Our Ever-Changing Backyard

20 November 2022 | Uvala Podškolj, Croatia
05 November 2022 | Lopud, Croatia
21 August 2022 | Monopoli, Italy
03 August 2022 | Croatia
20 July 2022 | Marina d'Arechi, Salerno, Italy
03 July 2022 | Marina d'Arechi, Salerno, Italy
11 June 2022 | New Zealand to Italy
19 May 2022 | Kensington, Whangarei, NZ
07 June 2021 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, NZ
26 March 2021 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, NZ
24 March 2021 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, NZ
27 April 2020 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, NZ
22 March 2020 | Town Basin Marina, Whangarei, NZ

Dobrodošli u Hrvatsku (Welcome to Croatia) - In which we endure a nightlong carnival ride, Eric goes on a treasure hunt, and I keep Awildian from bashing against a concrete quay

30 August 2022 | Cavtat, Croatia
Vandy Shrader
Our trip across the Adriatic Sea from Monopoli to Cavtat would take eighteen hours at an average speed of 6 knots. The harbormaster's office in Cavtat didn't open until 8 am (getting there early was no good as we'd be required to continue on to Dubrovnik, another two hours north, to check in), so we left Monopoli in the early afternoon. The weather forecast was delightful: light winds and almost no seas - and a full moon to light our way. We'd be motoring again, continuing the trend we'd begun in Salerno two weeks earlier.

Eric and I were almost giddy as we steered Awildian out of Monopoli harbor, turning left and heading straight out across the Adriatic. It felt good to be crossing some open water, going to a new place.

Early on, we were in the company of a lot of other boats- fishing boats, mostly - but then a couple of hours later, we crossed the shipping lanes, which were chocka with big ships coming from the north and the south. As we watched them approach from both sides, we were glad once again to have our AIS on board, to help us determine how close we might get to those behemoths, and whether we'd need to change course to avoid them. And to let the ships' operators know the same about us.

When I lay down for my first off-watch (7-10pm), the sun was still out, the wind was 8 knots (apparent) from right in front of us, the sea was flat, and Awildian's engines (Thing 1 and Thing 2) were purring along. When I got up to stand my first watch, the wind had risen to 19 knots apparent, and the sea had taken a decidedly gnarly turn: rollers of ½ to 1½ meters were now impacting Awildian's port bow and beam, every 1 or 2 seconds. The waves themselves weren't all that big, but their short period ensured that one hull would be on a crest while the other was in the trough, turning our motion into a lurching, corkscrewing, carnival ride. Fortunately, neither Eric nor I is prone to seasickness, but I can tell you, it was very uncomfortable.


Monopoli to Cavtat

Inside Awildian, some things were sliding around a bit - most notably our wine and liquor bottles. As I'd not thought to put a layer of non-skid underneath them, they had knocked together hard enough to break a bottle of Aperol, spilling its sticky, fragrant, bright orange contents all over the enclosed shelf, seeping into seams and trickling down the wall underneath. I threw a towel in with the bottles to soak up the mess; I'd deal with that later when the carnival ride stopped.

I was amazed that nothing fell off its shelf all night long, including the dozen spice bottles that we keep on a narrow shelf in the galley; I'd thought for sure these would be the first to take a dive. But no, they just hung out there through it all. Our catamaran-cruising friends had always told us that things stay put on their boats, and I'm beginning to believe it.

The crazy motion got our dinghy swinging in its davits like a battering ram, and I woke Eric up so we could secure it. When he got up at 1 am to begin his watch, I flopped down, face-first, still in my PFD, onto the settee in the main cabin, where the motion was less rambunctious than it was in the hulls, and slept there until I awoke for my 4 am watch.

When I climbed up into the helm station to relieve Eric, he said, "Welcome to Croatia!" sweeping his arm across the eastern horizon, where dark peaks poked up into the lightening sky. Then he was off to bed.


Sunrise in Croatia

By the time that Eric had finished his morning coffee, just after 7 am, the sea conditions had improved considerably, and we watched the Croatian coast come slowly into focus. At 8 am I called the Cavtat harbormaster on VHF channel 16. I got no response. I repeated my call several more times as we approached the coast, with no response. Eventually I gave up, and we began to tie on fenders and docklines, readying Awildian for docking at the Q (quarantine) dock in Cavtat Harbor.

The route into Cavtat took us past several small, rocky islands that lie just offshore of Cavtat Harbor. Composed of white stones, topped with fragrant pines and scrubby bushes, and sporting a halo of exuberant gulls, this was our first view of the terrain that we will forever associate with the Dalmatian coast.

