SMALL GUIDEBOOK TO CANOEING IN SARDINIA
FROM MARINA DI ARBUS TO PUNTA S'ASCHIVONI
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico
della Marina map scale 1:100.000 East-Mediterranean - Sardinia "from
Isola San Pietro to Capo San Marco". Route distance:
15 miles (there and back). Embarking and disembarking:
from the large mountain town of Arbus you take the road to Montevecchio, a mining village that is becoming depopulated. Having arrived there you go on towards Marina di Arbus, crossing a fascinating and deserted hinterland, where low scrubland and desolate peaks make a promising start to a trip that is certainly out of the ordinary. Once in the vicinity of Gutturu Flumini (signed), you can embark making use of the algae-covered platforms or alternatively the unusual sand to embark "en phoque", rather like a seal. Camping: a supervised campsite can be found in Arborea, or for camping enthusiasts there are many huge beaches. Precautions: we recommend you leave this outing for calm days, if the Mistral wind starts to blow it can become very overpowering. The monstrous sight of the buildings at Torre dei Corsari and Pistis is only recommended to those of you with strong stomachs!
FROM PORTO ALABE TO S'ARCHITTU
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100.000 Western Mediterranean - Sardinia "from Capo San Marco to Capo Caccia". Route distance: 9.5 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: having arrived in the town of Tresnuraghes you follow the signs for Porto Alabe, a seaside resort of the Planargia. Here you set off from the beach in front of the Corona Niedda stack. You disembark at s'Archittu, whose name derives from a gigantic limestone arch worn away by the sea. Pass under the arch to discover a little bay which is sheltered enough to land in. Camping: there is a campsite near Narbolia in Is Arenas: you pitch your tent on the sand amid the sweet smell of eucalyptus and mimosa trees. Precautions: avoid this itinerary when the Mistral wind is very strong and do not trust a calm winter sea when there is a storm approaching; it can turn into a nightmare in an instant with wind and waves rebounding on the cliffs which make up nearly a fifth of the itinerary.
FROM ALGHERO TO ARGENTIERA
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100.000 West Mediterranean - Sardinia "frorn Capo Caccia to Castelsardo and Isola Asinara". Route distance: 12 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: If through shyness, you lack sufficient confidence to embark at the port, dealing with your kayaks, bags and bundles on the promenade of the Catalan city being watched from the Sulis tower, there are plenty of other possible sites further north; on the convenient sands of the Calich lake, chances to embark are much less theatrical. From the day before a car, obviously without a driver, will be waiting for you throughout the night full of ghosts from the abandoned mining village ofArgentiera. Camping: campsites can be found in Alghero, one of them is situated on the shores of the Calich lake from which it takes its name and another is in Torre del Porticciolo, 21 km further north. Precautions: it all comes down to getting the right time of year; high summer or "dry days of January" and being able to face the paddle, focusing all your physical and mental energy, the assets of a highly-trained canoeist, because the trip is really very long.
THE OMODEO LAKE
Maps:I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25.000 page no. 0206 quadrant Il direction SE Busachi; page no. 0206 quadrant Il direction NE Ghilarza; page no. 0207 quadrant III direction NW Salto di Lochele. Route distance: 32 km (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: take the SS 131 until Paulilatino, go through the town following the signs to the dam. When you arrive you will pass a road on your left for Santa Chiara, carry straight on to Tadasuni and Ghilarza. On this road which skirts the lake, less than 100 metres from the dam there is a steep downhill track Io the right which takes you to the shore. You can leave your car here and set off. You will land at the same place. Camping: the shores of the upper part of the lake are flat and the area most suitable for free camping is south of the Tadasuni bridge. Campsites are situated in Arborea in the vicinity of S'Ena Arrubia and near Narbolia in the Is Arenas pinewood. Precautions: a military rifle-range borders on the lake near the village of Bidoni, within a eucalyptus wood, is particulariy easy Io spot on the barren shore. Avoid it: once you have gone under the Tadasuni bridge, bear left towards the town of Soddž and the mouth of the Siddo river.
