Into the Adriatic
As we had decided to leave RR in Crotone while we attended Roger and Jo’s wedding we had a week to relax and get to see more of the town.
We soon slipped into our routine of working on Saturday mornings and having the rest of the week off!
Claire washed the clothes as there were very good machines in the marina. While I pottered around the boat finding things to fix.
We met and had drinks with a nice couple called Sally and Peter on a beautiful Antares Cat called ‘Milly’ they were Canadian but had picked their boat up in Argentina (I think) before sailing her all over the place before entering the Med.
On the 19th May we watched the Royal wedding over the internet on the laptop. We thought it was brilliant. We felt proud to be British.
On the 23rd we picked up the hire car. We went to the supermarket for food and drink to take to the apartment in Sorento before leaving Crotone on the 24th for the drive to Sorento.
Southern Italy proved to be very beautiful. The road snaked through mountains which reminded us of Switzerland with small villages perched on the hill sides.
I made sure that our route included the famous Amalfi coast road.
In case you haven’t heard of this road before it runs from Salerno to Sorento twisting and turning as it follows the coast a few hundred meters above the sea. It was originally built by the Romans and long sections of it have been carved out of solid rock. It's very narrow in places and we held our breath a few times as larger vehicles squeezed passed.
Of course, I had always imagined that I’d be driving a sports convertible or at least something with a bit of vava voom but no! I was in a Nissan Micra!! Oh well I enjoyed myself anyway and with all the traffic you would have been choking your lungs up in a convertible!
We followed directions on Google maps and saw Peter waving his arms outside the Airbnb that we were to share with him and Karen. It was in a very good spot being only a few hundred meters from the wedding venue. It also had a large garden with a patio table and chairs which would be perfect for the extended Williams clan to gather for drinks.
We unloaded the food and drink from the car. Filling the fridge and unpacking our clothes before sitting down with a well earned G&T.
That evening we went around to meet Karen and Peter's Son Martin as well as his lovely wife, Jade and their two boys Mason and Isaac. Jade’s parents Ken and Deb were there too. Great couple and a pleasure to meet them. They were going to be looking after the boys on the day of the wedding as no children were allowed.
On the 25th we met up in the evening for a family meal in a beautiful restaurant which went out on stilts over the sea. It was a lovely night with all the family in good form. Thanks Lauri and David.
The big day had finally arrived Claire and Karen looked beautiful. Peter and I looked OK!!
We walked to the hotel where we met my mum and dad looking very smart. Coincidentally the 26th is my Dad’s birthday. He looks and is very well for a man of 89.
We went by coach to a beautiful spot overlooking the coast where the wedding vows were to be read.
After the pictures we went back to the hotel for the reception which was really very, very nice.
My dad, or Grandad John as he was now known to all of the girls danced more than anyone else that evening!!
Thanks for the invite Roger and Jo it was a perfect day. We enjoyed ourselves very much.
On the 27th everyone turned up at ours around lunchtime for an impromptu get together in the garden.
Julie, Steve and their girls Maddie and Gemma bought more food and drink.
I just love this kind of gathering. Sitting in the sun, eating and drinking laughing and joking with the nearest and dearest.
That evening we met at a restaurant for a final meal together before we all went our separate ways.
I consider myself very lucky to have such a big happy family.
On the 28th May we cleaned up the Airbnb before jumping in the car for the long drive back to Red Rooster.
It was a bit of a squeeze as Karen and Peter were coming to!!!
We drove back along the Amalfi coast stopping where we could to look and take pictures of the stunning views.
We had a coffee in Salerno, strolling around the beautiful old town before making our way to Paestum so Karen and Peter could see the impressive Greek temples there.
We were soon back in Crotone. Red Rooster was OK. It was great to be back on board our floating home.
Robin and Bob, an American couple onboard their yacht ‘Windarra’ had arrived in Crotone while we were away. We had first seen them in the Caribbean. They were in the ARC to Bermuda with us last year.
We had the car for a couple more days, so we drove to La Castella. A very well preserved castle that sat on it's own little island about 30 minutes from Crotone.
We did a big shop with Karen and Peter. How Claire manages to fit it all into our little boat is a complete mystery to me!!
It was great to have Karen and Peter back onboard RR. They fit in very well with us on our small boat.
On the 31st June we left Crotone heading for Santa Maria di Luca. We were sailing across the instep of the foot of Italy. It was pretty uneventful apart from a visit by a pod of whales. There was at least half a dozen. We saw three or four breaches and a couple of huge tails. We think they were pilot whales.
We anchored for the night on the heel of Italy. ‘Windarra’ who had passed us earlier in the day was already there.
We sailed around to Otranto the following morning. Otranto is a beautiful little harbour and our first port in the Adriatic Sea.
Otranto was great. 35 Euros a night on the harbour wall with water and electric.
The town was beautiful and another Italian resort for the Italians that I’d never heard of. It was lovely.
We stayed for 2 nights as there was a festival on!!!
Here we go again!
Robin and Bob arrived too and we spent a very nice few hours on their yacht ‘Windarra’ before wandering through the castle, down into the narrow streets stopping here and there at the many food and drink stalls that lined the promenade.
We selected a restaurant that was high up on the castle walls where we enjoyed a first class meal with very good company.
We were leaving Italy for the first time in over a year and needed to ‘check out’ as our next port of call was to be Orikum in Albania.
We first went to the customs office in the harbour but they were not interested. The officer said if we had the entry form we were given when we entered the EU he could stamp it for us. The problem was that we had started from within the EU so we didn’t have this form.
We then went to the harbour police but they weren’t interested either. There was a lot of shoulder shrugging but nothing more.
We were also worried about Karen and Peter’s position because they had flown into Rome and now they were on a boat leaving Otranto, Italy for Albania.
We could do nothing else but thought it best if we contacted the marina manager, Luigi, in Albania to let him know about our situation as I didn’t want to get there and find out that we couldn’t enter the country.
Well Luigi was brilliant. He listened but told us not to worry. He said that as long as everyone onboard had a current passport he and the agent we would need to employ would sort out the paperwork when we arrived.
So early Sunday morning, the 3rd June we left Italy to sail the 52nm to Orikum, Albania.
We had great weather, sailing for about half the trip.
Our auto route on the chart plotter had us doing a strange dog leg just as we entered the bay of Vlore. Sailing down a narrow corridor between two hatched areas?
When we zoomed in on the chart it read that the large areas to the left and right of us used to be mined in the war and that it was advisable to keep clear of them!!!
The sail into Orikum was wonderful with mountains all around.
The marina was quite small but Claire bought us in very nicely and we had a couple of people help us with our lines.
When I stepped ashore the marina manager Luigi was there to shake my hand. I told him that without his help, his quick responses to emails with his reassurances that all would be ok we wouldn’t have sailed to Albania.
He was very gracious and asked us to bring all our paperwork to his office when we were sorted.
Claire and I went to sort out our entry paperwork. As we walked to the office it was obvious that there was something going on. There was a stage being built, red carpet was being laid, lots of tables were being set up and there was flags on every lamppost and flag pole.
The paper work was quite easy really. It was the same as normal apart from needing to fill out a crew list.
There was an agent there who, for about 80Euro’s would do all the other paperwork required. It sounds steep but our passports needed to be seen by three different official departments in Vlore which was about 10 miles away.
We didn’t like handing over our passports, but we were assured by Luigi that it would be fine. Besides, he said you have a party to go to!!
He laughed and said that as long as we had some reasonably smart clothes we would be welcome to attend the event being held in the marina to celebrate the strengthening ties between Albania and Italy.
We went back to RR informed Karen and Peter that all was well and to get their wedding outfits out from the bottom of their bags as we had another party to go too.
We all showered and changed before wandering around to join the growing crowd in front of the stage.
There was a band tuning up but they fell silent as a few important looking people stood up flanked by men in uniform.
After a few speeches the crowd applauded before slowly moving towards the food and drinks that were being laid out on the many tables.
It was truly fantastic. There were at least 350 people there with plenty of really delicious food and drink for all.
After an hour or so the band started. They were very good too.
We all had a brilliant night, dancing, drinking and eating.
Luigi introduced us to the marina owner who turned out to be a very nice, elderly woman. We also shook hands with one of the dignitaries who welcomed us to Albania.
We got back to RR around midnight happy but completely knackered.
In the morning we had a bit of a slow start.
After a shower we all walked into town which didn’t really have a centre. It was more a collection of restaurants, flats and road side shops strung along the road.
We talked to a couple of lads who had reasonable English and were obviously waiting for a bus. There was no bus stop but they kept glancing at their watches and looking up the road. They said one was due soon so we waited with them.
A very old, rusty transit mini bus stopped full up with men and I thought that they were friends. The side door made a terrible noise as it was slid open. One of the lads looked inside and shook his head. The door screeched shut again and with a cloud of smoke the van drove off.
I looked at the lad and he shrugged his shoulders saying that the ‘bus’ was full!!!!
Bus?? There was nothing at all to indicate that it was a bus. The lads didn’t even put their arm out it just stopped by them.
Soon another ‘bus’ pulled up this one was a Mercedes but don’t let the name fool you. There was nothing to indicate that it was a bus. No number, no sign as to it's destination. If anything it was in worse condition than the first one but the lads opened the side door gesturing for us to follow.
All the seat were torn and stained, the windows were all wide open as there was no A\C. The driver grunted the door slammed and we were off.
It stopped a few times on the way to Vlore either to let someone get off or on.
Very few words were said by the driver he just held out his hand for the fare, we had no idea how much this was.
Those that needed to be picked up didn’t raise their hands they just sort of nodded at the driver. There were no bus stops. People were just standing by the side of the road.
It took about 20 minutes to get to Vlore.
Fortunately the lads were going there also and when they stood up we did too. We saw them give the driver some coins, so I asked how much for us. 1 Euro each he said.
The first thing we noticed about Vlore which is a growing holiday resort was how clean it was. Not a piece of rubbish anywhere, nothing!!
Beside the beach and promenade which must have been at least 2 miles long were new, high rise apartment blocks with nice café’s and bars dotted here and there.
There was nothing much for us to do there, nothing to visit that we could see and we didn’t want to sit on the beach so we had a look around the shops before finding a nice bar for a drink.
Getting back to the marina wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.
We went back to where we got off but on the other side of the street. There was a collection of ‘buses’ by the side of the road. Most with oil under their engines and dents in their panels.
I was just about to try and ask someone ‘which bus’ when Karen noticed a small sign in the window of one of them ‘Orikum’.
We climbed on and soon we were off.
Luigi had recommended a restaurant in Orikum so we thought we’d give it a go.
It was in a beautiful setting a few hundred yards from the marina.
We were the first ones there but it was quite early at 7.30.
At the party the other night in the marina I had a portion of white fish with sliced potatoes that was fantastic and I wanted that again.
Fortunately our waiter had very good English. He bought out a large tray with all the freshly caught fish.
He pointed at one saying this was a ‘Merluc’ white cod fish.
So that’s what I had and it was delicious. We all enjoyed our food.
We wanted to leave at 07.00 the following morning for Durres, which was about 60 miles away.
We had to get our paperwork and passports back first though. Luigi promised us that they would be there by the time we were ready to leave and they were.
He also told us to ignore our auto route on the chart plotter if it took us around the old mine fields. ‘It’s fine now’ he said. Smiling ‘you can go straight through’!
It was a long trip, unfortunately the Albanian government are not happy about boats anchoring along their coastline yet and there are only a few marinas at the moment.
So after 10 hours sailing with at least 6 of them in strong wind which fortunately was from astern we radioed for permission to enter the industrial port of Durres.
As we were waiting for a response we heard another yacht called ‘Fly the coop’ on the VHF. This made Peter laugh as we were ‘Red Rooster’ so I called them up on the VHF to say hi explaining that we had flown the coop 4 years ago.
As it happened when we entered the port there was very little free space as all the dock was being used by huge ships unloading their cargo so we had to raft up to ‘Fly the coop’ who turned out to be an Australian family from Queenstown.
Very soon we were on board their large catamaran having a drink.
