On Sunday the 30th of March we went paddling along the spectacular coast of Golfo di Orosei, where I also paddled last year. A 50km stretch of coastline is part of the national reserve of Gennargentu-Golfo di Orosei, which means that here isn’t a road or a house to see in the reserve.
I paddled along this part of the coast of Sardinia in October last year, and it is a very dear memory, and I couldn’t wait getting back there. I paddled the same boat again, because the Skim Distance has spent the winter at Francesco’s.
A few friends of Francesco had decided to come along. Francesco Ravasio from Cagliari was there, and so was Stefano Diana of Diana Canoe and two local girls Adda and Valeria. Stefano had brought a prototype of a new boat of Francesco for a first try in the water, and they had a long and heated debate all’italiana about who was to try it first, but in the end Stefano came out on top and started in the prototype.
We all drove from Cardedu to Santa Maria Navarrese at the south end of the national reserve, and launched from the beach just below on of the many ancient Spanish towers that dots the coast of Sardinia.
The first part of the paddle were along the sloping coast until we reached the Pedra Longa, a rock spike 128m in height which stands exactly on the coastline. You only really understand the size of it when you’re sitting just under it looking up. Fortunately, we had calm weather and it wasn’t a problem getting close to the rocks along the coast.
After Pedra Longa the coast changes to vertical rock wall, which must be several hundred meters tall, because the Pedra Longa seems small in comparison. Shortly after rounding a cape we arrived at the Grotta del Colombo. It is a very large open cave where the internal parts look a bit like a dove in flight when seen from a distance.
A bit further ahead is another cave. From the Grotta del Colombo the entrance looks small and bell shaped, but it is some 15-20m tall. The cave is rather deep and in the calm weather we had, we could move all the way in without any problems. The inner walls are of a strange green-yellow colour in vertical stripes, which I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Our first stop was planned as Porto Quao, the hidden harbour, which is a sheltered cove just after the Capo Monte Santu. We arrived there and hauled the kayaks up on the very limited space, the bottom of the cove is just a few meters wide, and had lunch and a rest there. Porto Quao is a place Francesco uses often on his excursions in the area, since is the an easy landing and launching spot even for unexperienced paddlers.
A few of us had a nap and Valentina found a dead goat. It had been dead for a while, because only the bones were left.
It had been our intentions to continue to Goloritzé a few kilometres ahead, but we had launched late and spend too much time fooling around on the way, so we decided to return from Porto Quao. It was a bit sad, because Goloritzé is an incredibly beautiful place, but it was the right thing to do.
The return was slower still, because we now had a slight headwind. We paddled back towards Pedra Longa, and had another short rest on a little beach close by, before continuing back to Santa Maria Navarrese, where we arrived at six thirty in the afternoon, shortly before sunset. Hence, we did right not continuing to Goloritzé, because then we would have had at least an hours paddle in the dark at the end.
Valentina had to catch a flight early the next morning from the airport of Alghero which is two and half hours drive away. There was little chance of making the journey in the morning, so we left almost immediately from Cardedu towards Alghero with the intent of finding a hotel for Valentina near the airport. We drove in the darkness through the tiniest of mountain roads, and it was well after midnight before we said goodbye to Valentina at the hotel. Francesco and I drove back to Cardedu, but suddenly on the way back, Francesco turned down a small by road and parked the car in front of an old stone wall. It was a nuraghe which he thought we should have a look at now we were in the vincinity. We arrived at four in the morning.
Give the goats a wave from me if you pass Cala Conone, where I explored the surroundings in a Feathercraft last November. Beautiful place!
I don’t know if I get to Cala Gonone this time around. I probably won’t stay long at Francesco’s, since I’ll be doing the west coast from Fertilia to Cagliari.
[…] I don’t have many specific plans for the final part of the journey, but everybody I’ve met says the last part is the most beautiful, though I have a hard time believing anything can beat the splendour of the Golfo di Orosei. […]