Gliding into little Cavtat Harbor, we looked for the Croatian flag and giant yellow Q that would indicate the quarantine dock, where we were required to berth Awildian. We saw it, at the very rear of the harbor. Not having any practice at the "drop your anchor, back up, and stern-tie to the concrete wall" technique, Eric steered Awildian to come in for a side-tie, which we had executed many times before.


Cavtat Harbor

As we approached the quay, a young man came running along it, shouting, "No, no, you must stern-tie." Great. Well, no time like the present, to learn a new skill. So Eric turned Awildian away from the concrete quay, motored forward a bit (how far out are you supposed to drop your anchor?), and when we thought we were far enough (it was already 30 feet deep) I dropped the anchor. I dropped chain as we backed slowly toward the quay, and when we got close, I ran to the stern and threw the young man our stern lines. He tied them to some nearly-invisible loops of rope that were embedded in the stones, then told Eric that he would show him where to go to do the immigration paperwork. Eric picked up the folder containing our passports and the documents he would need to clear in, put the passarelle down, walked onto the quay and followed the young man into the town.

While he was away, my job was to keep Awildian's transoms from coming into contact with the concrete quay, which wasn't all that far away. I kept both engines running in neutral, ready to juice one or the other, or both, to move forward. Which I had to do every couple of minutes, when a small puff of wind would push us back, or a boat would go by, causing waves that would bounce Awildian menacingly close to the quay. Adding to that was my lack of confidence that the anchor was set properly, as we'd done a quick job and hadn't used as much distance as we usually do. Eventually I gave up on making adjustments and just kept both engines in forward idle, maintaining a reasonable distance from the quay, as far as our stern lines would allow.


A bit close for comfort

Meanwhile, Eric's quest for clearance into Croatia was taking him on a meandering tour of the town of Cavtat. The young man had taken him first to see the police, as this is who takes care of passport control here. The policeman asked Eric if we'd had a nice trip from Monopoli. When Eric looked surprised and said, "yes," the policeman said that he'd watched our AIS track all the way from Italy. Here's a tip: DON'T try to sneak into Croatia.

The policeman opened our passports to a new page and "chunk!" "chunk!" stamped us into Croatia, said "Welcome to Croatia," and showed Eric a map to the next stop on his treasure hunt, the harbormaster's office. Apparently the map wasn't very clear, because after walking up and down the street a few times, Eric still couldn't find it. But he did find an ATM along the way, one of the many lining Cavtat's main street, and got some kunas (the Croatian currency) to pay the young man who'd caught our lines.

Eventually, Eric stopped into a restaurant where a waiter was setting tables, and asked him where the harbormaster's office was. This resulted in a blank stare from the waiter, but then a woman's voice from behind him said, "Come with me."

Eric's thought of "uh oh," must have shown on his face, because when he turned to look at the woman, she smiled and said, "I work at the harbormaster's office."

Eric walked down the street with the woman, having a nice chat, then they climbed some stairs along the side of a building which looked very much like a house. In fact it had no sign on the street at all, indicating that it was the harbormaster's office. The woman looked through our documents, then sent Eric down the street to the post office, where he had to pay our clearing-in fee (756 kuna, or about $105). He paid our bill and also bought a T-Mobile SIM card for my phone while he was there.

He went back to the harbormaster's office, where he gave the nice woman a receipt showing that he'd paid our clearing-in fee. She gave him three stamped copies of our crew list, returned our passports and boat docs, and gave him our cruising permit. Then she sent him back to the policeman, who was now sitting in a cafe near the waterfront. They walked back up to the police office and Eric gave him two copies of our crew list, and hurried back to the Q dock, about 45 minutes after he'd left, fully aware that I'd been working to keep Awildian off of it.

The young man saw Eric and walked with him to the Q dock. Eric paid him 100 kuna, I put Awildian's engines into neutral so that he would drift close enough to the quay to allow Eric to get on board, the young man untied the stern lines, we motored forward, picked up the anchor, and motored out of the harbor.

Very relieved to be away from the concrete dock, I sat on the trampoline, chatting with Eric on our headsets, as he steered Awildian around the pretty, tree-lined peninsula that separates Cavtat Harbor from the bay on the other side, where we were planning to anchor. A few minutes later, I dropped our anchor in 25 feet of clear water over sand, and we set it properly this time. When we pulled back on the anchor and it didn't budge, we both felt happy relief: after months of looking for our catamaran; dealing with paperwork; finding, ordering, and installing equipment on Awildian to get him ready for cruising; and busting our butts to get out of Italy, we were finally resuming our cruising life again!

Eric shut off the engines and we sat on our front porch having a celebratory arrival drink. Then we called our dear friends, Annie and Liam, had a very nice chat, and then collapsed into bed for a few hours' sleep, as Awildian floated gently on the placid water.


