This is insane. There has to be three hundred boats in these two tiny bays and maybe a thousand people! Everyone seems to find their own spot and although there is a dog eat dog feeling about the place the reality is that everyone minds their own space and the ridiculous ‘barring’ is observed mostly without complaint.
We did have a situation where people were pouring on board initially and one man was holding a spot – obviously for his family. It ensued that his family had found a better spot but failed to tell him. When his brother or friend came to collect him and the gear a couple of hours later a young Spanish woman slipped into the vacant space and began a tirade about the unfairness of what he had done. There were a couple of hundred people on board and many were struggling to find a place to sit. Oh, she was talking to one who really feels the injustice. She was Aida and her partner Jose were from the Basque country near the city of Getxo. She teaches English to Primary students. We fell into a comfortable conversation.
The tour left La Maddalena at eleven in the morning and would be back by six. We would have three stops where we could swim and cruise past the Pink Beach which has been closed to the public because they kept souveniring the sand!!! The highlight for John was a beach called Cala Coticcio. This minuscule bay featured a rock from which you could dive or jump off. Seriously, the beach area of the bay would probably be just twenty metres wide. Google images presented it as spectacular. We arrived late in the afternoon. Sheer madness! The closest we could get was about three hundred metres away and there were so many boats you could almost make your way to the bay by hopping from one to the other. Despite this, the captain invited us to jump off the back of the boat for a swim in this incredible water.
I had dived from the back of the boat at Cala Granara so I wasn’t particularly interested in fighting the crowd. John, on the other hand, was determined to swim in this amazing little bay. Imagine- two hundred people crowded into a space at the back of a boat about nine metres wide by four deep with a small strip where people pressed up against each other to find their own space to jump into the water. I was horrified. There was definitely no health and safety considerations here but then again I did notice a Zodiac hovering about twenty metres away obviously ready to pull out any of the nearly deads.
Hundreds of people bobbed about in the water with squeals of laughter and joy emanating from the crowd. I kept watch for John concerned with so many people in the water. He came on board again just a few minutes later totally exhilarated and insisting that I should have this experience. He handed me his goggles and guided me to the platform. I heaved a sigh, threw the goggles into the water and dived in after them.
The bubbles consumed me. I dived after the goggles and once I had them on I was mesmerised. The colour of the water was incredible. It was amazingly clear, and blue as if I was looking at the world through fine blue cellophane. A sea of legs surrounded me and then I looked down. Hundreds of fish had joined the revelry dipping and dashing seemingly delighted to welcome us into their enchanted world.
Then the time came to reboard. Now that was interesting. A small ladder at the back of the boat was the access for the sea of humanity one at a time, and again although there was a sense of people jockeying for position, in fact, it was quite orderly and everyone including the pre-schoolers climbed aboard and we completed our day sailing back to port.