FROM BUGGERRU TO MASUA
Maps: the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale i 100,000 Eastern Mediterranean - Sardinia "from Isola San Pietro to Capo San Marco". Route distanee: 11 miles (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: follow the SS 130 road to Iglesias and then on to Fluminimaggiore; having passed through, continue for about 1 km until you come to the road for Buggerru on your left. You embark from the port where there is a fine purpose-built slope. You can leave your car in the dock area. Camping: you can use the campsites at S. Antioco and Porto Pino. Precautions: apart from the inlet of Cala Domestica the coast is an uninterrupted line of limestone cliffs and can't be used for emergency landings. This itinerary is recommended for expert canoeists, armed with extra paddles and for parka owners! In summer the area is dominated by the Mistral wind, but unexpected winds sometimes blow from the south even when you embark at Buggerru and it is totally calm. When it is windy paddle a long way from the cliffs, as this is where strong gusts of wind from the hills and vai leys could throw you offbalance or snatch the paddle from your hand.
THE MULARGIA LAKE
Maps: I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25.000 page no. 0226 quadrant I direction NW Lago Mulargia; page no. 0226 quadrant IV direction NE Mandas. Route distance: 18 km (round the lake). Embarking and disembarking: take the SS 131 road to Monastir. Here follow signs to Senorbž, go through this town and carry on to Suelli. Here you turn right for Sisini and Siurgus Donigala. Follow the main road to the right for the town of Siurgus Donigala. About half way trough the town, not indicated by signs, you will find a secondary asphalted road, which leads to the lake. The end of this road widens into an open area where you leave your car, you also embark from here. Once you have thoroughly explored the shores and banks of the lake you will obviously disembark at the same piace, conveniently near your car. Camping: the shores are not very suitable for free camping but you can try and pitch your tent on a littie islet that is not as steeply sloped as the others. Organized campsites can be found on the east coast not too far from the lake. Precautions: on windy days the waves can get quite big and the gusts of wind can be strong and unpredictable, so we recommend the route only to experts. In winter the mist which lasts until late in the morning means you can plunge into a gey and silent world exposing yourself to no danger at all.
THE CABRAS LAGOON
Maps:I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25.000 page no. 0217 quadrant IV direction NW Cabras. Route distance: 21 km. (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: take the SS 131 road to Santa Giusta and Oristano. Having crossed the city you will flnd a turning on the left to Cabras and in front of you there will be a seventeenth century shrine to the Madonna of Riniedio. In the sprawling town of Cabras follow signs for Tharros and coming out of the town you will see the southern shore of the lagoon. Before the road heads away from the water you will see the tower known as the port tower, preceeded by some dilapidated houses. You take a very short dirt road to get to these ruins, here you park your car and embark. Camping: there are campsites in Arborea and Narbolia. If you camp on the shores beware of the mosquitos. Precautions: there are nodangers strictly connected to geographical and climatic factors on this sheet of water but look out for fishing equipment in the lagoon. The best time of year for the visit is in spring or better still winter when there are many different species of rare and multicoloured migratory birds and above all when the greedy and impudent mosquitos, probably the most annoying in Sardinia, are gone!
THE SANTA GILLA LAGOON
Maps:I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25.000 page no. 0234 quadrant IV direction SW Capoterra; page no 0234 quadrant IV direction SE Cagliari; page no. 0234 quadrant IV direction NW Assemini. Route distance: 17 miles (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: you embark and disembark at the same place; in front of the Societŗ Canottieri Ichnusa (canoeing club) in Calata dei Trinitari, not far from the new eastern dock. Here you will find a floatingjetty used for various sports, including ours. Camping: there are campsites at Santa Margherita, Pula and Capitana. It would be unadvisable to put down your sleeping bags amongst the port containers! Precautions: you should cross the port waters quickly skimming past the docks to avoid a head-on colli sion with tugs which plough through the water not noticing you because of their high prows. In the north part of the lagoon there are reefs of "sea lettuce" in the shallow waters, which tempt you to paddie over them, but as your paddžes could get entangled and you could lose your balance it is betterjust to look at them. It isn't unusual to run into quicksand in the lagoon so test the ground before you tread on it.
