Malta to Venice, via Sicily, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia - 2005

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A straightforward, day to day account of what we have done during the current year's cruise. What we found may help others.

!!Some of the places that we visited after leaving Malta

NB I have ignored all accents in Croatian and Slovenian. It was just too tedious to contemplate. I hope that there is no confusion.








Anchor or Buoy

April 24 - May 9


Returned to Malta, Manoel Island Yacht Yard. This is as well organised (owned by the Government) as we had thought last September,. There are still signs (and signs) of the RN. All the staff are very friendly, competent and helpful. Cheap it is not but the work is good and you get what you pay for. Everything was done as and when agreed. For our 10.3 m Lifts out and in totalled about UK £260. Berthing ashore was £M1.7 per m per week. For 32 weeks this came to UK£1152 (both inc VAT).

Fitting out this year was a labour of love. We had to replace our aged, defunct Raytheon ST50 GPS and had decided that now was the time to upgrade the VHF to DSC capability. The shower cum taps in the heads needed replacing. Our cabin lights were looking distinctly tired, the pipes to and from the holding tank, loo and the holding tank valve all were due for replacement. A new freshwater pump seemed a good idea while we were in plumbing mode.

Any job on a boat takes at least four times as long as you expect. These, apart from the 5 new lights, were no exception. Maybe that was because Jennifer and Margaret added electrician to their many other skills. The tap and shower head should have been easy except that the original installer had over tightened one of the fittings. We could not remove a bit of old pipe from within the nut nor could we find a replacement. The yard kindly obliged with a reverse tap. The water pump replacement, again, looked easy. That was until we realised that the connectors to the pipes were longer than previously. Due to lack of space the new pump has had to be fitted aslant. The rubber feet for the mounting fitted into slots and not into holes as in the old one. . That meant that when holding three and trying to screw the fourth, one, at least, of the three escaped.

The loo pipes and stopcock were just laborious. But, having finished we realised that the one pipe that we had not touched was leaking,

Perhaps the radio and Garmin GPS were the biggest headache. Both seemed to work OK but the radio could not recognise the GPS signal. A telephone call to the supplier, several to Raymarine (RAY240E) and an email to Garmin (GPS 152) got us nowhere. Luckily after midday on Friday, Raymarine UK is closed and technical calls are routed to the US. The expert there was very helpful. Instead of wiring precisely as in the books ie connecting the negative NMEA input of the radio directly to the earth of the GPS we connected it to the boat earth. Apparently, this avoids interference from stray signals. Whatever the reason, it worked. Vive the special relationship!

On the 29th we were launched. As there were no suitable berthas afloat at MIYY we went round the corner to Manoel Island Marina. Very good. Helpful and friendly. Good toilets/showers.

The advantage of both MIYY and MIM over some of the other marinas in Malta is the proximity to chandlers. There are several of various sizes, specialist electrical shop/ workshop and gas all a few minutes walk away. Dropped something? Lost something? Broken something? It will probably be there. There is a supermarket reasonably close. In the back streets there are many small corner shops, vegetable stalls and a bakery.

For good cheap meals out we used the Waterside along the Strand towards Sliema. Good views, air conditioning in the Summer. Menu is the same every day. Slightly more expensive and good is the Quayside, further towards Sliema. Try the fried rabbit in a wine sauce - but, forget the cuddly white animals that you saw down the road.

For the first week until launch we stayed in the flats run by the Bay View Hotel, These are about 5 minutes walk from MIYY and MIM, comfortable and have that most desirable of all to the cruising sailor - a washing machine.

Apr 29 to May 9

Afloat at MIM.




May 9

Early start for a passage to SE Sicily. Very light wind at first, gradually increased to light NW then backed a little to give nice gentle shy spinnaker reach. Approaching Cozzo Spadero the wind increased a little and round the Island off Cabo Passero it increased to give an almost exciting approach. Clearly a sea breeze effect. Went into Marzamemi.

Best forecast was from Turkey This is a slow download but we used the SailDocs facility.





May 10


Walked into the town of Marzamemi to find some (pretty awful) bread and the emporium that sells a most marvellous range of smoked fish, honey, wine and other delicacies. Much of the town that we saw was given over to holiday homes and was as dead as a doornail.

A black mark for MIYY. Found that the engineers had not only not replaced the rocker cover gasket as promised last September - just got overlooked - but had left the cover retaining bolts loose. Will have to get gasket replaced, probably in Syracuse. Talking to others, we gathered that such an occurrence is virtually impossible at MIYY, they have so many checks and balances. This one slipped through the net.

May 11

A good sail on a developing sea breeze. As usual it got quite strong around headlands - especially entering the Grand harbour at Syracuse.

Had engineer come and look at the rocker cover. He could not obtain a gasket but used a liquid sealant. We are a little worried about that but later found it to be acceptable. After some exchange of emails and a telephone chat, MIYY have apologised. It just got overlooked.





Spent several days at Syracuse. A very good market close by with some of the best fish stalls ever. Cheap gin nearby. Tonic water may be a problem. Much of interest and a delightful town. As ever, as we have found in Sicily, everyone is helpful.

May 21

At last managed to tear ourselves away from Syracuse. With some reluctance. Despite the Italian forecast of NW 4 or 5 we had a nice gentle sea breeze that reached a respectable SE F 4. Arrived Catania, went to the Circolo Nautico NIC. Met by very friendly Ormeggiatoro, Eugenio who speaks French, German and English with varying degrees of fluency. He is the CA HLR.





May 22

Went into Catania. After negotiating the litter strewn streets nearby, the centre is quite pleasant and interesting with some fine buildings. There was a most disorganised street Sunday market with everything possible from dubious underwear to good meat.

Back at the marina I had a boost to my already inflated ego. An Italian couple introduced themselves having recognised Anhinga. They are fans of my weather site. Quite a compliment as they are blue water sailors of considerable experience with a large yacht - a Swan.

May 23

A very disappointing sail after a brisk start to Riposto. This is one of the best organised, clean and efficient marinas that we have met since leaving Spain. The complex includes a good quality but not over expensive restaurant, competent and helpful shipyard, hoist and crane, excellent showers.





May 23

Shopping in the town is very convenient with a good fish and produce market very close. A Salumeria, also close was small but well stocked and helpful. This must be the best marina in Italy. Bread and meat shops are also close. This very nice, small town, with Etna as a close and impressive backdrop, is a delightful place to spend a few days. Try a few words of Italian and the locals think it both amusing and an attempt to communicate in their language. This came over in the generous weighing of market produce.

May 26

Took bus to Taormina, one hour scheduled, less than €4 return! The trip was interesting just to see the area and admire he driver's skill in negotiating crowded streets followed by the tour de force up and down the hairpin bends approaching Taormina.

Very tourusty but delightful. The Greek theatre/amphitheatre is in very good condition especially after the rather poor specimen of a Roman amphitheatre at Syracuse. Again, as so often in Italy EU OAPs get in free. Walked around the town. Had a good lunch.

May 27

From Riposto there is a narrow gauge railway line that goes to Catania around Etna - Circumetnea. On the advice of the tourist office we decided to give this a try as far as Randazzo. First surprise was at the railway station when we were shown to a bus. There followed a bus ride that rivalled Space Mountain at Disneyland for excitement. Eventually we transferred to the train for the last half hour of a 90 minute trip.

Randazzo has some old areas but also much new building despite the glowering presence of Etna. As there has been a town there for hundreds of years, we can only assume that it must be safe. The scenery on the trip was spectacular.

May 28

Left Riposto with some regret for Rocella Ionica on the mainland. Crossing the Messina Strait we had a fast fine reach but the wind died approaching the coast. It came back as a moderate sea breeze but died later. At Rocella Ionica there are that rarity - finger pontoons. That is the only luxury. No water or electricity but no charge.





May 29


Despite Rocella Ionica having some charm, we wanted to get to Le Castella. The promised sea breeze set in and veered to a spinnaker direction but was then killed by a large thunderstorm over the land. we escaped the storm but lost the wind.





May 30

Explored Le Castella, a small but charming holiday town. An impressive castle built into the rock and looking like it had been made by an advanced child with bucket and spade plus good firm sand. Food shopping was limited but we did find camping gaz.