We stayed rafted up for a few hours until the large cargo ship in front of us left.
The Durres agent who was there for ‘Fly the coop’ helped us with our paperwork too. It cost us 40 Euro’s for his services…….we think some of the money was for checking out as we would be leaving Albania when we left Durres. I still feel like we are being ripped off a bit as I am sure here in Durres all of the officials were in the same building but we were tired and the guy was nice.
We also had to pay 10Euro’s per calendar day for stopping in the port.
We eventually moved onto the wall ourselves taking care to avoid chaffing our mooring lines on the sharp edges of the high concrete dock edges by sliding pieces of hose pipe over them.
We had never taken Red Rooster into a port like this before. We must have been a novelty to all of the crews on board the large ships that towered over us because they just looked down and stared at us for ages!
We had a very nice meal on board before settling down to sleep.
The weather however decided that an undisturbed night was out of the question so sent a huge lightning and thunder storm with strong winds and very heavy rain to keep us awake.
I checked our lines in the morning and they were ok. The hose pipe was a bit of a mess but that’s what it was there for.
The deck of Red Rooster was covered in grain from the ships un loading which proved quite difficult to wash off. There was no fresh water available so I used a bucket getting water from the dock.
Peter noticed a man using a net on the end of a very long pole getting the rubbish out of the water. We have never seen anyone do this before, not even in the most expensive of marinas. This again enforces how clean Albania is.
We were talking about going into town when a dock worker with a radio told us that we needed to move as another cargo ship was entering the port.
He pointed to the other side of the port where all the containers were stacked.
We did as we were told, finding ourselves in a nicer, cleaner location nearer to the gates.
While Claire and Karen sorted the boat out Peter and I took my two trusty fuel cans to be filled in the petrol station just outside the port.
The diesel was a bit cheaper than Italy but not by much.
Durres was a very nice town, more established than Vlore. We walked up the main street. There was an old man with a set of scales offering to weigh you for a few coins. I like this kind of thing. He could of just sat there with his hand out but no he was offering a service so I stepped on.
I was a bit surprised at my weight as I thought I was eating better but no. The old man was laughing, pointing at my stomach!!!
I gave him a few coins before trying to get Claire to step on the scales…..she was having none of it!
It was only when I saw a picture that Claire took that I noticed Peter’s foot on the scales!!!
We decided to eat out later so went back to the boat for a rest before getting ourselves ready.
We were leaving early in the morning heading to Bar which is in Montenegro. We contacted the agent who promised to bring our checking out of Albania documents back that evening which he did.
We feel completely safe walking around here at night. Albania has been such a surprise.
We had a lovely meal in a very nice restaurant. Peter is good at choosing the wines. Cheap but very enjoyable. The food was delicious we had main and dessert including bread and wine. It was 24 Euro’s for the four of us!!!!!
We strolled back to RR. I seem to remember stopping at a bar near the docks for a night cap. Perfect.
Thursday 7th June
It's was another long leg to Bar in Montenegro mostly motoring but we had a good sail for the last few hours.
We had to ‘check in’ here too but this time we had the help of our good friend George Ratter who had been through this process already when he arrived here a few weeks earlier on board ‘Pipe Dream’ with his friends Robbie and Julie.
He sent us a very detailed message and we followed it to the letter.
We had to tie RR up at the customs dock, take our paper work to the harbour master whose office is nowhere near the harbour.
Karen and Peter stayed on board just in case RR needed to be moved.
Once the harbour master was happy with our paper work we had to go to the bank and make two payments, one for the admin costs and one for a sailing permit. It was around 30 Euros for both.
We had to walk back to the harbour masters office to show him the payment slips as proof of payment.
His photo copier broke at this stage and he told us that he couldn’t complete our paperwork without it.
He told us to go away for 30 minutes while he tried to fix it.!!!!
We went to the marina to book a berth for a couple of nights then returned to his office. He wasn’t there but a young woman was. She was thumping the photo copier, shaking her head.
She did what everyone else does, no matter what nationality you are when met by a malfunctioning machine. She pressed every button, open and closed all the doors and turned it on and off.
She gave us our paperwork and sailing permit.
All we needed to do now was take it too the customs officers and border police back at the port for them to photo copy it all too.
We found them easily enough. They were reasonably efficient apart from when their mobile phones rang. Everything stopped while they took the call which was obviously a personal call.
Suddenly the monies we had paid to the agents in Albania now seemed perfectly reasonable!!
We were done. We walked back to RR. Karen and Peter were glad to see us and happier still to find their passports stamped. Because passports are very rarely stamped anymore.
We took RR into the marina and relaxed.
Bar is a busy, bustling town. The people here are friendly with lots of young people eating and drinking in the many bars and restaurants.
We stayed for two nights but wanted to move on as the delights of Budva and the Golf of Kotor were calling us.
When we left Bar it was quite stormy with strong, blustery winds and larger than normal seas but we had a forecast of improving weather.
We had a reef in the main and some of the genoa rolled in.
It was raining intermittently, and it crossed my mind more than once whether we had made the right decision to leave the safety of the marina.
Peter had talked about the sailing tack tick of ‘heaving to’ this is a way to halt the yacht in moderate to strong winds safely allowing you time to fix something or have some rest as the yacht stays reasonably upright, depending on the size of the waves.
You heave too by tacking the yacht as normal, but you leave the genoa ‘backed’ while easing the main off completely at the same time moving the rudder to turn the boat into the wind.
It sounds complicated but it's not really.
What happens is that the wind pushes on the backed genoa while the rudder tries to turn the boat back into wind.
They cancel each other out and the yacht sort of stops. I say sort of as there is a bit of movement as one tries to overpower the other but it's less than a knot and it's a slow forward drift.
It's best to secure the boom or drop the main completely as it flops around.
Anyway I thought it was the ideal time to have a go at this as you often only practice these things in perfect weather when you often need them in rough weather.
Well it went ok with RR stopped in 15 – 20 knots of wind. It was a lot more comfortable on board even with the waves rocking us about. It was easy to see how this method would help if you needed to do something on the boat that was difficult if heeled right over.
On we went towards Budva with the weather improving all the time.
There is a very pretty little Island off of Budva and we wanted to anchor for the night behind it as it would give us protection from the prevailing winds but the anchor wouldn’t hold.
After three attempts we decided to anchor closer to the town. The quickest route took us across a very shallow strip of water but the charts were reading 2.5 meters and we are 1.6 meters so we should have been fine but we wasn’t.
We touched the bottom. We were only going slow and we reversed out the way we had come.
We went all the way around the island before dropping anchor in the sand off of the town.
We have a policy not to leave the boat as soon as we’ve anchored just to make sure we’re OK so we settled down to a nice evening onboard.
The following morning though we were up and off the boat taking the RIB into the small harbour asking before leaving it tied up to the dock.
We went into the old town which was very well preserved. Most shops were full of souvenirs with a few restaurants and bars.
As it was Sunday there was a service being held in the small church.
It really is a nice place perched on the very edge of the coastline.
We made our way back to RR setting off for what we hoped was going to be the highlight of our visit to Montenegro - The Golf of Kotor.
We had a very nice sail only turning on the engine as we approached the entrance to the vast inland waterway known as the Golf or Bay of Kotor.
As we were motoring along we offered to help a small glass fibre dinghy powered by a little outboard with about 10 people on-board one of which was a very small baby being held in his mother’s arms!!
Two were wearing life jackets, with the couple at the front holding a large beach towel up between them to stop some of the breaking waves hitting the rest of the passengers.
There was quite a sloppy sea running which looked like it was going to swamp the boat as well as squally rain falling in a blustery wind.
The man in control of the outboard waved our offer of help away. As I increased the revs on RR’s engine I looked up to see a large motor yacht heading towards us creating a huge wake.
I turned RR towards it waving my arms indicating that he should slow down. He eventually saw the danger and slowed.
We carried on into the gulf.
The Gulf is about 28 km (17 miles) long and has a shoreline of over 100 Km (60 miles) consisting of three large basins which are almost completely enclosed by steep sided mountains making for a very spectacular setting.
One of the first unusual things we saw upon entering this inland area was old U-Boat pens left over from WWII.
They still looked ominous.
We were looking for a place to anchor for a night or two and after a few abortive attempts found a lovely spot off of Sveti Marco a small island towards the end of the first bay. We were behind a small church perched on an island of its own.
It was so peaceful.
Out came the obligatory G&T’s and prosecco.
We all went for a swim before enjoying a very nice meal on-board.
As the sun set I managed to take some very nice pictures.
After a very peaceful night we had a slow start. Karen and Peter took the RIB into shore but there were signs painted on the walls of the derelict buildings forbidding landing so they contented themselves by looking at the marine life in the clear waters.
We decided to carry on as we had been offered the use of a mooring buoy in the next Bay.
The mooring belongs to a friend of our good friends George and Barbara. They have used this mooring buoy themselves and kindly asked their friend John if it would be OK for RR to use it for a couple of days.
We motored past Tivat which now boasts a very new superyacht marina called Porto Montenegro. Through the narrowest section into another very impressive Bay.
Almost the first thing you see is two small islands both with small, beautiful churches built on them.
One of the Islands, Gospa od Skrpjela is manmade. The story goes that there was a low-lying reef which was a hazard to local shipping so the people of Perast kept dropping stones on it to make it more visible I suppose. Some say that they also filled captured pirate ships with stone before sinking them on the reef.
This started in 1452 and every year on July 22nd (My Birthday) the people commemorate it by dropping stones on the reef.
Well they eventually created a small island on which a church was built in 1630
The other Island Sveti Djordje was the site of a Benedictine abbey. The Abbey was attacked and destroyed on two occasions by the Turks. It now has many cypress trees growing within it's tiny grounds which are surrounded by high walls.
As we were looking for our mooring buoy we were surprised by a huge cruise liner that moved slowly past us on it's way to Kotor which was at the head of the Bay.
It always surprises me that something so big can pass you by with almost no noise and no wake whatsoever!
Well we found our mooring buoy in a beautiful spot close to the shore. Thanks John.
We sorted RR out then took the dinghy to shore for a walk and a drink in one of the small restaurants that were dotted along the edge of the Bay.
This place is very special, it's like we have somehow been transported to Norway or Switzerland maybe.
As we sit in a lovely restaurant at the edge of a seemingly very large lake, surrounded by high mountains which are covered in snow during the months of winter you have to keep reminding yourselves that you’re in the Adriatic.
We decided to catch the small local bus, it actually looked like a bus this time back to Tivat for a walk around the marina there to see how the other half lived.
We left the dinghy on a little beach and waited for the bus which George had told us comes on the half hour and the hour.
There were no bus stops which we could see so we just put our hands out as the bus flew around the corner into sight. Once on we held on tight as the ride was, exciting shall we say!!
Tivat was a bit of a let down really. Oh, the marina was nice with restaurants and shops but at the very high end of the market. It sort of swamped the town really.
There was a small maritime museum but it was quite expensive to go in so we decided to give it a miss.
The Montenegrin sail training ship ‘Jadran’ was moored on the quay looking very smart. She was launched in 1931 and is still used today.
We had to wait a while for the return bus but we managed to find an odd little bar for a beer while we waited.
The ride back was just as exciting with cars diving into side roads and driveways on the left and right as the bus tore around on very narrow roads next to the shore.
When we got back to the dinghy I noticed that the shutters on the house where John, the owner of the mooring buoy lived were now open. George had told us that his friend should arrive while we were there, so I knocked on his door and had a quick chat thanking him for letting us pick up his mooring.
We had dinner on board deciding to watch a film on the laptop before turning in.
We were all looking forward to moving on in the morning as we were going around the last bend in this huge bay to stop in the marina at Kotor.
There was a huge cruise liner on the quay as we entered Kotor which took away some of the magic on arriving at this very special place.
Kotor is an old walled town. A Unesco world heritage site. Once again we found out that everyone has had a go at settling here including the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantium.
In 1420 the Turks were the biggest threat, so the town sided with the powerful Venetian Republic which in turn instigated the fortifications.