THE COGHINAS RIVER
Maps:I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25.000 page no. 0181 quadrant IV direction SW Bortigiadas; page no. 0181 quadrant III direction NW Coghinas. Route distance: 9 km. Embarking and disembarking: from the bridge of the Ploaghe-Tempio road you can make out a narrow asphalt ribbon that follows the left bank of the river. You get to it by taking a turning to the right at the beginning of the bridge. Follow the road which becomes a dirt track and you will see a huge wier. Still with the river in sight you go through a gate, then another more rustic one until you come to a sand and pebble beach in a curve of the river which invites you to stop. From the granite bastion which overlooks it, you can see the powerful surge of water as it replenishes the mountain river made up of stagnant pools of water which are barely connected. You can leave your car here and walk back; it only takes an hour at a steady pace and this way you exercise your legs as well as your arms. Camping: free camping in the large clearings on the river banks among the herds of cows. Precautions: the only dangers you will find are a terrifying artificial slope half way along the descent and a bit further on, a little bridge with dangerous currents around its base that no canoeist in his/her right mmd would try to tackle.
FROM CAGLIARI TO NORA
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100.000 Tirreno Sea - Sardinia "from Capo Carbonara to Capo Spartivento". Route distance: 16 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: you embark at Cagliari Port from the convenient floating jetty belonging to the Canottieri Ichnusa club which we also use in another itinerary. You disembark on the beach to the east of the peninsula where you can find the ancient ruins of the Punic city of Nora. A car left there beforehand or some patient, sea-loving friends car should be waiting for you at the end of a strenuous day's labour. Camping: there are campsites at Teulada, Chia, Pula and Santa Margherita. Precautions: this itinerary is recommended only for the very phisically fit as it is very long. Some tens of metres from the shore of Villa d'Orri some shallow parts create unexpected breakers, even when the water seems as smooth as glass. As you skirt the coast near the industrial constructions of Sarroch we advise you to hurry along to avoid unpleasant arguments about your presence in the area.
FROM THE PORT OF CAGLIARI TO MARINA PICCOLA
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100.000 Tirreno Sea Ė Sardinia, from Capo Carbonara to Capo Spartivento". Route distance: 10 miles (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: you embark on the Canottieri Ichnusa club's floating jetty at Cagliari port in Calata dei Trinitari, this is ajetty that we also use for other outings leaving from Cagliari. You can leave your car in the car park opposite the clubhouse. Camping: you can use the campsite in Capitana on the Villasimius coast. People from Cagliari obviously do not consider Capo Sant'Elia a suitable piace to pitch their tents. They want to avoid local couples who go there to canoodie and worse stilI, voyeurs. Precautions: a varied excursion in a mini-wilderness (intra moenia), a Sunday afternoon paddle, hidden and delightful. Beware of the winter Mistrai which creates reflected waves and the so called "confused sea" along the portside of the east docks. For fearful and emotioned inexperienced canoeists there is the prospect of an opportunity to see the lively dolphins that often swim just outside the port. Do not confuse them with white sharks in search of tinned meat!
THE GULF OF PALMAS
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100.000 Eastern Mediterranean - Sardinia "from Capo Spartivento to Isola San Pietro". Route distance: 11 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: as you travel along the road that links Sant'Antioco to the mainland and then runs alongside the huge saltworks of Santa Caterina, before entering the dock area you will catch sight of a turreted black and white building to your left; this is the port authorities building. In front of it you leave the main road and turn into a secondary one which separates the lake from the sea to the south. It is fine to embark anywhere here. You will have had the good sense to leave a pick-up car in Porto Pino. Camping: this zone is unsuitable for free camping. You can use the campsites in Sant'Antioco in the vicinity of Cala Sapone and in Porto Pino. Precautions: beware of the Mistral wind if it becomes too strong you could find yourself being swept along in a Wagnerian gallop desperately trying to reach a beach and finally leaving Capo Teulada and then Sardinia behind you!
