Stella Mia

29 August 2017
29 August 2017 | Albanian waters
29 August 2017 | To Bar Montenegro
29 August 2017 | Corfu, Port Mandraki
29 August 2017 | Somewhere in the Ionion
29 August 2017 | Paxos, Lakka Bay
29 August 2017 | Corfu
25 August 2017 | Greece
22 August 2017 | Corfu
22 August 2017 | Corfu
21 August 2017 | Lakka, Paxos
21 August 2017 | Ionion Sea
21 August 2017 | Lakka
21 August 2017 | Paxos & Anti Paxos
21 August 2017 | Venetian Fort, Parga
21 August 2017 | Gaios, Greece
21 August 2017 | Stella Mia
21 August 2017 | Lakka Bay on Paxos
21 August 2017 | Vonista, Greece
21 August 2017 | Preveza, Greece

Budva, Montenegro

29 August 2017
Budva, Montenegro

28 - 30 August

After completing our formalities in Bar we headed over over to Budva the next day. Budva is a holiday resort town about 17 miles nothwest of Bar.

On arrival we anchored in the bay to the North east of the marina. In the evening we set up Quack Quack and negotiated our way to the quay where we jemmied her in between some of the local boats.

We had a quick walk around and ended up in the old town, so named Strari Grad. It is absolutely beautiful, narrow streets abound with all manner of shops. We spent the next day wandering around the fort and the Citadel. If you ever go to Budva, it should be on your "to do" list.

Talking about the next day, as we took Quack Quack into the quay two marina guys on their RIB approached us. They were really polite, but told us that in order to tie off Quack Quack we would have to pay the marina 20 Euros. We were flabbergasted. We have never had to do this anywhere. Usually little towns encourage people to come and spend money. As it turned out the quay is controlled by the marina, and I'm wondering wether it is part of a move to protect the numerous taxi boats that frequent the area.

Anyway, we turned around quite upset, and could not believe that you have to pay to go ashore. As we headed back to Stella, they two guys followed us and organised a ride to get us back into town. They were clearly only enforcing this unreasonable rule.

If you look a bit closer at the dynamics of many of these small towns, it is obvious that they rely on about three months of the year for tourist income. After that, takings are very skinny, if at all. During the tourist season, they milk it for all it's worth, but the fee for tying up a tender is a bit ridiculous in our view.

Budva is great, but the only downside is the party scene at night. Now we are showing our age...The discos on the beach are the loudest we've ever heard. One thing though, at 2am, they finish. They must be subject to some sort of curfew.

One night we went out for tea, and we took Quack Quack. The quay on which the restaurant was privately owned, so we asked if we could tie up and have dinner. No problem, and get this, the waiters were dressed in nautical uniforms with epaulettes and all, and a full meal and bottle of wine was only 30 Euros...

During the night a cold front slipped through, some thunder and rain, but nothing much. The bora built over night a bit, but eased the next day. The bay we anchored in affords good all round protection.

The Bird

29 August 2017 | Albanian waters
Dierk & Sabrina
The Bird

26 August

After sailing all night from Corfu to Bar in Montenegro, we awoke to see a flock of sea gull type birds hanging around my lure which was trailing about 60m behind the boat. As a general rule they don't often go for it , but this one did.

Down he dives like a German Stuka, grabs the lure in his beak and realises there is a bit of resistance on him. Prior to him getting hooked we shouted and tried to scare him away, but this baby was focussed on a feed. Not the sharpest tool in the shed I suspect.

Anyway, the motion of the boat pulled him under the water so we slowed the boat and came to a stop and we cut the line. Slowly reversing up to him we could not get close enough to catch him. He was understandably skittish and tried to fly away but the line caused too much drag.

The boat came within 10 m of him and could see the hook just caught in his beak. It was quite calm so, Sabrina put the motor in neutral and I jumped in and grabbed the fishing line, swam back to the boat and very carefully pulled him in.

Surprisingly he did not panic and just let me retrieve him. Once aside I gently grabbed his neck so he would not peck me. The hook was easy to dislodge as it was caught on a fleshy part of his upper beak and fortunately had not penetrated through. Very gently we removed it. During this time, he just stared at me with his dark eyes, gave me a bit of a hiss but remained calm. In fact I think he knew I was trying to help him. Accordingly I told him that he was a bit stupid going for that lure that looks nothing like a fish. Ah, light bulb moment....maybe that is why I never catch anything.

It was amazing how light this bird was. With a wingspan of about 1 m, it would not have weighed more than about 300 gm. We launched him into the breeze and off he flew, happy as a lark, or should I say seagull or whatever it was.

See Sean, We did catch something after all.....


Corfu to Bar, Montenegro

29 August 2017 | To Bar Montenegro
Dierk & Sabrina
Corfu to Bar Montenegro

25 & 26 August

Sabrina has a dual Italian passport. I am but a mere infidel and was in danger of overstaying my stay in Greece as per the Schengen Agreement. Given the boat was to haul out in Greece, we needed to keep a week up our sleeves, so we had to leave the EU. Not such a bad thing as in doing this we would simultaneously discharge our Temporary Importation obligations that non EU flagged boats attract.

The plan was to track northwest up the Albanian coast and head direct to Bar in Montenegro. This takes 30 hours, consequently an is overnight sail.

We left Greece at 08:00 hrs and headed off in light airs. The trip was largely uneventful. At around 13:30 off the Albanian coast we were joined by a pod of dolphins that breeched, jumped, gyrated and swam upside down under the bow of the boat. Whilst upside down they actually look at you momentarily. They stayed with us for around 30 minutes, and as is typical left as quickly as the appeared.