Even the English Royal Navy helped the Montenegrin navy in 1814 wrestle the town from French rule.
We needed to go into the marina here as we were running low on drink, water and food in that order.
To call it a marina is pushing it a bit. It's really one pontoon with water and electricity available. No toilets or showers but it's very close to the town. It was only 40 Euro’s a night so we were happy.
The walled town was very nice, but the number of tourists wasn’t!! I know we were tourists too, but the cruise liners pull up onto the same quay our pontoon is attached to. By the time the last mooring line is attached hundreds, and I do mean hundreds of people are getting off the liner walking straight into the town.
They need to do everything quickly as the liner almost always leaves the same day. So it never felt relaxed during the day with people strolling about enjoying the atmosphere. Large groups of people were marching or milling about waiting for their tour guide to lead them onto the next interesting spot.
That said we enjoyed wandering around the town, we went into the very interesting museum there before getting lost in the maze narrow of streets.
The evenings however were very different. It's as if you felt the town heave a sigh of relief as the passengers boarded their liner and the town could get back to some form of normality.
We found the supermarket, they had almost everything we needed including bottles of the ‘Kings Wine’. The Kings wine is a red that Peter discovered when we were in Bar.
It's very cheap, around 2 Euros but very nice and we have drunk lots of it.
We call it the Kings wine because it has a picture of someone regal on the label. We can’t pronounce the name of it!!
We enjoyed a meal on-board RR as we had an early start in the morning.
We had to do it, Peter decided, correctly that we needed to do it early in the morning as most of it would be in the shade. I’m talking about the very steep walk up the walled fortifications to the castle that was perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the town.
Another advantage of leaving early is that you beat the rush from the cruise liners.
There are a lot of steps, over 1000 I think and all of them were big.
As you climb, the view becomes more spectacular and you can use this to your advantage by pretending that you’re taking pictures or just admiring the view when what you’re really trying to do is get your breath back!!
At strategic points there were people selling cold bottles of water etc. This amazed me as I realised that someone, very early in the morning had to carry all this water in an ice box up the steps! There were no roads up where we were!
We made it to the derelict castle at the top to spend a few well earned minutes looking out and down at the wonderful scenery.
Red Rooster looked tiny in her berth.
The weather changed quite quickly with heavy rain sweeping in, it only lasted for a few minutes, but the problem was that the rain made the stone steps, worn smooth over time very slippery and we all had to be careful as we made our way back down.
We stopped for a coffee before making our way back to the boat. We decided that we had earned a meal out that evening so we had a lazy afternoon before heading back into the walled town.
Karen, Peter, Claire and I enjoyed a very nice meal in one of the small restaurants in the town. Sitting outside enjoying the cooling temperature as the sun dropped behind the mountains that surround this wonderful place.
We all enjoyed Kotor very much.
Another day another country!!
We were checking out of Montenegro today heading for Croatia which was just along the coast. Kotor had a customs facility because of all the cruise liners I suppose which made it relatively easy for us to check out here.
That done we headed out through the three large bays back into the Adriatic. I enjoyed being able to see the horizon again.
Once again we were lucky with the wind and sailed for a good part of the day with Peter trying hard to break our speed record which is 8.2 Knots I think?
It was time to swap the courtesy flags again!!
Down came the Montenegro eagles and up went the………hold on a second that’s not a Croatian flag, that’s a Slovenian flag.
We had to improvise, we had a Netherlands flag, Red, white and blue horizontal stripes so Claire got busy with paper and felt tip pens and soon we had a Croatian flag complete with the Red and white chequered shield complete with the symbols along the top.
We soon reached Cavtat where we had to check in to Croatia.
We couldn’t lie side on to the dock because there was a superyacht and a large stink boat berthed stern to. The dock didn’t have lazy lines so we had to drop our anchor and reverse back up to the quay in between these two big boats.
I think Claire was a bit nervous, I know I was but we did very well.
Once again our good friend George Ratter had given us a detailed account of what to do so we didn’t have too many problems.
The harbour master was a very nice man and took time to answer our questions regarding anchoring, the cost regarding picking up a mooring buoy.
Unfortunately for us the Croatian government decided to put up the cost of the cruising permits in 2018. The HM apologised profusely for this.
The permit for our length of boat has gone up from 87 Euros to 388 Euro’s !!!!! for three months.
The HM agreed with us that this massive cost rise is keeping a lot of the cruising sailors like us away.
An odd thing happened in the harbour masters office though.
Claire had started to get our documents out of the folder she keeps them in. Passports, Red Roosters registration and most important of all was the checking out document and crew list officially stamped when we left Kotor, Montenegro.
She’d laid them out on the harbour masters (HM) table when another man came in, obviously one of the skippers from one of the two superyachts on the dock.
He spoke rapidly to the HM in, I assume Croatian before handing over a large wad of cash. They have to pay the cruising tax too!
The HM counted the money and laid some documents on the table which the skipper swept up and put in his folder.
Claire said to me that she thought he had picked up one of our documents too!! He had, It was only our crew list and checking out document!!
We asked him to check his folder for our documents which he did and found ours in between his! He apologised and left.
It was so lucky that Claire had noticed this as without proof that we had officially left Montenegro I am not sure that we could’ve gained entry into Croatia!
Croatia was our 4th country on RR this year.
We got back to RR deciding to anchor in the little bay of Cavtat.
We had to try two or three times to set our anchor before we were happy with it and it was a good job we did for later that evening the wind really got up as a thunder storm swept in. We all took turns through the night sitting on deck to make sure we didn’t drag.
We were all tired after taking turns to sit up on deck but with windy weather forecast for the next few days we decided to move.
I did my engine checks as usual before asking Claire to start the engine.
We were getting the ready to pick up the anchor when I though I smelt something funny coming from the engine vent. I opened up the engine compartment to find coolant spaying everywhere!!
I asked Claire to turn the engine off and started to clean up the mess.
I could see nothing wrong, no split hoses, all the hose connections were tight, so I asked Claire to start her up again……nothing!!
Not a drip, nothing.
So we decided to go on.
We motored past the beautiful walled town of Dubrovnik heading for the small island of Lopud.
We learned about this island from a couple of travellers we met while we were walking on the walls of Kotor.
We dropped the anchor in 10m of clear water. It was an idyllic spot.
I checked the engine, nothing. It was all ok.
We had a lovely afternoon swimming, snorkelling before stopping for drinks as the sun went down.
We had a nice meal on-board using the BBQ again. This really helps to keep the boat cool as your not turning the oven on.
In the morning I asked Claire to start the engine while I had the covers off. As soon it started a spray of coolant was hitting the fan belt, going everywhere.
‘Turn it off’ I shouted I cleaned the mess up, got a torch to help me try to find where the leak was coming from.
‘Turn it on again’ I shouted to Claire I was ready, torch on but there was nothing, no spray, no drips, nothing??
I let it run for a few minutes, but it was fine.
This was doing my head in. How could something leak so badly then a minute later not leak. It just didn’t make sense.
Karen, Peter and Claire wanted to walk over to the town which was on the other side of the island. I wanted to look at the engine a bit more so they left me to it.
I checked all the jubilee clips on the cooling hoses but they seemed fine, the copper cooling pipes that are routed to and from the fresh water pump seemed fine with no obvious issues.
I decided to make a shield up from a plastic folder in an attempt to prevent the water spraying onto electrical connections in the engine bay.
I started the engine again, nothing!!! It ran perfectly?
Peter, Karen and Claire returned just as I was putting everything back. They had had a nice time bringing me back a nice slice of cherry pie and some fresh bread.
Time for a cup of tea and a bickie.
We decided to have lunch at one of the bars on the beach. We had to choose between two bars but as one of them was completely empty whilst the other was easily half full it was quite an easy decision for us.
What one would you have chosen?
We had a very nice lunch in the half full bar before strolling back along the beach to the dinghy.
We were going to move on in the morning but Peter and I wanted to take the RIB to look into some of the little inlets that were nearby.
The rock formations always interest me and here was no exception.
The little inlets were wonderful, all different shapes and sizes but all ruined by one thing….plastic.
A couple of these beautiful places were completely full of plastic rubbish which must have been driven in by wind and storm.
We were heading towards a place called Ston.
We got the boat ready to go.
I asked Claire to start the engine.
Turn it off!!! Coolant spraying everywhere.
I’m getting fed up with this now.
Peter and I had another good look at it. We couldn’t see anything dripping, nothing loose it all looked as it should.
I cleaned up, put some more coolant in the expansion tank and told Claire to start her up again.
Nothing, it ran perfectly, not a drip for four hours as we made our way through the most beautiful scenery to Ston which is another very impressive fortified town which boasts one of the longest fortified walls in Europe. It certainly looked impressive as it came into view.
The entrance into the small basin and town quay is very shallow. It requires dredging every now and then to keep it open.
We were directed to a spot on the new harbour wall by the harbour master and charged 42 Euros for the night. No water or electricity either !!
Ston is also famous for salt, it has one of the oldest salt pans in the Mediterranean and has been in virtually constant use for 4000 years with the basic method of production remaining unchanged since the middle ages.
The pans are filled with sea water via sluice gates, this evaporates in the sun which in turn leaves a residue of salt which is collected and sold.
Once we had sorted the boat out, putting the shades up to try to keep the boat cool we went into town.
You could clearly see the fortifications climbing quite steeply up and over the hill behind the town.
Entering the town through one of gates we were pleasantly surprised.
It had a very nice feel to it. We walked through a large open area shaded by trees to find the very old public natural water fountain built in 1581.
The edges of the stone trough were worn smooth by the many people over the years grateful to be able to find clean, cool drinking water.
We made our way into the narrow streets which were cool by comparison. The buildings were lovely with many of them turned into restaurants.
After looking at a few of the menu’s we all decided that it would be nice to eat here later that evening.
After wandering around for a while we made our way back to the boat to shower and get ready for the evening.
Karen and Peter found a very nice restaurant tucked away towards the back of the town where we had a nice table outside in the courtyard. The food was very nice and very reasonable.
We walked slowly back through the town stopping at a bar that had a TV as England were playing Tunisia in the world cup.
We sat outside cheering England on to a 2-1 win.
The following morning we still had some unfinished business. The wall!!
Karen and Peter were going to give it a miss as it was really hot. Even at 11.00. So they were going to meet us at the other end by following a path that took them to Mali Ston. Mali Ston was the small village at the other end of the fortifications famous for its Oysters and Mussels which have been cultivated here since the Romans inhabited the area.
Off we went, we said goodbye to Karen and Peter as we headed for the office to buy tickets.
The first 100 meters seemed almost straight up I stopped and asked Claire for some water. It was then that we realised we had forgotten to fill our empty water bottles in the fountain!!
Oh No. It was too far to go back so we carried on. I thought it was hard going but Claire seemed OK.
We were near the top and the path, thankfully was levelling out when we heard a woman’s scream coming from just ahead.
We hurried around the corner to find a man and a woman about 70 meters away holding each other. When the woman saw us she screamed, really loudly pointing above our heads!! ‘Watch out for the huge spiders in the trees’ we saw the spiders, they were in their web’s in the trees but they weren’t that big I asked Claire if she was OK with them and she didn’t have a problem so we carried on and left them to it.
As usual the walking down was harder on the knees than the walking up. I was glad when we reached the bottom to find Peter waiting for us, we went to where Karen was waiting before retiring to an oyster bar for a beer.
We had to sit through a really boring lecture from the bar owners son who was trying to impress a female tourist about the ‘scientifically proven quality’ of his oysters and mussels. Peter was having none of it and kept telling the guy about the Sydney rock oysters he has in Australia.
We had to get back as we were moving on again but I must admit that my legs were aching as we walked back along the path to RR.
Once back on board we got RR ready to go. I did my engine checks asked Claire to start her up expecting water to be spraying everywhere but no, nothing!!!
We motored back through the narrow channels before putting the sails up.
As we entered the large bay we needed to cross to get to our next destination the wind filled in nicely. I said to Peter and Karen that this would be a great time to sail just for sailings sake, so we spent an hour or two tacking, gybing and reaching around this wonderful bay before making our way into Luca Sipanska on the island of Sipan.