FROM CALA GINEPRO TO CALA GONONE
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100.000 Tirreno Sea - Sardinia 'from Olbia to Capo di Monte Santu". Route distance: 12 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: having followed the Abbasanta-Nuoro branch of the Carlo Felice (SS 13 I) until Siniscola, you go towards the tourist resort of Santa Lucia. You carry on going south through the arid, wild region of Montes de Mare. Rere through the barren hills you lose sight of the Tirreno sea: the perfumed garrigue and the flight of multicoloured bee-eaters tell us of the drought of the Sahel. The signs for Cala Ginepro bring you to one of the many stretches of the Sardinian coast wrapped up in highly imaginative but ridiculous names: the juniper trees are surrounded by cement yet relegated to sand dunes. At Cala Ginepro leave your car, having already left the other at Cala Gonone port, our destination. Camping: the morphological and scenic qualities of the coast where the itinerary IS set: sandy beaches, pine woods and stony shores with a backdrop of greenery make you want to stay the night. A campsite is situated 9 km from Orosei with the poetic name of Gli Ontani (The Alders - SosAlinos). Precautions: this coast has an abundance of landing pžaces due to the presence of extensive beaches. It is therefore less demanding than the southern part of the gulf in the next itinerary. You have to be particularly careful however of eastern winds.
THE COGHINAS LAKE
Maps: I.G.M. map ofltaly scale 1:25000 page no. 0181 quadrant III direction NW Coghinas; page no. 0181 quadrant III direction NE Berchidda; page no. 0181 quadrant III direction SW Tula. Route distance: 15 km. (one way). Embarking and disembarking: follow the SS 131 road until the turning for Oschiri and continue along the so called "road of the cathedrals" which leads to Oschiri taking in the Roman masterpieces as you go. When the road forks, go left towards Tula, cross this smali town and continue for 5 km. and once past a bridge you will find an unsurfaced road in exellent condition to the right. This takes you to the sailing centre which is on the shore and looks out onto the lake. The road gets worse until you can only go along it in one direction. When you can see the dam, park your car in a convenient place. If the water level is high enough to paddle as far as the bridge on the road to Tula you can leave a pick-up car near the Bulvaris road inspector's house to avoid going back across the lake to the dam. Camping: opportunities abound for free camping in the clearings of the cork oak woods which line the shores of the lake. Precautions: open to all levels as the Mistral wind, frequent in this region, tends to push you towards the site of disembarkation anyway.
THE MEDIO FLUMENDOSA LAKE
Maps:I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25.000 page no. 0218 quadrant Il direction NW Sadali; page no. 0218 quadrant II direction SW Nurri; page no. 0226 quadrantI direction NW Lago di Mulargia. Route distance: 30 km. (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: follow the SS 128 until you reach the Santa Lucia road inspector's house (casa cantoniera) near the town of Serri. Here you leave the SS 128 and branch off to Ogliastra via Seui. Follow this road until the Flumendosa bridge which you will find below the town of Villanova Tulo. After the bridge some dirt tracks on the right lead down to the shore of the lake. There are endless opportunities for parking and embarking. Camping: campers loving English-style lawns will be pleasantly surprised. Watch out however for sheep droppings, they are everywhere! Precautions: as with other artificial Iakes and waterways in Sardinia, huge variations in the water level, particularly in years of drought, can dash your hopes of following the Flumendosa in a sea kayak. The route can be demanding when there is lot of wind as over two thirds of the way the banks are very steep and unsuitable for disembarking.
FROM CALA GONONE TO SANTA MARIA NAVARESE
Maps: the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100,000 Tirreno Sea - Sardinia "from Olbia to Capo di Monte Santu" and "from Capo di Monte Santu to Capo Carbonara". Route distance: 20 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: for those of you who do not want to take the windy but beautiful eastern coastal road it is quicker to fork off the main Carlo Felice road to Abbasanta-Nuoro and at Nuoro go towards Dorgali the main town of the Barbagia region. From there the tourist resort of Cala Gonone is only a short way away. When you reach Dorgali follow the SS 125 road south beside Monte Bardia which protects the country from the winds of the Tirreno Sea. This mountain is pierced by a tunnel on its eastern side and at the foot of this tunnel you will find the littie port of Cala Gonone. Leave your pick-up car at Santa Maria Navarrese, a town in Ogliastra famous for its colossal hundred-year-old olive trees, amongst the oldest in Europe, and for its little church built at the queen of Navarra's request during the long, unhappy Iberian domination as she had been savcd from bei ng sbip'vrecked. Camping: free camping should be a canoeist's prerogative but be extra specially careful not to leave any trace of your stay. For those wanting more comfort the Cala Sisine campsite is wonderfully hidden amongst oleander trees, so much so that it is difficult to find unless you know where to look for it. Precautions: the excursion finished in one day is for the very fit and well-trained canoeist. We recommend that others attempt the route in stages; this way you can also appreciate more fully the true beauty of your surroundings. Pay attention to weather forecasts and postpone the trip if they predict strong easterly winds especially in winter. The coming and going of motorized dinghies in summer often driven by inexperienced people means you have to pay particular attention.
