The whistle stop world tour continued at the normal lightning speed when we noticed a favourable forecast to get to Croatia. The predominant wind in the Adriatic is from the north making it a bash to windward to get up to Croatia so we were pretty happy to see sustained SW tail winds to blow us up there. The only issue was they were 3 days and several hundred miles away under Italy while we were up in Naples… Well, we need to meet the parents so off we go. Again. Nice to have a lovely following breeze taking us out of the Bay of Naples past the island of Capri.
Bearded sailor selfie working on tan. And rare relaxing moment when we are not working on keeping this adventure going.
As is often the way we ended up motorsailing as the winds died in the evening and finished with a mirror calm tucked into a little cove. One of the things we love about this trip is watching the kids discover books. Of course we had books in our land house, but on the boat they have really got into them and are loving reading and the family story time. Need to buy some more e-readers now as one between four is not ideal. We have noticed a big improvement in spelling, concentration and their own creative stories.
Very happy with the good ship Drakkar and she makes a very efficient motor boat as again the Med lived up to its reputation of winds are too much, or in this case not enough. A long day motorsailing got us to the iconic smoking Stromboli late afternoon. Amazing to see in person the one the ancients called the lighthouse of the Mediterranean and crazy to think it has been going continuously for all of recorded history. No wonder it is tall at 924m high, and that is above sea level so double it to the sea floor! Very impressive scree slope cascading all down the NW side out of the crater with the recent history written over it. Not sure I would want to live in the towns they built at the bottom though.
Another lovely quiet night, this time at Isola Salina in the Aeolian Islands. Add these to the list to come back to explore as early the next morning we were running again to meet our date with the weather forecast.
Lest the casual reader think we are living the high life of G&T’s on the aft deck and lounging around all day here are a couple more shots of the work we get up too. Outboard had got all sulky and refused to run after the last day on the Godfather’s beach. We did wonder if we had pushed their welcome a bit too far, but turned out to be sealing the petrol tank vent for a full day in peak sun hydrolocked, or rather petrol locked the engine and filled the cylinder and crank case with petrol out of the hot fuel tank. It only took me several hours over a couple of days and rebuilding the carb, then rebuilding it again to fix my first rebuild and chasing other avenues to work this out and fix it… Now it is running beautifully again.
Adding wheels to the back of the dinghy so we can get it up the beach a little easier. Ironically Croatia does not have sand or beaches and we haven’t used them yet!
Yay, its time for our third sea change! We started in the Ligurian sea by NW Italy, Ran thought the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sardinia and Naples. Now we are shooting the gate through Strait of Messina past Sicily and into the Ionian Sea. The pilot book was full of warnings about heavy traffic, crazed ferry drivers and even whirlpools, but the strait was in a benign mood and boosted us through at a tide assisted 12.0 knots with a good breeze.
Running under the boot of Italy we had some great weather and even had the asymmetric up while school work was done in the cockpit.
Then I got the kite up for the first time. Social media picture where it all looks lovely.
Real life if oddly stitched picture. Note the Dark clouds to leeward and Shannon determinedly ignoring me while I grab proof of life pictures. Pictures taken after explaining that this is called a wrap and why cruisers tend to leave symmetrical kites to the racers and struggling to get the kite wrap unwrapped from around the forestay, then struggling to get kite to set stable with the sloppy sea. And after explaining that without a snuffing sock kites can be “exciting” to get down by shorthanded crews with much in the way of wind. And after I ignored Shannon’s good request that perhaps hoisting the kite for the first time late in the day with a building very active black thunder and lightning storm coming up at us from leeward was not my greatest idea…
And continuing the real life vs air brushed look at how wonderful my life is social media pictures here is a typical shot of the cabin and lovely bushy tailed Amelia heading for crazy mood after we have been running for 5 days as opposed to sitting down relaxing and exploring. Most of the stuff on the table is school work, honest.
Our last night in Italy was Otranto where were herded into a marina. The pilot book promised anchoring within the small harbour but on arrival it was filled with unusual bouys and no activity. Hmmm. We carefully anchored on the edge of the field and started to settle in. Then quickly a large Guardia Costeria RIB with its lights flashing came powering out to us. You must move now please! Motorbike race starts in 3 min and you are in the course! Jet Ski race is just visible in the background of the pic below. The patrol boat decided it was a good idea to patrol the course thereafter. The couple on the wooden boat next to us were in their first day of ownership and the downpour overnight showed them all the leaking deck seams. Didn’t seem to dampen their enthusiasm as they prepare her for charter.
EUR 50.00 lighter we had a lovely night and put lots of loads through their washing machine. Found a super awesome sculpture made from an old steel boat. Got assorted errands and shopping done in the nice town.
And got Pizza. MMMmmmmmmmmmm Pizza…
Still running we had an overnight passage up to Croatia bringing the total trip to 7 days on the go including two overnight sails. Our passage friends joined us and Shannon was treated to a half hour display all for herself in the early morning.
Yay! First sight of Croatia after the long trip!
The triumphant hoisting of the Croatian courtesy flag. Quite a celebration after the work to get it. Tried anchoring out in the bay and dinghying in. But no, rules say you must be tied to the quarantine dock. Had to row the inflatable dinghy as outboard not yet revived while trying not to sweat in my nice clothes for officials as I row the inefficient silly oars. Then entertaining little 15 knot cross wind blowing over the dock for our first stern too med moor. Drop the anchor in the right place, not too far out, not too close so it doesn’t drag, not over other people anchors to get tangled, get the boat close enough to tie off to the dock but not hit it, and definitely do not hit the big shiny motor launch with the crew hanging over the side watching us while the bows are being blown off downwind and a crowd is watching, and do it with style while not yelling at each other. So I hope you understand there were no pics of this operation. Went pretty well and the customs and police at Cavtat were very nice contrary to the reputation Croatia has gained for its self.
Now finally after 7 days running we can relax and stop for a while. Entertaining watching people do the same manoeuvre onto the Q dock all day long and bigger and Bigger boats come in. Seems our score was quite high compared to some of the efforts we saw! Over a few days we had quite a show with divers down several times. Felt very sorry for some recently arrived Australians who had all sorts of drama with tangled anchor chains and cumulated with a 65’ swan yacht being plucked off the dock when a 150’ motor launch left and he had laid his chain over theirs. That tangle took an hour to resolve while the British yacht captain remained very civil British on the VHF radio in contrast to some incoming Americans were squawking for advice on where the Q dock was.
Cavtat is a lovely little town and an excellent place to clear in. Here are some of the fancy pants boats tied to the town dock.
We got an impressive downpour that afternoon and was very therapeutic collecting large buckets of water for washing. The kids now have a better understanding of the excessive resources we consume for modern civilized life when have to manage our water, generate our own electricity and carry the food all the way from the shop, rather than just turn a switch or tap in a land house and ignore the consequences. Yes I am wearing safety glasses from being half way through another project in the rolling restoration/general boat maintenance that takes a few hours most days.
The next day was the start of the run of stunning weather. Lovely.
Arrrrrrr Me Hearties! Its swimmin time!
We met Tom the professional boatie who gets paid to look after Lady E in the Med summer and that funds the Caribbean summer on his Madonna. Tough life. He kindly gave Amelia and Boston his last D penny whistle and taught them the notes to play it as well as suggesting several anchorages. Legend.
It was “suggested” it was time to trim the face…
Sunset competition continues.