When Claire started the engine so we could take the sails down water sprayed everywhere!!!! What the hell is going on. We stopped the engine, I cleaned up, asked Claire to start the engine and all was fine. So frustrating.
We went right into the end of the bay in Luca Sipanska anchoring just in front of the small hotel. It really was a lovely spot in a beautiful place.
Earlier in the week I had posted my engine problem on a sailing forum called ‘Cruisers and sailing’ after we had sorted the boat out I checked the forum and was pleasantly surprised to find 6 replies.
One, from a mechanic in Auckland N.Z. seemed to shed some light on our problem. He said that he thought the problem was the fresh water pump as it was coolant getting sprayed around and not sea water. He went onto explain that when the seal failed in the pump it came away from the housing of the pump allowing water to get past. The reason it stopped leaking after we started the engine again was that the water pressure when the pump was running pushed the seal back into place which stopped the leak!!! Ahhh
He went onto say that the only real solution is to replace the pump although it could be repaired but he wouldn’t advise it.
My friend Adrian, back in the UK reinforced the argument against repairing the pump.
So the hunt was now on for a new pump. It didn’t take many phone calls to determine that the pump I needed was not in stock. Not just in England but in Europe.
The Volvo Penta (VP) agent I contacted in England put in a written request for the pump to the VP head office and was told that there wasn’t one showing on their stock inventory not just in Europe but the world!!
I was told that my only chance would be to find a private dealer who had one on their shelves. I spent hours sifting through the
internet emailing small establishments asking if they happened to have a pump. All came back with the same answer, ‘sorry no’.
We stayed a few nights in Luca Sipanska enjoying a very nice meal ashore in a restaurant called ‘Tauris’
Well the time had come for Peter and Karen to start their long journey back to Australia.
The beginning of their journey started with us making our way back to the ACI marina in Dubrovnik. We had booked a couple of nights here about 2 weeks ago as we knew that it got very busy at the weekends with all the charter yachts.
We made our way into the Marina with Claire backing us into quite a tight berth. We had a few jobs to do on the boat. Karen and Claire did the washing as well as cleaned the boat while Peter and I got gas and fuel.
That evening we went to the bar to watch Croatia play Argentina.
In the morning we made our way into Dubrovnik on the bus which stopped just outside the marina. We got off at the bus terminal so that Karen and Peter could check the bus times to the airport and buy tickets for tomorrow.
The bus terminal is close to where the cruise liners pull in. I think there were four or five in at the moment so I knew Dubrovnik was going to be rammed!!
We got another bus into the town which was absolutely heaving with tourists.
Karen and Peter had been here before, so they guided us around a bit.
I was getting fed up bumping into people so we dived off into one of the smaller side streets for a spot of lunch.
It started to rain which was lovey as it cooled everything down. It didn’t last long.
We had a very nice meal. I think we were all feeling a little sad as this was going to be our last lunch together. We get on very well with Karen and Peter and have really enjoyed having them with us.
We made our way back to the marina on the bus.
It was chaos there as the charter fleet were on ‘change over’ day. Lots of cleaners, boat engineers and people with clip boards.
Karen and Peter packed their stuff before checking that they had everything. Which they did.
We had a nice meal onboard and a few drinks before retiring for the night.
Well the time had come, we walked with Karen and Peter to the bus stop where we hugged saying our goodbyes.
It will seem really weird being on our own again. We have been with Karen and Peter for over 5 weeks if you include our time in Sorento and we will miss them very much.
They have been really generous paying more than their fare share during our time together which we appreciated very much.
The bus came to quickly and they were off. Flying to Rome first then on to Australia. Safe trip you two. Your welcome back anytime.
Well we couldn’t hang about for too long, we had to leave the ACI marina by 14.00 hrs but a Sunsail rep was giving us the hurry up as he was expecting 6 charter boats back at anytime and we were in their spot!
We had seen how badly some of these charter boats are handled at close quarters, so we wanted to get out of their way ASAP besides the wind was due to strengthen this afternoon and we wanted to be anchored somewhere protected.
I topped off the water tanks while Claire got RR ready to leave.
All of a sudden we had lots to do as we were missing our two crew mates. More than once I was going to ask Peter or Karen to hand me something or do something for me.
Claire took us out without a problem, we passed a few Sunsail catamarans coming in as we passed under the bridge that crossed the river just outside of Dubrovnik.
Soon we were sailing into a strengthening wind. It carried on building to 25 + knots. That’s when we decided to hide around the back of Sipan Island.
It was very sheltered in the bay at Sudurad but the holding for our anchor was really poor so after a couple of attempts we decided to move back to Luca Sipanski.
It was not quite so sheltered there but the holding was fantastic which helped us to sleep soundly.
We heard from my friend and old boss Richard. He was on a charter boat out of Dubrovnik. He wanted to meet up. I explained our problem and he agreed to come to us in Sipanski.
We spent a very nice afternoon talking with him, his wife Wendy and the rest of his family
We also heard from our very good friends George and Barbara on ‘Pipe Dream’ they were heading our way asking if we could meet up.
We told George that we would prefer to stay where we were because of our engine problems which wasn’t a problem for him as they would be passing right by us in a few days.
So we enjoyed Luca Sipanska, walking along the coastal path to watch a friendly water polo match between the American UCLA and a Local Croatian team. I didn’t realise but water polo is big in Croatia.
We were also delighted to see ‘JO’ the large superyacht that my friend Rod worked on pull into the bay. What were the chances of that?? The last time we saw ‘JO’ was off Scilly as we headed for Riposte.
He couldn’t get off as he had guests to cook for but he came on deck and we waved at each other. Ahhh.
George and Barbara motored into the bay towing another yacht!!
After dropping the tow and making sure that the yacht was OK ‘Pipe Dream’ came to anchor by the side of us.
It was really good to see George and Barbara again. I wanted the chance to thank them personally for all of the information they had given us about Montenegro as well as arranging for us to use their friends mooring in Kotor.
I was sad that Karen and Peter had missed them as I knew that we would all get on really well.
I asked George about the boat they towed in.
When they first saw the yacht it was in a very dangerous place, the wind was quite strong with the yacht close to a rocky lee shore unable to run their engine as the fan belt had snapped. George went to help managing to get a line to them and towing them off and into the bay.
As we were talking to George and Barbara on board ‘Pipe Dream’ the skipper of the stricken yacht came over with a couple of bottles of wine for George. He was very grateful as well as being very lucky that George came along when he did.
That evening we enjoyed another very nice meal ashore with George and Barbara in the ‘Tauris’ restaurant.
It was great to catch up with them.
The following morning the weather came in grey and windy and we stayed on-board all day, it was really miserable.
We spent our time trying to find a new fresh water pump as well as someone who may be able to fit it for us if I thought it was too much of a job for me.
Claire emailed a mechanic whose yard was in a bay very near us on the mainland. He said he could help but not for a week or so as he father had just died and he needed to arrange the funeral!!
We did have many friends that were trying to help too, one of them, Toby Casley on-board ‘All together’ had spent some time in Turkey and emailed a dealership he had used in Marmaris for me.
Also George, my son confirmed that he and his girlfriend Shayna were going to fly out to visit us. He could fly into Split on the 3rd July!!
I talked to him about our engine problems explaining that we may not be able to do as much as I would have liked when they were with us but promising to try to get to Split by the time he arrived.
When we were chatting with George and Barbara about my son’s plans they told us to go to Seget, near Trogir which was the closest place to the airport in Split. It sounded odd but when we looked on the charts we could see what he meant.
He had stayed there at anchor just recently as he has a relation who lives in Seget.
There was also a good marina there too.
Thursday 28th June.
We agreed with George and Barbara that we were going to move to a bay on the mainland as we had discovered that even if we found a pump it was very unlikely that they would deliver it to an island. We needed an address on the mainland for the courier.
George said they would follow us until we were safely anchored before moving on himself. What a nice man.
So we sorted the boat out and started the engine, Coolant everywhere but I was sort of used to it now.
We lifted the anchor and motored out of the bay.
After 10 minutes I went down to check the engine and the coolant had stopped leaking.
I had a chat with Claire because I wanted to carry on towards Split while the engine was running OK. Claire surprisingly agreed so I called George and Barbara on the VHF telling them of our change of plans.
They came alongside. We waved, thanking them for all of their help and for their friendship.
Claire put RR on her new course. We set the sails but left the engine on motor sailing in the light winds.
We were passing beautiful islands that we would have normally stopped at but we needed to keep going.
We eventually had to stop earlier than we would have liked because the wind picked up. On the nose of course producing a short steep wave that was making good progress difficult.
Claire found us a little bay, Trstorik, on the mainland. It’s very small but gave us good shelter for the night.
When we were settled I checked my email to find a message from Toby. His contact in Turkey had a new pump I could buy!!! I was to contact them directly.
After a few emails back and forth checking that it was the correct part and that they could post it to Croatia we paid via a bank transfer and our pump was on it's way.
We decided to have it sent to Marina Baotic, Seget where we needed to be to pick up my son George and Shayna.
It cost 980 Euro’s though which is a hell of a lot of money for a small pump but we had no choice really.
Now all we had to do was to get to Seget which was a few miles the wrong side of Split.
Thank you Toby.
We were ready to move quite early as we still had a long way to go.
We went through the same routine, start the engine, coolant spraying everywhere, after a few minutes the coolant stopped leaking. Top the expansion tank up and carry on.
We passed close to the fortified town of Korcula which was high on our list of places to visit but we couldn’t risk stopping. We promised ourselves that we would visit them when we returned next year.
By early evening we could see split in the distance but the wind started to build again as is the norm here.
I was sick of motoring, worrying about the engine so this time we switched off the engine and sailed. The wind was blowing 18 -20 knots straight down the gap between the mainland and the island of Brac.
It was exciting and I loved every minute. Making our way towards Split tacking up this beautiful piece of water.
The light was fading fast and we knew we would have to stop or risk entering a strange bay at about 2 in the morning.
We anchored in Stobrec, a small bay just before Split just as the sun was dropping behind the high, mountainous peaks that surround every piece of water here.
We were both really tired which for me was as much to do with worrying about the engine as it was the invigorating sail we had just had.
After a quick meal we fell into bed.
After going through the same starting routine.
We motor sailed for another three or four hours before we finally dropped anchor outside of Marina Biotic, Seget just after lunch.
We had done it.
We were where we needed to be to pick up my son and Shayna, as well as collecting the pump when it arrived at the marina office.
It was so nice to wake up without worrying about starting the engine.
The forecast told of strengthening winds later on in the day so I let some more chain out, or I would have if the windlass had worked!!
After checking the connections and voltages at the solenoid, I decided that the solenoid was the problem so I spent a few hours taking it apart, cleaning it before putting it all back together. It worked!!
We took the dinghy into the marina to book a berth for the 3rd. We also informed the receptionist that we were expecting a parcel. They were happy to call us when it arrived.
Even though we weren’t actually staying in the marina yet we took the opportunity to use their washing machines as well as their showers and toilets.
Just to try them out and to check that they were up to our standards you understand!
Claire cleaned RR as only she can!!! Getting the front cabin ready for our guests.
We then went to the garage in town in the dinghy with our trusty cans to get diesel but more importantly to get coolant for the engine. When I swapped the pump out I wanted to drain all of the old coolant putting in new after the work was complete.
I wasn’t going to pay the exorbitant prices that Volvo Penta were asking either as I feel I have paid them enough already so after consulting my new mechanic friend in Auckland via the Cruiser forum I bought some good quality automotive engine coolant. It was less than a quarter of the price!!
We had a lovely meal on-board RR and slept very well.
The following morning after breakfast and a swim I noticed I had an email from George and Barbara. They were doing very well heading for Albania and I was very happy to help them with information regarding checking in with customs etc.
In return George told us that his cousin Beth, who lives in Seget would be happy to drive us to the airport to pick up my son and his girlfriend. It was only a few minutes away by car. How good is that!!!!