FROM MARINA DI GAIRO TO MELISENDA
Maps: the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100.000 Tirreno Sea - Sardinia "from Capo di Monte Santu to Capo Carbonara". Route distance: 8 miles (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: you follow the SS 125 until the turning for Cardedu, here you continue south towards Marina di Gairo keeping the massive volcanic form of Monte Ferru of Tertenia with its wild woodlands on your right. After many curves you come to the Coccorocci campsite, it has been intergrated well with its natural surroundings which is unusual and certainly praiseworthy. You leave your car between the bushes and holm-oaks by the side of the dirt track that you have just followed. You embark on the beach by the campsite. It is a smooth pebble beach which is not very common in Sardinia. You land at the same place coming back from Melisenda. Camping: at Coccorocci campsite there is always enough space even in the peak summer season and it is open all year round. Precautions: a short itinerary sheltered from the Mistral wind. It is not recommended however when the Mistral is very strong in winter due to the powerful and unpredictable gusts that blow down from the Monte Ferru valleys.
FROM PORTO SANTORU TO PORTO CORALLO
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100.000 Tirreno Sea - Sardinia "from Capo di Monte Santu to Capo Carbonara". Route distance: 12 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: follow the SS 125 road until the town of Tertenia, the first town in the Ogliastra region as you come from Cagliari. As you approach the town take the road to your right, a scenic diversion to Marina di Tertenia. After many curves the road forks: take the road to the right for Porto Santoru. You will see some imitation farmhouses then the track you are on will follow an artificial pinewood to your left. The eucalyptus trees which border this wood rcach the shore where you will appreciate a perfect cement slope for embarking. You should leave your pick-up car in the dock area of Porto Corallo. Camping: this stretch of the eastern coast abounds with campsites, you are spoilt for choice. There are campsites in Barisardo, Marina di Gairo, Muravera and Villaputzu. Precautions: the route is protected from north-westerly winds by hills and low mountains. The Mistral can become threatening when you reach the long open beach of Quirra. Pay some attention to the many rocks that rise from the sea or your blissful reverie will be rudely awakened by the clashing of the keel on rugged granite, only slighltly softened by the fluctuating marine plants that cling on to them.
THE GUSANA LAKE
Maps: I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25.000 page no. 0207 quadrant II direction NW Fonni; page no. 0207 quadrant III direction NE Gavoi. Route distance: 11 km. (round the lake). Embarking and disembarking: take the SS 128 and 10 km after the town of Ovodda the lake Will appear. The road runs round it and after the bridge over the Aratu river you can set off from one of the many little beaches on the east shore. You will find the first of these on the littie peninsula that divides the mouth of the Aratu river from the actual lake. Further along the peninsula under some trees you will find the Taloro hotel. A path by the hotel leads to the heach that we use for setting off and landing, cars can be left hereabouts under the holm-oaks. Camping: tents can be pitched on the shores of the lake mainly on the east bank. Epicureans can stay in the little hotels roundabout and sample the region's excellent cooking. Precautions: it is a littie lake which presents no difficulties at all. In winter there can be some snow but this just accentuates the feeling of being in the "Great North"!
S. ANTIOCO: FROM MANGIABARCHE ROCK TO CANNAI
Maps: the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale I 100,000 Eastern Mediterranean - Sardinia "from Capo Spartivento to Isola San Pietro". Route distance: 10.5 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: from Calasetta, in the extreme south of Sant'Antioco, you take the road that goes down the eastern coast, after 3 km you will find a beach, closed in to the south by a little peninsula. Opposite the peninsula you will see the Mangiabarche rock and lighthouse. You embark from the sand having already left your pick-up car at Torre Cannai beach. Camping: there are campsites at Sant'Antioco and Porto Pino. The more adventurous of you might encounter some difficulties camping al the foot of the cliffs. Precautions: somefimes unexpected southerly winds in winter can make the trip unadvisable. We suggest you turn the bow northwards and take advantage of the wind to set the pace before it becomes too strong as you go down the coast. In general the Mistral does not pose a big prohlem for canoeists skilled at embarking.
