Farewell Greece….For Now

After spending 5 days at the fortress wall and saying good-bye to our guests, we decided it was time for some new scenery.  As I went to pull up the anchor, I was puzzling over why the bridle was taking so long to come up.  That’s when I noticed the 2 lines of the bridle laying straight down along the sides of the hulls.  The shackle had broken free and was gone.  I quickly dropped more chain while Dan took the dinghy through the moat of the fortress to find a new shackle.  I stayed watch at the anchor.  Without the bridle, wind will put strain on the anchor chain, roller and windlass.  All of which can lead to very bad things if the wind gusts are strong enough.  Getting our bridle back in working order was a must.

Taking our dinghy through the Venetian fortress moat to the old part of the city was a treat

Once Dan returned, we headed back south to one of our favorite anchorages, Petriti.  It was just as we had hoped…..silent, except for the song of the cicadas.  We found a spot all to ourselves, away from all the mayhem near the town where 95% of the boats like to anchor.  It was bliss….until it wasn’t.  On our second night, the swell came in and we pitched violently all night long.  It was time to go.

All alone…just like we prefer it! The cruising guides show the anchorage where all of the boats in the picture are. We are a mile south in the same sand but it’s not in the book…

We headed back to Corfu town since this was where we would need to check out of Greece.  We tried to anchor near the fortress wall again….but we ended up moving.  Several boats came in and anchored fairly close, but we had anchored somewhat close to a small French boat.  I swam the anchor several times, and it was dug in nicely.  As the wind and swell came in, they ended up extremely close to us (I’m pretty sure their anchor was dragging).  It was time to go.  We picked up our anchor and headed over to the bigger bay, away from the fortress wall.  The next day we headed into town to check out of Greece formally (THAT is an experience in and of itself!).

Our new spot in the bay had the bonus of being next to another American flagged Lagoon 400 (same as our boat). We don’t run into many American boats here so it’s always great to connect.
Doing the customs, immigration and harbormaster shuffle. It’s a lot of walking between offices collecting stamps.
Success. After all of that, the last step is hand the “Transit Log” in to the authorities.

We had waited several days to time our departure to catch a south wind (not overly common here) in the hopes of sailing north and not beating into the swell.  Since Greece allows you 24 hours to leave the country, we headed to the northernmost island of Erikoussa to stage ourselves for a morning departure to Montenegro.  This would be our longest passage yet, 25 hours.

From there to there in one big overnight push

We got underway a little before 9 a.m. riding a south wind to head north.  About 4 hours into our journey, we were treated to a pod of dolphins playing in our bow spray.  Dan and I both ran to the front of the boat to enjoy their antics for the brief time they joined us.  We managed to eek out a little more than 5 hours of sailing on this long journey before the wind died and we were back to motoring.  As night fell, we settled into our shifts with me at the helm first.  I am still not a huge fan of night sailing mostly because I struggle to know what the big fishing boats are doing.  Some are brightly lit with white lights making it impossible to see if they are anchored or moving.  After a 3 hour watch, Dan and I traded off.  As expected, I struggled to sleep as the noise of the rudder squeaked behind my head (never mind all the bad thoughts running through my head of Dan falling overboard and me not knowing until hours later).

Dolphins playing in our bow wave. Love how they always seem to be smiling.
All three sails were flying for awhile while were sailing “Dead Downwind”

It wasn’t long before my final night shift came (wait, what?  How did I end up with two of the three night shifts…..grrrr).  At 8:15, I got coffee going and woke Dan up.  We were getting close to Bar, Montenegro and the customs dock to check in.  As we approached the bay, I was treated to a very large Marlin breaching the water, not once but twice.  It was quite a sight to see.  After completing the formalities of checking into the country, we headed into the Bar marina for the next few nights.

A curious thing on the charts for a portion of the coast off of Albania. Fomer mines! Keyword being “former” There were fishing boats here, there and everywhere so we assumed it was a relic from a bygone age.
Sunrise is always welcome sight to behold after being underway all night
A very welcome welcome sign in Montenegro

After a one night stop in a bay heading north, we made our way into the Bay of Kotor.  The scenery in this anchorage was magical with the castle walls looming, running high up into the cliffs.  A small church was perched 1/2 way up the hill.  It was an amazing place to be, but the water was a little rough with the constant traffic of speedboats, large power yachts and day trippers racing in and out of the harbor. 