The 3rd of July dawned bright and clear. It was great to be seeing my son on this day of all days as it was his 23rd Birthday.
We arranged to meet Allan, the husband of George’s cousin in the afternoon outside of the marina. We drove the short journey to the airport, unfortunately their flight was delayed by nearly an hour but they soon emerged from the arrivals lounge and it was really good to see them both.
We couldn’t hang around though as England were playing Columbia in the world cup and the game had started already. We all wanted to see the match including Alan so we drove slightly quicker back to Seget stopping at a beach side bar where the game was in full swing.
It was great to be sitting there watching England win on penalties with my son and his girlfriend on the day of his birth no less. The last time we had seen them was over a year ago in Bermuda watching the Americas Cup contenders limbering up when we were there with Steve and Fiona on ‘Supertramp’
Back on-board RR both Claire and I were worrying whether George and Shayna would fit into the front cabin as Shayna is about 6ft tall with George around 6ft.2”.
They seemed to fit in OK actually.
On the 4th we sailed around to anchor in a little bay called Uvala Duga off the island of Cio vo.
We swam and snorkelled in the clear waters deciding to stay there for the night as the weather was settled.
We were all having problems with the toilet. It was working erratically. We have a vacuum toilet and the seals that help create the vacuum were failing.
You can do without most things on a yacht for a while, but you need a working toilet especially when you have guests on-board!
We decided to sail back to Seget where I could take the thing apart.
As luck would have it George and Shayna had a friend that was holidaying on the island of Hvar so we agreed that it would be best if they stayed a night with their friend which would give me two days to look at the toilet.
On the plus side we received a message from the marina informing us that a parcel had arrived. It was our very expensive pump!!!!
So on the morning of the 6th Claire dropped them off at the bus station in Trogir where they got the bus to Split and then a ferry to Hvar.
I started stripping the toilet out as soon as they left RR. I had done this once before when Grace was with us so I knew what to expect.
This time though I had spare seals which I thought was the real problem.
Claire came back and helped me by cleaning all of the parts I handed her as I started to take the toilet apart.
It was messy but not too bad. The worst thing was the lime scale, it was so thick and so tough to clean off. We resulted to using screwdrivers to chip it off nearly every part.
I found where I had hidden the new seals but was really upset to find that I had been sent the wrong parts!! They were far too big so we had to clean up the old ones as best we could.
I put everything back together altering the wiring slightly too as I thought the pump was struggling a bit which was not helping the toilet create the vacuum.
This took about 5 hours but when I turned it on it worked……..
We cleaned up, the boat and ourselves before have a drink or two to celebrate.
I started thinking about the fresh water pump.
Claire persuaded me to leave it to the following morning as George and Shayna had been in touch to tell us that they were having a great time. They intended to stay over and wouldn’t be back to the following afternoon. Perfect.
I started stripping out the fresh water pump first thing in the morning.
I was quite nervous but new that there were Volvo Penta engineers in the marina who could come to the boat and complete the job if I couldn’t do it. For an exorbitant cost of course.
I drained out what was left of the old coolant before I started to remove the pump. I’m pretty sure that this was the original so hadn’t moved for about 28 years.
I worked very slowly and carefully taking pictures with my phone as I went keeping everything clean and tidy.
Quite quickly I had the old pump off and after cleaning up the ends of the three existing copper pipes, replacing the old seals with new I was ready to fit the shiny new pump.
It went very well.
I was soon pouring in the new coolant, putting the fan belt back on and cleaning up before asking Claire to start the engine.
You can not believe how surprised I was when the engine started and not a single drop of water was to be seen.
I was so used to seeing the coolant spraying everywhere that I couldn’t quite believe that it was fixed.
I let it run for 10 minutes before stopping it to top up the coolant to the correct level.
We have had three things go wrong on RR now, The pump, the toilet and the windlass solenoid so lets hope that the end of it. For awhile anyway.
We met George and Shayna in Trogir later in the afternoon.
Trogir was about 5 minutes away in the RIB. We found a place to tie it up in the little canal that run behind the town.
Once we had all met up we needed to find a restaurant that had a TV as we were hungry and England were playing again.
Trogir is a very nice town with narrow streets, tourists, and a restaurant on every corner.
We found a lovey place where we enjoyed the food and drink whist watching England beat Sweden 2-0.
We enjoyed walking through the town. It had been another very hot day but it was cooling down nicely. We stopped at a bar for a nightcap before going back to RR in the RIB.
The following morning we decided to sail to another bay on the mainland this time. The engine started, not one drop of coolant to be seen. The toilet flushed numerous times and the anchor came up when I pushed the button. Things were looking good.
We needed water so George took us into the fuel berth were we filled up the tanks. It wasn’t free but I think we confused the attendant sufficiently for him to charge us only 4.5 Euros to fill the boat to the brim.
We headed out into the bay where we soon had the sails up.
I’m pleased to be able to report that George loves to sail as much as I do.
The wind built very quickly and soon we had two reefs in the main, we hadn’t had two reefs in for a few years, the jib had two reefs in to match.
We were beating into the wind with a sea that was building but RR was sailing very well.
We started to look at alternative bays to go into as we had a few miles still to go but we were enjoying ourselves very much so we decided to carry on.
It was touching 30 knots as we threaded our way through some small islands as we entered the large bay which had Rogoznica Town and marina in one arm of the bay. We wanted to anchor so we went past and down into the bay of Stupin.
There were two or three boats at anchor already so we dropped ours a respectful distance away from a large Cat.
We all went for a swim, George and Shayna wanted to visit the town of Rogoznica so they took the RIB to shore and walked around the headland.
They came back after a few hours saying that the town was all new buildings and pretty boring.
We had something to eat before introducing them to the game of ‘Mexican train’.
Our Mexican train set is kept in a very special bag made by our good friend George Ratter with superb embroidery by Barbara his wife.
I wasn’t sure if George and Shayna would like the game but they picked it up very quickly and enjoyed playing it very much. So much so that I had to rig a light up to allow us to finish the game in the dark.
We had a slow start before pulling the anchor up to motor sail to the island of Brac.
Claire had picked out a small bay almost opposite Split called Spliska. It was very small and quite deep but our anchor set well. There was no wind forecast so we relaxed.
The water was very clear, we were all in swimming before too long.
George and Shayna spent a lot of time reading and sending emails as they were trying to find new jobs. They work together on superyachts and were looking for a yacht that would employ them as a couple.
It was nice listening to them talk about different job opportunities that were being sent to them by the different agencies.
But everything stopped for ‘Mexican Train’
In the morning we left for the island of Hvar.
The intention was to go to the town Hvar but the wind was on our nose so Claire and Shayna found another harbour for us to aim for called Stari Grad.
This new destination allowed us to launch the asymmetric spinnaker which is a lot easier to do with four people on board.
Stari Grad is a very nice town with long harbour walls on both sides of the inlet that has been set up very well for yachts to berth.
George bought us in stern to. It was very busy and the marinaro’s were rushing around helping as other yachts entered the harbour.
They didn’t have time to collect our documents which proved very fortuitous for us when it was time to leave.
Claire and I wanted to do a few jobs so George and Shayna went for a walk into town to look for a supermarket and a bar where we could watch the next England game.
We all walked back into town later on in the afternoon for a look around before doing a food shop.
We had dinner onboard and played another game of Mexican train.
After a long breakfast we went into town.
Stari Grad really is very nice, very clean. We stopped for a beer and George showed us the bar he had selected for us later that evening to eat and to watch England play Croatia in the semi finals of the world cup.
He had got confused over the timings of the football match because of the time differences and had to tell the waitress to change our booking three times before he got it right.
The atmosphere in the town just before kick off was fantastic. There was a very happy, good natured feel about the place.
Obviously there were Croatian flags and fans everywhere. It was brilliant.
Well unfortunately England lost 2-1 but we played well. The crowd went mad as the winning goal went in.
They lit flares, there was dancing, cheering and a lot of drinking but no trouble whatsoever.
We made our way slowly back to RR. I was a little sad that our team were out of the cup but happy to have been able to watch the game in Croatia with my son by my side.
As we were preparing to leave the following morning I asked the skipper on the yacht next to us if, when he came in did the marinaro take his boat papers. “yes” he said you have to pay before you get them back.
Well they didn’t have our documents so in theory we could just creep out.
Claire would have none of it insisting that I went and paid. So I paddled across the inlet in the dinghy to save the long walk around to the harbour masters office.
There was a bit of a queue and I was tempted to leave but I’m scared of Claire so I waited which as it turned out was the right thing to do as he had Red Rooster in his computer. He told me that we needed to pay for one night and that our boat was 13 meters long? No I said RR is 11 meters long, were a little longer but not much. It also slipped my mind that we had been there for two nights!!
Ok he said 42 Euro’s please. I paid and left.
Claire was a little miffed that I hadn’t owned up to staying two nights but we’re on a tight budget and every little helps. Besides it’s nice to get away with things every now and then.
We sailed back to Seget as Shayna was leaving us in the morning.
As we were threading our way through a small group of islands a superyacht came into view that we all recognised. “JO”
George sent our friend Rod a message and he came out onto the deck and waved. He messaged George to tell him that they were coming into Seget too staying for a week or so and that it should be possible for us to meet up in town over the next few days.
We anchored in the same spot and Shayna started to pack as she was leaving early the next morning.
She was going to a Yoga retreat in Scilly for a few days.
She had arranged it ages ago because George was meant to be going to Ireland with friends but his trip fell through.
It has been lovely getting to know Shayna a bit better.
We got up at 05.30 to see her off. It was hugs all round before George took her to the bus station in the dinghy.
We cleaned the boat, George went in the sea to clean the waterline also using my modified brush to clean under the hull.
That evening we got dressed up a bit as we were finally meeting Rod in Trogir for a bite to eat and a few beers.
I say finally as we had seen his boat in Scilly but not him, we saw “JO” again in Sipanski and we did see Rod but didn’t speak to him.
We saw both the boat and him as we were entering Seget and now we were going to meet up.
I crossed the Atlantic with Rod and my Son back in 2014 and haven’t met up with him since.
We really like Trogir. We managed to find another very nice restaurant where we all had very nice meals before moving onto a bar for a few cocktails.
It was nice that Claire got to meet Rod too. We had a very good night.
George and I went to get some fuel in the RIB. We dropped Claire off at the market in Trogir picking her up on the way back.
George received an email with confirmation that he and Shayna had been asked to join a yacht in Auckland, New Zealand for a delivery trip to Tahiti.
Brilliant. They were looking for something more permanent but this would do for the time being.
The three of us went to the beach bar in Seget to watch the England – Belgium game for third place. We lost again 2-0.
We met Beth and Alan in there. They were kind enough to invite us to their apartment on Monday for a BBQ.
George was leaving us today.
We had a lazy day before dropping him off at the marina in the afternoon where there is a taxi rank.
I had really enjoyed our time together, I haven’t a clue when or where we will see each other again.
I was sad when he got into the taxi.
Oh well, as George said once, “that’s the problem when we both lead pirate lives”
I wanted something to take my mind off my son. It was great to have spent so much time with him but it's always hard to say goodbye when you don’t know when you are going to meet up again.
Claire and I decided to go back to the beach bar that evening to watch the world cup final between France and Croatia. We thought the atmosphere would be fantastic but it wasn’t that good really. Claire thought that all of the Croatian characters that had been in this bar before had gone somewhere different to watch the final.
It was quite a good game but unfortunately Croatia lost.
We made our way back to RR in the dinghy and enjoyed a very good nights sleep.
In the morning Claire was itching to put the boat back into it's normal configuration. This meant all the bedding had to be washed and dried before it was either put back on our bed or folded into those funny vacuum bags with all the air sucked out.
The bag of bags (don’t ask) came in from the foredeck and along with the bean bag was stuffed back into their normal position in the front cabin alongside the spare bedding.
Next the boat got cleaned inside and out.
By early evening we were both looking forward to the BBQ with Alan and Beth. We had to meet Alan at the taxi rank in the marina so we took our wash bags along with clean clothes into the showers in the marina.
