Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Voyage Sicilia Part 2 - Monty B crosses the Adriatic

I'd forgotten why we love Lastovo.  It is so quiet, even in Mali Lago which is populated (nice to see the  smart village houses mostly lived in rather than holiday homes), where a simple sneeze ricochets in echoes around the cove.  Ditto dog barking (ours).

Tried to pretend we were on holiday but still fervently planning and weather watching.  A good job too as the weather window suddenly presented itself on Sunday once the SE blow had worked its way through on Saturday so we got ready to go.

We ummed and ahhed about whether it was worth going to Ubli to visit the Port Police to see if they would let us check out at 7am the following morning.  We decided to go for it, so in worsening weather (the forecast south easterly blow), we hauled anchor and motored around the rugged NW tip of Lastovo to the "town" of Ubli (a few houses, a shop and supposedly Customs and Immigration AND the Police).  It was gusting like buggery as we approached the dock, Tim jumped into Billy and pointlessly went to look for the authorities.  No one was around despite it only being 11am and both offices were meant to be open.  We kinda thought this might happen.

Resigned to this being a bum job, we went to anchor up in Jurjeva Luka for the night but it was already blowing straight into there and in fear of losing a precious night's sleep, we left.  Tried to go alongside at Hotel Solitudo (Pasadur) as the moorings had been removed but then the wind started blowing us onto there too, depth was only 2.1m and then noticed the signs saying CLOSED. So we had a bit of a row about it (venting) then practised the valuable skill of getting off a wall when you being pinned onto it by the wind - and it worked.  The clouds were rolling in and descending to about 100m, it looked very grim but we finally agreed that the best option was to return to Mali Lago (at least the wind would be behind us for most of the way and it was only an hour) and cut our losses.

It was lumpy, the sky was grim, but it was okay and worth it for a good night's sleep.

Sunday 13 October 2013 - Lastovo to Vieste, Italy 60NM  9 hours
6am alarm, usual faffing around and squabbling and by 7.15am we were throttling it to Ubli to check out (opened at 8am).  Skies still stormy looking towards land and still a sea state from the day before and a bit of SE wind but you could tell it was going to clear up.
Early morning departure from Mali Lago to Ubli for check out. Sun rising behind the stormy sky of the night before.

Mist clinging to the forests as the cloud clears.

They don't like early mornings much either!

Of course there was no one to be seen in Ubli at 8am on a Sunday but there was a number to call on the door of Customs and Immigration and the cops so we got them out of bed and by 9am we were off.

Motorsailed on a 2m sea, a bit grim to begin with but it quickly eased, as forecast, and the wind and sea were either insignificant or helpful for the entire journey (can't knock that) and we made it to Vieste in 9 hours (averaging 6.5 knots motorsailing full sail).  Not bad eh?  Lots of fun too.

Arrived at Vieste (whitewashed piles of houses, churches, lovely place) just before dusk and it was easy to get onto the first pontoon there.  €45 for the night, including power and water.  Seemed quite a lot but we are a captive market and we were just very glad indeed to be there.

Opened a bottle of prosecco that we'd saved for the occasion and breathed a huge sigh of relief - we've finally crossed a sea.  And it was GREAT!

Wandered around Vieste like zombies, trying to appreciate it but dead on our feet, so finally gave in and went to bed.

Monday 14 October 2013 -  Vieste to Trani 38NM  7 hours
First job - connecting ourselves to the real world again.  So got up early doors and trawled the streets of Vieste (really lovely place, nice feel - harbour nothing to speak of and surrounded by modern blocks, but the town itself is only 2 mins walk away).  Something I am not used to in Montenegro: a successful shopping trip!  Got internet and 2 phone SIMS, salivated over Italian supermarket offerings (a whole chill section of fresh pastas! ah man!), found a lovely old man running a fishing shop and bought an Italian courtesy flag for us and a Norwegian boat on our pontoon, and got to try out my Italian (we are learning from Earworms, only on lesson 3 and we are already speaking a little - well, we can order beer!).  It was one of those warming experiences - which perked me up as I still felt like a zombie (lack of sleep, a bit anxious, hormones).
Vieste, Italy - white-washed old town mixes with the new, balancing on crumbling chalk cliffs which are fast falling into the sea. Wish we'd had more time there.

