Summer 2022

Doviđenja Croatia

With our guests now departed it was time to prepare for our passage out of Croatia. We lifted the anchor at Zaton and headed a couple of miles towards Dubrovnik for a busy day of preparation. Just as ZigZag passed under the bridge a bungee jumper leapt from the top.

After continuing down the river, we refuelled at the marina before anchoring just outside.

The next job was to refill our gas canisters and do some provisioning. Fred and Ed were launched and we set off further down the river to the gas filling station and the supermarket. Fred was then loaded up and we headed back to ZigZag.

There had been some cloud around over the last few days and so with limited solar energy, our batteries were quite low. Not wanting to set off without them being fully charged, the generator had its first outing. You may remember that when we drove down to Greece in 2020 we bought a generator with us but had never used it. After filling it with fuel and oil, we fired it up and were very pleased that it worked first time and able to quickly fully charge our batteries. One of the main reasons for topping them up is to ensure that we have enough power for the autohelm as hand steering can get a little tedious on a long passage.

There was a gusty wind through the night in the anchorage which along with the anticipation of a long journey ahead, made it difficult to sleep. So we got up at 5am just as the sun was rising and motored around to the customs dock.

The process to check out took 2 hours as we arrived just as the night shift was clocking off. The new day shift were obviously wide awake as they managed to find a small discrepancy in our documents giving them an opportunity to fine us. When we asked what we should have done to avoid this, their response was that they didn’t know! Thankfully it wasn’t too expensive at approximately £30 each.

Our course was set to head 270 nm south to Greece which would take 3 days, it was sunny with a light easterly wind as we left Croatia. Unfortunately the wind quickly disappeared and meant that we had to have the engine on for the first 6 hours of the journey.

We did see dolphins a couple of times but they were too far away for good photos.

The wind then picked up slightly and shifted around to the north west so we were able to sail slowly. After a few hours of calm sailing, the wind picked up to 20kts and bought with it some swell which made us roll around but we were happy that our speed had increased and we were making good progress.

It was impossible to sleep as the boat rocked from side to side, you could hear waves slapping the hull and everything moving back and forth in the cupboards. As the sun went down it left a colourful sky. Once darkness fell, the clouds cleared leaving a starry night with a small banana shaped moon and there were hardly any other boats around.

By the early hours of day two the wind had dropped and the sails started flapping so down they came and on went the engine again. The sun rose through the clouds starting a fairly uneventful day. There was very little wind, but at least this helped to flatten out the sea making it much more comfortable.

By the evening the wind kept picking up so we rolled out the sails, but within half an hour it had disappeared and they had to be taken down again. This happened several times which was very frustrating.

Along with this gusty wind, lots of black storm clouds were developing in front of us as Corfu island came into sight. We were trying to steer around them but found ourselves heading away from Corfu and back out to sea.

A cruise ship was heading straight towards us out of the darkness. Behind it there was a faint blue sky, our assumption was that with all of its sophisticated radar and weather systems it had probably picked the most comfortable route out from the island, so we headed in the direction it had come from. Within 15 minutes the ship had passed us and the gap in the clouds was starting to grow, leaving us with a storm free journey through the night travelling towards Corfu.

Another beautiful sunrise on day three as it came up over the island.

As we continued between the island and mainland the sea was dead flat calm and it was becoming much busier with many large passenger ships and fishing pots to avoid.

Having had enough of motoring, in order to give both us and the engine a rest, we decided to anchor in Petriti, a small fishing village towards the bottom of the east coast of Corfu. It was quite busy around the harbour but there was plenty of space in the large bay for us to drop the anchor. The passage had taken almost 50 hours covering a total of 270 nm.

It was very hot, the air and water temperatures had increased significantly since leaving Croatia and moving south. We had a relaxing couple of days in the anchorage and managed to catch up with some friends who were cruising around the area.

As Petriti is not a port of entry, we still needed to check into Greece so our journey continued a further 52nm south to Lefkas. It was a very calm day, there was no wind and the sea was like a mirror as we left the anchorage.

By lunchtime the wind picked up slightly and so the sails were unfurled to enable us to motorsail. The Lefkas bridge only opens on the hour and our plan was to go through at the 6pm opening so we needed to keep our speed up to arrive in time.

A couple of hours later we finally got some stronger wind and the engine was switched off. It was a great sail for the last few hours, cruising along at 6.5kts.

An early arrival at the bridge gave us plenty of time to take down the sails and motor around the headland to the castle ready for the 6pm opening, it was nice to be back in this familiar area. Once through the bridge we moored in the town ready to check in.

The next morning we went to the port authority as soon as it opened, feeling hopeful that after learning the process here previously, we would be able to complete it in one day (as opposed to the 3 days it took last year).

We soon realised that this was wishful thinking when the Port Authority told us to come back at 4pm. Further disappointment came on our return at 4pm to be told that everyone had gone home and to come back tomorrow. Feeling very disheartened we went to the bar to console ourselves…..and then several more bars!

At least it was a nice sunset.

The next day went much better, I think they felt sorry for us. After reporting in to all of the officials we had everything stamped by the end of the day and were free to explore Greece.

4 replies on “Doviđenja Croatia”

Lovely photos, and great to hear of you back sailing through the night. Also great to see photo of Paul actually sailing… not just living it large in a bar 🙂
I bet you are loving being back in familiar waters.
Safe onward sailing.

Liked by 1 person

Some people will do anything to get into Sailing ZigZag photos – even bungee jumping!
Superb travelogue and photos – banana moon, red ensign, red skies.
Glad you have arrived in Greece – a country with a cost of government borrowing now less than the UK.
Keep the stories coming.

Liked by 1 person

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