Justine Curgenvan and Barry Shaw are almost on their way to Sardinia for a circumnavigation of the island. They’re in for an extraordinarily beautiful journey. I wouldn’t mind doing it again 🙂 I wish them the best of luck.
Franceso and i had planned to paddle to Cala Goloritzé in the Golfo di Orosei yesterday, and we got up early and set off fetching kayaks at a local camping where Francesco keeps par of his gear, and then on the road to Santa Maria Navarrese.
We launched in calm weather, a force 2 scirocco (SE) and some following waves and swells, but with a forecast of up to force 4 during the afternoon.
The paddle northwards went easy enough, and we passed Pedra Longa and the Grotta della Columba without problems, but as we approached Capo Monte Santu the going got a bit rougher. The Capo Monte Santu is cape with a 200m vertical rock wall that drops straight into the sea for some 2-3km, and there are almost always difficult winds and waves there.
We had a bit of a fight with waves and winds around the cape. Personally I find following swells and waves quite difficult to navigate, as I have no visual forewarning of what is in arrival, but I think both of us found it a bit difficult there, as Francesco headed directly for the entrance to Porto Quao, which is a completely sheltered natural harbour on an otherwise not very welcoming coast.
We landed in Porto Quao and laid our gear out to dry in the sun. After a while we decided to abandon the attempt to reach Cala Goloritzé and instead enjoy the sun in our little sheltered corner, until the afternoon when there was a good chance the wind would wane a bit.
The little bay was as enchanted in the sun, so we made a little photo session. We took turns to climb the rocky cliffs around the bay to take photos of the other fooling around the sheltered area in kayak. It was hot and sunny, the rocks were steep and razor sharp with dense mediterranean vegetation, which for a nordic type like me translates to sunburn and totally scratched legs, but it was fun and we got some nice photos of our kayaks in the crystal clear waters of the Golfo di Orosei.
At about three thirty we got ready to return. As soon as we rounded the corner, we discovered that the wind was still a nice force 4, with swells of 1-2m but modest waves of less than 1m. It still took an effort to round Capo Monte Santu, and as we moved well away from the coast to avoid the choppy rebounding waves, we got separated and lost visual contact for extended periods.
Francesco knows his waters and was both much more confident and a lot faster than me, so he was well ahead of me most of the time and probably closer to the rock wall than I wanted to be. In any case I lost him for quite some time, and at the same time didn’t feel I had the resources to actively look for him, as the wind and waves gave me plenty to work with.
I wouldn’t say I was in trouble there, but it wasn’t easy going. The first hour took all my effort and concentration, but I did handle it in a controlled and steady way. My own feeling is that I was quite close to the limits of my abilities in a kayak, but not outside.
In the end all went well, and as soon as we were around the cape we found each other again, and we paddled together for the next couple of hours back to Santa Maria Navarrese. I was quite tired in the end, more mental tiredness than physical.
We had a coffee at Santa Maria Navarres and drove home to yet another dinner thet couldn’t be beat, and then off to bed. I slept well.
I’m on the train from Genoa to Venice via Milan right now. I have a bunch of posts to prepare and loads of photos to upload from the week Valentina and I spent in Sardinia with Francesco Muntoni and his family and friends.
Francesco kept us on such a breathtaking schedule that I haven’t had a chance to finish much, but I will try to work off the backlog in the coming days.
On friday the 28th the sea was livelier than we wanted to be part of, and we decided on an excursion by car to the mountains in the Ogliastra hinterland. First we drove to Jerzu which is a bit further inland from Cardedu, where the […]
Francesco Muntoni has run Cardedu Kayak for ages. He organises kayak excursions for both beginners and experienced paddlers along the middle part of Sardinia’s eastern coastline, from between Muravera and Cardedu to Cala Gonone, which includes the national park of the Golfo di Orosei.
Visiting Francesco without ending in a kayak is an impossibility. On our first day we went for a short afternoon paddle from Marina di Gairo south along the coast, admiring the fantastic rock formations in the red rock of the Cardedu coastline. Many look like manmade sculptures. There’s the eagle, the old lady and many others.
Francesco spends most of his time either on the water with tourists, or getting ready or cleaning up after an excursion. In his spare time he works for a local wine cantina. The Perda Rubia cantina is one of the very last cantinas that still produce Sardinian red wine of the local Cannonau grapes in the traditional way.
We got a special guided tour of the cantina, which is a fascinating place with fermentation tanks and oak barrels so huge they have been built inside the cellar when the cantina was started in 1949. Francesco presented me quite unexpectedly with a very special and absolutely priceless gift: a bottle of Perda Rubia from 1964, the year I was born.
Sardinian cuisine is a journey in itself. That evening we had culorgiones, a kind of large ravioli with a filling of potatoes and pecorino.