Not sailing into calm waters! September 2022

We set off from home on the 7th September with high hopes for 3 weeks in Sardinia on Vaila. We had booked flights via Geneva, as it meant we could travel all in one day with about 3 hours between flights. Or so we thought.

The fates conspired against us at this point. We arrived about 30 minutes late in Geneva. Queued for an hour to get our passport checked then headed down to departures to check our bags in for the flight to Cagliari. The delights of post Brexit travel!

The check in area was a sea of humanity and when we got to the desk we were informed that all flights were delayed but we should check in anyway. More and more people arrived in the check in space and there was no explanation as to what was happening.

Security and departures were upstairs but the escalators had stopped and people were queuing everywhere. We stood for hours on the bottom floor, occasionally shuffling along and at one point being directed outside, where we saw the bomb disposal unit and fire engine!

After about 4 hours queuing along with thousands of other people we eventually got to the upper floor,through security, found the gate we were supposed to be at but our flight had gone an hour ago!

So we had to rebook on the next available flight for the 9th and then hunt for 2 nights accommodation somewhere nearby. All at our own expense with the hope that our insurance might cover it. (So far no luck on the insurance front but we’ll keep trying). We got to our hotel about 2130 having left the house at 0730! Feeling stressed out and exhausted.

We got to Vaila on the Friday evening, very glad to have arrived.

There were thousands of grey mullet swimming round the boat and a friendly egret using our mooring lines for fishing from. A lovely South African couple , Ian and Lyn, arrived on the pontoon in their catamaran ‘Cloudwind’ a couple of days later. We spent a pleasant evening on their lovely boat, chatting about Siciliy and Greece , as they were heading there later, and hearing about their travels so far.

Grey mullet round the boat
Our friendly egret

The forecast was predicting a Mistral with very strong winds coming in less than a week, so we got ready to leave for a few days sailing. Unfortunately as we left the berth, we quickly realised that things were not right, hardly any power and poor steerage. We suspected fouling and limped back to the berth.

When Andy dived down, he was appalled to find about 6 inches of growth of a coral weed and barnacles all over the hull and rudder. So much for the super duper copper coat antifouling! Shame the grey mullet don’t eat this stuff!!

We decided it was not worth getting it cleaned for a few days sailing, as it would be even worse after a whole winter in the water! So no sailing for us…and the mistral did come with vengeance and bringing rain too.

The same growth as this was all over Vaila’s hull and rudder

Luckily we had hired a car for 3 days the next week so had a few trips around the island and managed a few swims. The mountain roads were spectacular and the island is so varied with different geology and landscapes all packed into a relatively small island.

Grape harvest season
Costa del Rei in the SE
A sea daffodil flowering after the rain
Villasimius in the SE
Bosa in the NW of the island
Our lunch view in Bosa
Cork Oak tree harvested recently

So now we are tidying the boat and securing all lines. We’ve taken the sails off, flushed the engine, defrosted the fridge, cleaned etc. Tomorrow we will pack the bag and hand luggage, put away clothes and bedding into plastic bags etc. We will finish off the perishable food at breakfast and lunch and we have booked a table for dinner so no dishes to wash.

We are hoping that our flights home via Gatwick on Thursday go smoothly but we’ve just been alerted that there is French air traffic control strike so who knows. Our track record this trip had not been great!

Flamingoes at the Salinas in Cagliari
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