The island by boat

San Pietro has a particularly varied and jagged coastline, which alternates between welcoming beaches and wild cliffs and inaccessible rocky bastions. It is here that some of the island’s most spectacular treasures are concealed: small inlets, cathedral-like caves, hidden coves, points jutting out into the azure sea and unexpected fjords where the water turns emerald. In the midst are majestic natural sculptures of trachyte rock, sometimes dark, sometimes amber, shaped by the waves of the Mistral wind or rinsed by the lapping of the Libeccio. And it is these winds that tell us when we can set sail and in which direction it is best to head.

North course

Sailing on this side, facing east, the sea is generally calmer, with the island itself protected from the west winds while the east winds are mitigated by nearby Sardinia.

Having passed the small beach of Cantagallina and the low coast of Tacca Rossa on the port side, and then the tuna factory, we approach La Punta (the Point), where we can see the small island Isola Piana on the starboard side and then turn sharply to the left, towards the northern ridge of the island, full of a thousand surprises.

We soon recognise the mouth of Cala Lunga and skim past Punta Regolina, as the scenery becomes more and more tormented with precipices and fantasies of volcanic rock. Continuing all the way to the ramparts of Punta delle Oche, the blue of the water deepens into a spectacular grotto and enchanting rays of light reverberate off the walls. Then there are more cliffs: the vertiginous overhang of Borrona and the very narrow mouth of Nasca, a delightful emerald pool set among trachyte rock; then the famous Cala Vinagra, where the cobalt of the deep sea turns turquoise as it reaches the stony shore.

Cala Vinagra

Le Spine

The western coast

Having passed the transparent waters of Cala Fico we round the extreme western tip of the island at Capo Sandalo , beginning our descent along the western side of the island. Capo Rosso, which owes its name to the colour of its monumental rock formations, and the Golfo del Becco, backed by grandiose cliffs and guarded by a constellation of outcrops in the sea, await us. All the way to Punta dei Cannoni, which closes off this short stretch of sea to the south and for one last moment hides the distant view of Caletta, a temporary respite from the island’s volcanic terrain.

La Caletta

Sheltered from the Mistral wind

Having rounded Punta Spalmatore we turn eastwards, where we immediately come across the pink cliffs of the Bue Marino and the small Gulf of Mezzaluna (Half-moon bay), pierced by a gothic profile of its numerous sea caves. We then come to more familiar shores, which continue one after another between rocky ridges: Conca, a naturally staired swimming area favoured by divers, the little beach of Geniò, surrounded by pinkish soft stone, the shallow shores of Lucàize, an intimate and emerald cove. Then there is Colonne, a stack of rock slapped by the Libeccio wind, and Bóbba, where the boats in the bay seem to be suspended above crystal waters.

La Conca

Gulf of the Mezzaluna

Here we turn again and ascend the eastern side of the island: to admire from afar the whiteness of the beach of Guidi, to pass the small beach of Punta Nera, then the peaceful beach of Girin and find the warm, shallow blue waters of Giunco. At this point we see the southern wall of Carloforte’s harbour, the tour comes to an end and we are left with a desire to discover next time the seabed below where we have sailed. Seeing what lies beneath will be another story.

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Punta Nera