We enjoyed a few days in Vieste, catching up on shopping to get the stocks back up and relaxing on board. A couple of the days were rather gray and we even had an afternoon of thunder, lightning and rain – not a regular occurrence.
The return of the fishing fleet each evening at around 22.00 was part of the entertainment. There are berths for around 6/7 boats on the quay to unload but the fleet number around 22 boats of various sizes. The manoeuvring and arm waving that accompanied the chaos was fun to watch as they all rafted up three or four boats deep. On the night of the storm the winds were at 20 plus knots and that added extra spice to the exercise. Mind you they were only about 100m from our berth so we hoping the they got it right, a 60 ton fishing boat in your lap on a stormy night is not going to end well!
There was also a forest fire on the hills opposite and we watched two fire-fighting planes drone overhead for two days trying to extinguish it. They were clearly scooping up water outside the harbour but we couldn’t actually see that action. The smoke disappeared in the end so we think they won.
We were waiting for the right weather to cross to Croatia and, as is normal in the Med, there was either too much wind or none at all. After two days of stronger stuff linked to the storm we decided to take the ‘not enough’ option and prepared to leave with a forecast of around 5 knots. A 06.00 departure on a brighter day was a nice start. We enjoy getting out of the harbour and then sitting at the helm in the sunshine eating our bowls of fruit, muesli and yoghurt, then cups of tea as we motor through the early morning calm watching the sun rise.
Carolyn prepares the new Croatian courtesy flag as we approach their waters
After an hour or so the winds decided to increase to 8/9 knots on the port quarter so we put the main up and that continued to give us half a knot additional speed most of the trip. With her clean bottom from the recent lift Splice is happily doing 7 knots at 1800 revs and we had a straightforward crossing, motor-sailing the whole way in winds that topped 10 knots occasionally. We have read many stories of the Croatian authorities strict attitude to their bureaucracy, fining people who don’t check in immediately and tracking boats on AIS to fine them for infringements they may not know they have committed. Our AIS system has suddenly suffered a ‘malfunction’ and won’t give out a signal though we can still see other boats. I’m sure I can get it fixed when we leave Croatia!
The harbourmaster's office in Ubli taken from the customs quay opposite
We identified the small custom’s quay in Ubli, the port on Lastovo Island and berthed there as we arrived about 14.00. You have to call a local phone number and the police arrive within about 10 minutes. This was straightforward, they only wanted passports and boat papers and issued us with an official ‘crew list’. You then have to go to the Harbourmasters Office on the other side of the small bay, the notice said he didn’t open until 17.00 but the policeman said he would be there in 15 minutes and he was, they must have phoned him. Here there were more questions including the power of our engines in kilowatts? I had no idea 55hp = ?kw, he gave up on that one.
I had withdrawn some ‘kuna’ from the ATM next door and then had to spend some – K730 for the cruising permit for six months and K400 for 15 days ‘sorjorn tax’. At approx K8.2 to the £ that’s circa £140 to clear in. We were now clear to go and anchor so we found a spot in a busy inlet, taking the last space for our size boat.
The bay at Jurjeva Luka
Jurjeva Luka is a small bay to the north of Ubli, it used to be a military base and off limits but is now a pleasant anchorage – popular too. The pilot book warns of old mooring gear on the seabed but we found only sand and a bit of weed. We relaxed and swam in the clear waters enjoying the first real quiet bay anchorage of the season (it’s been all ports and harbours so far). We were pestered only by the local wasp population who made it their business to disrupt any attempt to eat in a relaxed manner; we took to having meals with a swotter to hand! We had a peaceful night once the sun went down.
Main Photo: Leaving Vieste Harbour in the early morning