I am watching the incredible skills of the assistants of Porto Cervo Marina help docking these mega yachts. They fly around in their outboard inflatables. Attaching lines to the mooring points. And the skills of the crew on these mega yachts. I am anchored very close to their moorings and the inflatable just nudged me a few feet away from the huge bow of one of these gorgeous toys. Probably a piece of cake for our friend Greg Clark, skipper of these behemoths.
I left Olbia at 7 a.m. on Sunday. The weather forecast on channel 68 was for N.W.force 3 in the Sardinia Channel. But after going from full main and the 110 % genoa I ended up motor sailing with two reefs in the main against the wind and tacking. The seas were rough. Very slow progress. I opted for ducking into Porto Cervo where I put the anchor down at 1 p.m. Then I found out that I’m stuck here in a Mistral that will last a few days with winds in the 35 knots plus range and extremely rough seas in the Sardinia Strait or“Bouche de Bonofacio”. The mistral does not calm down at night, like the prevailing NW summer winds of the Maestra. Otherwise I could at least get a ways towards my destination in the early morning hours. The wind gusts through here but my anchor is firmly set just off the beach, within a stone throw from the fancy Costa Smeralda YC.
Porto Cervo is where the rich and famous come to show off their floating toys. The Costa Smeralda was Agha Khan’s project, started in 1962. This is where the Sardinia Cup regatta is sailed by the top
guns from around the globe. And in September the annual Swan race meet is held here. My neighbor here, at his private mooring, came in with his family and
friends from a sail on his Swan 56 “Why Not”. He came over to introduce himself, Fabio and his daughter Martina from Rome. Very nice people, he asked me to let him know if he could be of any assistance. He has crossed the Atlantic to the New England area and down to the Caribbean and back. I went ashore to try and see if I could get the password to the wireless signals I receive here. The marina office was closed but I understand that costs $ 21.00. The beer was $ 10.00. Someone told me that the lack of wireless connections in public areas is due to the fact that the Mafia controls much of the action.
Waiting for the storm to calm gets on my nerves. I finished my last project, the 24 page MS Word translation of father Huijsmans China ordeal. I sent it off to father Tom Davit of the Irish Vincentian/Lazaristes congregation. Father Tom spent part of the last year, 1971, of father Huijsman’s life with him in Saigon. I hope that it will serve the purpose that I intended the project for. That little has changed in China since the 3 year (1951-1954) of brain washing, physical and mental torture, this good man went through. It is still the same regime keeping an iron grip on its people, restricting their freedoms of religion, political preferences, access to the internet and how they plan their families. The bosses in Beijing still give free reign to the local police to let their
peasant minions, given the chance to vengean their lower social status frustrations, by committing cruelties on the critics of the communist system. Like the recent events in China with the blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng and the murder, made to look like a suicide, of of Li Wangyang of Shaoyang, Hunan province.
I have asked father Tom to edit the translation and after this is done I plan to give it a place on the web site for anyone to read.
I just added up the miles I sailed these 3 months, (as the crow flies, not counting the upwind tacking) it adds up to 2,300 nautical miles. By the time I get to the mouth of the Rhone it will be over 2,500 and there I’ll be back up to latitude 43 which is the furthest North I came at Split in Croatia. I started April 28 at latitude 38 North, dropped down at Crete to just under 35 North then to 43 at Split back down to just under L 36 in Malta. I visited 20 islands and six countries in these 3 months. And the addresses of new friends made just keep piling up. This afternoon I met Joel and Sitti from Marseille/Toulon area. She is a Malagasche, from Nosy Be, where I spent time in 2006, and a professor in French historic literature. Her mother is from Mailotte, near Madagascar.
Since I left the West Coast in 2005 “Fleetwood” has made landfall in 47 countries.
I have been reading up on the route through France and I’m getting more and more excited to get going. Through the countryside that Van Gogh painted in and near Arles, the Camargue with its wild horses and water fowl, to start. From Cannes westward I plan to spend some time in the Calanques near Marseille. This has been highly recommended by Thomas in Mazara del Valle
and other French cruisers. I’ve bene ashore in the mean time to try and buy the $21 internet access but the office was closed from 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m., siesta.
I read the weather bulletin posted outside the office. It looks like I can set off tomorrow afternoon. Just off the coast here the winds today are force 8 ½ (about 36 knots) and near the West Coast of Corsica Force 11…. That is between 56 and 62 knots; just a notch below hurricane strength. I hope I’ll never have to be caught in anything like it. But you wonder, with the VHF continuous
weather report yesterday morning not to make any mention of it.