Awildian's first anchorage in Croatia: Uvala Tiha
42º 55.869'N,17º 09.832'E













Comments
Vessel Name: Awildian, previously SCOOTS (2012-2021)
Vessel Make/Model: Leopard 48
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA
Crew: Eric and Vandy Shrader
About: We've been living aboard full time since September 2014. We sailed our Able Apogee 50, SCOOTS, from 2012-2021, and are now aboard our Leopard 48, Awildian, since March 2022.
Social:
Awildian, previously SCOOTS (2012-2021)'s Photos - Main
9 Photos
Created 20 November 2022
24 Photos
Created 4 November 2022
14 Photos
Created 9 October 2022
12 Photos
Created 18 September 2022
5 Photos
Created 30 August 2022
23 Photos
Created 21 August 2022
8 Photos
Created 8 August 2022
1 Photo
Created 3 August 2022
6 Photos
Created 1 August 2022
5 Photos
Created 18 July 2022
21 Photos
Created 12 July 2022
38 Photos
Created 3 July 2022
15 Photos
Created 11 June 2022
1 Photo
Created 19 May 2022
6 Photos
Created 26 March 2021
27 Photos
Created 6 August 2020
7 Photos
Created 22 March 2020
8 Photos
Created 16 December 2019
3 Photos
Created 13 October 2019
43 Photos
Created 28 September 2019
27 Photos
Created 27 July 2019
1 Photo
Created 15 July 2019
11 Photos
Created 3 July 2019
3 Photos
Created 6 May 2019
13 Photos
Created 4 March 2019
2 Photos
Created 26 November 2018
16 Photos
Created 18 November 2018
11 Photos
Created 27 October 2018
12 Photos
Created 1 October 2018
6 Photos
Created 21 September 2018
9 Photos
Created 19 July 2018
7 Photos
Created 19 June 2018
No Photos
Created 19 June 2018
11 Photos
Created 18 October 2017
7 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 24 July 2017
14 Photos
Created 12 April 2017
35 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 20 March 2017
18 Photos
Created 2 March 2017
19 Photos
Created 16 February 2017
4 Photos
Created 18 January 2017
30 Photos
Created 14 December 2016
29 Photos
Created 5 November 2016
52 Photos
Created 23 October 2016
24 Photos
Created 12 October 2016
49 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 15 September 2016
43 Photos
Created 2 September 2016
46 Photos
Created 4 August 2016
32 Photos
Created 21 July 2016
12 Photos
Created 1 July 2016
15 Photos
Created 20 June 2016
17 Photos
Created 5 June 2016
1 Photo
Created 3 June 2016
45 Photos
Created 11 May 2016
10 Photos
Created 2 May 2016
2 Photos
Created 1 April 2016
13 Photos
Created 22 March 2016
12 Photos
Created 14 March 2016
2 Photos
Created 9 March 2016
5 Photos
Created 19 January 2016
7 Photos
Created 27 December 2015
6 Photos
Created 16 December 2015
No Photos
Created 27 November 2015
4 Photos
Created 1 November 2015
19 Photos
Created 28 July 2015
4 Photos
Created 23 July 2015
6 Photos
Created 11 July 2015
13 Photos
Created 21 June 2015
9 Photos
Created 15 June 2015
12 Photos
Created 28 May 2015
No Photos
Created 28 May 2015
17 Photos
Created 5 May 2015
2 Photos
Created 30 April 2015
35 Photos
Created 24 April 2015
8 Photos
Created 25 March 2015
8 Photos
Created 10 March 2015
49 Photos
Created 14 February 2015
7 Photos
Created 10 February 2015
20 Photos
Created 26 January 2015
24 Photos
Created 20 December 2014
No Photos
Created 20 December 2014
10 Photos
Created 11 December 2014
5 Photos
Created 3 December 2014
11 Photos
Created 14 November 2014
34 Photos
Created 10 November 2014
4 Photos
Created 26 October 2014
4 Photos
Created 26 October 2014
5 Photos
Created 18 October 2014
8 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
16 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
6 Photos
Created 24 September 2014
9 Photos
Created 23 September 2014
8 Photos
Created 21 September 2014
4 Photos
Created 20 September 2014
5 Photos
Created 18 September 2014
5 Photos
Created 10 September 2014
4 Photos
Created 26 August 2014
1 Photo
Created 25 July 2014
2 Photos
Created 14 May 2014
49 Photos
Created 3 November 2013
32 Photos
Created 8 August 2013
Pics from our trip time aboard Scoots in July 2013.
23 Photos
Created 7 July 2013