Zoe at anchor off of the ancient city of Kotor. That is the now empty cruise ship dock in the background. When we last visited in 2019 it was jam packed.
Walled city of Kotor at the foot of the mountains
One of the entrances through the fortifications
Very atmospheric town to walk and wander in
Street entertainers on every corner
Kotor’s lit up fortifications from the anchorage. Lovely.

The following day we had a reservation at a very highly reviewed restaurant on the opposite side of the bay.  We were told that they had 4 mooring balls here which were free to use if you ate at the restaurant…..sounded good to me!  This bay was much, much quieter, which I loved.  Unfortunately, there appeared to only be one mooring ball not four.  Since we arrived somewhat early, we easily snatched it up.  There was a fresh water river not far away that empties into the bay bringing with it extremely cold water.  This made for interesting swimming.  You’d be swimming along and all of a sudden you’d be blasted with icy cold water that took your breath away.

View from the mooring ball of the fjords of Montenegro

We watched as boats came in circling around our area, likely looking for the elusive mooring balls.  At one point, a boat anchored quite close to us.  We explained to him given the depth of where he was in relation to us and the amount of chain he would need to put out was going to cause a problem because we were on a ball and would not swing at the same ratio as him.  He said her understood and anchored further away.  Later, as I was sitting on deck waiting to leave for dinner.  He drove his dinghy, out of their way, to cruise along side us.  The next thing I know, I hear the guy that’s with him telling him he should cut Zoe’s lines and he would help him.  He said this twice, quite clearly!  What the hell?!?  Well, that was just great…..now I was on edge the rest of the night.

The restaurant sent their tender down to pick us up for dinner, and we headed up this beautiful little river that was thickly lined with foliage.  It was magical.  Before long, we arrived at this beautiful restaurant situated on the river with lush, green surroundings.  We had a great time, and the seafood was outstanding.  After an enchanting evening we headed back to Zoe (I was thankful to see she was still tied up) and settled in for the night.  I did not have a restful night, as I fretted over every sound I heard, worried that those two clowns were serious.  I loved Montenegro last time we were here…..this time I felt a little soured 🙁

Lush landscaping of Catovica Mlini restaurant.
What a wonderful setting for dinner

Our final stop in Montenegro was to the Marina Porto Montenegro.  This is a world renowned marina loaded with some of the most expensive super yachts you’ve ever seen.  We were excited to check it out.  Imagine Rodeo Drive meets Monaco.  The shops and restaurants that lined the 1/2 mile long marina were all very high end and ritzy.  The people strolling the promenade were all dressed in their finest apparel (yeah, we kind of looked like a couple of vagabonds in comparison).  It was a very nice marina, and we really enjoyed our stay….until it was time to leave.  We had made an appointment to get duty free fuel (a huge savings and our tanks were nearing empty), but when we handed over our papers for checkout, we were told we did not have the receipt for the tourist tax.  No one told us anything about this tourist tax when we checked into the country….we had only paid the vignette tax.  The police were called and Dan had to go meet with them to sort it out.  The officer asked Dan how much he thought the fine should be…..seriously????  Dan said he really didn’t know because he was unaware of the tax or how much it was to begin with.  In the end, a 20 euro note to cover “coffee” for them allowed us to be on our way.  All right, that is now strike number 2 in my book, and I am beyond angry.  Yes, I know, there is corruption everywhere…..but this infuriates me.  I work very hard to follow all the rules and expectations of the countries we visit, and this did not sit well with me.

Our Lady of the Rocks church on a small island in the bay.
Spectacular setting for this church.
Zoe in the Porto Montenegro marina. It was heat wave for a few days so a few days of air conditioning was welcome (our boat needs shore power or the generator running for A/C)
So many super yachts in one place!
Ferraris and Bentleys casually parked in ritzy Porto Montengero. So much money here.
Black Pearl docked behind the marina pool. World’s largest private sailboat owned by a Russian Oligarch
Returning to Zoe at the fuel dock after buying “coffee” for the local police.

