Dalmatian Coast 2007

CHAPTER C

Note: At the bottom of this webpage there is a map that shows in detail the route of “Faneromeni”.

July 7, 07 We departed from the harbor of Zelenika in Montenegro at 09:25. Our destination was Croatia. The weather was very good and we had a sunny day. Under these pleasant conditions we left behind the waters of Montenegro and entered those of Croatia. After traveling a relatively short distance we arrived at the Gulf/Harbor of Cavtat (Greek: Επιδαυρος - Epidauros; Italian: Ragusavecchia). Our arrival time was 12:40 and we had come 23 nM fromZelenika. Cavtat is the first Croatian port of entry/exit encountered during a south to north passage. The city was founded by Greek colonists in the 6th century BC under the name of Epidauros.

Naturally I had previously informed the A1 Yacht Trade Consirtium S.A. of our impending arrival and we were also flying the yellow pratique flag. All vessels arriving in a country for the first time must go first to a port of entry and fly the yellow (letter Q) flag. This way they notify the authorities (Harbor Master, Police, Customs, Health Authority, etc.) that all passengers and crew are in good health and request free passage under the International Law of the Sea.

We were directed by the authorities to moor in a section of the harbor dedicated to vessels under clearance, both entering and exiting the country. Right after we completed mooring the “Faneromeni,” the company agent came and undertook to handle all the clearing procedures without our involvement. In the meantime, a crowd, mostly from other nearby boats, gathered to see this curious boat that came to their port from distant Greece. Boats from our country are infrequent visitors, especially boats like “Faneromeni.” After all the procedures (which cost a substantial amount) were completed, we had to vacate our temporary mooring position. I asked the harbor attendant where we should go. He answered that this harbor accommodates only boats of over 20 meters in length. Indeed I could see that most of the boats in the harbor were large and luxurious yachts. After this bad news we were about to cast off when the attendant came back and told us that he had spoken with harbor director and that they were going to make an exception for us and let us stay in their harbor.

In the harbor of Cavtat approaching the quay.
Croatia, July 2007                           (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

I thanked him and I then told him that actually I preferred to go across from the harbor and anchor off where there were other small boats. So we went there and dropped the anchor from the bow and then took a shore line from the stern to a rock ashore.

“Faneromeni” anchored off with a shoreline in Cavtat.
Croatia, July 2007                              (Φωτογραφικό αρχείο Νίκου Ε. Ρηγινού)

Cavtat is built on the saddle point of a pine-tree wooded peninsula. There are two gulfs, one on either side of the peninsula. The harbor, which accommodates large yachts, is in one them. I moored in very pleasant surroundings.

Next to us, a lovely old classic sailboat is getting ready to depart.
Cavtat, Croatia, July 2007                                      (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

In the other gulf, which is named U. Tiha, there is a smaller harbor for small boats. There are many boats anchored off in the wider gulf. After we finished with mooring we took the quadrupeds on the dinghy and explored the area with many swimming stops. Everyone was pleased with this expedition.

Another photograph of the picturesque Cavtat.
Croatia, July 2007                            (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

In the evening I went for a stroll and explored the harbor. I had dinner in an established restaurant, which naturally had an appropriate bill.

July 8, 07 We departed at 08:10 for Dubrovnik. We had very pleasant calm seas. Soon we were approaching Dubrovnik which is near Cavtat. In Greek it is known as Ραύγια (Ravyia) or Ραγούσα (Ragousa). According to the theory of Dr. Antun Ničetić (in his book Povijest dubrovačke luke [History of the Port of Dubrovnik]) based on new excavations, Dubrovnik was established by Greek sailors. This “Greek theory” has been reenforced by the findings of many Greek artifacts during the recent excavations in the harbor of Dubrovnik.

Approaching the old Harbor of Dubrovnik.
Croatia, July 2007                             (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

While we were approaching Dubrovnik we realized that this city-harbor is indeed exceptional and its fame is justified and it is a place worth visiting. In its relatively small harbor visiting yachts are not allowed because of lack of space. So we had to go on for a few more miles to the City Marina.