May 31

Not wanting to encounter the reportedly aggressive Ormeggiatori at Crotone, we made the passage round to Ciro. The sail was another disappointment with little wind. Here we met up with a Swedish yacht who confirmed our decision about Crotone. Not a nice place. Ciro is one of those Portos Turistico where there are free moorings. There is water but nothing else. It seemed a thriving small town with am active fishing fleet. There was a fine fish market in the harbour.





June 1

The passage to Santa Maria di Leuca started with a gentle fine reach, then a short fine spinnaker reach before the wind died for an hour or so. It came back stronger and gave us a good fast spinnaker reach. After a close encounter with a large ship heading for Taranto the wind died again and the last three hours were under motor.

The port was a little pricy - €33 for a berth with no electricity or water. When I expressed surprise, he shortened our length to 9 metres - €26. There were showers at €2 for three minutes and some indifferent toilets. Had a pleasant hour or so with our Swedish friends, Lars and Maude, who are heading for Greece.





June 2

Refuelling was easy at Santa Maria. Pull alongside, telephone the number shown and the man appears within minutes. Water was available here, at the fuel berth..

Round Capo Santa di Leuca, the gateway to the Adriatic. We had a fairly stiff beat to about 5 miles short of Otranto when patience gave out and the motor came in.

At Otranto there are few spaces for visitors on pontoons but some space on quays and ample, if rather exposed, anchoring. The annoying syndrome here is one met in Spain in that most berths are taken by "Socios". Even if the Socio is absent the berth cannot be used by anyone else. You therefore have many vacant berths and visitors only too willing to pay to use them but not allowed to do so. Common sense may prevail one fine day..

On the most seaward pontoon, there are about 6 visitors spaces. A sign says that visitors cannot use the water or electricity and must not leave the boat unattended. Three rules that are ignored by everyone, including the excellent berth master, Andrea. If possible he will help you to a space on the pontoon. If not, he will help you to a space on the quay (no electrics), even diving to retrieve a broken line tailed to the quay.





June 3

The usual shopping chore at a nearby supermarket. Then a walk into the very fine old town. The 13th century cathedral is rightly renowned for its mosaic floor depicting the Tree of Life. Truly remarkable.

June 4

A slow start then a good fast spinnaker reach becoming almost a run to Brindisi. Went to the very efficient and friendly new Marina di Brindisi. Here the marina has just about everything that you need - except for food shopping which, apparently means a bus to Brindisi. There is a Navette but it was out of order. There is a very good and not expensive restaurant on site.





June 5 - 6


We had been watching the weather carefully, mainly the DWD RTTY and the US GRIB. Forecasts were such that the options were to cross to Dubrovnik immediately, stay at Brindisi for some indefinite time or go slowly up the Italian coast against a NW wind until a passage to Lastovo became possible. Shopping difficulties at Brindisi and the indifferent reports of the Italian East coast made the choice easy. A pity, because we wanted to see Brindisi. Perhaps, another time.

The passage to Gruz, the port of entry was one of the best ever. We covered 118 miles in under 21 hours, including an abnormally steady spinnaker reach. We saw only three other vessels, one a fishing boat, the others were cruise ships.

Arriving just short of Gruz was a near disaster. The wind went floppy, we tried to start the engine. Just then there was a flash of lightning. All electrics immediately gave up the ghost. No wind, no instruments, shore not far away, getting to batteries, under a berth, of course, and working on them in a rolling sea, in a poor light was an obviously unpleasant option. The easy and safest way out, was a Pan Pan message with the handheld VHF, never before used in anger. It worked, bless it.

This was answered by MRCC Dubrovnik who ascertained that it was a case of help into port rather than a life saving mission. Would we pay for a tow? YES. Out came the lifeboat service and towed us efficiently into Gruz.


(NB Croatian marina fees as quoted hereafter include a visitors tax of 3 kuna pp per night.)

June 6


In Croatia, you have to go through immigration, police, harbour authority, back to police, customs, back to harbourmaster, get a cruising permit, learn the rules about how many people can use your boat over the next year (An anti illegal chartering device.) The bureaucracy and the speed at which it moves must owe something to the communist era. There is probably a very good reason. Albania is very close. The country was at war not long ago, there are many people wanting to move into this pleasant country.

Cost of the tow was 2500 kuna (€345), the year's permit was 1130 kuna (€156). The local cashpoint machine only distributed 1600 kuna at a time. I had to make three withdrawals on the same card. Luckily, it worked without rejecting my card as I feared it might. One advantage of the permit is that there is consistency everywhere that you go. Just produce the documents given you by the harbourmaster at the port of entry, the marina authorities keep them until you leave. You cannot leave without paying, you do not have the great variation between harbours that occurs in other countries.

Still, patience is needed and a sense of humour as the officials go through it all as pleasantly as possible. Eventually, over three hours later, I got back to the boat. We were in an unauthorised area for a lengthy stop. The police were helpful and said that I could stay and fix the problem - as long as I was quick about it! Another tow was hinted at as a possible necessity. Luckily, the problem was clear, if fiddling to fix. Fix it we did and then around the corner to Dubrovnik marina in one of the heaviest thundery showers meteorologically possible for the area. The best thing was that it thoroughly cleaned the dust of Malta from our rigging. and decks.

Met by marina attendant fully clothed in wet gear. "Welcome to Dubrovnik!" Like everyone else in this marina he was helpful and friendly.

Dubrovnik marina (ACI) is good. There is everything you need on site. Good restaurant, moderately good chandlers, workshops, a service laundry, well stocked supermarket a few yards away, swimming pool (brrrrr!). Just about everyone speaks English with embarrassing fluency - and German and, sometimes, French.. At €38 a night it is not cheap. On the other hand food in the supermarket is not expensive nor is a meal at the restaurant. Swings and roundabouts.

Since leaving Syracuse, Italian bread had deteriorated steadily from excellent to poor. It was with some delight that we found that the supermarket at the marina sells some of the best granary type brown bread ever produced, This is as well because after our thunderstorms on arrival, the next day was fine but a Bora was forecast. It came, followed by more thunderstorms and a very cold, wet day, just like a typical English Bank Holiday!




June 7 - 11

The weather remained mixed with some quite chilly days. We even used the warm air heating and left our little electric heater on all night. We were probably one of the few boats in the marina to have any heating at all.

We went into Dubrovnik, a very attractive city. There was much evidence of the bombing in the 1991 - 93 war. Much has been renovated but the new work is painfully obvious. One has to wonder at the madness of trying to destroy such a lovely city that can, really, have had little strategic value. All it did was to give the attackers a very bad press.

There is a small produce market in the city with a rather better choice of fruit and vegetables than at the marina.

The forecasts from the DWD on RTTY from June 8 onwards were showing that the weather should improve by Sunday (June 12) and winds go back to SE. Those forecasts were consistently maintained right through the week. Another visit to Dubrovnik, another dinner at the excellent marina restaurant and we are ready to leave on the Sunday.

We have never seen so many charter fleets in one marina. Watching the fleets arrive on the Friday evening was a cause of some apprehension. Some skippers were very skilled. Others rather less so. In the first category were an Irish couple on their honeymoon. They backed in alongside us, in a difficult cross wind with consummate care. He even had time for an occasional pleasantry.

June 12

Left Dubrovnik early to avoid the melee that would surely occur as the charter fleets started to leave and. had a nice gentle little sail to the anchorage at Uvala Kosmec on Otok Jakljan. Rather misled, by the presence of a large charter motor yacht, regarding the position of an underwater cable. The motor yacht looked as though his anchor is one side of the cable while he is lying on the other side. Having tried anchoring inside the cable and dragged, we believe that we dropped our anchor on the seaward side of the cable. Also put off by no anchoring signs believing these to refer to the area near the hotel. Then realised it meant near the cable. Later, we moved right beyond the cable with all fingers crossed.

The anchorage was incredibly quiet. One other boat at anchor, a few people staying, apparently, in villas probably attached to the hotel.



June 13

Made a slow start, just sitting and soaking up the peace and quiet. Left about 10 am to see a veritable armada arriving. Charter handover is at the weekend. Today is Monday.

A nice sail to Luka Polace on the island Mljet. The anchorage is in a near landlocked bay. Many boats there on arrival and more came including three other Hallberg Rassys, all Austrian. Despite all the boats, it was quiet. There were 1bout 30 boats moored, probably room for three times as many. We had a first swim as the boat thermometer said 21?. Felt more like 19?.