FROM CAPITANERIA S: ANTIOCO TO COA 'E QUADDUS
Maps: the Istituto Idrografico della Marina scale 1:100.000 Eastern Mediterranean - Sardinia "from Capo Spartivento to Isola San Pietro". Route distance: 5 miles (one way). Embarking and disembarking: you embark in front of the two-coloured port authorities building (Capitaneria) in Sant' Antioco. From here you paddle along the gulf of Palmas having already left your pick-up car on the asphalt-surfaced road that leads lo Coa 'e Quaddus beach which is also weIl signed. Camping: campsites are situated on the island itself and on the overlooking coast near Porto Pino. Precautions: this is a 2-hour, carefree lrip. For a good part of il you are in the shelter of a low limestone cliff which protects you from the northerly Mistral wind. As along much of the Sardinian coast there is a sizeable influx of tourisls during the summer and you will have lo put up with the noise and air pollution of motorized dinghies and other craft more modem than our 4000-year-old kayaks.
FROM FONTANAMARE TO THE TOWER OF PORTOSCUSO
Maps: the Istituto Idrografico della Marinamap scale 1:100.000 Eastern Mediterranean - Sardinia "from Capo Spartivento lo Isola San Pietro". Route distance: 14 miles (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: travelling on the main road from Cagliari to Iglesias you pass Monteponi, a big town and mining area. After a few km you take a road on the right for Fontanamare, an immense stretch of sand known lo surfers and canoeists for the huge waves that form there when the Mistral wind blows and because the sea becomes very deep not far from the shore. Camping: plenty of ideal places lo pitch your tenž for the nighž, or you can go lo campsites further away at Sanž' Antioco and Porto Pino. Precautions: the Mistral wind which sweeps the Sardinian sea often reaches this coast whipping up waves that would worry even the most experienced canoeists: we advise you to follow this route in summer, having listened lo weather forecasts beforehand. Even on a beautiful day in July thick mists can muffie bathers' voices and cover everything in grey while the open sea rocks your canoe.
THE ISLANDS OF SPARGI, BUDELLI, S. MARIA AND RAZZOLI
Maps: the istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1 : 100.000 Mediterranean Sea - Sardinia "from Castel sardo to Olbia and Bocche di Bonifacio. Route distance: 20 miles (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: the sheltered gulf of Porto Pollo in northern Gallura has a small peninsula to the west called Isuledda. Its base is thin like the stem of a glass but it widens out to the north towards the island of Spargi. This peninsula, home to an organized campsite, attracts windsurfing fanatics from all over Europe. They converge here because the narrow strip of land means that the sea is different on both sides depending on the dominant wind. We embark on the eastern side of the Isuledda in a spacious strand of sand. You can park your car in the asphalted space alongside the beach. Camping: you can pitch your tent at the excellent campsite on the peninsula. The more romantic and less rheumatic among you could put your tent up on the island's pink sand, making sure in the morning that no trace, not even the holes from your tent pegs, remain as reminders of your visit. Precautions: we strongly recommend that you keep as dose as possible to the coast for legal reasons as much as for your own safety. In practice, Italian laws misunderstand the sea canoe's capabilities; in Great Britain for istance, there are no limitations for using the same cratž as it is known that canoes contain all that is necessary for saving one's life and the life of others. Visit these places in spring and autumn when the wind isn't too strong and when you won't be bothered by the rulers of the sea in summer: motorboats!
