Goodbye Croatia

by Adrian on July 29, 2008

We should have know it wasn’t going to be easy.

We’ve just sailed 300miles down the whole of Croatia and have been planning our departure. 

We had to get fuel, we had to get a Greek courtesy flag and we had to time our departure so that we’d arrive in Corfu at a reasonable time of day.

The plan was to head up to Dubrovnik Marina, where I refuelled whilst Jacqui ran up to the chandlers to get the flag. This all went according to plan so we headed out to the southern most port of entry, Cavtat, 15 miles down the coast. We said our goodbyes to Dubrovnik on the way by sailing around the outside of the city wall to get the sea view.

Last view of Dubrovnik

On arriving in Cavtat we discovered that once we had completed the paperwork and had officially signed out of Croatia we had to leave immediately and directly out of Croatian waters. The only problem was that the harbour master and customs offices were only open from 8am to 8pm at night, so our plan of leaving at 6am to arrive in Corfu mid afternoon the day after were scuppered. 

Cavtat harbour – small boats not allowed as they try to pitch themselves as the new Monaco!

There were no concessions given by the harbourmaster either – we couldn’t moor on the quay (despite there being room) because they didn’t want small yachts in the town and we weren’t allowed to wait on the customs quay despite everyone going home. We had to anchor off for the night and plan to get to the office as soon as it opened at 8am. This would get us into Gouvia marina in Corfu at around 5-6 in the afternoon, which is ok, but doesn’t give us much margin for error or ability to go a bit slower than our planned 6 knots at any stage.

Anchoring was fun (we were charged £30 of course). It was quite crowded and the bay was deep so we didn’t have much room to swing around. When the wind started to gust a bit after midnight we got up to find a large catamaran nearly dragging into and a lot of concerned crews on anchor watch. We decided to up anchor and head to the quay – hoping that at that time of night there would be no one around so we could slip in quietly and wait until morning. No such luck! The customs quay was patrolled by police officials so we ended up rafting up alongside another British yacht that had moored alongside the harbour wall with a broken anchor. We were looking forward to a relatively calm few hours before heading off when another official came over and tried to turf us both out. After a long and heated debate he relented and let us stay – provided we leave before daylight.

So, 4 hours sleep later we were up again and this time snuck onto the customs quay to wait a couple of hours before 8am and the offices opened.

Back any forth a bit between customs, police and harbourmaster offices and we had our permission to leave. We were off. At 0820 we left Croatia. Tired, a bit bothered and a bit annoyed at the bureaucracy to the end…

Only 200 miles to go now, overnight, probably motoring all the way due to light winds. 

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