June 14

A short walk up the hill. Saw some glorious butterflies. Got back to the boat, had lunch, just settling down for a siesta when we realised that the stern half of the dinghy had gone flat and - with the engine - was now submerged. Hauled it out, got out the engine manual at the page "Submerged Engine", followed instructions. Lo and behold, it started again. Why the dinghy deflated is a mystery.

June 15

Feeling the need for re-victualling and wanting not to be trying to get into a marina at the weekend, we motored across to Korcula on the eastern end of Otok Korcula. The marina is well organised. Shopping is easy in the town, a good Konsum nearby, but the market stalls were a rip off. The town is attractive but very touristy.





June 17

Lastovo was the target. The promised wind should have been a good reach or a spinnaker run - NW to NE F3-4 locally 5. We started with an abortive spinnaker run which turned into a fine reach with a slowly strengthening WSW wind. Nearing the island, it became a stiff beat, top of F 4, to Skrivena Luka. This is another virtually land locked (the name means hidden harbour) anchorage with room for many boats. there were about 8 on arrival. Beautifully quiet and beautiful.



June 18

A short motor around to the quay by the hotel at Pasadur, the head of Luka Velji Lago. A meal out is one objective. This is a quiet place for an overnight mooring. Very clear water for a swim, toilets at the hotel but no showers. A good restaurant, reasonably priced. The island as a whole is a gem. Just quiet and fairly unspoilt, it was forbidden territory to visiting yachts only a few years ago.





June 19

Transferred our affection across the sound to Jurjeva Luka. a one time banned anchorage on this one time military enclave. Good holding in the bay, with several mysterious derelict building around the shore. From the Pilots and from indications ashore, this was a base for the Partisan navy and the SOE in WWII. Obviously it became an important location during the cold war when foreigners were not allowed on the island. Two of the buildings are heavily protected against lightning strikes - presumably ammunition stores. There are tunnels into the hillside and a railway track going into the hill. What life there is now is unclear. We saw one chained guard dog and thought it prudent not to be too nosy.

The excitement of the evening was hearing English voices and seeing CA yachts Ming (Bernard and Angela de Saulles) and Silent Wish (Richard and Hilary Young) arrive from Vieste. We knew that they were due around now but not quite so quickly and not in this anchorage. Had a short chat on the radio with Richard. Agreed to meet tomorrow.


June 20

The crews of Ming and Silent Wish came over for coffee and a chat - a CA get together, Swim and walk ashore, otherwise a lazy day.

June 21

A motor sail with a near headwind to Vela Luka at the western end of Korcula. This was our first drop anchor and go in astern job this year. The anchor chain jammed spoiling what would have been a good approach. Holding was indifferent, so we had a second shot. This went like clockwork. However, some less than experienced charterers arrived, lifted our anchor and dropped it over our neighbour's anchor a whole boat space away and in the slot to which the charter boat was trying to arrive. We straightened ourselves out, giving a space on our other side. We agreed with the neighbour to sort out the knitting in the morning.

Shopping was reasonably easy. Vela Luka is undistinguished but, apart from its mooring arrangements, a convenient place to stop for a night.





June 22

Agreed to leave in tandem with our neighbour and sort out lines, which we duly did. Tried sailing in a promising wind which died. Managed 8.5 miles, tried the spinnaker but had to motor the rest to Palmizana on Otok Sveti Klement in the Pakleni Otoci, just south of Hvar town. A very quiet and largely empty marina. This is an ACI marina that is only open for the Summer months. Hence there are few residents boats taking up all the spaces.

On passage, we could not understand why the course made good was always to the right of that intended. Then we realised that beer cans must have some ferrous content!

Spoke (or wrote) too soon. The flotillas arrived and the marina was virtually full. Still good, although people talking at the bar made for a noisy night.





June 23

Took the water taxi to Hvar. A delightful place, Very picturesque. Very touristy. But well worth the 50 kuna per head return (~ €7). Had a very good and not expensive meal at the restaurant at the marina.

June 24

Decided to leave and head for Vis, unless the wind was non existent or contrary. Started with a SE wind and a reach heading for the western end of Vis. The wind headed and it became a beat. We carried on as the wind was a nice one and we were sailing very nicely. Approaching Barjak LH, we began to race a larger Dutch yacht. Many tacks followed but the wind played some very odd tricks. eventually had to tack to round the LH - but the Dutchman motored first. A moral victory!

Had intended anchoring off Komiza but the quay looked good and not over populated. Met by a very helpful young man with excellent English. That evening as it was getting dark, a number of hang gliders began to appear in some sort of display. They circled the harbour and landed a few metres away. Very spectacular.





June 25

Returned to the Pakleni Otoci (Islands). After a slow start and a little motoring the wind got up to a nice SE 3 to 4. Decided to anchor in Uvala Zadrilca, just west of Otok Marinkovac. A good number of boats there but most left towards evening. A good and very picturesque anchorage.



June 26

A light wind forecast to go W/NW F3.4 did just that. From Uvala Zadrilca to Uvala Glavna or Luka Vlaska on Otok Hvar was the plan, in order to enter Stari Grad on Monday. However, Luka Vlaska seemed full of fish farm and space seemed very limited. Perhaps we did not look close enough in.

U Glavna us very narrow. Had the sea breeze not got up it might have been a possibility. A it was we bear a retreat to Luka Tiha in the approaches to Stari Grad. An anchorage in a superb setting



June 27

Part Genoa reach part motor into Stari Grad. A delightful village with no outstanding architectural or other features. Just a nice looking, clean, tidy place with good shopping for food. Good bread shops, moderately good butcher, well stocked supermarket, small restaurants. We chose one in a side street. It was good value. Nothing out of the way, no pretensions. Just good local fish, delicious potatoes, good house wine, coffee and a complimentary glass of grappa.





June 28

Part beat, a little motor sail to Luka Milna or, strictly speaking, an anchorage in the inlet to Milna. We tried the bay at the E end of Solta (Uvala Livka) but could find no sensible anchoring depth.. Again, the anchorage was in a superb setting.



June 29

Motored across to Split. Negotiated for space for 4 or 5 nights. Various jobs to be done eg laundry and a Bora expected (DWD RTTY and US NWS GRIB).





June 30 - July 3

Changed primary fuel filter. Engine would not re-start - no fuel flow. Tried on site engineers. Matadura. Man in charge was very offhand. Said he did not work on Volvo engines - despite sign that said Volvo over his door. . Found Volvo engineers at chandlers very close - Nava. Most helpful. Got fuel to flow and engine started. Said lift pump not good. Supplied replacement which would not fit. Tried second hand version of original. Also would not fit. Came back, solved problem of first replacement. Only charged for initial work and cost of pump. Would not take payment for extra work. Very helpful and great contrast to first firm.

Bora duly came Friday night/Saturday morning (1st/2nd July) with no prior warning from Croatian Met Service broadcasts. This emphasised value of DWD RTTY and US GRIB.

Probably a language problem, but some of the marina office seemed not as friendly and helpful as some other ACI marinas. However when help really was required, they were good. The pontoon attendants were fine, the Volvo engineers were great. Perhaps it is a language problem on both sides.

Walked into Split for ATM (then found one near the marina) also to get my spectacles fixed. They do not like being sat upon.

Walked into Split on Sunday, a nice walk round the harbour and OK, if not too hot. With Bora blowing it was fine. Saw boats anchored close to the town. They seemed well sheltered. Town very pleasant. Good market in full flow. At marina watched several boats leaving in very strong winds. Could not think where to or why. Croatian Met says winds up to 45 knots in gusts. Best place is in harbour.

July 4

Waiting for a small parcel from the UK. Eventually, got letter from Croatian customs. Go and collect it!. Marina very helpful, got taxi driver to take us, interpret for us and return. OK.

Result was a late start. Had hoped to anchor north of Ciovo near Trogir. In event only got as far as Uvala Fumija on south side of Ciovo. Good anchorage. All other boats here are charter/or flotilla.



July 5

Motor round to Trogir allegedly one "not to be missed". Walked around the town in the evening. Very touristy. Some fine buildings and castle. Marina very flotilla oriented. Facilities could do with some care. Also too few for large numbers. Shops at and near marina are poor.





