One of our target walks for this week in Sardinia was to walk from Cala Sisine to Cala Fuili. A ‘stage’ of the Selvaggio Blu. I say this with some trepidation, as purists are apt to respond that the Selvaggio Blu finishes at Cala Sisine… although most trekking companies will now offer the additional stage from Cala Sisine to Cala Luna and others will also offer an extension from Cala Luna to Cala Gonone. The Selvaggio Blu has a reputation for being a super hard trek, involving climbing, abseiling, and rough terrain. And after the walk from Cala Fuili to Cala Luna the previous day, Barbara had reservations about this fairly long walk across some rugged countryside.
After our walk to Cala Luna I propose that we only do the Cala Sisine to Cala Luna section, and then hop on a boat back to Cala Gonone. The idea of another boat ride was enough for Barbara to agree to do the trek!
Having made up our minds the evening before we head to the hotel reception as soon as Giovanna arrives the next morning. She makes a few phone calls. It’s past ‘high season’ and fewer boats travel to Cala Sisine, so the only ferry available leaves at 11am and it takes about 45 minutes to get to Cala Sisine. (You can also get here by car, but we think the boat ride is the easier option.) That’s too late for us. The last ferry from Cala Luna leaves at 16.30. And according to online guides, the walk takes four hours. Giovanna suggests we go and chat to the private dinghy operators at the port to see if we can get there earlier. There may be other people wanting to share a dinghy.
We head for the port looking for a boat rental place which can supply a boat and skipper to drop us in Cala Sisine. The first one we take notice of is ‘Skipper boat hire‘. Kiko is the man in the booth. He’s from Algeria and it sounds like he’s worked in various European countries before settling on this island. He’s got a boat going in 20 minutes. Cheaper than going on our own. If we can’t make it back in time for this boat, then we’ll have to go on our own.
We decide to head back to the hotel and start off. Then change our minds and let him know not to worry about us joining the boat that’s about to leave. We’ll go on our own and pay the extra. We head off and get some bread, avocado and cheese from the local supermarket. Then we grab our gear from the hotel room, and head back to the port. We sign the contract with Kiko, get our official papers.
Elia is our designated skipper. We set off. Along the way he pulls into the Grotta del Bue Marino – the caves where the now extinct monk seals had their home. Elia shows us a few other interesting places along the way to Cala Sisine. Like the Grotto di Maria where stalagmites have formed a ‘statue’ of the Virgin Mary (or, at least we think that’s what Elia tried to show us…). About 45 minutes later he’s landing at Cala Sisine. I throw my sandals onto the beach, catching Barbara’s leg as I swing forward and instead of the sandals landing on the beach they end up in the water. We say our thanks to Elia and head onto the beach. Wet sandals slopping around my feet, we set off to find the path to Cala Luna.
The start of the path is a rock-strewn path that winds uphill in a northern direction through thick forested area. The same junipers, yews, holm oaks, oleander, the fascinating strawberry tree, and a few dozen other trees we encountered on our Cala Fuili to Cala Luna walk. After a while the path becomes less rugged and when you reach the ridge, it levels out with some great views back towards Cala Sisine and across the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea. Then we start zigzagging upwards again.
Just below the highest point of our trek, at ‘Cuile Sacedderano’, nearly 630 vertical metres from the starting point, we come across an enclosure built out of juniper branches, which we assume to be for housing animals. We stop for water and an energy bar. Soon we reach the top where the vegetation has changed to more scrub-like terrain. On our right there are some interesting rock formations. And then some stunning codulas (canyons) stretching down to the sea. We make great time, and three-and-a-half hours later we’re on the beach at Cala Luna. After we enjoyed some ice-cold drinks at the rifugio, we head off to the beach where we make our lunch. Then we settle back and relax for a couple of hours in the sun.
Later I phone Kiko and tell him we’d like to be picked up about 17.00. Kiko phones back to say that his boss will fetch us. He describes him as a typical fisherman. White beard. Cigar in the mouth.
Paulo arrives at about 17.00. And the description is accurate. Paulo turns out to be a gentle soul who takes time on our return journey to show us some very interesting grottos and rock formations. He also pulls into the Grotta del Bue Marino – where Elia had stopped in on our way to Cala Sisine – and tells us about their history in a mixture of Italian and French. Monk seals, also called ‘sea oxen’ by the locals, had lived here until the second world war. A starving population led to the seals being hunted to the point of extinction. Paulo tells that the caves are seventy kilometres long with about one kilometre open to the public. (Note! The Grotta del Bue Marino form part of the Codula di Luna – a karstic tunnel system – in the belly of the Gennargentu. Another place to come and visit in the future.)
Half an hour later we’re back at Cala Gonone. We settle with Kiko and ask if we can rent a boat for half a day on Saturday – our last day in Sardinia…