FROM CANNIGIONE TO PORTISCO
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100,000 Mediterranean Sea - Sardinia "from Castelsardo to Bocche di Bonifacio". Route distance: 27 miles (there and back). Embarking and disembarking: we embark and disembark a little to the north of Cannigione, on a smalž beach at the sailing centre situated at the end of the Arzachena fjord, a deep gulf which resembles a lake as it seems to be closed in to the north by the granite mass of the island of Caprera. Camping: there are quite a few supervised campsites in Gallura. Going from south to north, we find one in Cugnana, in the Cugnana gulf, then the Cannigione campsite which is in a picturesque location on the slopes of Monte Occhione in the most inland part of the Arzachena gulf where it breaks up into smaller pools of water made more beautiful by rocks and little islands. Besides these, there are four campsites near Palau. Free camping Is not recommended in summer due to the hordes of people who stroll along the beaches at all hours. Precautions: don't go when the Mistral wind is so strong it would blow even your thoughts away! This itinerary is set along coves, beaches and low rocky coasts with a host of rocks and islands which shelter it from the open sea, so you can use it all year round. Flashily-dressed motorboat enthusiasts cause problems in the summer when they try to dodge you at the last moment, livening up your life with fuel-polluted waves and nauseating you with the smell of suntan creams wafting on the warm sea breeze.
THE CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF TAVOLARA AND MOLARA
Maps:the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale 1:100,000 Tirreno Sea - Sardinia '~frnm Olbia to Capo di Monte Santo". Route distance: 19 miles. Embarking and disembarking: you embark at Porto San Paolo, a tourist resort on the Gallurian coast. Leave your car in the car park behind the beach and the littže port which look out to Tavolara. Camping: organized campsites can be found at Budoni and San Teodoro, the latter being situated on the white sands of the Cinta, a group of dunes which line the eastern side of the interesting and scenic San Teodoro lake. Free camping wherever the fancy takes you, wherever you find a piace. Precautions: the best time of year for this itinerary, as for others in the Gallura region, Is in spring when for at least one season motorboat fanatics won't asphixiate you with their engine fumes and above all you won't run the risk of hitting them head on as they flash past totally indifferent to those of us moving along under our own steam on the water's surface. In spring however it is not uncommon to come accross days when the Mistral wind is very strong and the wide sounds between one island and another suddenly become transformed into a northern Maelstrom (whirlpool), and you realize it is not you playing with the waves but the waves playing with you. Avoid these days and listen out for weather forecasts unless you want to end the outing on the other side of the Tirrenian coast.
FROM SPIAGGIA DEL RISO TO PUNTA MOLENTIS
Maps: the Istituto Idrografico della Marina map scale i 100,000 Tirreno Sea - Sardinia "from Capo Carbonara to Capo Spartivento". Route distance: 12 miles (there and back). Embarkingand disembarking: follow the coastal road to Villasimius, 1.5 km before reaching the town there is a sign on the right for Spiaggia del Riso and a similarly named campsite. The road finishes in a asphalted area which looks out over the beach. The name of the beach comes from the grains of sand which are regular, shiny and white like grains of rice. You can park your car here, it is usually empty in winter which is when we recommend this short trip. Camping: in summer months you can use the excellent campsite already mentioned. In winter there is the beach, for those of you who don't feel the cold. Precautions: the peninsula that we go along offers shelter all the way, no matter which way the wind blows, but this disappears as the peninsula ends and you go round the cape and find yourself exposed to the fury of Aeolo! In winter we have often run into southerly winds which you can use to your advantage to get back to your car as they conveniently push the sterns of the boats in the right direction.
THE TEMO RIVER
Maps:I.G.M. map of Italy scale i :25,000 page no. 0206 quadrant IV direction NW Bosa. Route distance: 8km. Embarking and disembarking: by car go along the dirt road which follows the right bank of the river from Bosa to the Monte Crispu dam. You will have to carry the canoe down a convenient but difficult second track which leads off the main one a littie way before reaching the dam. This second track leads down to the rocky bank where you embark. Leave your pick-up car in front of Sas Conzas (the old tannery), on the left bank just after the first town bridge you come to as you go downstream. Camping: there are campsites in Alghero and Narbolia, or you can pitch your tent in the tree-filled fields that border the river. Precautions: depending how full the river is, along the upper third of the route there is a little reinforced concrete bridge which might have its large calibre pipes uncovered, these pierce the base and cause treacherous currents. The water level, not being very high, can also mean that the cement bases of the bridges whose protective cover has been washed away by floods, appear on the surface in various stretches. We get over this by putting the paddle to the hull and sliding between the pillars of the bridges.