July 6

Found the market - over two bridges on the mainland. Good produce. Met Slovenian boat from Izola. Exchanged phone numbers Hope to meet when we get to Slovenia. We have good impression of Izola. Katja & Zoran Zagorc, SY Lupinca wrote to us very kindly after we had addressed a query to CA MedNet members. Also, daughter Jayne sailed there in Europes and did well.

Had late start, the a good beat in a F3 to Drvenik Luka on Drvenik Veli. Anchored in tiny harbour. Very picturesque. Another place of no distinction whatsoever, except that it is quiet, well kept, very pleasant indeed. Five other boats joined us. About 12 were on the inside of the new mole, more alongside a small jetty and one or two alongside other quays.



July 7

Went ashore for bread and fruit. Clearly a holiday island with about 120 (we were told) permanent residents.

Left, with some regret, it is a place where one could certainly stay, for Stari Trogir. No connection with Trogir. Just a large and totally unspoilt bay. We still wonder about all the terracing and stone walls all around. Who built the walls and why? The holding was good but there were flat rocks around and the anchor made a grinding noise. Should have moved to a quieter spot.

A Belgian yacht hailed us with news of the London bombing. Terrible.

July 8

A brisk Genoa only sail all of 7 miles to Marina Frapa - Rogoznica. reportedly expensive but good. Might pamper ourselves for a couple of nights. Indeed, it is a "posh" marina. A plus is that it does not attract flotillas, it has more long stay berth holders than most so far.

Food shopping at the marina was limited. Far better was a short walk to two good supermarkets backed up by some very good local produce market stalls.





July 10

Another short sail with a nice beat in a F3 to the buoys off Primosten. This is yet another very picturesque town on a headland. Anchoring is clearly difficult because of uncertain holding. However, there are about 24 moorings. It looked as though as many again could get moorings to the quays.





July 11

A thundery day. Eventually, we decided to stay put and see what tomorrow brings. Intending to go up to Skradin and upriver to the waterfalls. A must do, everyone has said.

July 12

Still a risk of thunderstorms and a possible Bora. The DWD RTTY has been hinting at this for some days now. The Croatian forecast last night seemed to come into line. The result was that we had a good sail to Vodice. We have a small fuel leak around the injectors and would like an engineer to have a look. There is a Volvo agent here.

Vodice is a very good marina. Toilets and showers are well above average. there is a small but quite good supermarket on site with a good produce market alongside and a Konsum very close. Otherwise, it is a holiday resort of no great merit.





July 13

Got the fuel leakage fixed by the excellent Volvo agents on site and at a very fair price. Bora in full swing. Stayed put. Had good meal out.

Although there is ample space between line of boats, the marina is not deep. Tailed lines are a problem a long way out as several boats found out when trying to moor stern first. Most beat a dignified retreat. One foolhardy individual pushed his luck with the inevitable fouling of prop on the lines and the equally inevitable rescue operation by the marineros who have seen it all before.

July 14

The wind slowly eased, many boats left and so did we. Headed for the Krka river/waterfalls. A good Genoa only reach to the Kanal Sv Ante, then a motor up the Kanal, past Sibenik and on to a fairly quiet anchorage, Uvala Bertusa, a short distance short of the marina at Skradin. First we wanted a night at anchor and, secondly, the Bora was still funnelling down the gorges. It must have been doing so through Skradin and berthing would not have been easy. A good excuse, at least.



July 15

Up to Skradin and the trip to the waterfalls. Free trip up but pay 60 kuna to enter the national park. Took a 4 hour trip (100 kuna) by boat to the upper lakes. Stopped at a monastery on an island, (Visowac) and on to the upper waterfalls at Roski Slap. On the way back we saw aircraft swooping down onto the waterways to pick up water for fire fighting.

A very pleasant day. The marina is good and fairly quiet at weekends - handover time for charter boats.





July 16

Had intended leaving for an anchorage but the fresh water pump was playing up. To get at it means emptying the whole of the aft locker - best done in port. Eventually sorted it out. The filter on the pump inlet had cracked and was letting air into the system. Bound it up with self amalgamating tape pending getting a replacement.

Dined out, very well, at the Bonaca - Rough Guide and our friends Bill and Rona Musker's recommendation.

July 17

Motored down back to the sea and then a pleasant sail through the islands to an anchorage, U. Potkucina off Otok Kakan, behind Otok Borovnjak. This is a large anchorage with plenty of room in water that is not too deep. There are about 50 mooring buoys but still ample anchoring room.

We seem to be seeing a greater proportion of private yachts now or bareboat charter yachts. Flotillas are a thing of the past.



July 18

A bad start as the sea water pump on the engine was not pulling water through. Fitted a new impeller but had to prime the water filter to get the water flowing. Then a 10 mile gentle run to an anchorage on the N side of Otok Murter, south of Otok Zminiak. This is a large anchoring area but on the track of power boats going to and from Pirovacki Zaliv, Hramina and Bettina marinas and the open sea.



July 19

A rude awakening. The wind got up onshore - 180 degree shift but, no problem, the anchor held firm. But, thunderstorms developed, the wind began to come from various directions in strong gusts and we dragged. Picked up a mooring in the bay of Otok Zminiak. Very odd, because the anchor came up with mud caked on it and our CQR holds well in mud. The chart said it is a gravel bottom.

Motored round the corner to Marina Hramina. Very upmarket with the most magnificent toilet block ever seen, even in Spain. Very friendly reception. First impressions are the best since Dubrovnik. Their loos really are the Rolls Royce of marina toilet and shower blocks.





July 20

Had a quiet day, shopping, enjoying the quiet. Despite a large number of people on boats it was a very quiet marina. The Office block is very smart with a lounge area and a bar, the restaurant looked good. The small on site shop was adequate but the in town Konsum and CBA much larger. We found good Italian ground coffee at the marina shop but nowhere else. A real plus as we dislike Croatian coffee.

July 21

Time for the much vaunted Kornati Islands. A slow sail with a slowly increasing wind, a couple of tacks saw us in the Kornatski Kanal. A couple of tacks up the Kanal to Lavsa, one of the designated anchorage areas. There are around 15 buoys here. Room also for a few boats to anchor. One Kornoba and a grill.

Scenery most impressive, if rather stark. Could not help thinking that it was really man created as shepherds had cut down all the trees and made the islands almost barren.

Park rangers came and charged us 80 kuna a head per day. Said it was for one day but that we would be covered for tomorrow also





July 22

Jennifer and I climbed the adjacent hill for a view of the nearby islands. Then an all too short brisk sail to another anchorage/ moorings at Vrulje. Saw the steep cliffs on Otok Rasip en route.

At Vrulje there is a small settlement of holiday homes or fisherman's cottages (probably both). Had a very good meal ashore at Kornoba Robinson. Great charcoal grilled Dorade. Here met Martin and Irena Selan from Izola, with their pretty little ketch, a Nantucket Clipper.

Rangers confirmed that our 240 kuna would indeed cover two nights. Thunderstorms overnight.



July 23

Wanting to see more, but not really sure of the charging regime moved on to another anchorage/mooring area in Luka Telascica on Otok Dugi. The scenery is softer than on the Kornati islands per se. Still impressive, still fairly stark but less so and much greener.

Park rangers came - 40 kuna pp.

More thunderstorms.




July 24

Motored to the marina Zut, on the island of that name. Basically, it is one long pontoon with tailed lines. A small mini market, restaurant and toilets complete the scene. Water is available from 0800 to 1000 hours. Electricity, morning and evening only. Nice and quiet with everyone swimming off their boats.

At Zut, we saw, for the first time a Croatian 5 day forecast pinned up on the harbour office wall.





July 25

A gentle wind that increased slightly then died and the motor was used to get to Uvala Lucina, along the E coast of Otok Dugi, some 4 M NW of Otok Iz. A very pleasant bay with many visitors moorings.






July 26

The day started sunny with a light wind. This got us as far as the north end of Otok Ugljan. It then died and came back right on the nose for the rest of the passage to Zadar. Having had poor reports of the marina at Zadar, we opted for Marina Borik, at the north end of the bay. A smallish marina, with more chance of getting any wind. Very unusually, it has finger pontoons - described in the marina brochure as a "new" way of mooring!