Outside the old Harbor of Dubrovnik. Note the lights marking its entrance.
Croatia, July 2007                                      (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

The marina is located within a river. After circumnavigating the peninsula where Dubrovnik is located, we came abreast of the city’s commercial port which is called Gruz. The port is at the estuary of the River Ombla on whose banks the City Marina is located. After entering the river we sailed under a suspension bridge that reminded me of the Rio-Antirio Bridge.

Entering the River Ombla. In front of us the suspension bridge and to our right the Dubrovnik commercial port, Gruz.
Croatia, July 2007                                   (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

After sailing for a while up the River Ombla we soon arrived on our final destination, the Dubrovnik Marina. Our arrival time was 09:50 and we had come 11 nM from Cavtat.

Transiting the River Ombla. The Dubrovnik Marina can be seen in the background.
Croatia, July 2007                                       (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

Because I knew that demand is high and it is not easy to find room in this marina, I had made arrangements, sometime ago, with the A1 Yacht Trade Consirtium S.A. to make a reservation for us. Just to make sure, I confirmed the reservation via the agency the night before our intended arrival. I also informed them of our estimated time of arrival. So now that we were actually outside the marina, full of confidence that we were expected, I hailed them on the VHF. To my great surprise and disappointment I was told that the marina was full! I immediately asked to speak with the marina’s director. I spoke with him after a while and expressed my extreme displeasure, stating that this situation was simply unacceptable. He suggested that we anchor off and wait while he tries his best to accommodate us. Around noon, to my relief, we were hailed on the VHF and were told that the desired slip had been found and that an inflatable dinghy was on the way to guide us there. Within a few minutes the dinghy was along side and led us to our slip. The dinghy attendants and their land counterparts helped us moor. All of them were dignified and friendly.

The marina is in an idyllic location, literally on the River Ombla. The docks are on posts so that the water is free to flow and so remains clean. The overall ambiance is pleasant, clean, and well kept. There is a reception/coordination office, a place to change money, a cafeteria, restaurant, tennis courts, a swimming pool, WC, showers, and a laundry. Also there is a grocery store, a marine supply store, various repair shops, a travel-lift, and a fuel station. Naturally there are both water and electricity outlets on the docks.

As soon as we had moored we got the motor bike on shore because I wanted to visit Dubrovnik, about 6 km from the marina. And since it was late in the afternoon I set off right away riding the small Honda motor bike to Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is a fairy tale town belonging to another era. It is very well preserved, with many sights, good restaurants of all categories, cafeterias, bars, and tourists from every corner of the world.

Dubrovnik’s main street full of tourists.
Croatia, July 2007                                   (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

I was relatively lucky because by chance I came across a concert by a children’s chorus held in a small square in front of a church.

The children’s chorus concert in front of the church.
Croatia, July 2007                                  (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

I add here several photographs to give you an impression of the place.

The old harbor of Dubrovnik from above.
Croatia, July 2007                                  (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

Another view of the old harbor of Dubrovnik.
Croatia, July 2007                                    (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

View from the city walls. In front of the city is the green islet of Lokrun. Far across Cavtat can be seen faintly.
Croatia, Dubrovnik, July 2007                       (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

A typical backyard with a bougainvillea.
Croatia, July 2007                                  (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

Dubrovnik is perhaps the only European city completely enclosed by perfectly preserved walls. On top of the walls there is path, seen on the picture; following this path one can circumnavigate the city. Croatia, July 2007                           (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

After the tour of the city I had dinner in a nice restaurant. By the time I returned to the marina it was late at night.

July 9, 07 This day began with boat-related tasks. To begin with, a wash ing down of “Faneromeni,” inside and out. I then gave the soiled clothes to the marina laundry. Next we changed the engine oil, a fussy task. Then provision shopping in the supermarket. Finally a visit to the marine store since there is always something extra needed for the boat. There I had a pleasant surprise. The store belonged to the Greek company Lalizas. We supported their enterprise with expanded shopping.