For the dolphin researchers the co-ordinates where N 40 06.179, E 19 26.625.

The other outstanding part is the sunset out at sea. It gives you an amazing sense of we'll being and isolation at the same time, given you and your little ship are alone in this truly amazing space.

Sabrina and I take turns, 2 hour shifts over night. Watching for ships and trawlers mainly. At about 04:00 we passed abeam of Durres on the Albanian coast. Ships everywhere, so a few coarse changes required. It is a good idea to avoid these guys, as they can be on top of you (figuratively speaking), from horizon to you in 20 minutes.

The night was clear but extremely humid, and whilst lying on the bench in the cockpit off watch, I felt drip, drip....of water on the head. Chinese water torture at sea. The canvas bimini was saturated, so a wipe with a towel every now and then fixed that. Sabrina ended up sleeping in forward cabin, but it too was uncomfortable on account of the swell. I guess it is always the lesser of two evils.....

What else, the bird. We wrote a seperate post on this, see next. Hilarious.

We arrived on schedule at Bar at 1400 hours, tied up at the customs berth. We then visited the harbour master, port police and customs. When sailing in Montenegro you need to buy a cruising Vignette, which basically gives you access to sail freely in Montenegrin waters for the period of time specified. The officials at Bar were very good.



Port Mandraki, Corfu

29 August 2017 | Corfu, Port Mandraki
Dierk & Sabrina
Port Mandraki, Corfu

20 to 23 August

As with Maree and Sean we thought this was the perfect place to berth Stella whilst in Corfu. Port Mandraki Marina is right at the base of the fort located on the north side of Ak Sidhero. As such it faces the prevailing wind which cools the area down a bit and sends a breeze through the boat making it more comfortable.

Many marinas are stiffling because breezes become restricted on account of the volume of boats and buildings. In the main we try to avoid these, but Port Mandraki is not only open to the weather, its location as mentioned is second to none. To access the marina you must pass through the entrance of the port. There are guards there that charge people to visit the old fort, but as marina clients, you pass through gratis. You just say "Marina" and they wave you by. So, you get to stay at a place that is close to the action, with a great vista and get to see the old fort for free....every day. Not only that, there is a beautiful beach just outside the boundary and the Corfu Yacht Club has a fantastic bar and alfresco restaurant which is reasonably priced.

The port is old though, and one disadvantage is that you must berth the boat bows too because of the shallow water next to the quay. Berthing this way requires accessing the quay via a plank of wood fixed to the bow of the boat resting on the quay. This becomes a bit intimidating for people, so on the first night we used Quack Quack to access the restaurant. We tied off the plank as well as we could, but it is always an idea to help people negotiate the passage from quay to boat.

Anyway we spent a few days there, checking out Corfu, swimming at the beach and generally taking it easy. Maria Rosa left on the 21st and we were going to leave for Albania on the 23rd. Unfortunately, Mike had a bad fall dislocating his foot quite badly requiring him and Nicky to fly back to Melbourne. We stayed in Corfu until we knew they had organised their trip back home. As previously mentioned, we wish Mike a speedy recovery and we know he will be in good hands back home.

In transit to Corfu

29 August 2017 | Somewhere in the Ionion
Dierk and Sam
Somewhere between Paxos and Corfu, we stopped the boat and had a great swim. There is something about being in the middle of nowhere and diving in to the sea.

Well done to Maria Rosa who was gaining her confidence in the water. She definitely could not see the bottom here.

Paxos again

29 August 2017 | Paxos, Lakka Bay
Dierk and Sabrina
Paxos again.

August 19

We had a choice of tracking northward to the mainland town of Platarias, some four hours northwest against the prevailing wind or head out to Lakka on Paxos where the girls could shop...again. Guess what was chosen, yep....shopping.

Anyway, Mike had the job of steering the boat and be responsible for the tracking to Lakka on Paxos. The wind although not strong, was tight. We actually thought we'd have to tack, but he had a great feel for the boat and soon learned to nip up on track as the wind gusts came. He made Lakka in one track, most impressive.

After we got into the bay, we anchored safely. There were noticeably less boats than were there previously. We were approaching the shoulder of the yachting season and the large influx of Italian oats were starting to head home.

Whilst there Nicky, Mike and Maria Rosa tried their hand at the SUP under Sabrina's guidance. Everyone got the board going. Even Maria Rosa, who is somewhat tentative about the water gave it a go.

That night we ate out at a small place on the quay. As we sat down, the owner was very proud of his selection of fish. In fact he grabbed a big crayfish and with delight said, " Madame, you can't get much fresher than this". At that moment the cray flapped its tail and Sabrina, who for one hates fish and two thought it as particularly cruel, was not impressed. He sensed that and came over later to apologise.

Once we all sat down, Mike was intent on getting a photo on self timer. The issue was the "perfect shot" was across the quay. Once he set it up and clicked the button we had 10 seconds to run across and sit with us. He had to negotiate chairs, people and congested aisle ways. He got it on the second attempt. A number of other patrons tried to figure out what was going on, quite funny really.

A great night had by all, so back to the boat and off to Corfu in the morning. By the way, check Mike as he masters the SUP
Vessel Name: Stella Mia
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau Oceanis 45
Hailing Port: Melbourne Australia
Crew: Dierk and Sabrina Meyerheinrich
About: We've been married for over 30 years and have always had an enduring passion for the ocean. Surfing, sailboarding and sailing has always been a huge part of our lives, and now for the next chapter....
Extra: We would love our family and friends to follow our adventures over the next few years......
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