice, dressed in what looked to me like a tennis outfit.  She and her male companion who swam briefly didn’t stay on the beach very long and I was able to go back to sleep.

Another couple came ashore in a dingy from a small yacht that was moored just off the beach.  They were very polite and careful to try not to wake me as they headed inland to do some trail running.  I had met the man briefly the previous evening and after I had breakfast I got to meet both of them as they returned to the beach on the way back to their boat.  They were very friendly and spoke English fairly well.  I found out they were from Milan and they invited me stop at their boat for coffee after I had packed up my kayak.  The man whose name I forgot was very envious of my solo tour as it seemed he was starting to get cabin fever from being cooped up on that yacht with his wife, kids, their friend and her kid also.  They had sailed to Corsica from Genoa and then south to Sardinia.

After a little extra breakfast I bid my hosts ‘arivvarderci’ and headed north along the east side of the island.  I found more abandoned military structures, some of which I explored, a few of which seem to have housed squatters some time in the recent past also.  I made my way around the northern tip of the island where the shore line was very chaotic with large boulders.  I climbed one to a shady cave that I had seen from the water that was kind of hard to get to, otherwise I would’ve had lunch there.  There was no good place to take the the boat out of the water either, it was getting tossed around quite a bit by the waves as I looked down on it from my climb to where I had tied it to a rock.

On the west side of the island I came across a series of coves and near one I spied a boulder that had space under it that had been walled off with smaller stones leaving a very low entrance way.  I figured that would be the best place to get out of the sun and it worked well enough as a dinner spot though the ceiling was rather low and the loose wall of stones didn’t blocked some air flow since these structures are setup by Sardinians as a way to escape the cold winds of winter.

Heading further south I found more coves and a huge abandoned resort that must have been the club med the people from Milan had mentioned that morning.  I eventually paddled under the bridge in the middle of the causeway that joins Caprera with Maddalena and then headed into a shallow bay where I found a public park with a lot of pine trees where I could camp.  The was a house on a knoll just next to the pineta whose residents became very audible at times during the night, along with some kids in a car who were blasting this heavy, depressing music that sounded like a bad impression of Pink Floyd.

 

Check back for part 2 where I continue west towards Porto Torres and finally have some pictures I took myself.

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