Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Port Saint Louis (France)

Whilst preparing for our departure we were entertained by a motor yacht moored on the long quay who used his helicopter to fetch passengers.

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The morning of 21st August 2015 saw us taking a taxi to the airport for our journey to Dubrovnik via Prague. It was a pretty uneventful flight except for a very short changeover in Prague where we had to change terminals and get new boarding passes in under one hour!!. We were also travelling with a luggage allowance of 10kg each which had to last us one month!!!!!!                                                         DSCN5751

On arrival in Dubrovnik we caught a taxi which drove us on the 30 minute journey to ACI marina where the Lagoon 450 catamaran was moored. After meeting the owners and spending a few hours going through all the instructions the owners left us and we were able to settle in to our temporary home whilst waiting for our crew/friends (Leif and Anna) to arrive from Norway. We treated ourselves to a dinner at the marina restaurant before turning in for the night. The next morning saw us revising the instructions and checking out the 2 fridges and freezer which were packed to the gills with food and drink. We truly had a very considerate employer.

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Anna and Leif arrived with a mountain of luggage for one week.

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As soon as they were settled in we left the quay on the start of the 1100NM trip to Port Saint Louis. The departure went smoothly and we motored up the fjord and under the bridge out into the Adriatic Sea.

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It was our intention to cross in one go to the heel of Italy so we had the inevitable sunset on the way.

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After an uneventful crossing we anchored off Castro Marina on the heel of Italy after 23 hours and 45 minutes at sea.  Whilst the others went ashore and explored Caryn made a well deserved dinner. As the anchorage was very bumpy and a catamaran was obviously not often seen we were constantly being buzzed by the local boats having a look so at 6pm we hoisted anchor and continued on our way round the heel and along the foot.

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On this stretch we were able to hoist the genoa and also the main sail. Unfortunately when we wanted to lower it we found it impossible as the halyard was completely twisted inside the mast and prevented any movement. Eventually we  found some very  calm waters and having found the bosun chair Svein was hoisted up the mast to do a repair.

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Svein in the top of the mast

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After a long night and day we arrived in the marina of  Rocella Ionica where were showed a mooring alongside. After settling in the boys took the boat papers and our passports to the office to check in and on their return to the boat discovered that they no longer had our passports!!! A return trip to the office where they denied all knowledge of the missing passports and a fellow sailor exiting from the library next to the office declaring  that #there were 4 passports under a book in the room#. Svein and Leif was never in that library! They were hastily retrieved and returned to the boat and at every stop thereafter we only took one passport to the office. Lesson learned but it could have been very nasty.

A trip to town to explore a little and to have dinner and we were back at the boat for a good night’s sleep in order to be ready for the next day.

We left early and motored all day along the foot (it really is very long) on the fourth day of the trip. Occasionally we were able to hoist the genoa but we mostly ran on the engines.

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At 5pm we were rounding the toe and heading into the Messina Strait. During this time Svein had caught a stomach bug so was not in top form but fortunately there was medication on board so we were able to treat him. It meant that he was on a very meagre diet for a few days whilst the others enjoyed the delights stocked on board.

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Through the Strait and we headed for the marina of Tropea where we arrived in the evening to find the office closed. We moored on the fuel quay and next morning were able to fill the tanks before we left. We were charged the princely sum of 117 euro for the night at the fuel quay

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Our next stop was to be the island of Ischia so it was another overnight trip with us getting in round 8 am after a very bumpy ride with persistent head winds and 22 hours at sea.

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Here it was a brief trip ashore and a meal on board before we weighed anchor and took to the sea again so that we could break the journey and avoid another overnight trip. We reached Saint Felice Circeo in the early evening and were able to anchor outside in calm seas.

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It was now just a short hop to Rome and the marina where we would drop off Anna and Leif for their return flight to Norway. Svein and I would carry on alone for the remainder of the journey. A last night out with a delicious dinner and the next morning it was time to say goodbye.

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Once we had seen them leave in the taxi we exited the marina and headed for the island of Giglio. We did manage to motor sail on this portion of the journey and even risked hoisting the main sail which now worked perfectly. Svein and Anna had spent many hours untwisting the halyard.  We reached Giglio in the early evening and had many unsuccessful attempts at anchoring on the different bays on the east side so we eventually headed round to the west coast and anchored outside Giglio Campese. Here we spent the night amidst the many boasts already in place.

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The next day we headed for Corsica and had one of the nicest days as seas that we had had for a long time. We had reached France after 8 days at sea. We duly anchored outside the marina of Machiaggio but as it was extremely bumpy we moved up to the bay of Barcaggio where we stopped to have a meal before taking another overnight trip to Porquerolles.

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Again this part passed without incident although we did have to dart between the numerous ferries operating between Corsica and the French mainland.

A late morning arrival and we were soon anchored in the bay. A trip ashore to revisit (this had been our first port of call when we left France in 2009) and to do some shopping. Here we got a big shock as the prices were what we would have spent in one week in Greece!

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A last night at sea and then the last leg of the journey which was spent under engine and battling the Mistral all along the French coast. We were however doing 7 knots. As there was no room at the quay in Navy Service and they could not lift us out before the next day we spent the night at quay in Port Saint Louis. As we tied up a couple came to help us and it turned out that they had bought a  boat from Caryn during the time she had worked at Ancasta. Another trip down memory lane as we revisited old haunts in the town and saw old friends.

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The next day we motored to the marina where the boat was taken out. It was a very professional job done with speed and efficiency as they use a specially adapted trailor.

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Our duties were not quite over yet as we were now Tuesday and the owner could not come before Friday so we used the time to hire the car we would be using for the duration of our stay and collected it from Marseille airport. We then moved to a hotel as it was impossible to stay on board on land.

We duly handed over the boat on 4th September and our mission was complete. The journey had taken us 10 days with over 200 engine hours and 1100 NM covered.

The rest of our stay in France is covered in another blog.

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