On August 15th, I departed the rock on an adventure planned many months in advance. One has to do that if you want to use these things called Aeroplan points to travel on the cheap to far away lands. Over the course of these months, I have been quite excited to travel back to Italy, this time the small island of Sardinia and experience a week of sailing for the first time – with the most wonderful friends in the world.
The Milk Run meant flying from Deer Lake to St. Johns to London to Munich to Olbia. I know when I arrived more than a day and many time zones later I was ready for sleep. The Grand President Hotel would be my resting place for the night, but I would not immediately sleep as they placed me on the top floor on the corner with an amazing view of the port, cruise ships, ferries and the aqua park. Below me, people were playing a friendly game of beach volleyball, the cheers were coming from an amusement ride and for the Canadian traveler, imagine hearing the sounds of Celine Dion from the stage. There was much vigor and life in this small town of Olbia. After soaking in the sights and sounds, I would peacefully drift off to sleep and would be greeted by my friends the next day.
After an amazing hotel breakfast my German friend and I played a friendly game of chess in the hotel lobby. He planned to continue his winning streak from the giant chess match-up in Cuba; however, it was not meant to be in Italy. During this game and others, I was able to come out victorious. Next time Old Sport, next time. We went grocery shopping, along the way we passed a small market and even an Esso gas station. We picked up a lot of groceries 🙂 and made our way to pick up our sailboat. I was very happy with the name of our boat – RELAX. It is so important to just step away from the world sometimes and relax – it is good for the body and good for the soul. It was my first time sailing – I highly recommend. We left Portisco to various places including entering French waters near the island of Corsica.
Re-united again! We all first met in the Czech Republic in 2007 on an exchange at the University of Economics. We’ve all remained friends ever since and have travelled to places like Switzerland, Denmark, Cuba, Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland), Ireland, Italy, France & Czech Republic having many random adventures.
Although it took me awhile to recover from jet leg and feeling very congested, I had a wonderful week on the water seeing hundreds of sailboats, yachts, fishing vessels, cruise ships, sailing school and other pleasure crafts. The feel of just moving with the wind is amazing. The view scapes of the Italian coastline and houses built on cliffs is just leaves you in wonder. Each marina has something unique to offer. Each time we stopped at port, I had to ensure I ate “gelato” or Italian ice-cream or a double espresso.
The goggle photo will always have me think of the Minions, every time a second anchor drops and the humor they can bring to any situation. This is only the snapshot of more than 1,000 photos taken throughout the week.
From rowing the rubber dingy, making giant sand castles, swimming (albeit miserably at sea), playing cards, chess and other games, catching a few laughs and reminiscing about the good ol’ days made me realize how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends and how we were able to each share the tasks of cooking, dishes, weather, anchor drinks, safety, mechanical, supply and treasury in such close quarters and not kill one another. As well, Marcel certainly knows how to crack a coconut and make a feast that fits with the climate. It was also a great experience to sleep under the stars, while anchored in the bay.
One can only imagine how quickly a week can fly by when with a great group of friends having an adventure on a sail boat in the Mediterranean. Far too fast! I ended up staying after my friends left almost another week before returning to the rock, enjoying Italian food, sun and surroundings. I do look forward to sailing again with Skipper Reto and sailors Tobias, David and Marcel. I waited a year for the vacation that truly was – like all the others it’s been a slice!
Take time to plan adventures with your friends. And always, live rural!
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North