We sailed to Sardinia chasing the tail of a Mistral trying to get some wind that allowed us to sail at least most of the time instead of motoring. From what we had been seeing that was the window of opportunity as the winds seem to disappear after the Mistral and when starting to blow again being sucked by the next Mistral event. This weather of opportunity would put us arriving at some point on Sunday, not the most brilliant day to try and get all formalities sorted on “island rhythm".
We arrived mid-afternoon, dropped anchor a couple of times because it was quite windy and we were not liking our final position once anchored we went to town to try at least find the Capitenerie di Porto (harbourmaster) and see if we could get some pointers on what we needed to do.
I walked pretty much the entire harbour looking for the office, without much success only finding a Guardia Costiera (coast guard) office in the corner of the harbour that was closed. After all, it was Sunday afternoon why would there be anyone working, right?!
On the way back to the boat I noticed on the opposite side of the main avenue that borders the harbour a big building saying Guardia Costiera, the big letters could only be read when walking from that direction. I decided to give it a try, it was not a big detour anyway. Arrived at the door and it was closed, decided to ring the bell without high hopes after the unsuccessful visit to the other office. But someone showed up on the window of the first floor. After a quick chat in a mix of English and Italian at least I had found where to come to get the infamous "Costituto*" we needed for The Dream. We were to come back the following day Monday after 9 am.
The following day we got on the dinghy and tried to find a place to dock it to get to the Capitenerie di Porto at the Guardia Costiera building, found a little corner on the town quay right in front of the first Guardia Costiera office I had visited the previous day and that was still closed. But we were right next to the rescue boat from the coast guard and two officers were in one of them so decided to confirm where we needed to go to get the "Costituto*", the officers confirmed it was on the other building, this building was just the rescue operations. (Conversation again in a mix of English and Italian)
We headed to the second office on the main avenue, the gate was closed so we rang the bell and got in.
Immediately a lady asked what could she assist us with and as soon we explained in English we had arrived in our yacht and were there to check in and get the "Costituto*", they immediately directed us to the right person in charge without any sort of delay.
All taken care in English and very fast, the only thing was they needed a photo of The Dream and its location (maybe because we anchored outside the harbour). No problem, the lady that received us accompanied me to the harbour breakwater while John waited for the documents to be ready. The photo was taken, papers ready we now needed to get Johns passport stamped in.
The officer gave us some quick directions to the relevant police station: "follow the old city wall on the left and when you get to the top there are some stairs on the left-hand side and should be at the top".
Off course the explanation was not super clear and we got it wrong, turning left when getting to the old city wall and walk up the hill keeping the wall on our right-hand side instead of keeping walking straight once getting to the wall and keeping the city wall on our left-hand side... After a bit of a walk and realising that something had been missed on the directions we decided to have a nice Italian coffee while getting our bearings sorted on google maps. Although we got the directions wrong we weren’t far from where we needed to go. A bit of more walking under the hot sun and we were there.
Ahhh, in here things weren’t so smooth as in the Capitenerie di Porto but still not super hard.
We waited for our turn to the Immigrazione booth only to find out that it was on the Passaporti booth (where we had asked previously for directions because they didn’t have anyone waiting in line).
The moment I managed to explain in a weird version of Italian mixed with Spanish that we had arrived in our non-Schengen yacht with a non-Schengen captain The look on the officer face was of confusion. We had just ruined his Monday morning with a tough issue. After trying to dismiss us to one of the colleagues he took our boat registration, the "Costituto*" and our passports to the back to discuss with the colleagues.
After a bit, he returned with a form for John to fill and then took all papers again to the back. After another long moment, he returned with the stamped passport but the stamp was illegible! The only thing possible to recognise is that maybe it was a Schengen entry stamp for Italy, but the date and port of entry were completely impossible to read.
We had to explain a few times that this was not ok, this way was impossible to make proof of the entry into Schengen space legally and that it was going to be a big problem later when trying to check out in another port. The guy explained that was the only stamp they had and was not inked anymore, there was nothing he could do but with our concerned faces he decided to write a declaration of entry on their official paper with all the details of Johns passport and date of stamped entry to accompany the passport.
Hopefully, this declaration will clear all problems upon our departure.
Guardia Costiera - Alghero
Capitenerie di Porto
Via Eleonora d'Arborea, 2
Phone +39 079 953 174
Commissariato Polizia di Stato - Alghero
Via Fratelli Kennedy, 123/B
Phone +39 079 972 0000
*Costituto* - Arrival document issue to non-Schengen flagged vessels in Italian waters.