“Faneromeni” in the Dubrovnik Marina on the banks of the River Ombla.
Croatia, July 2007                                  (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

After I returned on board I took Dhyrrachios out of his box (after tying the dogs) for his confidence-building exercises. These were performed daily and the bird was by now fairly tame. He strutted back and forth on the deck, ate regularly, and had developed some familiarity with Naxos. But this time Dhyrrachios was promenading like a gentleman on the deck when suddenly he attempted to fly. The attempt was not very successful and he landed on the water. We had a hard time rescuing him because he kept swimming round and round the boat and he escaped our efforts to catch him. Lots of people gathered from the other boats to watch this. Finally Scott managed to grab him and so ended Dhyrrachios’ adventure.

After this incident it was the quadrupeds’ turn for a swim. I took them for a nice walk along the banks of the River Ombla, to idyllic, uninhabited, and very interesting regions. They swam in several places and overall had a good time.

An idyllic view of the bank of the River Ombla exactly opposite “Faneromeni’s” slip.
Croatia, July 2007                             (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

After all these activities I rode the motor bike to the city trying to find a suitable cage for Dhyrrachios. After a lot of searching I managed to find a store that had birdcages. I bought the largest cage they carried as well as a variety of bird foods. After I returned to the caïque I relocated Dhyrrachios from his box to his new cage. From that time on he proudly stared down at the quadrupeds from his lofty height.

Dhyrrachios proudly inhabits his new cage.
Croatia, July 2007                                (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

July 10, 07 We departed from the Dubrovnik Marina at 08:20. The weather was good. We transited the river and headed out to sea.

Transiting the River Ombla.
Croatia, July 2007                     (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

We left behind us the group of islands called Elaphiti Islands, planning to visit them on our return. We proceeded in a northeasterly direction towards the island of Miliet.

After we had gone five or six miles the wind began to freshen. Soon it strengthened and became a rather fresh wind. I lowered the engine RPM so as not to punish the caïque. Fortunately the distance to our destination was not large, but under unfavorable conditions even a few miles seem many. Finally, at 11:10 and after 19 nM from the Dubrovnik Marina, we arrived in the small harbor/cove of Okuklje on the island of Mljet (Latin: Melita; Italian: Meleda).

In Antiquity there was a Greek presence on the island and it was called Meliti (Μελίτη) which over the centuries became the Slavic Mljet. At the bottom of the sea near Mljet several Greek amphoras have been found.

One legend has Odysseus’ boat being wrecked here and Odysseus, enchanted by the nymph Calypso, staying on the island for 7 years with her.

The island immediately north of Mljet is called Korčula (Greek: Κόρκυρα Μέλαινα - Korkyra Melaina; Latin: Corcyra Nigra, Korkyra Melaina; Old-Slavic Krkar; Venetian and Italian Curzola) was also a Greek colony. According to legend, the colony was founded by the Homeric hero Antinoros (Antenor) who was famous as the founder of the Italian city of Padua. Greek colonists from Corfu established a small colony on the island in the 6th century BC and named it Korkyra Melaina (Black Kerkyra - Black Corfu). A 4th century BC stone inscription in ancient Greek, found in Lumbarda (Lumbarda Psephisma), is the oldest written stone monument in Croatia. This relic of the past can be seen in the Korčula Museum. This inscription is clear proof of the existence of Korkyra Melaina.

“Faneromeni” in the Gulf of Okuklje. The skipper with Naxos, Pissa, and Mavrouka.
Croatia, Mljet Island, July 2007           (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

The island is very nice and very green. On its northwest side there is a particularly beautiful area 54 km² that has been made into a Sea Park. We moored at a small dock belonging to the Maran restaurant. Special attention and care were provided by the restaurant, along with water and electricity.

“Faneromeni” moored in front of the Maran restaurant in the Gulf of Okuklje.
Croatia, Mljet Island, July 2007                              (Archives of Nikos E. Riginos)

This island, whose inhabitants consider it to be Calypso’s island, is the northernmost place that I reached in the Dalmatian Coast. After Mljet I headed south, in essence beginning my return trip.

The total distance travelled by “Faneromeni” from Zelenika in Montenegro to the Island of Mljet in Croatia of the Dalmatian Coast was 53 nM. The engine logged 11 hours. The trip lasted for 4 days.

END of CHAPTER C

(To continue go to Chapter D)

The route of “Faneromeni” from Zelenika in Montenegro to the island of Mljet in Croatia.
For a larger view click on the picture, for a more detailed view click on Google.