Friday, August 12, 2022

A birthday celebration, island hopping, crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea and Rome!

We have been very busy for the last two weeks, and have been on the move almost daily.  More importantly, we celebrated two very special birthdays (on the same day) a couple of weeks ago.  Happy Birthdays to Lana and Aria!

After the birthday celebrations, we left beautiful Alghero (on the west coast of Sardinia) and headed around the northern part of the island.  The stunning Capo Caccia bid us a fond farewell as we left the Gulf of Alghero behind.

The anchorages in northern Sardinia were very beautiful and we stumbled across many curious archeological sites at some of them.  The water was still super clear and warm for endless hours of swimming.

At one of these anchorages, there were wild boars that would visit the beach from time to time.  We saw them coming from a distance and had no idea how big they were, so we high-tailed it into the water!  It turns out they were pretty small, and weren't at all camera shy.

There was so much amazing snorkelling and cliff jumping during our lazy days in the turquoise Mediterranean waters.

We have also discovered that our dinghy has a mighty engine and can pull children recklessly around an anchorage.

The days have been quite warm and Stu had grown very tired of the hot beard.  So the girls were more than happy to shave it off for him.  There were quite a few facial hairstyles during this process, but eventually the beard was gone for good :)

We visited the smallest Kingdom in the world called "Isola Tavolara".  It's a small island off the eastern coast of Sardinia that was declared a Kingdom by the King of Sardinia in the 1800's.  We're not sure how official this arrangement is, but the tourists flock to this breath-taking island which is essentially a massive fin of solid limestone that is about 5km long.  This is the view of our anchorage from half way up the cliff band.  There is a via ferrata climb accessible on the mountain by paying tourists, but instead of climbing, we opted for a mid-day departure for our next destination... Rome! 

We sailed overnight and arrived at Porta di Roma the following morning and tied up at the modern marina in Ostia.  Taking public transit for an hour into Rome was very easy, and we were completely unprepared for how incredibly spectacular Rome is!  The history, the culture and the un-ending feasts for the eyes (in every direction you look) were awe-inspiring.  The Colleseum was our first stop.

Next up, we toured around the Roman Forum which was the site of their main city and held their places of worship, government, retail, and some living quarters.  We took the time to learn about as much Roman history as we could and, of course, watched "Gladiator" with the girls that night after returning to the boat.

No visit to Rome would be complete without a trip to the Vatican, and we tried to maximize our time there by visiting the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica.  These are all truly iconic and amazingly spectacular structures.

We also paid a visit to the interactive Leonardo DaVinci Museum.  They had super interesting displays of his many inventions and also a few reproductions of his paintings.  The octagonal mirror room (used to paint self-portraits) was of particular interest.  We stayed in there for hours, and marvelled at the genius of this great Renaisannce mind.

We have now had 3 days in Rome and have packed a huge amount in.  Micah, our dedicated animal lover, wanted to see the Zoo, so we spent a morning there and saw some really cool animals.  Then we rented some scooters and cruised around the green spaces of Rome for fun!

We plan to stay in the Porto di Roma for a couple more days and wait for a favourable wind to blow us north.  This will give us a chance to fix our mainsail which needed some minor repairs, and complete a few other boats tasks.  When we head north, we will likely stop in northern Corsica and discover what that French island is all about.  There is so much to see and do in the Mediterranean, we feel like we are just scratching the surface.  It is a paradise for sailing and traveling.  We plan to mix up the blog in the coming weeks and finish off the boat tour.  We will also go back in time and tell you a bit more about the West to East Atlantic crossing that Oyai and her crew did to get to the Med from Martinique.  

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