Naturally, we had lines at the ready, two on the bow, a spring and a stern line waiting until we knew which side to. How else is it done? When we saw other boats come in we realised why the marinero helping take lines had looked at us so approvingly. Second nature to us is obviously a mystery to many Mediterranean sailors who habitually go in stern to and pick up tailed lines from the quay. The marinero had to instruct every other boat what to do and how to do it. We felt very smug.

A small but quite good chandlers, good supermarket nearby, ATM at the marina, good showers and toilets, a short bus ride or a ferry into Zadar itself.





July 27

An engine day (morning, at least). Oil changes, oil filter change, check for fuel bug and replace primary filter. It is now looking quite good. The Fuelcare biocide seems to have worked. Checked battery acid levels.

Otherwise a lazy day, and amusing to us to see the antics of those unaccustomed to finger pontoons. Most insist on coming in astern with lines either not ready or in the wrong place. The need for springs is completely overlooked.

July 28

Took ferry into Zadar old town. Disappointing, with a few old buildings dominated by modern, poor ones some suffering from concrete cancer. But, an excellent produce and fish market. Moral - best to use Borik and only go into Zadar when absolutely necessary.

July 29

Refuelled in Zadar. Incredibly noisy place. We are now quite sure that the marina must be a not very pleasant place. The feeling is no doubt exacerbated by a very hot day.

Then a largely motoring with some abortive attempts to sail - about 4 miles in 25 - to an anchorage on Molat in Brguliski Zaliev.. This has 60 mooring buoys with a charge the same as anchoring. Another very pleasant place. Quiet and picturesque.






July 30

Another very hot day with a very slow sail, that slowly improved, to Uvala Siroka, Otok Ist. Another mooring, off the town Ist. This appears to be the only habitation on the island. A delightfully quiet place with no cars, only two tractors and a few push bikes. There is nowhere to go, so no need for cars.

Quiet it was until about 10 PM when a disco started. It was a very pleasant disco, not at all raucous. BUT, it went on until about 3 AM. Making sleep impossible. About an hour later a horde of small boats left rather noisily.






July 31

Rowed ashore, for bread. Confirmed that it is a delightful little place. Some wind has given a less hot and less humid day. We had a nice little beat to yet another mooring, Sv Ante on Otok Silba to a beautiful anchorage. Except that, like many anchorages north of the Kornati it is now "managed" ie it has many mooring buoys and little space to anchor. Whichever you do you are charged the same.

In the event, there were many buoys vacant and it was quiet once a Gulet (grockle boat) staying the night, turned off his loud music.






Aug 1

Slightly worrying, both the DWD 5 day forecast and the US GRIB are suggesting a Bora in 4 days. Also the GRIB indicates a small low passing over the N Adriatic in two day's time ie on Wednesday, presumably thundery. Given the forecast today of W winds and E tomorrow, Simuni on Otok Pag is the obvious choice.

Starting light, the wind picked up and fairly quickly, we had a nice WSW F 4 to give a reach between Silba and Oliba then a good Genoa boomed our run to Simuni (on Otok Pag)..





Aug 2 - 7

At Simuni with increasing numbers of other boats as the warning percolated through the system. Many arrived on the second and the marina became full. Some boats anchored with lines ashore. Our decision to get in early was well justified and a success for the DWD 5 day forecast and the US GRIB output.

Our outboard motor has seized up, probably because of the ducking it had some while ago. The local engineer only does inboard engines. Pity we did not realise when in Borik.

Took the dinghy across the water to shorten the walk to the nearest (only) shop, apart from the mini mini-market at the marina. Bought some Pag cheese, sheep and cow. Pag is famous for its sheep which, so we have been told have learned to drink salt water. They can certainly exist on very poor grazing. We saw a flock of around 50 near the marina. Strangely, we never heard a single baa!

The Bora materialised on Wednesday. It lasted through much of Friday. By Friday Aug 5 it was clear that another low was on its way with more thundery showers and more strong winds through until Monday. As this marina is full and others that we would want to go to also full, there really is no point in moving. Our next nearest harbour would be Male Losinj. This is not large. Although some will no doubt move on, on Saturday, it is the start of the Italian main holiday period. By the time we got there it might well be full again. Our safest, if uninspiring, option is to stay put, Being storm bound in port or sitting out a F 7 - 8 on a buoy is not our idea of fun. We just pity those on two week chartering holidays. An Italian boat next to us has had two day sails in a week. They have another week and may not be able to leave for another three days. Tough.

Met our first British boat to talk to since Lastovo. CA Member Dennis Mendoros in his motor boat Jubilate.

Took a taxi into Pag town and saw the effects of the Bora as it must be on the east coast. A virtually barren landscape. The wind was blowing right in from the Velebit Kanal at no great strength. The mind boggles at what it must be like in a gale. Not a place for a yacht.

Two bonuses from the time in Pag was to find some Schweppes tonic (none at the marina or village shop) and some decent Italian coffee. Just about the poorest part of shopping for food has been to get good coffee.

On Sunday morning, at about 0630, we were awakened by a small 8 m motor boat - a day boat coming in. He had left Zadar in calm weather at 0500 without a recent forecast, heading northwards towards Istria. He was forced to seek shelter when the wind and sea became difficult. An accident waiting to happen.

The day became very windy, wet and cold. We put the warm air heating on - in the Adriatic - in August!!!..

Aug 8

A lesson in meteorology today. The early morning wind at Simuni was, E, the remnants of the night time katabatic off the Velebit mountains. AS We approached the islands just outside Simuni, the wind went round to the gradient direction of WNW, virtually on the nose. A couple of short tacks and then the wind steadily veered to give us a reach as the sea breeze effect came into play. Approaching Ilovik, the wind increased to a top end of F5, we dropped the main and were doing up to 6 knots under Genoa alone.

Picked up a mooring buoy in Luka Ilovik. Many buoys, but by mid afternoon most were taken. The mooring fee was less than half those found in "authorised anchorages" between the Kornati and Molat/Silba.





Aug 9

A look ashore to buy bread and some other food at the small and not very well stocked shop. Then a motor in a disappointingly light wind to Luka Maracol on Otok Unije to a mooring buoy. .Another very pleasant anchorage - except that it is mainly buoyed , 56 in total, with only limited anchoring. By mid afternoon all buoys were taken. The fun then began as boats found places to anchor at the edges of the bay, the foot and head. During the morning, one boat had left the moorings "reserving" a buoy with his dinghy. At about 6-30 pm, the yacht had not returned, so another (Italian) boat took the mooring buoy and, clearly, explained to the buoy master why. Eventually, the owner of the dinghy returned and there was a heated discussion. In the end, the two boats shared the mooring.





Aug 10

As well predicted by the DWD yesterday, the day started with a brisk SE wind. We left for Pomer, right at the southern tip of Istria. Using Genoa alone, most of the time we were doing well over 5 knots, occasionally over 6. The mooring to mooring time for 21 miles was a bare 4 hours. This morning DWD, ironically, only gave a F 2- 3.

Put the outboard in for attention. Had a good meal at the marina restaurant.





Aug 11/12

The 11th, not a good day, weatherwise. It was cloudy with rain after lunch. The outboard was fixed. The laundry was done. We found the nearby, not very good supermarket, good fruit and vegetables. Decided that the marina mini-market was rather better than the supermarket for several items.

Very strong S winds in the afternoon with thunderstorms. Afterwards, the sea level went up and down about 3/4 - 2/3 metre, with a period of about 15 minutes. A total of around 5 or 6 ups and downs. The entrance to the bay here is rather narrow. Presumably, the wind drove the water across the bay by frictional drag. When it tried to level out, it could not exit through the entrance fast enough, so it piled up on the other side and repeated the process until enough water had escaped through the gap out to sea. I have no real feel for this process and no idea how long it would have to blow strongly for this oscillation to take place.

Overnight we had yet more thunderstorms, and again in the morning of the 12th. A pretty awful day. Good for reading and writing. Had another good ACI restaurant meal.

Aug 13

A better day but no wind. Motored round to Veruda - one of the few easy places to refill our gas bottle.

Veruda must be the charter capital. Just about every company (we did not see Moorings) has a base here. But, where do they all go to? We have seen very few charter yachts recently. Yet they must surely go south. The marina, itself, can be best described as functional. Reasonable supermarket (no fresh meat), poor chandlers, restaurants etc but not a pretty area. The walk to get the gas was about a kilometre, from pontoon 1, to 200 metres beyond pontoon 17.

