Ambrosio, Milan, class 1917” . And then the date when this inscription was written with a brush: 1945.
So, Ambrosio was a 28-year-old man, coming from Milan and climbed on the Northern top of Spargi, sentinel of that strategic sea area between Corsica and Northern Sardinia, in the small room built next to the bunker carved into the rock, he maybe didn’t know that he was living the last hours of the Second World War.
Still today, if you land in Spargi, in the small wonderful Cala Ferrigno and you enter in the almost invisible paths crossing the island, you can find more recent evidence of the military history of La Maddalena archipelago.
Sailing near these islands doesn’t not only mean to enjoy some incomparable beauties, violated in summer by hordes of tourists often disrespectful towards the land which welcomes them with the complicity of a Park Authority which does little to protect this piece of heaven. It also means to dive into the history of these places, imagine their commercial, cultural, military role and importance.
Certainly, from the I-II century BC. An evidence comes from a Roman cargo ship, found in 1939, which sunk between 110 and 120 BC, between Spargi and Sardinia. The captain, surprised by a violent North-Western storm and worried about the presence of pirates near the insland, tried to reach one of the two Roman military bases near Punta Sardegna. He failed and his ship died on a 18-metre-deep bottom.
To reach the island, we left from Portisco with our Cyclades 50.5, which is driving us around the islands of Northen Sardinia these weeks.
After leaving the Gulf of Cignana with a 12-knot libeccio, we sail towards the passage between the coast and the islet of Soffi. There, it’s important to pay attention to danger signals and the first cardinal signal near Poveri Islands.
Meanwhile, the south-west wind has become a north-west one and it obliges us to ply and turn.
We enter in the strait between Santo Stefano and the Sardinian coast, and then between Maddalena and Spargi.
The most popular bay is Cala Corsara but our favourite destination in Spargi is Cala Ferrigno, an exclusive quiet wonderful bay.
You can recognise it from the presence of a single house and a single pier. It’s important to pay attention to the lateral cliffs, on both sides, while yawing towards the North-North-West wharf is impossible beacause of very low bottoms.
If you are lucky, the best and most sheltered mooring is that one with the bow facing out. You can drop the anchor and move back by fixing two ropes fore and aft to two surviving rings and keep a distance from the quay with a mooring post fixed on a chain sag about 15 metres from the pier.
If your boat has a draught of over 1.5 metre, it is absolutely impossible to yaw on the starboard side of the pier because of very low bottoms. This time, we are not alone. A friend from Genoa has arrived before us and he has already taken the best mooring. So, we drop the anchor and approach the stern to the quay head with two crossed ropes passing through a single ring in the middle of the mole head.
The mistral keeps us far from the quay. In these conditions, the bay is perfectly sheltered and the boat floats on flat water. But if mistral becomes stronger, from 30 knots on, a surf wave enters in the small bay because of the rough sea entering in the strait between Spargi and Budelli. In this case, it’s better to prefer the shelter of Budelli or Santa Maria.
When it is less hot we set out for the tiny path which will drive us to the Northern side of the island. After a 20-minute-walk, we reach a natural balcony which offers one of the most beautiful views on Corsica, Budelli, Santa Maria and La Maddalena. We imagine the life of soldiers in these bunkers, their strain in digging and building underground walkways or granite grooves to collect rain water.
When we come back to our boat, it’s dinner time. We enjoy the absolute peace and silent of the bay and the ancient play of lights the sun creates with the walls of the Northern coast in La Maddalena. Then, the darkness and stars. A little of music, a little chat, the goodnight said to the friends of the other boat and, before going to sleep, we imagine to own the entire world.
Tomorrow, we’ll leave for Lavezzi and, then, Budelli. But this is another story!