Last night the stars, and this morning the sun rose over a silky flat sea. Simone said that when he was on watch at two this morning a pod of dolphins arrived, they were glowing he said, torpedoes of iridescent green darting and dashing. We're currently making our way across from Sardinia to the small island of Ponza, but not without one last fish tale to tell.
It was two days ago, and we were anchored off Cala di Luna, a series of sandy beaches at the foot of a huge cliff peppered with large natural caves. The swimming and snorkeling here are incredible as the water is so clear you can easily see over one hundred feet to the bottom. The scenery is remarkable and full of surprises such as a freshwater lagoon surrounded by a natural garden just steps from the sea.
We were finishing dinner when a local boat pulled up along side us, the guys in the boat started speaking first in English, but when Gianmario answered back in Sardo the conversation suddenly took off at high speed; "They have a fish they want to sell us"..one of the men reached into a large cooler and proudly lifted a huge grouper, still moving, what the locals call "Cernia" ('Dusky Grouper'). Carmen's eyes grew wide, "mamma mia" she whispered. The conversation in local dialect continued. Turns out the guys knew Giamma's brother, so the subject moved from fishing to "man talk", then back to the business of negotiating a price. The fish was weighed: 3.6 kilos, a bit more haggling and we agree on one hundred euros plus a no-label local Cannonau wine that was seriously amazing despite the fact it was in a used water bottle.
Turns out this incredible fish was caught using a handheld speargun, by a man who is Italy's premier free diving champion. Davide Carrera, is a world record holder in fact; having achieved a depth of 94 meters on a single breath. He'd free-dived to a depth of 45 meters and returned with the grouper on the end of his spear, pretty damned cool I say.
So our last night in Sardinia we get to enjoy this fabulous feast from the sea. Carmen managed to fit the whole fish into our galley oven and roasted it to perfection with tomatoes, capers, olives, herbs and lemon slices. The grouper was so big it not only fed all five of us but we have enough left over for pasta...
Oh wait, I hear some excitement on deck "dolphins!", oh fantastic, gotta go!
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