Bye bye Croatia (and your €200 (for one week as it happened) vignettes). Beautiful it may be, but it comes at a cost.

Hello Italy!  Hello EU (proper).  We didn't even need to check into the country.  Feels too weird!  Flag purchased from little old man in a fishing shop.  With no language to help me, I  drew rectangle thing in the air, kept saying Italia Italia, simulating it blowing in a breeze which only drew puzzlement - - there was only so long I could keep this up - - - - then remembered our favourite bar in Kotor with the flags, Bandiera!  His face lit up and he pulled out a bag from a shelf and lo and behold, bandieras!

Tim doing some work.

Meant to leave at 1000, eventually got off the dock at 1035, followed by our new-found Norwegian friends (Tomas, Natasha, Emma and Phillipa).  Forecast was for NW 3 but it was southerly for half the journey, came round NE for the last few hours but motorsailed all the way.  Only made 5.6 knots average today - makes you realise the huge difference that having the sea with you and even a tiny bit of wind in the sails makes.  And we are burning a lot of fuel.

It is nearly dark by 6.15 now so every day we are going to be chasing our tails unless we leave mega-early but then you don't get to see the places you stop in.  Would have liked to stay longer in Vieste.
Dogs of little use as crew on this occasion.  We will make it up to them over the winter!  Our Norwegian friends over-taking us in the distance.
Then we arrived in Trani - and we were glad we got here as it is a wonderful place.  Approaching the harbour, bathed in hazy autumn afternoon sunshine, with its huge cathedral tower and misch masch of medieval buildings surrounding the busy harbour, it looked like one of those paintings of Italian harbours that people hung on their lounge walls in the 1970s.  It felt extremely surreal.

Decided immediately that we wanted to stay but also wanted to get the miles in before the forecast NW gale on Weds/Thurs.  Internet still not working so had to content myself with weather forecasting via a slow Kindle wifi connection.  Tried to relax about it and wait until morning.  Did another zombie walk around town then hit the sack.

Tuesday 15/Weds 16 October 2013 - Trani
Stupid sleep-freak that I'm turning into, got up at first light to see if internet working - YES!  and very fast too.  Forecast, pilot books out, coffee, discussions - decided to stay and see out NW blow here in Trani.  Meant we be here until Friday but it looked like a place that had a few days in it.  It also only costs €25 a night including power and water and a clean portocabin shower and toilet block.

Moved to another (safer, supposedly) berth which was a very tight corner squeeze to get into and depths were all wrong (grrrr) with 1.7m showing on depth meter whilst I'm trying to manoeuvre into a tiny berth with men telling me to turn the wheel (f**k off!) when I'm already hard-over.  This wasn't a good idea - we were in there by then but without knowing whether we'd got more than a cm under our keel (filthy water) and already fretting about how we'd get back out again if there was more than a puff of wind (me planning 3 days ahead again, gahh), after the usual "discussions" we agreed to move back to where we were to start with.

And so we did.  And here we are.  And the gale is due any moment.  First thunderstorm has just passed and wind came up then dropped off again - but it is coming.
Wonderful 360 degrees view from the boat of the harbour, feels like a film set.

Trani's strange mixture of architectural styles, particularly the cathedral which is both immense and strange.

We are at the end of this pontoon.  Unfortunately we are on the end on big boat moorings so at least strong but we are going to cop it tonight in this wind.

The cathedral tower  - impossible to fit the whole thing in with a little digi camera.

The forecast winds, picking up around now (5pm) and forecast to blow like this peaking tomorrow (Thurs) morning.  We are between Barletta and Moletta - this is why I thought it best to sit tight rather than going any further south at the moment.  You see?  My obsessive weather-watching does pay off (I hope!)

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