At the end of April we returned to Sabbatical III berthed safely in the Marine Sifredi in Carloforte. Our 250 pounds of baggage also made the journey safely. We have been busy getting the boat ready for another sailing season. The first order of business was a trip to the Sardinian capital of Cagliari to meet with the Immigration Police (Questura) to finalize our application for a visa renewal. We had received a registered letter with a list of all of the documentation that we were required to bring, and we made sure that we had it all in quadruplicate. Things seemed to go well until the Immigration official asked for another document that we had never heard of. We showed him our letter with the list of documents and he said that there was a new document required and we had ten days to get it. Turns out it is not so easy to get this document when one lives on a boat and not in a house or flat. After a few days of trying to work this out, we came to believe that we would not get our visa renewed. We then had a friend make some phone calls to explain our situation and our prospects now look reasonably good but not certain. But we cannot make plans until this gets resolved.
The second major task is to get Sabbatical III hauled out and have anti-fouling paint applied to her hull, plus perform some maintenance to the bottom of the boat. The small boatyard associated with the marina is well behind schedule hauling and painting boats, in part due to the high frequency of days with mistral winds. The mistral is a strong, cold, northwesterly wind that blows from southern France into the northern Mediterranean and on to Sardinia, with sustained winds often exceeding 66 km/h (41 mph), sometimes reaching 185 km/h (115 mph). It is most common in the winter and spring, and strongest in the transition between the two seasons.
Since we are waiting to hear about the visa and our haul date, we took some time out to tour the interior of the “mainland” of Sardinia. We already know the Sardinian coast fairly well from our two sailing circumnavigations last year. But we had never seen the interior except for the road from the Carloforte ferry port of Portovesme to the capital city of Cagliari, which is a fairly unattractive part of the island. We just returned from our six day excursion yesterday and can only say that inland Sardinia is spectacularly beautiful.
The first evening of our excursion we attended a perfomance of “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Lyric Opera of Cagliari. We sat in the first row for a fine performance by the resident company. We then spent the night at a B&B in Cagliari. In the morning we went to the airport to pick up a rental car and drove through beautiful countryside to the Agriturismo Il Ginepro. An agriturismo is a working farm that accommodates guests and provides breakfast and supper made from local products and wines. In the afternoon, we walked in the hills above the farmstead and then drove to the coast about 15 minutes away to walk on the beach. An African dust storm obscured the view and the hoped for sunset. The supper was fantastic.
From Il Ginepro, we drove to the northcentral mountains of Sardinia. We stayed one night at a B&B in Sorgono (“Cuccumiao” run by a lovely young woman named Paola) where we happened upon a beautiful winery (“Su Binariu”) on a small country road. The two men working there were excited that two American had come through the gate and asked that we return the next morning when the winemaster/owner was there. So we did. We sampled some wine and bought two bottles.
From Sorgono we went to an agriturismo near Tonara and then to an agriturismo near Belvi. The latter provided fine hikes and excellent meals and wine.