About two hours later, we were finally on our way to Croatia and another fun port of entry (NOT!)  If you followed our blog a couple of years ago, we were headed to the town of Cavtat and the ever challenging Q dock, which still gives me nightmares to this day.  Dan said we needed to slay the dragon.  I said dragons burn you and best to stay far away!  For some reason, Croatia has been pretty quiet this year with boat traffic.  As we approached the dock in a stiff crosswind (our least favorite direction of course), we asked the line handler if we could come in side to.  He said no, drop the anchor and back in.  Just as I rigged the lines to do that, he changed his mind and said come side to.  OH, THANK GOD!  Luckily for us, the mega yacht that was coming in had an agent who said they were fine if came in side to.  Of course now Dan says we still have not slayed the dragon.  I told him….baby steps.  Once we finished formalities, we headed across the bay to the town of Srebreno.  Friends had told us that the small wall there had lazy lines that you could tie up to with access to water and electricity.  Perfect!

The infamous “Q-dock” where customs is located in Cavtat. It’s a small space with a prevailing crosswind which makes for anchor chaos when there are many boats trying to check in or check out.
Third country in a week. The formalities are straightforward but a bit of shuffling from office to office getting stamps and paying fees.

We came into the bay, and the harbormaster gave us a line to tie to our bow.  Unfortunately, he only had one which does not work well for a catamaran.  We got our stern lines tied but were pitching all around, uncomfortably close to the wall.  The was a large, crewed, motor yacht next to us, and the deckhand asked to come aboard to help.  We gladly accepted.  It took Dan and him an hour to figure out how to make the one mooring line work on a boat with two hulls.  In the end, he jumped off the bow, rigged a loop in the mooring line, and we tied a bridle through it to each side of the hulls.  The next thing I knew, this young man climbed back on board our boat…..FROM THE BOW!!  There are no steps, no ladder, nothing.  He used sheer, brute strength and amazing acrobatics to climb from the water to our bow.  We spent two nights here since he had gone to so much trouble to help secure us.  We also really enjoyed walking the town.  We will definitely be back to this spot.  

Our improvised solution to having only one mooring line available (normally we need two). Since the winds were forecasted to be light, we were able to make a bridle point in the line and tie off both hulls. This kept us centered and secure on the dock.
Srebreno city wall. Much better than anchoring near bura prone Cavtat. Buras are katabatic winds notorious in this area for striking in the middle of the night out of nowhere.

The winds were forecasted to start coming up, so we decided to get underway.  The  captain of our neighbor was kind enough to help us untie from a very tight loop on shore.  We were on our way to our next anchorage despite knowing the winds were going to get a little blustery.  Just as we were coming up the channel, the VHF barked out a gale force warning for our area.  We decided trying out a new anchorage in gale force winds just didn’t sound like a lot of fun.  Instead, we headed into a brand new marina outside of Dubrovnik.  It was awesome!  We spent the next two days there (as did many others who came streaming in after us).  Which brings us to today.  We are once again quietly anchored in a beautiful bay (despite some very gusty winds which are suppose to die tonight) and our next set of guests will arrive tomorrow.  Stayed tuned for more adventures as we make our way further north in the Adriatic!

Eclipse, one of the world’s largest private yachts, at anchor near Dubrovnik
The famous walls of Dubrovnik as we motor past heading north.
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Karen
Karen
1 month ago

Yikes. I held my breath through parts of this chapter in your adventure. But , wow, so worth it to see all those gorgeous locations. Stay safe. So happy you are living this dream. ♥️

Mark Garcia
Mark Garcia
1 month ago

Another great report. Thanks Robyn! I hope Croatia continues to meet with your expectations. 😎

Nora Espenshade
Nora Espenshade
1 month ago

The Walls of Dubrovnik remind me of Game of Thrones.

Keep safe. I don’t know how to express how much I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your photographs.

Thank you!.