A long walk to the bus stop into Pula. Jennifer got a blister on her heel which rather curtailed our sightseeing. Managed the very impressive amphitheatre, then the ACI marina for a very good cappuccino. Took a taxi back. At the price, should have done so on the outward journey also.

Latest DWD forecasts suggest OK tomorrow for Rovinj, but two days at least strong winds thereafter, Rovinj sounds a better place than either Pula (too much in the town) or Veruda - soulless.





Aug 14 - 17

DWD back pedalling on strong winds as also is Croatian forecasts. The day started well but the wind tailed off and headed. So we had to motor about 2/3 of the way to Rovinj. The marina was full apart from a few spaces on an outside pontoon. Rather prone to swell from passing motor boats. Hope that the strong winds do not materialize. Thunderstorms overnight gave a short-lived but very strong wind.

Went into the very pretty town. There is a good market, bread shops and that rarity, for us, good butchers, the best that we have found so far.. The marina mini-market is OK for the heavy items such as beer, wines but variable for fresh vegetables, cheeses and cold meats. It has no fresh meat. It does have good bread.

Still at Rovinj on Aug 16. At last we managed to get a move inside the marina to a more comfortable berth. Just in time, as the wind increased somewhat. Current expectations are to move on Friday, possibly Thursday. In the meantime, the strong NW wind are forecast to continue. Not good for going Northwards. We are being held up this time by a Tramontana, not a Bora.

Had good meal at Bellavista - roast suckling pig.





Aug 18

Light wind, good time to leave Rovinj although it did mean motoring to the moorings outside Porec. Another pretty looking town, quite Venetian in style.

BUT, some very noisy discos of the mindless and mind bending variety. Advise DO NOT use marina or anchorage in high season.





Aug 19

Waited for the sea breeze then a pleasantly gentle sail to the moorings at Umag. went ashore for shopping, a good big Konsum. More discos, it is the season, but not as raucous as Porec.





Aug 20


Customed out very smoothly. Left with a very gentle breeze, which eventually died, for Izola. Customed in to Izola within minutes. Got immediate reply to call on VHF and entered the marina. This is huge,

The day was looking very gloomy. Showers developed late evening and it rained much of the night with some fairly distant thunder and lightning. Welcome to Slovenia! Some disco music but not near enough to be a worry, perhaps they got rained off.





Aug 21 - 24

Went to Reception, found that the local currency, SlT (Slovenian Tolariev) is of the astronomic variety eg 350 SlT = £1 sterling. 240 SlT = €1. DIY washing machines. Good Spar nearby. Prices seem remarkably low. The marina is good, the staff friendly and efficient.

Met first British yachtsman since Simuni, only he second since Lastovo.

More thunderstorms in the afternoon and overnight with much rain.

Provisioning and went into Izola town on Monday, Aug 22. Afternoon, more heavy rain, presumably thundery origin. during the afternoon and into the evening. Tuesday improved.

Met Paul Goodison with Goody, a brand new Elan. Discussed weather equipment/reception and boats in general. Good to meet a new owner who takes safety seriously. Martin and Irena Selan, who we met in the Kornati, came from Lubliyana for a chat and a drink. good to see them. On their advice, ate at the restaurant Sidro on the harbour waterfront. Very good sea bass.

Wednesday saw a further improvement in the weather. will probably go to St Margherita tomorrow.

We do like Izola. Wonder if we should have decided to winter here.

Aug 25


No really promising forecasts for s reasonable wind, so we left Izola, with some regret, for Santa Margherita. A motor all the way with virtually no wind. Very difficult to spot the entrance, even using the waypoint from the Pagine Azzurre. About 3 cables off finally saw it - saw a motor boat coming out.

Arrived at Santa Margherita. the marinero was not nearly as welcoming as we have become used to in Croatia and Slovenia. we had intended to stay a few nights aiming to be in Venice after the weekend, the last of the Italian holiday season. Bad news - Una notte, solo! Completo. Welcome to Italy!

Santa Margherita is a little way up a river. An offshoot wends its way among houses with private moorings. Rather like Dutch canals where boats, houses and gardens intertwine.

Tried to telephone Sant' Elena in Venice but no reply. Then tried San Giorgio, reputedly expensive, and got a place. Did not know that my Italian was so good!

The joy of being in Italy again, is the coffee. Croatian coffee is awful and very few places seemed to have Italian. Also, the food shops are a notch or two higher. On the other hand, the Croatian and Slovenian marinas were almost invariably excellent and a notch or two higher than the Italian norm.


Aug 26

Wind too tight to sail so had to motor to Venice. Wanted to arrive reasonably early to ensure we got our place. Very poor visibility all down the coast, improved as we were approaching Venice but was still misty. Navigated through the approach to find San Giorgio with no problem.

No need to have worried about a place, there seemed to be several. Fredericko met us with big smiles and much laughter as we gingerly entered between posts and got our lines (his line, in fact) attached. Very comfortable, good showers and loos a short walk away. Quiet. At €53 a night that seems not too bad for a pad in Venice for three with a view of San Marco from the well. Think we will stay here rather than try Sant' Elena.





Aug 27

Woke up to thunderstorms which lasted for most of the morning. Took the Vaporetto across to San Marco, sussed out the ACTV pass system, went to San Marco square, very wet but took some photos. Found Information office, very helpful. Walked some of he side streets to find coffee that would not be too exorbitant. Succeeded. Then went to the Ducal Palace. Truly amazing building, enormous rooms with terrific spans. A feat of engineering. Incredibly ornate ceilings.

Went to the San Giorgio Yacht Club and talked our way in for a very good lunch. Weather improved. Saw San Marco square in the sun. The minus was that the tourists and the pigeons came out in force. The pigeons are as bad or worse than in Trafalgar Square. In both places people are stupid enough to feed them and so the nuisance and hygiene risk continues. Someone should start a bird flu scare.

Afterwards, walked over to the Rialto to see the famous bridge. Walked slowly back to the ACTV quays, bought our ACTV pass for 72 hours. It includes the Grand Canal, so is a good buy at €22 each.

More thunderstorms overnight and prolonged rain.

Aug 28

Still raining at first but only lightly. Not the kind of weather or temperatures we expected in Venice in August. Had hoped to see the exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions - the modern day construction, at least. Unfortunately, that is not now available. Instead we used our ACTV passes for a trip up the Grand Canal. At the far end we found a very good supermarket with excellent cold counters. The weather got worse and we came back in continuous rain.

Lunch on the boat. In the afternoon we had a guided tour of the Cini Foundation on San Giorgio.. This has funded a massive renovation of the monastery which is now a cultural and technical centre. Much of what we saw is not accessible to the public, most of whom some, have a quick look at the impressive church and move on to the next wonder. We now understand a little of the history of the island which is our temporary home.

Aug 29

Took grockle boat trip to Murano, Burano and Torcello. Murano is famous for its glass. We had the obligatory (and very impressive) demo. Then visited the showrooms. Very mixed, some very delicate and artistic; some verging on the vulgar. Burano is famous for its lace. Apart from that it is a delightful little town. Very quiet after Venice and very [photogenic. Then Torcello to see the church with the incredible mosaic pictures on the end walls of the very old church.

Had good lunch at Restorant Malamocca, Calle del Vin, just off the waterfront neat the ACTV station. very good; not expensive by Venetian standards.

Returned to Anhinga - getting old when a bit of sightseeing tires us out.

Aug 30

Across to San Marco, did the Basilica. Excessively gloomy and oppressive. Then got across to the Gallerie dell' Accademia. This has paintings from the 14th to 18th centuries. Many are, of course, variations on the usual religious themes. More interesting (to me, at least) were paintings on more normal themes eg the arrival of the ambassador from England. One could not help thinking that the church may have encouraged many artists but also had a stultifying effect..

Aug 31

Took the Vaporetto to Arsenale to visit the excellent maritime museum which is worthy of a truly maritime city. The exhibits are well laid out and some are particularly fascinating. It is cool being in a 15th century granary building One was an electro- mechanical computer used on Italian warships during WWII for gunnery. Ship velocity, details of wind, ship's motion, explosive details etc were input by numerous small rotating handles. The whole was about the size of an old style theatre organ and less powerful than my vest pocket calculator.

