The 35-hour passage from Menorca to northern Sardinia was benign, perhaps a little too benign in fact because we ended up using the engine somewhat more than we wanted …. for almost 21 of those hours. Better that way than too much, I suppose. It was a moonless night so the stars were shining brightly but the phosphorescence was lovely, maybe fewer but larger bursts of light than we have seen in the past. Although there was little shipping, we saw several other yachts making their way between the two islands. The Fornelli passage at the southern end of Isola Asinari, a nature reserve, cut about 20nm off our trip for which we were thankful as the NE wind made for much lumpier seas for the last 10 or so miles to Porto Torres.
The reason we chose Porto Torres as our first port of call was certainly not for its glamour but because it is a port of entry and since Mazu is a US registered vessel, per the pilot book and Noonsite, we needed to officially check into Italy and obtain a “Constituto”. We will need this to be stamped at each port we visit. However, when we approached the officials, clearly it is not something they do very often. Heads were scratched but they figured it out …. we just needed to complete a form written in what seemed like ancient Italian so Google translate didn’t work too well. Fortunately a lovely Sardinian who had lived in Australia for several years showed up and helped us out. A trip to a local Tabac to pay our €16 stamp duty, then back to the “Capitaneria” for the final signatures and we were legal, whew …. (but our friendly Sardinian and his mate, the captain of one of the ferries was still there waiting patiently to be served).
Our next port of call was Castelsardo, a lovely marina with the town surrounding the castle at the top of the cliff overlooking the harbour (photo at top of this post). The Capitaneria had closed by the time we arrived and didn’t open on Saturday, the following day and the day we left, so no stamp in our “Constituto” there. From there we went to Porto Pozzo, a lovely long inlet, where we picked up a mooring belonging to the local restaurant (elegant dining that night, even if it was antipasto followed by pizza😀). Clearly no customs officials were in that port. Now we are in Olbia, having sailed past the protected Magdalena islands between Sardinia and Corsica (beautiful cruising area but permit to land on some of the islands required) as well as past the Costa Smeralda, where the rich and powerful keep their floating “toys”. Olbia is at the head of a long, rocky inlet and we are fortunate enough to have found space on the town dock to tie up for free within steps of the city center. Again we arrived too late to check in yesterday so that was this morning’s mission …. and it took just about all morning by the time we had visited two incorrect buildings, even though the first was the Capitaneria, and walked about 20 minutes to the cruise ship/ferry terminal, passed through security twice and eventually found the customs guy who had the correct stamps to make us legal again. Italian bureaucracy!