May 8, 2018

Gennargentu National Park

Our favorite day was when we rented our own little boat. Xavier was captain, with all the girls taking turns helping to steer. We had traversed the whole island to come to Santa Maria Navarrese and the Gennargentu National Park found along the sea cliffs to the north of the little village.

Out in the sea, the limestone cliffs loomed high above us and only made way for the occasional pristine beach or sandy patch along the way. There were caves too. Stalagmites dripping into the jewel-toned water. Just remarkable landscape. We pulled up to various little spots and had a picnic and built sandcastles and scampered along the shoreline rocks and tide pools and swam.

When it was Romy’s turn to captain the boat with her papa, she nestled in and turned the wheel this way and that. The waves hummed and bounced us all in a rhythmic refrain. I looked back and saw Romy’s little head bobbing up and down with them, her eyes slowly lowering as she “drove.” We all laughed and lay her down on the mattress at the front of the boat, where she slept for a full hour, head tossed and turned by the rocking of the boat. The whole time she had her hands around a piece of rope. Her lips lingered in the shape of the little whistle she had insisted keeping in her mouth from the minute she put on her left vest. Marguerite had told her seriously, “If you fall into the water, you just keep blowing on your whistle and someone will save you.” She grew very attached. At the end of the day, when we approached the little harbor, she looked at me with a bit of panic and said, “does this mean I have to give back the whistle?”

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