We walked round the Arsenal and got lost in the maze of streets behind. Once away from the Piazza San Marco tourist and pigeon infested area, Venice becomes quiet and peaceful. Street restaurants and bars abound. Venetians go quietly about their day-to day business. Just walking the streets and soaking up the atmosphere was a pleasure in its own right.

Sep 1

Changed a pile of Maltese lire into €. Not possible in Croatia. Decided to visit the Lido which was a mistake. It is rather soulless with that bane of the Italian coast and beaches - the Concession. I suppose, that being non tidal, there has to be some organised care and cleaning of the beach. It just seems odd to us not to able to paddle in the sea without paying.

Had lunch in the town.

Sep 2

A domestic day. Checked with the Ormeggiatoro that we would be leaving tomorrow. Took the Vaporetto to the next stop across the water to Zitelle where there is a very good DIY washerette and some reasonably good food shopping. Checked flights back to the UK. Ryanair at about €28 each was the best bet. It will coat about as much to get to Venice and nearly double to get from Stansted to Lightwater. Crazy.

Today like the past two days became very hot, It was also humid with increasing cloud.

Sep 3

We really have to leave, unwillingly it must be said. We have enjoyed Venice and have been able to do so from a glorious base. Thank you San Giorgio.

The previous evening had been cloudy and it was not surprising that the day began dull, misty with rumbles of thunder. No warning from the Italian Met service.

Not wanting to be too early at our Winter base of Punta Gabbiani, we returned to Santa Margherita. This time, we telephoned the office the previous afternoon and booked two nights. When we arrived the Ormeggiatoro again said Una notte, solo. We explained that the office had said OK to two nights. He was rather put out. All very strange. There are a few spaces in the marina and, very annoyingly, a large visiting yacht was taking two spaces on the transit pontoon - it has been there since before our visit hear 8 days ago.

The highlight, this time was the blessing of an effigy of the Virgin and Child. This arrived by a very large and grand rowing boat, preceded by an old sailing boat, sails hoisted but having to motor up the narrow waterway. Very colourful, the approach was accompanied by some delightfully tuneful hymns.





Sep 4

A quiet day at Santa Margherita. A little shopping. A little reading and writing. The sequel to yesterday's blessing came in the evening when the old sailing vessel appeared to return the effigy whence it came - by candle light.

Sep 5

Our last days sail was a stiff beat for 20 miles or so in a F4 on the nose. The wind died as we approached the entrance to Lignano Sabbiadoro where the canals start leading to the Aprilia Marittima complex where Punta Gabbiani is situated. Refuelled at Aprilia Marittima, in the same three marina complex. Entering Punta Gabbiani we touched bottom (very muddy) but just pushed our way through.


Sep 6 - 15

Punta Gabbiani is very good indeed. Everyone is very friendly and there to help in whatever way is necessary Reasonably good restaurant in the reception block, two pretty adequate supermarkets nearby, even with some fresh meat, very good chandlers nearby, DIY laundrette free to customers, all necessary servicing FOUR travel lifts. Shower and toilets are superb. The whole place is very well planned and designed. It is very clean and very well maintained. It is quiet. The swimming pools are good - and heated using geothermal energy.

We have seen very many marinas is our time, some are very good eg Darthaven in the UK, Denia in Spain, Alcúdia in the Baléares, Riposto inSicily, Dubrovnik and Hramina in Croatia, Izola in Slovenia. Punta Gabbiani beats them all.

Work on the boat in the morning, siesta after lunch, then a swim in the pool and a sunbathe afterwards. Laying up has taken a whole new meaning..

So far we cannot recollect hearing any other boat owners speaking any language except German. The immediate assumption in shops, restaurants etc is that you can understand German. They speak it, why should not we?

Lift-out was a revelation. After Anhinga had entered the travel lift, one man did it, all by remote control. Toys for big boys! He walked around to see that the boat looked right from all angles. He then slowly walked along guiding the hoist into its place. He then moved the cradle on a fork lift, sighted the boat over the cradle, lowered into position, hammered wooden chocks in place against the hull and, hey presto, all done, very well and with maximum care. Clearly, he had done it before.

The return home was not very good. We used Ryanair from Treviso. This must be the scruffiest airport that we have seen for many years. Booking in was a shambles. The flight was Ok and nearly on time. There were3 enormous queues ar Stansted for passport control. Being after midnight, we paid a 50% premium for the taxi home.

The flight cost €83 for the three of us. Taxi to Treviso was €120 and from Stansted to home €220!

Did we like the Adriatic?

We liked the Adriatic which is really like saying that we liked Croatia. But, as always, there were pluses and minuses.

We had heard rumours about the impossibility of getting in a marina during August when the Italians descend on the area, like lemmings down to the sea; also, horrific tales of damage done by charter boats. As ever, we found these highly exaggerated. We probably did right by

being north of the Kornati by the end of July. We also ensured that we were safely in a marina or other safe haven before bad weather arrived.

As regards damage, anyone can get into trouble if caught by a sudden gust entering a mooring. We saw as many private boats have problems as charter vessels. We tried to anticipate problems, have fenders at the ready, were wary about leaving the boat unattended during arrival times when there were adjacent spaces.

The Good

We had many good anchorages in superb settings. The whole area has been likened scenically to the west coast of Scotland. Some of the views were magnificent, others were simply great. The Kornati and nearby islands are usually regarded as the main showpieces but that does an injustice to other parts. We found small, nondescript, delightful little ports, where we should have stayed longer, doing very little. There are (and need to be) many good marinas, never too far away. In total, not counting harbour quays, there are some 50.

Like the Norfolk Broads, the British Virgin Islands and the Solent it is something of a nautical playground albeit on a far larger scale. Given the many islands, you need rarely venture out into the open sea. The

GPS can be turned off and left to rest for most of the time. Pilotage using the mark one human eyeball and some, not necessarily all, of bearings, transits and log distances are all that is needed. Not surprisingly, we made many very short passages. In contrast to previous years there was always a wide choice of destination. The British Virgin Isles have been called Norfolk Broads-on-Sea. The Adriatic is a mega BVI, but without the steady Trade Winds.

Perhaps strangely, we saw very few privately owned British yachts. We met some CA friends at Lastovo, by chance and did not meet to speak to another Brit until we reached Pag. The next was at Izola. We saw barely a handful otherwise.

The Not so Good

Marina prices are relatively high compared to many other areas that we have visited in recent years. ACI marinas, a chain, generally good and operating throughout the area, charged between €30 and €40 per night (for 10 – 11 metres). Non-ACI marinas were either similar or more expensive.

North of Zadar, in “authorised anchorages” we paid 8 kunas per metre and between 4 and 7 kunas per person per night, tourist tax (depends on the island). for anchoring or using a buoy - about €13 – 14. These buoys can make anchoring virtually impossible. They are a mixed blessing. More boats can use any given area, the chances of someone dragging onto you is virtually eliminated. No idiot dropping anchor, followed by inadequate chain, piled up in a great heap, and without testing it. However, it does put up the costs of cruising.

Charter fleets abound, with some 300 in total ranging from Sunsail to one boat fleets, and especially flotillas. For the cruising sailor and the bareboater, flotillas can be a menace. In some marinas, we saw several flotilla groups at the same time. At weekends, the usual handover period, one or two marinas ban private yachts from entering. But, north of Split we seemed to lose the flotillas.

Most annoying were groups of large (50 ft or so) skippered yachts. The punters took little part in and had no interest in sailing the boat. For them, it was a glorified alcohol (or alcopop) fuelled cruise. The skippers had incredible patience and the ability to complete complex mooring or anchoring manoeuvres surrounded by noisy laughter from people who did not understand, or care, what was happening. These boats can be the source of much noise in harbour or in an anchorage through or during much of the night. Those on board were blissfully unaware that sound carries over water. But, we did not encounter many and, again, none north of Split.

Another type of charter is large, often schooner rigged, vessels similar to Turkish Gulets. These, again, seem often to be glorified booze cruises. Not normally a problem in a marina - they are too large - they occasionally ruin a quiet anchorage if they stay the night. Not all did stay, and not all were noisy when they did.

Having made an issue of charter fleets, it is only fair to say that they never prevented us getting a marina berth but we did avoid flotilla centres at weekends. Virtually the only times that we were in full marinas was during Boras.

