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Got a day off after 30 days of hard graft! We were docked for a couple of days in Cagliari on the southern end of Sardinia. Yes one full day (24 hours to spend as I please), I was almost at a loose end and then remembered that Margot’s cousins (the ones I stayed with in Suzzara) were on holiday in Sardinia and I would see if I could catch a bus or train to see them. Well Sardinia is not that sort of place. One train at 4.30pm and return the next day same sort of time – so that was out. Bus? Well I found no busses going north only local – so that was also out. I about to head off to the beach for a swim and some R & R when I passed an Avis sign and decided to hire a car instead. Which is a bit of a mission as all the car hire companies had no cars. Then I remembered that the First Mate & Bosun had hired a car the day before and still had it. Rushed back to the boat and asked if I could take over their car for the rest of the day. I had to pay of course, but it was worth it.

I phoned up Jean-Marie and got directions to their holiday house. It was only going to take me three hours or so as the maximum speed limit in Sardinia is 80km per hour. Took me a while to get on the right road, but once I was on it it was 100km per hour all the way to Stintino. Stintino is almost the northern most tip of Sardinia so effectively I was at the wrong end of the island (Cagliari – southern most port). It was a great drive all on the wrong side of the road, but well worth the effort and when I arrived the whole family was there to great me and hand me a large ice-cold Italian beer. A few later I new that I would be spending the night and driving back early in the morning.

It was nice to spend time with a normal family and we ended up at a favourite beach for a swim and some sun, washed down with a few more frosties. Later the neighbours invited us for sundowners and then it was time to play with the kids before a real braai all in Italian. I wish I had had longer.

4am and I was back on the road running out of petrol wondering what time the petrol stations opened. Made it back to Cagliari by 7am and crawled into the port petrol station for †50 worth of fuel. Got a bollocking from First Mate for being late for work. We were apparently supposed to start at 6am – luckily Tom was still in his bunk asleep. So we ended up working an extra hour, which turned into two!! Was it worth it? Absolutely! One of the nicest days I’ve had this trip!

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