Saturday, June 14, 2014

Arrival in Bar

Long way from boat to beach and back.  Good exercise
at Nisos Erikoussa for a couple of days.

We departed Nisos Erikoussa just north of Corfu at 07:40 on Friday the 13th.  And we had plenty of bananas on board.  Could we portend any more bad omens for sailors than that!

Albania -- a very long coastline

Good thing no one aboard is superstitious.  We gave none of those things a second thought.  The weather forecast was good on all 3 weather sites that we checked and per the grib files that we downloaded, and that was all that mattered to us.   There would be a gale of 35 to 45 knots in the northern Adriatic on Friday night but that would not affect us in the southern Adriatic.

Seas were flat calm and winds were very light, which meant a leisurely motor or motor sail straight north to clear in at the industrial port of Bar, Montenegro.  And that is exactly what we did.

No one had told us about the millions of flies in the Adriatic

We spotted more porpoises off the long coast of Albania than we have seen cumulative during the past 3 years in the Med.  There were several pods feeding around the boat in all directions at one point.  Then a few more small pods spotted separately a little farther north.  There were absolutely zero fishing boats off the coast of Albania.  Maybe the porpoises know that this must be an area that is not over-fished like the rest of the Med. 

Beer-thirty while underway.  Note our fancy mosquito
netting to keep the millions of flies out of the boat.
During the 40-50 years that the communist dictator forced Albania to be isolated from the rest of the world, many Albanians fled the country in whatever kind of boat they could find.  Just like the Cubans trying to reach Florida shores, the Albanians were trying to reach Italian shores.  Desperate people do desperate things.  In an effort to stop the people fleeing, the dictator ordered all boats destroyed in Albania except his military vessels.  And mined the coastal waters.  As a result, the fish are more plentiful in those waters still today.  And the people as yet have not been able to afford to buy or build more boats.  Give them time.

Raising the asymmetrical sail.  Zachary said if anyone
needed to wear a PFD when waters are that calm then
they have no business being on a boat.

I also spotted a small shark dorsal fin going back and forth!  This is the first shark I have spotted in the Med.  No doubt about it; this was a small shark.  We did not get close enough to see what kind.  I was glad that it did not bite the fishing lure that we were trailing.

Late afternoon the wind picked up a tiny bit, allowing us to fly the asymmetrical.  This was the first time either of the grandkids had seen this sail.  It was much easier to deploy and retrieve with the extra pairs of hands provided by Zachary and with Elisabeth at the helm.  It would have been possible to fly this sail until about 10:00 that night, but we doused it when it was time for Bill to go to sleep early.  No point in waking him up later to assist taking in a sail.

Zachary shared the first watch with me -- 1800 to 0130 -- while Bill and Elisabeth slept.  They both like to retire early anyway, although normally not so early as 1800.  They awakened and relieved me and Zach at 0130 and we went to sleep until 0700.  This is the typical watch schedule that Bill and I follow on passages.  I am a night owl and Bill is an early riser so this schedule works well for us.  It went okay with the kids but they both were very tired today.

Night watch during a full moon.  Playing computer games.

S/V BeBe and crew are all cleared into Montenegro.  American friends were denied clearance into Montenegro in 2012 because they did not have an ICC -- an International Competency Certificate which is issued in Britain.  Well...duh!  Why would Americans get a sailing competency certificate issued in England or Europe?  Makes no sense.  Both Bill and I have our captains license and the Harbourmaster here in Bar was very happy with that.  Another boat, people also from Texas, also arrived here this morning.  The Harbourmaster mentioned that they did not have proper insurance and also did not have any form of certification/ICC/captains license.  He was just shaking his head as he told the story.  I do not know if they were granted clearance today or if they will be forced to move on as our other American friends had to do back in 2012.

We opted to purchase a 30-day vignette (cruising permit).  The choice was either only one week or 30 days.  One week would have cost 125 Euro; the 30-days cost 225 Euro.  We probably will stay in Montenegro for 2 weeks, so basically that extra week cost us 100 Euro.  One week simply is not enough time to see anything at all of any country.  

We are docked at the 'better' of the 2 marinas in Bar.  This is a major commercial port and not attractive for pleasure yachting.  I won't provide the name of the marina where we are docked since I cannot think of anything positive to say about this place.  

Elisabeth and I spoke with a travel/tour agent this afternoon and there are a couple of day tours that we would like to do; but these are not offered daily and there is no way we want to sit in this dilapidated marina for $100 per day for another 6 days just to go on a tour.  Maybe we will find similar tours elsewhere. 

Oh!  I thought of something positive to say about this marina.  It has free Wi-Fi.

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