Alan drove us the short distance to his apartment which overlooked the bay where we were anchored.
There was another couple there already, we had seen them before in the bar but unfortunately, I can’t remember their names now.
We had a very nice evening.
It was dark when we got back to the boat. We could see lightening flashing in the sky but it was along way off. We still had stars in the sky above our heads.
Claire looked at the forecast and thunderstorms were expected in our area but with no wind to speak of.
We went to bed around 23.00 but was rudely awakened just after midnight by heavy rain. I jumped up to close all of the windows.
I went out into the cockpit where the wind was significantly stronger. We had been anchored where we were for a few days now so I was happy that we were ‘in’, (‘in’ meaning that our anchor was dug in very well).
I went back down assuring Claire that all was ok. I decided to lay down in the saloon so as not to disturb Claire again should I need to get up again.
About 20 minutes later there was a huge crash of thunder with lightening following almost immediately after. The boat heeled over hard as a very strong gust of wind hit us.
I grabbed my coat off the hanger and a powerful torch before going back out into the cockpit.
The weather had gone crazy, the rain really stung as it hit my face. I could not open my eyes at all when looking into the wind.
I had a very good transit on the shore to check if we were dragging as well as the two electronic drag alarms we use when we are at anchor.
We were fine but I wasn’t sure for how long.
I uncovered the wheel, turned on the engine ignition and started the engine.
We were getting pushed around, quite hard by the wind and I wanted to be ready if we started to drag.
There was another boat anchored near us. I shone the torch where I thought it was but could not see it. I slowly moved the beam further round before spotting it some distance from where it should have been. It was dragging it's anchor!
I saw a light come on in the boat then a head torch bobbing around as the owner came on deck making his way to the bow.
I shone my torch on him and he held up his hand in acknowledgement.
Claire was up by now. We were both huddled under our spray hood.
The other boat was dragging into a line of yachts that were in the marina opposite. We saw his navigation lights go on and he must have started his engine as the boat stopped moving backwards unless his anchor had caught again.
We saw him moving to the bow to get the anchor up I suppose. It was then that I realised that he must be on his own because no one was at the wheel.
I said to Claire that I was thinking of going over in our dinghy to give him a hand when another huge gust of wind hit us. ‘No way’ she said ‘what if we start dragging while you’re over there?’ it was a fair point and it seemed like the guy was doing OK. The anchor was up and he was motoring forward into shallower water where he dropped the anchor again.
We saw the boat spin around as the anchor bit.
We put our instruments on for a few minutes to see what the wind strength was. 42 Knots!!
We turned everything off again, I’m not sure if lightening is attracted to yacht masts when their electronic equipment is switched on but I wasn’t going to find out.
The wind seemed to be getting stronger. The storm appeared to be right overhead now but we could also see lightening flashing in the distance.
I took a picture just as a huge bolt of lightning hit the ground behind Trogir but the picture looks like it was taken during the day in bad weather not at 3am in the morning. See what you think?
Another big gust. RR heeled right over but our anchor was holding us well. The rigging was singing with a high-pitched whine.
The wind was slowly moving around, after 30 minutes it was coming from a completely different direction but just as strong.
I turned the engine off before putting the covers back on.
By 04.00 things were calming down. The wind was still strong, but the gusts were less violent. Claire went back to bed while I stayed up for a little longer.
When we woke all was back to normal apart from a lot of debris floating in the water around RR.
I checked up on deck, but all was OK.
That was a very bad storm and I think we were lucky to have been anchored in a place with such good holding.
We received a message from Bob and Robin on ‘Windarra’. Later on in the day.
They were anchored off Brac. Their anchor had dragged in the storm so they motored for a few hours back and forth in the Lee of the island before re anchoring when the storm died down.
They told us that they were moving to the town of Hvar, on the island of Hvar in the morning and was wondering if we would like to meet up.
We like Robin and Bob and remembered how much George and Shayna had enjoyed their visit to Hvar so we agreed to meet them there.
We spent the rest of the day getting ready to leave, we went to the supermarket for food and drink etc before getting in an early night to try to catch up on lost sleep.
We were finally leaving Seget\Trogir. It had been a very good place for us.
We had the sails up shortly after stowing the anchor sailing out of this bay for the last time this year. We will be back though when we come back through here next year on the way to Greece.
Our crossing to Hvar was brilliant, very nice sailing. We saw ‘Windarra’ about a mile ahead.
The channel between the islands of Hvar and Pakleni Otoci was very busy so we dropped the sails choosing to motor into the harbour behind ‘Windarra’.
We thought we had seen ‘busy’ outside but the harbour was ridiculous. We let ‘Windarra’ go in to see if there was any free space. They came out pretty quickly shouting across to us that there was nothing free.
They decided to go into the ACI marina on Pakleni Otoci but we couldn’t really afford it.
We were just trying to decide what to do when we noticed two yachts leaving the mooring buoy’s.
I quickly took us over to the buoy’s. I did a stupid thing in waiting for a yacht that was coming out of the harbour to pass. But he wasn’t leaving he was looking for a buoy too and he picked up the one I was heading for!!!
There was one spot left. Claire took the wheel, she started backing us into the gap between two other yachts while I ran around putting out fenders before rigging some lines at the bow.
We hadn’t done this before, you had to put a line through the mooring buoy then take lines to shore. Our dinghy was at the front with no room to move it to the stern because of the yachts either side of us.
I was just wondering what to do when Claire dived off the back of the boat with one of our long lines in her hand.
It wasn’t very far and she was soon back. We pulled in on the lines securing RR in Hvar.
We was only going to be here one night so we decided to get off ASAP to explore.
One of the yachts next to us left so I quickly bought the dinghy around and we used the stern lines to pull ourselves to the shore.
Hvar is a very busy tourist spot whose clientele seemed to be a lot younger than us or should I say me!
As we were coming into the harbour we could see a castle high up overlooking the town, so we decided to walk up for the views.
We made our way through the narrow streets full of tourists and tourist outlets. But it was still a really beautiful place.
We walked out of the streets into the grounds of the castle following paths that lead you to the top.
Construction started in 1278 when the island was under Venetian rule. It was strengthened when the Turks invaded the area in 1571 providing protection for the town.
The final phase of works were finished in 1775.
It was quite expensive to get in with nothing really to see apart from the views which were great.
We could see RR in the distance.
We wandered back down taking a different route back to.
We heard from Bob and Robin. They were fine. They suggested that we meet on the dock at 19.30 as there was a water taxi service from the marina into Hvar.
We relaxed for a bit before getting ready to go out.
It was nice talking to Bob and Robin. We like them a lot.
Robin had already picked out a restaurant, it was top of the list on trip advisor apparently.
Claire and I were a little worried about the prices but decided that we deserved a nice evening out. I can’t really remember why we thought we did but we did.
Everything was very nice, the waiter came from Krka where Robin and Bob had been and Claire and I intended to go. He gave us some good tips.
It was quite late by the time we came out. Robin and Bob were worried about their water taxi back so we went down to the dock with them. A taxi came quite quickly and after a little haggling about the return tickets that they had they were off.
We kissed and waved goodbye.
We wasn’t ready to go back to RR yet as the town was still buzzing so we wandered through the streets until we found a small bar with live music.
We sat outside listening to a very good singer and guitarist. A very nice end to a very good night.
In the morning we enjoyed another stroll around the town, buying fresh bread, fruit and a few vegetables.
We went to pay for our stay, 46 Euros for the night which is a lot but less than half what we would have paid if we had had to go into the ACI marina.
Back on RR we made ready to leave. We messaged Bob and Robin to let them know we were on the move. They were going to hang around here for a bit as they had friends flying into Split in a week or so’s time.
There was very little wind when we left so we pulled the main up deciding to motor-sail around the back of Pakleni Otoci. The island has a very unusual shape, google it and you will see what I mean.
By the time we reached the end of the island the wind had filled in. We pulled the genoa out, turned the engine off sitting back in the cockpit to enjoy nearly 5 hours of glorious sailing towards the bay of Sicenica on the mainland where we hoped to anchor for the night.
We dropped the sail’s to motor into the bay to find that the anchorage had sprouted mooring buoys.
We went past them, anchoring just in front of the beach in 3 meters.
Lovely. But this sense of tranquillity didn’t last long.
A uniformed man in a RIB pulled up alongside telling us that we couldn’t anchor where we were. We had to use the buoys at 42 Euro’s a night. I started to protest but the guy, who was friendly and apologetic by the way gave me an official looking leaflet which clearly showed the buoyed area with no anchoring signs where we were.
He went onto say, in quite good English that if we didn’t move he would be forced to report us to the police!
So we moved, motoring for another 2 hours before entering the bay of Stupin where we had stopped before with George and Shayna.
After dinner we looked at our messages to find one from Karen and Peter insisting that they help us with some money towards the cost of our new water pump. Their reasoning was that they had been with us when it went wrong and if we had managed to get it fixed while they were with us they would have helped with the cost. We refused a few times, but they were very insistent. Thanks once again you two. Consider it a down payment for your next trip with us.
Around the same time we found some money in our account from Wendy and Alan. When we called them about it they said that they wanted to help us out with a donation towards the exorbitant cost of our new pump. Thanks to you two too.
We left Stupin to motor and sail to Zaton.
Zaton is one of the villages that sits on the edge of a vast inland water way which has many nice places to visit including Sibenik, Skradin and the Krka national park and water falls which lie at the very head of this amazing place.
It was my Birthday in a few days’ time and I wanted to spend it here. It’s beautiful.
After making our way past the fort at the entrance to this beautiful place we motored through a narrow channel that had u-boat type pens cut out of the rock into a larger expanse of water passing Sibenik.
We anchored for the night off Zaton in the middle of the river, feeding the swans. It seemed odd seeing swans here….I just think of them only in an English setting!
We did something quite unusual for us. We got off RR after only a few hours at anchor to have a drink while listening to a very good band playing outside in the gardens of a small hotel.
It wasn’t the drinking or the listening to live music that was unusual for us but getting off RR so quickly. We normally adhere to the rule we have set for ourselves whereby we stay onboard for about 10 – 15 hours after dropping the anchor to make sure the boat is ok.
This sounds like a long time I know but we’re normally dropping the anchor late in the afternoon and are too tired after sailing all day to think about going ashore until the morning anyway.
The town was very nice with bars and restaurants dotted around the waters edge.
In the morning we lifted the anchor and motored through the narrow channels into the very large bay that sits in the middle of these inland waters.
We heard music coming from the shore at Rasline so we dropped our anchor to see what was going on. Claire looked online to discover that there was an a 5km open water swimming race being held here.
We sat, watching and waiting but nothing seemed to be happening. We could see a line of buoys stretching away across the lake but that was all.
We had a bit of lunch but still nothing to see, then we noticed a boat lifting the buoys so concluded that the race had already been run, or should I say swum.
We lifted our anchor again motoring a short distance into the corner of the lake where we were going to stop for the night.
It was so calm and peaceful here. The water was like a mirror.
On a whim I put my radio-controlled sea plane together, charged the batteries and enjoyed flying it around RR for an hour or so.
Claire made me a very nice card. We decided on a no present policy as our funds were pretty low. I just hope she remembers when it's her birthday!!
We had really enjoyed our night in Zaton so we decided to go back but this time we would moor stern to the town quay.
Before we went back we wanted to see Skaradin, a pretty town where you needed to leave your boat before paying to get on a ferry that took you further up river to the water falls.
We wanted to do this but it was expensive and the waiter we had met in Hvar had told us that the water falls were not very spectacular if there hadn’t been any rain for a while and that the best time to visit was in late autumn when the trees where changing colour. We hummed and hawed a bit before deciding to give it a miss.
We had two main reasons, first we would \ could come back here on the way back when we should have more money and secondly, we had been thinking of hiring a car from our wintering spot and to drive here would be easy later on in the year.
We started to make our way back. It didn’t take us long and we found the quay at Zaton almost empty when we arrived. We picked a nice spot. Sorting the boat out before strolling hand in hand down the footpath beside the river to a spot we had noticed where the locals go for a swim.
