Italy-Croatia 2008 10-19th. June
We had the privilige of sailing in "Sabbatical" of Leith, a 49ft Jeanneau Sun Odyssey from 10th-19th June. Our cruising started in Brindisi on the south east coast of Italy. "Sabbatical" had sailed from Greece with Brindisi as the port of entry to Italy. We were welcomed aboard after a (23 euro) taxi ride from the airport. Brindisi 40.39,6N 17.59,8E, an ancient port with many places of interest, is approached from the marina by ferry or tender. The marina, Lega Navale, charged 28,50 euro per night. It had fine facilities and a restaurant serving delicious food.
Jon Erik aboard Sabbatical
On tender trip to the harbour proper we had time to admire the newly renovated Americas cup ship "Shamrock" , once owned by Thomas Lipton, and the local sights. Some of the motor yachts were unbelievably large
One amusing incident was a family out for their early evening stroll with a little 2 year old daughter in a pedalcar, remote controlled by her father!
Sabbatical in Monopoli harbour
We had a relatively early start next morning heading northwestwards for Trani 41.17,2N 16.25,5E. Mostly motoring, we reached Trani after 6 hours to find a really picturesque village with surprisingly many exclusive shops, but with few english speaking personell. I was impressed early next morning by the number of people employed in street cleaning and garbage collection, making the village attractive for it's inhabitants and tourists.
Street renovators in action.
We moored up near the outer harbour without water and electricity facilities and had no fee to pay, Trani cathedral dating from the 10th century was magnificent. It's difficult to imagine the need for such a large church in such a small place over a thousand years ago. The fishermen were on strike here, as in the other fishing communities. The price of fuel, something fishing boats are dependant on, was the main complaint.
Trani cathedral at night
Our next port of call was Vieste 41.53,2N 16.10,1E which we reached after 6 hours sailing. The well run marina charged 45 euro for the night, water and electricity included. An attempt to purchase gas was unfruitfull, other wares were in abundance, apart from fresh fish. The Italian fishermen were striking to demonstrate their economical problems with the rise in fuel prices. At the vegetable, spice and fruit market we found everything we could desire. At the village cafés all the customers were faced towards TV screens showing the football match between Croatia and Poland. Later the streets were full of supporters and others celebrating St. Antonio's day. Bands were marching through the village and it appeared to be a big family affair with spectacular fireworks at midnight.
Lastovo was military area until a few years ago and we saw several signs of military activity and among others things, a tunnel going right through the mountainside from one bay another, previously used for U-boats we presume, now for small boat and scooter tours. This paradise of islands is now a nature park and well worth visiting. There are few buildings and only 600 inhabitantsand few tourists then. Ubli bay, Lastovo
Our plan next day was to sail south southeast to a bay on Mjlet but with nose winds of 25 kt., an increasing sea and heavy rain we decided to return to Korkula and berth in the marina while the still was room. When the marinas get full boats are turned away, no matter how hard the weather is. There was chaos in the harbour for several hours. Most boats are charterboats and many of the skippers didn't seem to have the essential competanse to back into a narrow berth. Sabbitical got a scrape in the gelcoat and the Austrian skipper of the sinning boat paid 100 euros so that he could forget the damage! Many of the charter boats were lacking attention - bow thrusters and motors not functioning properly, airlocks in the water systems, watertanks with leakages were a few of the problems. The harbour guys were both patient and competent, helping to get the yachts placed correctly.
Korcula town was a fine place to be weatherbound. We spent 3 nights there as the wind continued in the same direction. Boats sailing northwards had no problems, only those trying to cruise against the wind . Since we were flying from Dubrovnic and the next guests were arriving there, we hadn't time to sail in the wrong direction. The marina 600 kuna (75 euro) was one of the best with all facilities and an excellent restaurant with knowlegeable, service-minded waiters. In town there were numerous Internet cafès and a good variety of shops. The old town though was the most interesting part. We were on the point of making another effort to sail south on the 3rd. day but were warned by telefone from the neighbouring boat which had left that the conditions were all but good.
Our waiter for the evening
Cruiseships of varying size were numerous. As soon as the larger ferries left the quays other ships lay up to 6 deep.
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