From Manza we worked our way up the Eastern coast towards Rhondinara- one of the perfect coves we discovered whilst camper vanning. Last time we had been on the land looking enviously at the yachts anchored in the bay. This time we were one of the many yachts hustling for a position in what is a very shallow bay at peak holiday times! With the wind blowing into the bay we did a circuit then decided against staying, and headed further up to the Golf of Porto Vecchio. Here we found a charming anchorage just off a camp site where we were able to take the dinghy in and have a beer in the bar with all the other holiday campers. To Noah’s delight we found it was a kiting beach when the winds turned westerly, with shallow water and an end of a beach to launch from Noah was happy- kiting out to a bobbing Loco in 15 knots of wind. We did check out the camping facilities- all part of our extensive research should we come back in a camper van, you understand, and found them to be very acceptable and clean. Fresh hair, fresh clothes (even a self service laundry room) and we were feeling grand again.
We stayed in this bay for over a week, making our way up to the Port of Porto Vecchio (pictured above) and finding a huge Casino Shop just like our one in Montgenevre. It was delightful coming across all the brands and French products we were so familiar with, and we loaded the car and trundled it in the trolly to our dinghy- which by the way is still leaking despite the super glue repair Noah did! Thankfully if you keep it pumped up every 2 days it seems to hang in there, but any day now we expect to come back to one side deflated- which would have been tricky with a laiden shopping trolly!.
Whilst here, the wind turned Westerly and we had 3 days and nights of severe winds- up to 33 knots. Our anchor had been so reliable, but by our favourite beach the holding was patchy. During one early morning blow we witnessed a neighbouring French boat having some problem with anchor drag and obviously having trouble getting in their anchor. Very quickly he got blown into the moored RIB boats, and how he managed to keep afloat we just don’t know- as it was very shallow amongst the RIB moorings. He got wedged between some boats, and thankfully some French campers with small but powerful boats, helped pull him clear. We had to reset several times- eventually moving to a more protected site opposite and having rather a long and choppy dinghy ride into the beach if we wanted to do any kiting- which we only tried once. Trouble is that when it is windy to kite it is not great to leave the boat, and the anchorage is normally uncomfortable. the worst night with the high winds we were over the other side of the bay with 5 other boats- all well positioned and shearing about in the gusts that came around the bay head. As the winds increased Nelly was on anchor watch at 3.30am when she noticed our holding go. We had no sooner taken up our anchor and was dropping it afresh on the stern of another boat when all the other boats also lost their hold at the same time. It was manic with all pulling in anchors, swerving in the gusts and bobbing about looking to re anchor. Thankfully the winds dropped after this frantic hour at sun rise to more reasonable levels, and all survived unharmed.
Not wanting to overstay our welcome at the camp site we decided to return to Sardinia to the comforts of internet (we only had an Italian Dongle) and needed water in our tanks so we beat down to Golfo Aranchi deciding to have a marina night the next day to do the chores. Turned out that the marina had no toilets and no shower- worse than the camp site-and we had to pay €50 to be crammed between two other boats and bobbing like crazy during the day with the wash and swell working direct into the harbour. Thankfully it did all ease at night and we were able to sleep, but if we hadn’t needed a water tank fill we would not have bothered. On our way back to Northern Sardinia we passed so many Super Boats (Porto Cervo, Cala Di Volpe, Portisco and Porto Rotondo) it was unbelievable, so much money invested in boats that were out for their annual holiday. One anchored right by us and as we swung we were left facing a garage with a sunchair and all the toys we could ever want right in front of us. There was also a swimming pool aboard, and they had 2 jet skis and several dinghies that we noticed did not need pumping up! At night the water glittered with their blue party lights, so we turned on our fairy lights to join in the fun.
Rather cool Ford Bedford camper van parked at Porto Vechio
We found another popular kite surfing spot at Porto Pollo. Tucked safely behind a small island Loco was out of the wind and we were able to move during the day to the neighbouring bay and Noah joined in the fun. It was packed, being peak season, and so many kite schools on the beach that there was little room to launch and even less room to get safely back into the beach. They did not seem to have a kite landing zone, and it was a case of dodging all the beginners and then keeping clear of the swimming areas and umbrellas on the beach.
So far we are surviving the height of the summer season well here, finding safe places to anchor and plenty of provisions. We are missing our Greek town quays were we could get the bikes out for a spin, and we have not found anywhere to top up with water apart from using Marina’s, but that is OK if used sparingly and selecting the cheaper ones. It has been hot- over 30 degrees most days, but it has cooled each night and there have been less mosquitoes which had kept Nelly happy. A bit of sad news, we had our lovely folding bike stolen from the shore. We had locked it up and left it so we could get some exercise whilst sheltering from the Westerly blows in Archazena, which meant we could at least have a short cycle ride. We were gutted to have it stolen, we had it from our UK departure. Oh well, these things happen. Another few weeks in these Northern coves then we will head for the Balearic Islands.