The water was…..refreshing I would say. You could get in but you couldn’t stay in for long. At least I couldn’t Claire seemed to enjoy it though.
That evening we had a niceish meal in town before strolling to a bar for a G&T and an Aporol spritz.
What a nice way to spend a special day.
We decided to stay another day as it was so nice here.
We had a slow start in the morning.
I filled the diesel tank from my trusty jerry cans, well I tried too but the diesel kept backing up as if the pipe was blocked. I knew that it couldn’t really be the fuel pipe that was the problem but thought that the breather\vent may be restricted.
I emptied the locker to get at the vent pipe. I cut into it to find that it had a sort of salty, crusty deposit inside.
I cut the pipe again nearer the fuel tank to find the same thing. I had some spare pipe of the same size onboard so after a bit of a struggle and with Claire’s help I pulled the old one out whilst pulling the new one in.
I connected it all up with the fuel flowing in a lot faster as proof that I had fixed the problem.
I was exhausted after re-stowing all the lockers, cleaning up as well as putting all my tools back so we decided to walk back to the swimming spot for a dip.
By the time we got back Claire didn’t feel like cooking so we had something to eat in the restaurant that was had tables on the quay at the back of RR.
The food was a lot better and cheaper with the fish and meat cooked on an open grill. We had a litre of wine to wash it all down and it only took two minutes to walk back to RR. Perfect.
We motored back out into the Adriatic passing under a bridge near Sibenik where people were bungie jumping!!
After poking our nose into a few bays that were busier than we’d like we decided to carry on a bit further enjoying an exhilarating sail through the islands before dropping anchor in a bay off Tisno on the island of Murter.
We decided to stay there for a few days as it was very sheltered. Our way forward was blocked by a lifting road bridge that opened only twice a day. First at 09.00 for 30 minutes then again at 17.00 for 30 minutes.
We went ashore on the second day for a stroll around the town which was nothing special but nice.
We slipped through the gap made by the lifting bridge at 09.20 before enjoying another long sail through the islands towards Uvala Zincena, a cosy bay on the island of Pasman.
We are not sure if we have just been lucky but we have enjoyed a lot of sailing in this area. It's been great.
We anchored in a nice spot. Swam and watched the sun go down before Claire cooked me a very nice meal.
We left around 10.00 motor sailing back around the island of Pasman heading for the marina Dalmacija back on the mainland.
We weren’t going in you understand, too expensive but we had heard of a very safe anchorage just outside opposite Sukosan.
The anchorage was perfect, not very scenic but good holding and well protected.
The first night we were here we were lucky enough to have clear skies so we had a good view of the blood moon! I managed to get a few pictures but it was difficult to take long exposures on a boat in the middle of a bay!
We ended up staying here for three nights.
We walked to the large Spar supermarket just outside of the marina which was a lot further than we thought, we bought too much stuff and struggled to walk back to the boat. The wheels nearly fell off Dolly the trolley!!
On another day we took the RIB ashore to walk in the small town of Sukosan. Nothing to look at really but nice to get off the boat.
On the way back we visited the remains of a 15th century summer villa built by the archbishops of Zadar. There is very little to see now but it proved a pleasant diversion.
We left here on the morning of the 30th motoring for a few hours before enjoying a sail in strengthening winds tacking through the islands before dropping our anchor in a lovely bay called Uvala Podgarbe on the island of Molat.
It was very nice, very clear water with thick trees and bushes coming right down to the waters edge.
About 40 minutes after dropping our anchor we noticed that the people in the nearest boat to us, a motor, or stink boat as we call them was sorting out a warp to tie the stern of their boat to the shore.
Normally this is ok but not after others have anchored around you as if the wind changes they wont swing on their anchor where we will thereby causing a risk of collision.
I thought we were far enough away from them for it not to be a problem but we watched with interest as the wind dropped later in the evening and we began to swing towards them.
We were close but no problems so we went to bed.
We enjoyed the swimming and snorkelling here so we decided to stay another night.
We left around 09.30. Motor sailing around the bottom of Molat before turning the engine off for hours while we sailed across to the island of Pag. It was wonderful.
We were going to a large shallow bay outside of Kosljun where we hoped to anchor.
When we got there it looked perfect. A few small stink boats but that was all.
We tried the anchor two or three times but it didn’t set properly. We dived each time to look at the anchor which was always just sitting on seabed with no sign of it digging in.
We concluded that the seabed must be solid, not rock really but very compact.
We didn’t want to take any risks as the wind was forecast to get stronger so we motored out of the bay and headed for the next anchorage which was two hours away!
Unfortunately the direction we were headed now put the wind right on the nose. Oh well.
The new anchorage looked like a very nice spot in a narrow inlet near the town of simuni.
Because the inlet was so narrow the pilot book advised dropping your anchor while tying our stern to the shore.
The only realistic spot for us had the wind hitting us on the beam that’s is on our side so after dropping the anchor RR swung into the wind and away from the shore. I jumped into the dinghy taking our longest line with me after tying one end to the cleat on the stern of RR.
Once on land I scrambled up the bank managing to get the end of the line around a short, very thorny tree and started to pull the stern around and back into shore.
The wind was quite strong by now and RR ended up with equal weight on the anchor and on the stern line that I had hold of. She didn’t look very comfortable.
Claire was worrying about the anchor. She had dived on it but couldn’t see if it was set properly so was concerned that if the anchor dragged RR would be swung onto the rocky shore by the stern line!
The wind should be dropping in a few hours but we were still concerned that if we dragged later on it would mean us moving in the dark in a very narrow space.
Mmmm what to do? Claire wasn’t happy at all and I knew she would be worrying all night.
We had a quick chat we decided to move on again. This was hard because our next anchorage was on the island of Rab over three hours away!!
I went back to shore to untie us. We pulled up the anchor and started the long leg to Rab.
I was knackered, scratched and bleeding from the thorny tree. The wind was a good F4 bang on the nose with a short steep chop.
I wanted to sail but we were running out of daylight, so we agreed to motor around the small headland before beating hard into the wind until we closed the shore further up the coast of Pag then we would drop the sails to motor around the very long finger of land before crossing to the island of Rab.
The sky looked threatening and the wind picked up as we motor sailed around the end of Pag. Confirming that we had made the right choice.
We were relieved to see the distinctive towers that rise from the town of Rab just as the sun was going down.
We dropped our anchor in Uvala Sv. Fumija the sheltered bay just behind the town with the sky growing darker by the minute.
Food then bed.
By the time we got up most of the boats that had been at anchor when we arrived had left. We were going to stay here for a few days so decided to move the boat into a better spot in shallower water close to a small boat dock where we could hopefully leave the dinghy when we went ashore.
That done we went about our normal chores, Claire sorting out RR below decks with me unrolling the sun shades, filling up the fuel tank and checking that everything was as it should be on deck.
Late in the afternoon we took the dinghy to shore tying it to one of the small pontoons. We had a lot of rubbish and re-cycling to get rid of and fortunately there were bins close by.
We also had an empty camping gaz bottle that needed filling so I took that too in a ruck sack on my back.
We strolled along the leafy path next to the waters edge that led towards the town.
As we have seen everywhere we have been in Croatia the people who are either on holiday or locals who want to be near the water have very few options when it comes to where they sit or lay.
There are no beaches, well very few so they end up laying/sitting on the paths or rocks at the waters edge.
It was the same here, the path was quite narrow with couples, families etc sitting on their towels in their swimwear on the path as we walked past. I don’t know why but it seems really odd to me and not relaxing at all but I suppose if it's very warm you want to be near the water. The water was crystal clear by the way.
We walked over the small hill into the town which was really very nice.
We went to the marina office to ask about filling the gaz bottle. The receptionist took it from me asking that I pick it up in the morning. She thought we were staying in the marina and I didn’t say anything to change her mind.
We stopped for a drink in a bar overlooking the busy harbour before walking back to RR via the supermarket.
After getting back onboard, passing all the bags down to Claire who rather weirdly enjoys putting all the shopping away I sat on deck watching my small piece of the world go by.
I noticed a dinghy with an outboard bobbing around about 200 meters away assuming that someone was in it but after looking at it for a few minutes I realised it was empty and drifting.
I hopped into our dinghy starting the engine to go after it.
Once I had the dinghy alongside I looked around to see where it might have come from. Ahh I saw a man waving at me whilst gesticulating wildly at a young man next to him.
I took the dinghy back to them. The man explained in broken English that his son hadn’t tied it up properly. They offered wine etc but it was ok. I told them that I would need someone’s help before too long.
We enjoyed a very nice meal onboard, thank you once again Claire for your culinary skills, before settling down in the cockpit to watch the sun go down.
We had decided to do another shopping trip as the walk from the supermarket to the dinghy wasn’t too bad. This time getting the heavier stuff so after breakfast the following morning we went to shore with the trolley, two ruck sacks and four large shopping bags.
Bottled water, wine, tonic, gin, milk and orange juice are the heaviest items. They go in the trolley while the rest of the food gets packed in the ruck sacks and shopping bags.
The walk back to the boat is always quite hard but we both look at it as part of our way of life. It's not bad for us, in fact it's quite the opposite.
Getting everything into the dinghy at the dock and then back out again onto the deck of RR is the next challenge.
We’ve had a few near misses over the years, but we haven’t dropped anything in the water yet…. Yes, I’m touching wood now!!
While Claire was packing it all away I took the dinghy back to shore, tying it to the pontoon before walking back through the town to pick up the refilled gaz bottle with no problems.
We decided to eat out that evening so after spending a lazy few hours onboard we got ourselves ready taking the dinghy back into shore.
We wanted to look around the old town for a few hours before finding somewhere to eat.
The old town is really lovely, narrow streets, small old churches and a monastery built in 1494 for the Franciscan nuns separated by interesting open spaces all overlooking the sea.
There were plenty of tourists around making the town busy, but it was still nice to walk through stopping at a few of the many restaurants to peruse their menus.
We eventually found one that we liked and spent a very enjoyable evening together.
We were leaving Rab this morning, but we needed water and diesel so after getting RR ready we motored around into the harbour to the fuel dock.
There was a big stink boat already at the dock and another smaller motor boat waiting so not too bad. The morning was absolutely still so Claire had no problems keeping RR in place as we waited.
After 30 minutes the large stink boat was still sitting there, the smaller motor boat had found a little place to the side to tie up while they filled up.
40 minutes now, the big stink boat was still there, we had let a succession of smaller boats past us to fill up in the little spot which we couldn’t fit into.
I lost it at this point, shouting to the fuel attendant for an explanation into what was going on. He shrugged his shoulders.
Right, I told Claire to get the front of RR in tight behind the stink boat which left the stern of RR hanging out but it would have to do.
I jumped off got a line from the bow tied off and one from amid ships.
I asked the attendant again what was delaying things and he told me that the owners of the stink boat had put in over 2000 euros of fuel in their boat but when they came to pay their credit card wouldn’t work!!!!
He couldn’t let them leave the dock until their bill was settled.
He also couldn’t clear the pump for another user until the bill was paid.
After another 15 minutes and a trip to a bank it was sorted.
We had been filling our water tanks during this time and it didn’t take long to fill our two jerry cans with diesel.
Still we were over an hour at that fuel dock…..
Once we had rounded the headland to the North of Rab we pulled the sails out enjoying a glorious sail beating across the large bay towards the island of KRK.
After a couple of hours we had to pull a reef in the main winding a bit of the genoa in at the same time.
RR was going well, we were ‘pinching’ as the stronger gusts came through but that helped us as we sped towards our destination. (Pinching or feathering is a sailing term that means your sailing the boat almost dead into wind. It takes some of the wind out of the sails thereby reducing it's healing effect on the boat while at the same time helping you to point higher which is a big plus if your struggling to make your destination) I’m not sure where the term ‘pinching’ came from.
The trick is to pinch in the stronger gusts then ease off as the gust blows through thereby maintaining good boat speed.
It was brilliant.
During this sail we were helming, mainly for the enjoyment but there also seemed to be something wrong with our autopilot.
