Adriatic Storms

by Adrian on June 6, 2008

The last entry was posted whilst we were 20 miles offshore heading out into the Adriatic across to Croatia. We've now arrived and are pretty exhausted after a long, long night.

A few extracts from our log:

1645  Leave Brindisi – Beam reach on starboard tack (12 knots)
1720 Wind slowly decreasing – veering SW
1800 Motor on
2100 Monitoring rain shower ahead. Thundery?
2215 Lots of shipping and traffic
2300 Electrical storms in distance. Passing more traffic
0100 Tracking 5 electrical storms. Big lightening storm on starboard beam 20M+ away
0230 Change course to avoid track of oncoming strom
0330 Monitoring cluster of storms and their progress
0500 Storms disappearing (possibly)
0730 Sailing, beam reach starboard tack, still adjusting course around storms
0900 Storm avoidance. 25 knot winds, large electrical storm behind. Third reef in case it catches us
0930 Waterspouts seen 3.2 miles behind. More sail to try to outrun. (7 knots boat speed)
1000 Aft storm breaking up. Change course to avoid another line of storms on coast
1030 Heading to Dubrovnik. Storms off to South now. Broken trhough last of them
1130 25 knot consistant wind with gusts. Breakfast – bacon, eggs, toast. Nice.
1220 Arrived in Dubrovnik Gruz harbour.

Radar image of storms

When we arrived we had to go through entry formalities which meant us going to 3 different offices with a variety of licences and papers to obtain out cruising permit and immigration stamps. Amazon were ahead of us slightly so luckily they gave us the heads up on what to do. First impressions – lots of paperwork but quite structured and efficient.

Next, whilst preparing to leave the customs quay our hard earned Vignette (licence) that we'd paid €300 for fluttered away and landed in the dock. I made a mad dash for out boathook, quickly attached it's fishing net head and in the nick of time saved it as it slowly sank towards the bottom. Nearly a very embarrasing and diffucult to explain disaster.

Given the weather the only real choice of mooring around Dubrovnik was the city marina, situated up river. We'd originally intended to make land at another port slightly south called Cavtat and then work our way to Dubrovnik via a couple of anchorages, but we'd diverted to Dubrovnik earlier to avoid the line of storms and bad weather. The landscape is vastly different from Italy, with huge steep sided inlets almost like fjords. It looks a bit like the welsh mountains, but with palm trees, the sea and civilisation. We motored up one such long inlet under a huge suspension bridge (another first for us) and eventually arrived at the marina only to find a large queue of other yachts milling around with the marina not letting anyone in until after 4pm.

So, we waited, called and tried to get any information we could about berths. Typically the marina staff were very non-commital about availability of spaces, so upon their recommendation we anchored for a short while to wait with the intention of catching up on some much needed sleep after last night's sail. Feeling we were loosing opportinities to other boats that just motored straight up to the marina, we decided to forgo sleep again to be a but pushy and join the fray. After much circling and hovering around we were finally allocated a berth.

Since we're flying back to the UK for a week from next Wednesday, we need to leave the boat in the marina and they don't take reservations. Since we're in and at a berth we won't be able to go out exploring without risking not being able to get back in again, so we've got a few days to relax a bit and explore.

We're both very tired after a busy and restless night, so have crashed out with some quick and easy pasta and are now heading off to a nice unbroken 8 hours sleep.

Tomorrow, exploring Dubrovnik.

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