THE TIRSO RIVER
Maps:I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25,000 page no. 0127 quadrant I direction NW Fordongianus, page no. 0127 quadrant IV direction NE Solarussa; page no. 0127 quadrant IV direction SE Ori stano. Route distance: 17 km. Embarking and disembarking: take the SS 131 until the turn off for Simaxis which you follow until the little village of Ollastra Simaxis. Here a local road leads to the small dam which serves as a launching cradie where we embark. The pickup car should be waiting under Rimedio bridge on the Oristano-Riola: a crumbling, steep dirt road which descends to the river bank. You find this road a little way before you go into Oristano, on the right coming from Riola. Camping: there are campsites in Arborea and Riola. It is nice to camp on the riverbank and perhaps necessarv if you linger too long over embarking. Precautions: no substantial problems until the town of Sui where you have to make a difficult transfer because of an artificial chute, which requires you to use ropes and musclepower. Allow plenty of time for this route as in certain spots the vegetation combined with flood debris has created walls that you have to get round by land and this is not easy when you have to get through juniper trees, willows and reeds inhabited by strange frogs which have taken on the same cobur as their natural habitat.
THE FLUMENDOSA RIVER
Maps:I.G.M. map of Italy scale 1:25,000 page no. 0218 quadrant IV direction SE Gadoni; page no. 0218 quadrantI direction SW Seui. Route distance: 6 km. Embarking and disembarking: coming down the hairpin bends from Gadoni, you reach the magnificent bridge over the Flumendosa, the cathedral in the desert, which dominates the earlier yet striking bridge of Pont'e Ferru. It has a similar function but a much smaller environmental impact. Before the viaduct, on the right, you turn into the old road which leads to the river bank. You leave the pick-up car in the building yard that has been open for an infinite amount of time to build a mausoleum in the grassy space opposite which the river widens pžacidly into a pool where you come shooting out at the end of the ride. You now go across the little iron bridge, which might be wet with floodwater, and drive up to the new road which we come into after the viaduct. Going towards Seulo after a littie way on the right you wižl see the sign for Norcui. You take the turning to the left for Norcui and go up a cartroad. After 5 km you wilI see a sheepfold built in sheetmetal. Then you come to a wood and wire gate, open it, taking care to dose it behind you and after this follow the uneven dirt track which takes you to the river. This dirt track is difficužt to go back up especiažly when it is wet, ajeep becomes an ace up your sleeve in this kind of situation. Once you pass a second gate, simple like the first, the descent becomes steeper before it stops a short distance from the water. Camping: on the river bank, wherever you like; before you fall asleep make sure your boats are well secured! Precautions: this river is typical of Sardinian waterways; a rocky river which can be dangerous when very full or very low. This in turn is linked to the morphožogy of the canyon that the river runs through. Other snares are currents, difficultjumps, blockages and trees. We advise you to use large volume, short canoes, those used for extremeconditions, extra paddles and all possible safety equipment as well as being highžy-skilled yourself in descents and life-saving.
THE RIO OLLASTU I PICOCCA
Maps:I.G.M.map of Italy scale 1:25.000 page no. 0227 quadrant III direction SW San Priamo; page no. 0226 quadrant Il direction SE Burcei. Ronte distance: 7.5 km. Embarking and disembarking: take the SS125 towards Muravera until the road inspector's house in Monte Acuto which you come across about ten kilometres before the hamlet of San Priamo. In sight of the house, before you cross the bridge over the Cannas river, take a dirt road to your left which wiIl take you to the embarkation point where the waters of the Brabaisu run into the Olžastu. The route finishes where a bridge crosses the river Picocca and correspondingly the main Eastern road swerves left with sharp bends to make its way across the river. Camping: wonderful places for free camping by the riverside, and pženty of campsites in Muravera. Precautions: simple seasonal river, a routine work-out for Cagliari canoeists. Average difficulty doesn't generally go above the third level. There are some stretches where the muddy waters rush through long tunnels of oleander trees and no matter how flexible the branches are, inattentive canoeists will be thrown off balance and jam their boats so that only someone with the strength of Hercules would be able to free them!