It would hold a course, but the icon on the chart plotter was not pointing the way we were going which was a bit odd.
We were soon entering a large body of water through a very narrow entrance. Passing the marinas outside the town of Panat before dropping our anchor in 5 meters at the end of the bay. Whew, what a sail we had.
We stayed here for two days, not doing much.
I spent a lot of time reading up about our auto pilot. I found the installation manuals for it deciding that it needed re-calibration. Something we would do before we left these inland waters. If that didn’t work a new electronic compass may be needed!
Claire saw a car crash on the road going around the bay, the car flipped over onto its roof after hitting a car coming from the other direction.
It looked like everyone was OK but the police were there for ages. Their blue lights flashing as it grew dark.
When we left here on the 6th August we had a go at re-calibrating the compass in the calm sheltered bay.
This entails putting the autopilot into the correct mode then driving the boat around slowly in huge circles while the electronic compass figures out where it is…….
It seemed very inconclusive, but we got a message on the screen telling us it was ok so on we went.
We were on our way to Rabac which was on the mainland. We were leaving these wonderful islands hoping to return next year.
It didn’t take us too long to realise that we still had a problem with the autopilot.
Now it wouldn’t hold a course but kept trying to go in another direction. Oh well.
Just outside of Rabac we had another go at calibration. Going around in large circles for 10 minutes. It must have looked very strange.
We got a few different messages on the screen but when we headed towards the anchorage it was obvious that we still had a problem.
Rabac was very touristy, we could see and hear it from our anchorage and we decided not to bother going ashore.
In the morning we left for the islands off of Medulin on the very corner of the mainland. We had been told by many people that this was not a place to get caught by bad weather as the wind was funnelled through here between the mainland and the island of Cres resulting in very strong winds.
Our weather was perfect.
We tried the recalibration thing again. This time I made really big circles in RR going very slowly. After 10-15 minutes we got the message we were after. Calibration completed we did as the manual instructed saving settings etc.
This time everything looked as it should on our chart plotter. The little boat icon was pointing the way we were heading with the compass bearing on the auto pilot reading the same as our COG (course over the ground) display.
I don’t know why it stopped working but I’m glad it's fixed now.
We were trying to meet up with Sue and Chris on ‘Nimrod’ they were friends of friends, Valeria and Chris on ‘Windependant’.
Claire had been in touch with Sue via Face Book so we new where they were anchored.
We enjoyed weaving through the small islands on our way into Portic bay. We could see Sue and Chris’s Catamaran at the end of the bay but it was too crowded where they were with small day boats, preventing us from getting nearer, so we dropped anchor where we could before moving closer later that evening as the smaller boats went home.
We enjoyed a very nice few hours swimming in the clear waters of the bay. There were lots of holiday makers swimming or sitting on the rocky shore in the sun some were further back taking advantage of the shade created by the many pine trees.
We laughed as we heard people in various accents saying the name of our boat out loud as they swam past. I think ‘Rooster’ is not very well known as we often heard ‘Was ist Rooster’!!!
That evening we went across to ‘Nimrod’ where we enjoyed meeting Chris and Sue for the first time. It was great to hear English voices again as we had met very few English speakers this summer.
Chris cooked us a very enjoyable meal on the BBQ. There was plenty to eat and drink. Claire was especially pleased as Sue seemed to have an almost inexhaustible supply of Prosecco.
Needless to say we had a very good night.
The following morning after swimming Claire gave the boat a good clean while I went around the hull cleaning the waterline.
I swam ashore, which wasn’t very far to see if there were any bins as our rubbish was building up.
It's a credit to ALL of the many holiday makers here that the shoreline, including the areas under the trees were spotless. No rubbish whatsoever.
I couldn’t find any bins which makes it even more impressive as it meant that they took everything home with them.
Chris and Sue came to RR for a meal that evening. Once again we enjoyed a very nice night. Sitting in the cockpit under the stars.
We were moving on today we waved our goodbyes to Chris and Sue before motoring out of the bay rounding the headland setting a course for Porto Vlome.
We were going into a marina to stock up on food, fill the water tanks, do a big clothes wash and most importantly find a restaurant where we could celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.
That afternoon we walked to the supermarket. We discovered the launderette was right opposite which was great but it took about an hour to walk there from the boat and it was very hot.
We had a very nice evening watching the sun go down on another very good day.
Our 5th wedding anniversary.
We had agreed on a no cards or presents policy but we had a very nice breakfast before loading all the dirty washing into two rucksacks and two large shopping bags. The walk to the laundry seemed a lot longer this time for some reason.
Anyway, when we got there it looked absolutely brand new and more importantly all of the machines were empty. We used three and sat reading our books while the machines did there thing.
Claire puts our bedding in the tumble drier so she can put it straight back on the bed but the rest gets carried back to the boat to be hung out to dry which saves us a few euro’s but makes the bags very heavy for the trip back!
We asked the manager of the launderette if he could recommend a restaurant for our special meal this evening. Without hesitation he told us the name of the restaurant and gave us directions.
It was quite a walk from where the boat was but we had all the time in the world.
The walk back with the heavy washing bags was hard but we both look at it as exercise. Well to be honest Claire does!
Once back onboard I helped Claire hang the washing out before collapsing in the shade of our awning.
Later that evening, both dressed up for the occasion we started the long walk around the bay into town to the recommended restaurant.
We past the one we had seen on the way to the launderette that looked ok before carrying on for another 20 minutes only to find that the place recommended was closed!!!
I was getting hungry now!!
We tried another restaurant in the town but it was full, so we turned back towards the boat hoping that the one we had passed about an hour ago had space.
It did, we were shown to a good table where we enjoyed a very nice meal served by friendly staff.
By the time we got back to RR my knees were killing me……..I know its all exercise!
After a slow start in the morning we got RR ready to leave.
We were heading further up the coast to anchor in a bay at Rovinj.
We arrived in the bay outside of Rovinj to find the area marked as ‘anchorage’ taken up with mooring buoys.
After motoring slowly around the other moored yachts we dropped our anchor in a gap where we felt we could swing comfortably without affecting those on buoys.
We sorted RR out and settled down with our now almost obligatory G&T, Prosecco and nibbles as the sun sank towards the sea.
I noticed a RIB moving from boat to boat. This could only really mean one thing. The man in the RIB was collecting payment.
Soon he was at our end of the bay, sure enough he came over to us. His manner was very polite as he informed us that we couldn’t really anchor where we were.
I said that when we arrived there were no buoys free and we intended to pick one up in the morning as boats moved on.
He considered this for a few moments before nodding his head. ‘OK if you go onto a buoy in the morning I will not charge you for tonight’ he said as he waved us goodbye.
Mmmm our drinks tasted even better that night.
As agreed we picked up a buoy as soon as the other yachts started moving on. We had looked at the weather forecast while we were having breakfast discovering that a storm was making it's way down the Adriatic from the Venice end arriving here sometime tomorrow evening.
We watched with a cup of tea and a Bickie (Peter!!!) as a marinaro towed a diver around the mooring buoys to inspect the ground tackle, including ours.
Watching this combined with the weather information made up our minds to stay here for a few days as long as it wasn’t too expensive.
We put the outboard on the RIB to go into town. Robin and Bob on ‘Windarra’ really liked it here.
We found a good spot to leave the dinghy before walking around the harbour wall into the old town.
It's really very nice, narrow streets, nice bars and restaurants with fantastic views of the sea.
We stopped at a bar in a shady street for a drink. Afterwards we made our way back to RR via the supermarket.
Later we were sitting in the cockpit enjoying our evening drinks when we saw the marinaro as he made the rounds in his RIB. When he came over to us we told him we intended to stay for a few days and we were relieved when he accepted that we were 11 meters which meant that we would pay 12 euro’s a night. Perfect, we felt safe and happy here.
In the morning, after a very enjoyable breakfast we made our way back into town. Claire wanted to look for a bag for Grace as we were going to meet up with her early in September.
We walked up to the large church that overlooked the sea at the top of this very nice town.
We found a restaurant in a small street where we had a very enjoyable meal before we made our way back to RR.
We had been keeping our eye on the weather all day as the storm was still heading our way. The wind was stronger, clouds were moving quicker bringing a swell into the bay which proved to be uncomfortable as we got back onboard.
I checked our mooring lines. I always put two lines on. One through the eye on top of the buoy and one through the shackle underneath the buoy which is attached directly to the chain going down to the sinker on the sea bed.
The sky grew darker as the sun was gradually covered by the clouds marching in from the NW.
I made sure everything was stowed on deck before going below. It was still quite warm so we left the hatch open.
By 9pm the boat was being pushed around by the wind and we could see flashes of lightening over the sea in the distance. We felt safe on the mooring buoy so we went to bed.
I think I got up 5 -6 times in the night just to check we were ok. It was raining hard on two occasions but on the plus side it didn’t look like the dreaded red rain.
The worst thing was the swell, it was quite bad so as soon as we were up and dressed we moved RR onto another vacant buoy in the corner of the bay which seemed to be calmer as it gained some protection from the headland.
We stayed onboard for the day. The weather gradually improved. By the afternoon we felt happy enough to take the RIB the short distance to the shore. After hauling it up the beach a bit we walked around the headland where we could still see the rain squalls out to sea.
We started to see more jelly fish in the bay. I’m not sure if they have been bought in by the bad weather or that they were here anyway but they didn’t look very nice.
They were the size of a dinner plate looking like a large rotten egg slowly pulsating as they moved through the water. There were also lots of very small ones that were virtually see through and very hard to spot.
When we went in swimming we had to check for the brown ones and make sure we didn’t swallow a see through one!
After breakfast we made ready for sea.
We were moving on as the weather was improving all the time. We were going up the coast hoping to find a small bay to anchor in.
Most of the yachts we saw were Italian flagged going in the opposite direction to us. We assumed they were heading for Croatia for their summer holiday.
The bay we picked was called Crvar. The entrance had very shallow areas marked by cardinal buoys but once through it opened up into a very nice bay.
We motored past the fish farm and mussel beds before dropping our anchor in 5m, 50 meters from the beach.
The only problem was that there were jelly fish here too, both kinds!
We ended up staying there for two days as it was very nice. There were holiday makers on the rocky beaches and we heard ‘Was ist rooster?’ a few times but it was very tranquil.
On the 17th we left Crvar sailing for a few hours to Umag which was going to be our last port in Croatia for 2018.
We picked up a mooring buoy here too as we had heard that they wasn’t too expensive. Being on a buoy meant that we could go ashore without worrying too much about the boat.
After we had sorted things out on RR we put the outboard on the RIB for the short trip to the town quay. Claire wanted to get her hair cut here. She had found a hairdresser on line so we followed directions on Google maps.
It was open and the lady said she could cut it straight away.
Claire was pleased with the result and I was pleased with the price 17 euros for a wash, cut and blow dry.
We walked back into town and liked what we found. It was a holiday destination with many families walking through the market or sitting on the quay eating ice cream.
An old clock tower dominated the small town square. Workmen were busy finishing off a scaffolding stage, sound engineers were running cables back to a mixing desk that was on a small platform in the middle of the seating arranged in rows in front of the stage.
We read on a poster that there was to be traditional dancing here tonight so we decided to return after we had a bite to eat back on RR.
When we returned all the seats were taken, an 8 piece band had set up on one side of the stage and there was a man addressing the crowd.
We stood with the many others who missed out on a seat as about 20 dancers in traditional costumes took to the stage.
The band started, our feet began tapping as the catchy music stirred the dancers into action.
We were there for a couple of hours, we did manage to get seated as people came and went.
The dancing, including the traditional attire changed as different Balkan states were represented.
When the show was over the band stayed on the stage playing the music from in and around Umag which prompted the locals here to start dancing in the square. Chairs were pushed back to give the dancers space as whole families joined in the fun.
I really wanted to join in but didn’t want to interrupt their enjoyment.
We went into town after a lazy day on RR for a meal. We found a nice restaurant overlooking the sea.
The food, the wine and the company was just perfect. We are getting ready to leave Croatia but we will return next year.