Economic Conundrum

We never did work out the economics of labour rates. Jennifer had a wash, cut and perm for about €26. A mechanic, with apprentice who doubled as interpreter cost about €14 for a good half hour on the boat. Laundry, that, in a bag wash in France or Italy, would cost, perhaps, €10

- 12 at most could be around €24. Food in supermarkets was slightly less than in the UK and fresh produce distinctly less. But, we did wonder how the locals coped with the apparently low pay. Perhaps other items in the cost of living for nationals, rent and rates, possibly, were also low.

The important Bit

Contrary to rumour, restaurant food was reasonably good, and not expensive, although rarely adventurous. Food shopping was fair to good in super and mini markets, but this is a very personal matter. As dedicated coffee drinkers, we found it difficult to impossible to buy good ground coffee. We did not like Croatian coffee.

Soft cheeses, of the Gorgonzola and Camembert types for example, were sometimes non-existent or, unrecognisable. Butchers were aptly named. Few took the pride in their craft that we found in Italy, France and Spain.

Produce markets were usually very good, if somewhat restricted for green vegetables, but that was largely a climate matter. Fruit was

excellent, except for apples. Strangely, apples improved when we reached Slovenia. In common with other Mediterranean countries, potatoes were usually good with far more flavour than is normal from UK Supermarket varieties. Bread varied from very good for whole meal types, often with nuts and seeds on top, to good, occasionally very good, for Italian style white bread to as poor as poor Italian bread. Many of the cheap wines were very drinkable, particularly some with crown corks. There was a better choice of breakfast cereals than in some parts of southern Italy or Sicily.

For the dedicated G and T person, Schweppes tonic is widely available (a welcome change after southern Italy and Sicily). If you can go without Gordon’s then there are some quite tasty cheap gins to try.

The Weather bit


In the absence of major wind systems such as the Bora and Sirocco, the dominant mechanism for wind is the diurnal heating and cooling of the land ie the sea breeze/land breeze cycle. If there were no islands then the daytime wind would set in almost directly onshore ie SW’ly. It would then veer steadily to NW ie along the coast. The night time wind would see a continued veer to NE. The wind over the sea would then go variable as the sun began to heat the land and the SW would again set in. Many will recognise this as the vent solaire of western France.

Off Croatia, we have several hundred islands of various sizes. Each will have its own sea breeze effect which will interact with the major mainland sea breeze and that of all the islands nearby. Some of the cycle described above will be heard in Croatian forecasts of NE winds near the coast at night becoming NW. However, as most sailors will quickly realise, there will be great variations on the theme.

Boras, the strong katabatic wind that is rightly feared, are predictable in general terms; never, of course, in detail. The Croatian forecast often mentioned the Velebit Channel. This is the water between Rab, Pag and the mainland. On the adjacent mainland there is a fearsome range of hills. Here, the Bora is so strong that the islands have no vegetation on their eastern sides. In the marina at Simuni, on Pag, we experienced a night time katabatic and a moderate Bora. We could easily imagine the effect of the full Monte.

All winds, including Boras and Siroccos are affected by local topography and modified locally by heating and cooling. The Adriatic Pilot by does indicate the different local Bora directions. As a general comment, the Adriatic Pilot has a commendably good sections on weather in this very geographically complex area.

After thunderstorms, there could be enough very moist air at sea level to give fog patches.

.... as we found it

It was a very unusual Summer in the Adriatic. When we arrived in Dubrovnik we had a very chilly spell with a day of rain, like an English Bank Holiday. On many nights, through June we used a sheet and, sometimes, a blanket at times when we were expecting the nights to be too hot to sleep. In Mid July there was a cold spell with many thunderstorms and a Bora.

Again, in August, we had a cold night during a Bora. By the time that

we were approaching Istria we had had 5 Boras and many thunderstorms. We had more thunderstorms or heavy showers when in Slovenia. Locals said that it was a most unusual year.

We did have some very hot and humid days but not so many as to make it unbearable. In fact, we could have done with a few more!

......and Forecasting it

As in other countries, weather forecasts can be obtained in various ways.

Forecasts produced by the Croatian National Meteorological service for the next 24 hours can be obtained by

Continuous VHF (on Ch 67 from Split or 73 from Dubrovnik)

1. We found reception to be unreliable or non-existent when well away from the transmitting stations.

2. Normally in Croat, English, Italian and German, sometimes the German was missing,

3. If you have just missed the English, a knowledge of Italian or German can be useful. It is a long wait until the English comes again.

Scheduled Broadcasts on VHF
(from Dubrovnik at 0625, 1320, 2120, Split at 0545, 1245, 1945 and Rijeka at 0535, 1435.1935, all UTC, after a call on Ch 16)_

1. Reception seemed to be more reliable than the continuous broadcast, presumably because more transmitting stations are used.

2. The broadcast is first in Croatian with the forecast followed by navigation warnings and then the same in English. Waiting while all the Nav warnings are read in Croatian is a little tedious. This takes around 10 – 15 minutes.

NAVTEX - Split (Q)

1. This is a (perhaps, the) most useful, and reliable, way of receiving the Croatian forecasts from the Italian coast near Brindisi until as far north as Pomer. It then became variable in reception.

2. Forecasts are broadcast every 4 hours from 0240 UTC

3. They are always updated at 0640 and 1840 UTC.

4. Sometimes there are updates or revisions at 1040 and 1440 as well. I never saw updates at 2240 or 0240 UTC.

5. Being in text format it is easier to negotiate the somewhat idiosyncratic English. Read the commas carefully.


For those with Internet access, gives a very quick download of the text of the Croatian forecast.

Other forecasts

1. In places the Italian continuous broadcast can be heard, This gives forecasts for three Sea areas, North, Central and Southern Adriatic.

2. In the Northern Adriatic, to the north of about Zadar, Italian NAVTEX should be received from Trieste (U). This covers the Central and Northern Adriatic. In fact, it was very variable even along the Istrian coast. Entering the Adriatic from the heel of Italy, you may receive Augusta (V) covering the Sicily Strait, Ionian Sea and Southern Adriatic

3. The Greek INMARSAT-C broadcast - texts can be found at the Greek Met Service page

4. With HF/SSB the Greek forecast can be heard on a broadcast from Monaco 3AC on 8728 and 13146 kHz at 10 h 30 UTC, French and English.


The main shortcoming of the Croatian forecast as broadcast is the lack of an outlook beyond the 24 hour forecast. This is a pity because the meteorological conditions for events such as Boras and Siroccos are well predicted even though the time of onset and details might not be. The lack of an outlook is even more annoying because in a few

marinas we saw a Croatian Met Service forecast with a 4 day outlook! The value of the outlooks is that they give ample time to find a safe haven in the event of strong winds. There are several ways in which outlooks can be obtained.

1. The Italian Ch 68 broadcast has a two day outlook, as does the Italian NAVTEX. Outlooks are one wind value every 12 hours for two days for each sea area.

2. Texts of the Italian forecast are at the URL above.

3. The US GRIB coded forecasts can be used for 5 days (or more) ahead. This is probably the most comprehensive service. It shows clearly the diurnal variation of wind that gets mentioned in the Croatian forecasts. It is well worth getting the forecast routinely for 5 to 7 days ahead. It is not necessarily the best forecast. It seems to underestimate wind strengths..

4. The DWD RTTY has a five day forecast for two grid points one in the North Adriatic and one in the south. The broadcast includes a synopsis for the next 5 days. This is very useful. Despite the fact that winds are only given at two grid points, I have found this to be the best indicator of strong winds up to 4 or 5 days ahead.

5. A DWD forecast of winds every 6 hours for about 2 ½ days can be seen at the same two grid points at . An economical way of receiving this is by using the SailDocs “text from web pages” facility.

6. Synoptic charts from the DWD on RadioFax.

7. Synoptic charts from the UK Met Office

8. The Greek INMARSAT-C broadcast (see above) has a 24 hour outlook.


The above makes no attempt at being a work of literature. It is a purely factual account of what we did and some of the attractions/problems encountered. (An everyday story of sailing folk?) It may be of some interest to others wishing to sail in the area. Of course, what we like and dislike may be different from other people. Situations change and someone else may get different impressions. More detailed comments can be found in notes on ports and anchorages over the whole of the Mediterranean, submitted to the CA by members.