Sea Kayaking in Sardinia – Day 2
Day two of kayaking and we had already fallen into a familiar routine. After breakfast with the others in the Agriturismo there was time to get ready and then Clark and Giovanni turned up with the mini-bus and kayaks at a leisurely10am. Today he drove us to Porto Ferro on the West Coast. Here we were greeted with sunshine, and a wide sweeping sandy bay overlooked by three towers – The Black, White and Red Towers. The iron rich rocks here were mined in the past and the towers were defensive structures built in the 17th Century by the Spanish against Saracen threat.
The red, iron rich rocks framed the 2km sweep of golden sands and contrasted with the deep blues of the sea and the green Mediterranean scrub. The scrub was full of colourful flowers and was backed by pine forests. Behind this was Lake Baratz, the only natural lake on the island.
The beach itself is popular with naturists. It was calm today but it is also known for it’s surf and Giovanni told me that it was one of the best spots on the island for surfing and windsurfing.
Onto the Water
We were soon on the water in the boats we had decided to use last night. I was back into the slightly less stable Inukshuk, the two Anna’s were in the double, Vicky had given the skegged boat to Giovanni and now had a boat with a rudder. Jacqui was in a more stable boat which suited her as were Hannah and Claire. Everyone seemed happy as we set off out of the bay. We passed the tower guarding the southern headland turned left to start making our way south along the rocky coastline.
Jacqui was desperate to see dolphins so I pointed out to her that today would be the perfect day to see them. The calm seas would make them easy to spot. Not long after that I spotted some movement on the water where some large fish were surfacing. Clark said they were Tuna, but I couldn’t be sure. There was certainly some feeding activity though and the larger fish were no doubt chasing smaller prey. We stopped to watch, but didn’t see any dolphins.
Not long after a big flock of seabirds congregated a little way offshore. The were feeding on something, which is often a sign that dolphins or other larger fish have chased a shoal of bait fish towards the surface. Once again there were no dolphins to be seen. This was the case all day long. Various flocks of seabirds were seen fishing, but Jacqui never did get to see the elusive dolphins.
We continued on for just over an hour and then pulled into the beach at Porticciolo.
This was a nice sheltered bay with turquoise waters overlooked by yet another tower.
We stopped for lunch which was similar to yesterday’s lunch except this time there was pizza for Anna. A few of us went for a snorkel beforehand. The water was pretty chilly at around 15°C but once we were in it was OK. We didn’t stay in long though, just enough time to see a few fish and look for an octopus. We didn’t find one but there were plenty of sea cucumbers about and it was nice to see under the water and swim over the forests of seaweed.
After lunch Giovanni, Hannah and I climbed the hill to the tower and to look at the views. The views were spectacular in all directions.
It was also a good opportunity for Giovanni and I to geek out over the geology. Here, the headland consisted of fluvial deposits from a high energy braided river system. The sandstones had clear laminations in them and the place was full of impressive conglomerates that contained large, fairly angular quartz pebbles and cobbles. Giovanni, who has studied these in detail seemed a little perturbed about the provenance of the quartz pebbles as he couldn’t quite understand how large quartz crystals like these that are only formed in veins could be so abundant. Where had they all come from?
He also told us about the dinosaur fossil that had been found on this headland.
After a leisurely lunch we hauled the kayaks back into the water and started to make our way back from whence we had come. The new arrangement was working well. The two Anna’s seemed to be happy in their double kayak which was good as I was a little worried that Anna wouldn’t enjoy it if things got any more difficult than they had been yesterday. Fortunately today was a much more relaxed affair and the girls in the double kayak had smiles on their faces.
Once we were back to Porto Ferro those that wanted to (Anna, Anna and Vicky) headed back to the beach. The rest of us (Jacqui, Claire, Hannah and myself, along with Giovanni) headed across the bay to the towers on the other side. I paddled on ahead here and soon made it to the other side where I took a very relaxed paddle alongside the beaches. it was very warm here sheltered from the breeze. Birds such as cormorants and shags were hunting along the rocky shore, diving under the water as I approached. There were people sunbathing on the sands – some of them wearing more than others!
After a while I paddled back out to the others and then we made our way back across to the south side of the bay where Giovanni challenged me to a race. Obviously I didn’t let him win!!
That was it for the day. Time to pack up and head to a bar in Santa Maria La Palma where Hannah managed to sunburn her ankle. We were then dropped off back at the Agriturismo where we showered, chilled and had another delicious dinner.
With day 2 over we only had one day of kayaking left. Tomorrow looked like an interesting day though and hopefully the best of the trip.