As we enter the port of Olbia, the very distinctive old lighthouse must have thought the paparazzi has arrived! – It is beautiful and makes a great picture, standing almost in the middle of the entrance! The next observation was the massive industry around boating support and services! We could not remember having seen such a large industry in any other place thus far! From power yachts (and even massive super yachts) to sailing yachts can be taken out on the hard, shrink-wrapping and repairs etc. all seems to be happening here! Something to remember if you are looking for services and a place to store your yacht … after you have learned to speak Italian, that is … otherwise, rather consider other options.
Just in front of this industrial development, are a huge muscle farm! We could not miss the opportunity to have fresh muscles for dinner that night … And that would have been my highlight of Olbia!!! The muscles were only little, being the start of the harvest season that stretches over 4–5 months and I have to say – they taste so much better than the big fat ones! Less stomach/intestines (pardon the graphic description) and more meat on them! Tender and full of flavour! That same night we each had a whole grilled fish (two different fish and recipes) in a tiny little restaurant meant for the locals. No English menu’s made it even more authentic … plain, undressed with no pretension … but great food! It was very funny that she told me that they have no ice available – only a few days later we realised that Italian restaurants (no matter how smart /big the restaurant) are not big on ice. Their beers are not very cold and ice is almost never available. It did not matter – the rest was perfecto! That is also where we were introduced to Pane Carasau, or Italian flat-bread! Thin and crispy and savoury… perfect as a nibble before meals!,
We docked ourselves on the wall of the old port. No electricity and no water…and more importantly, no fees!! So that was great! We just need a safe spot to wait for a weather window. It was here, just about 4 hours before we planned to leave, that we realised the detailed maps stops about 10 nm outside of Olbia …we have no electronic maps on the Raymarine for the crossing or for Italy!!! Johann rushed off to the little chandlery but the language barrier was a major problem and they could not locate a chart for us in time. We have a wonderful program on the IPad that is similar and was hoping that we would be able to navigate our way to the first port of call on the Italian coast without a problem.
We left as planned (a couple of hours earlier actually) that afternoon at about 3.30pm, the wind suddenly came up as we left the port and half way through the port, it was blowing at 25 knots already! That will mean bashing massive waves on the nose all the way! I was voicing my concerns and silently hoping the plans will change. It did – orders came to tack and go back and wait for better weather! 5 minutes on our way back to Oblia, the wind died down to about 10 knots! Now that is the Med for you! We drop the sails and turn around … according to forecasts, the wind should drop even further, but more importantly, should change direction that will make the trip more comfortable.
We anchored in a little bay about an hour and a half from Olbia, had an early dinner and a good sleep and left the next morning at 5am for Italy.
As we leave Oblia I had the pleasur of taking this picture of our last magic sunset of Sardinia!