The sun rises in style across the Mediterranean Sea; casting its golden glow across the bay. We’re spending our last day sailing Sardinia’s Eastern coastline – visiting countless otherwise inaccessible little beaches along the way.
Last night we said our good-byes to Enrico and the gang at the Roadhouse Blues Café, who treated us like VIPs all week. Enrico going out of his way to treat us like part of the family. I remembered his choice of music from a previous visit about 15 years ago, with two particular albums standing out in my memory. One being Cake’s ‘Fashion Nugget’ with its excellent alternative version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” (a favourite album of the 90s, tinged with sardonic humour), and hearing Michael Bublé’s ‘It’s Time’ album with its brilliant cover of “Quando, Quando, Quando” for the first time. I’m sure both of these were played multiple times each evening as I was enjoying my dinner. He in turn remembered me as ‘the South African living in the UK’. This was enough to ensure that Barbara and I got VIP treatment all week long. And by the way, even if we did not receive VIP treatment, we would still have gone back there multiple times for the great atmosphere, and excellent food!
We’re packed. Ready to make our way to the Cala Gonone port. It’s a new adventure for us. Sailing Sardinia’s Eastern coastline. Visiting all the tiny inaccessible beaches between Cala Goloritzé and Cala Gonone. By boat. Inflatable. With outboard motor…
Kiko, our man at the boat-hire, suggests the best way to sail Sardinia’s Eastern coastline is for us to make our way to Cala Goloritzé at it’s the furthest point, then work our way back beach-by-beach until we get back to Cala Gonone. We also get full instructions on how to use the dinghy. Throttle up for forward – speed increasing the further up you go; down for reverse. Central for neutral. A simple toggle switch controls the outboard motor – moving it up (out of the water) or down (into the water). We’re shown a few broken propellers. And warned that if we hit stone with the prop, it will cost a €150… So, lift the outboard if you are approaching shore. Then we’re picked up by Elia who takes us as far as their dinghy ‘mooring yard’, where he jumps onto another dinghy, and we’re on our own.
I throttle forward slowly at first, turn the wheel gently and manoeuvre through the boat moorings carefully. When we’re clear of the moored dinghies I increase the speed and pretty soon we find a rhythm and settle on a comfortable speed. Admiring the magnificent and impressive coastline.
Our first stop is the sublime Cala Goloritzè. Exploring the archway. Admiring the Aguglia from different angles. Then we set off towards Cala Mariolu. It’s nearly deserted. We decide not to land. Many beaches, coves, caves, and rock arches to explore. But before we move on, we’re going to have a swim. We drop anchor. My clothes are off first and I drop overboard into the clear blue water. Fresh. Barbara follows. Boats pass by and wave. Then we clamber back on board, get some clothes on, and set off for the next bay. At the tiny Cala Mudaloru we sail close to the bay, but because of its narrow approach and worried that the boat may drift into the rocks, we decide to anchor further out. Clothes off we swim to the shore. The dinghy suddenly looking very small and very far away. After a while we swim back. A few boats coming to take a closer look at this tiny but perfect little cove pass by. One nearly hitting our boat, resulting in a lot of shouting on the boat and an older person taking control and speeding off. When we’re back on board, we pull up anchor and move on. More places to explore. Past Grotto del Fico – another cave with walkways that can be visited by tourists. Then a few smaller calas before we reach Cala Sisine, where we started our walk yesterday. Sardinia’s Eastern coastline revealing hidden gems as we make our way.
Time to make our sandwiches. We drop anchor and enjoy our lunch. Gently rocking on the water. The fish below for our only company. The water comes alive when we drop the last few crumbs over the edge. Our day is going past far too quickly. We set off for our last stop of the day: the beautiful Cala Luna.
I land on the beach and drop Barbara off. Then make my way back offshore to a place where I can drop anchor. First attempt too close to the barrier ropes. Worried that the boat may drift over the ropes and the outboard become entangled I paddle a few metres away then drop anchor again. The boat seems to be drifting, so I pull up anchor, paddle some more until I can see clear sand below, then drop the anchor again. This time I can feel it bite and hold. Satisfied that the dinghy won’t be drifting out to see with our few earthly belongings on board I dive in and swim to the shore where Barbara is waiting. Not used to swimming makes the few hundred metres feel a lot further. When I’m on shore we head to the rifugio for some refreshments. Then it’s a long swim back to the dinghy with Barbara watching my progress. I pilot the dinghy back to the shore to pick Barbara up. It’s time to sail back to Cala Gonone. As we head back to Cala Gonone we take a last look at a few more coves and caves including the Grotta del Bue Marino, and the enticing Cala Fuili with its rock-climbing routes. Lots to come back to on a next visit…
Back in the Cala Gonone port we can’t see the red boat, where Elia would be waiting to take over. Fortunately, he’s nearby on a different boat and spots us, and soon he’s alongside and navigates into port to refuel. After we’ve refuelled and paid, we get dropped off, say goodbye to Elia, and then more thanks and goodbye to Kiko. Then we head to the hotel for a quick shower before setting off for the airport.
Sailing Sardinia’s Eastern coastline – Boat hire at Cala Gonone
There are several dinghy hiring places in Cala Gonone. We paid just over €100 for the day’s hire and fuel. We chanced upon ‘Skipper‘ the day before and were very happy with the service we received.