We arrived to the marina of Stintino as it was getting dark and made our way along a deep bay and eventually arrived into town to have dinner. Next morning we filled up the water tanks and headed off towards the Emerald coast to Capo Testa, the northern most tip of Sardina. We anchored for the night and enjoyed a meal inside as it was a little windy.
Next day we had nice winds on the aft beam and we made our way to the Archipelago di la Maddalena and to the island of Maddalena, the largest island in the archipelago. The prevailing north easterly winds make their way around just about any island and we had gusts of wind up to 35 kts as we approached the Marina del Ponte. After docking without marina support and reaching the marina attendant by phone (thanks to a local couple) we could do the check-in.
First evening we went to the local supermarket a 15 min walk from the boat. Next morning we made the longer walk to town (30 min). Most of the place appears to be an abandoned military town with plenty of buildings in a state of decay. The town center is genuine and compact, with many nice restaurants. We had a great meal and a long walk back to the marina.
Next night we spent anchored in the southern bay of the neighbouring island Caprera, watching a dusin dinghy (Laser) sailboats and a Waszp tackling the gusty winds in the bay. We made a swim for a rocky beach on the shore and the water temperature was still enjoyable. The emerald green colour of these shores is truly impressive. The rocky islands themselves reminded me of the Swedish west coast, which I consider a tad more beautiful.
A short sail to Porto Cervo, where we were seeking shelter for the forecasted strong winds the next day, turned out to also be a very short stay. The marinero indicated us to moor by anchor in the old harbour, which is completely exposed to the northern winds that were forecasted. The main harbour had plenty of free spaces so we were puzzled by the instruction to stay in the poorly sheltered entry part of the port. We decided to drop the check-in and leave.
We head for a friendlier harbour. An hour later we were in Canningione, well protected at the end of a larger bay surrounded by mountains. The town itself was not much to write about, but the marina was good with friendly staff. We spent two nights until the strong winds had calmed.
After a nice sail of a few hours through the archipelago we arrived to Budelli island. This is probably the highlight of the archipelago, with its translucent blue and green waters. After a slight struggle hassling for anchor space and holding we decided to grab an available bouy.
The anchorage is full of daytime opportunists (who occupy the bouys and leave a few hours before sunset, before the archipelago park assistants come to collect the inflated mooring fees). By 6 o´clock we had the beaches to ourselves and only a dusin boats left in the mooring field.
The waters between the islands and the beach is rocky and shallow and clearly marked as such on maps. By dinghy it is, however, no problem to traverse the waters to reach hidden beaches. From one of the beaches we noticed a 36 foot sailboat which seemed to be grounded in the shallow waters.
We headed over in the dinghy to ask if they needed assistance and so started a 2-3 hour rescue mission of a french couple spiced with french-english-spanish language barriers, repeated groundings and getting assistance from neighbouring boats. We used the dinghy to pull them off the rocks, only to ground moments later. We succeeded at last, just before dawn, and headed back to our boat to regain our warmth. It was the last night in Sardinia and the next day we headed off to Corsica!