On to Corfu (Or Maybe Not)

After picking up our discount tax-free diesel, we continued our journey south towards Corfu. Our late start meant we would be out 2 nights, arriving in Corfu the morning of the third day. 

Leaving the Gulf, the winds were initially good and we looked set for a nice first night of sailing. There was no moon but otherwise we made steady progress through the night. The morning started okay as well,albeit the wind a little on the nose.

Then it started to build and we started to have to tack our way south along the Albanian coast. By 3pm it was getting to resemble a washing machine as we reefed down and started to struggle to make head way.

We were passing Vlore at the time and the weather looked a bit ominous so we made the call to go and have a look at Albania. The bay looked really protected and a lot more attractive than spending a night battling into a strong headwind, current and swell.

So in we turned, straight over a disused minefield that the guide book said was okay provided you didn’t try and anchor. We didn’t try and anchor. Instead we headed for Vlore, where we could check into the country before we coud head to Albania’s one and only marina 7nm away. Now I’ve got to say that Vlore Harbour has seen better days. In fact, Albania has seen better days. Anthony informs us that 70% of Albanians recently lost their entire life savings through some pyramid selling scheme that scammed them.

We finally got someone on the radio who told us to pull onto the crumbling jetty between the ferry from Bari and a tug. We made sure we had lots of fenders out to keep us off all the jagged bits.

Eventually a guy jumps on board and we start filling out forms. It turns out he is a shipping agent who disappears with our passports and forms. He comes back after a while nd asks for 75 euros for his services. We eventually get him down to 70. Bit hard to negotiate when he has your passports. He takes the money – no receipt, no paperwork exchanged. Welcome to Albania!

Then we head for the Orikum Marina, the only real marina in Albania. Its now getting dark so we charge over there, both engines running. We get there just on dark and tie up stern to. 14 euro a night is pretty good. /and the internet is not bad either. Other than that, its pretty quiet.

Next morning, we are up early and on our way. We have to head back to Vlore to check out. We get close and call up the port captain who refuses us entry. Umm. We sy we will stand off waiting for authority and he eventually calls us onto the jetty, where upon our agent reappears and clears us out. This time we get some paper work. And we are off once more to Greece.

Montenegro the Magnificent

Don’t you love the way “Montenegro” sounds – so exotic, so James Bond. Everybody we talked to said we must go to Montenegro. So who was I to argue.


So after a practice run with Anthony and Denise (and Brad and Bec) up to Otuk Sunj and back, we had a farewell dinner with Brad and Bec (who were heading off home), we said our goodbyes (including the formal ones to the Port Master and Police) and cast off bound for Porto Montenegro, some 28nm away.

At first we had a lovely sail down the coast until we were about 5nm off turning into the Gulf of Kotor – the “Fjord of the Adriatic”. This magnificent series of three large basins is surrounded by mountains indescribably picturesque rising up from the sea to 1700m.

From here the wind whistled through the mountains, hitting 40kts at times and always on the nose. After turning the corner into the Gulf, it took a couple of hours to get across to Porto Montenegro.

Porto Montenegro gets the prize for the flashiest and best marina we have ever visited. We arrived at the change over to low season so it was 60 euro a night instead of double that. The marina sent a girl down to organise the check in to Montenegro – so easy. Then she organised a hire car for 45 euro a day so we could have a good look round as the wind was still up the next day.

The hire car guy dropped it off right at the boat and did all the paperwork right there and then. We were starting to like this place.

Having the car for a day was a real boon. There’s no need for a GPS – the country is so small and you can get lost for a little while but not for long. It was fantastic to get up into the mountains, the views are spectacular – just not so good getting down again. On our way down from the mountains, we took a road with 28 hair pin bends – one after the other. I’d done driving by the time I got to the bottom.

We’d booked in to get some duty free fuel (half price, thereby paying for our visit easily), but the fuel dock was having some maintenance done so we couldn’t get it until 2pm.

So we took the opportunity to do some more sightseeing – this time by boat. We checked out of the marina early and headed into the inner bays, where we went and saw the twin islands off Perast where there are two churches, one on each island. These islands are man made, evidently from the good people of Perast either dropping stones or filling captured pirate ships with stones and sinking them on the reef. Don’t you love a good pirate story. The churches’ construction was started in 1630 and the twin islands are well worth a visit. We also dropped by Kotor again, this time to see it from the sea.

Back at Porto Montenegro, we stopped off at the chanderly to buy some Nespresso coffee capsules, something we couldn’t get anywhere in Croatia, before filling our tanks to brimming and heading off south, towards Corfu and the Greek Islands.

For pictures of Montenegro, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200410823066058&type=1&l=e048eda94e

Dubrovnik – Take 3 (subtitled Brian plays Lets Stick Together)


We made it back to Dubrovnik as darkness fell and kept going to Cavtat, as some weather was coming in and it was close to the airport for drop offs, as everyone was heading off (bar me). In their place, Anthony and Denise were arriving to help deliver La Mischief all the way to Turkey. 

Cas left early the next morning to spend a day in Rome with her good friend, Steffi. Mark, Leanne, Bec, Brad and I decided to head off to Dubrovnik and do the chair lift to the top of the mountain that backdrops the town. Quite spectacular. We met Anthony and Denise coming down as we were going up – they were spending another night in the old town before joining us the next day n board La Mischief.

We had just enough time to go up the mountain, have a quick bite to eat and a beer, before hopping on the ferry back to Cavtat so that Mark and Leanne could catch their flight to Athens (and then Santorini).

Next day, Anthony and Denise made their way down to Cavtat and onto La Mischief. There wasn’t a great deal of time to get settled before we all hopped on a bus and heading into Dubrovnik once again – for dinner and a free Brian Ferry concert.   The Excelsior Hotel was celebrating a milestone in Dubrovnik and they had organised a free Brian Ferry concert in the main square. Unfortunately, they hadn’t quite organised the weather and about half an hour before it was due to start, the heaven’s opened with a ripper of a thunderstorm.

All hell broke loose, but eventually the rain stopped and Brian started about an hour late. It was well worth waiting for. Mr Ferry can be a bit hit and miss but tonight he had a great band and he was on song. The rain started again about half way in and umbrellas went up everywhere. A nice couple standing next to us lent Brad and Bec their second umbrella so we were good. Lets Stick Together rocked the square away and he had the place jumping by the time he had to stop at midnight. And what a great place for a concert.

For pictures see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200377235586392.1073741879.1620379103&type=1&l=46419b614a

Freo – Way to Go

6am in the morning, the alarm went and Steve, Mark and Leanne were all action. The rest not quite so keen to get up in the dark, get dressed (in purple) and wander up the hill to where Rade had set up his TV and was cooking breakfast.

We made it to Rade’s in time to see the bounce down at 6.30am – the Australian Rules Football Grand Final – Freo vs the Hawks.

Unfortunately things didn’t quite stay on track from this point on as Freo succumbed to grand final nerves and inexperience and lost out to a very determined Hawks. Still it was a great morning, Rade served a great breakfast and we all had a great time. Next year!

With our grand final breakfast over, it was time to say goodbye to Marinka, Rade and Adam and head back once again to Dubrovnik, some 55nm away. The things we do for football.

Pre Grand Final Party in Rade's Town
Pre Grand Final Party in Rade’s Town





Croatian Hospitality A+

RadeWe arrived in Zavalatica to be greeted by Rade, a cousin of a good friend of ours, who helped tie us up to the wall, which we had all to ourselves. After some quick introductions and a beer or two, Rade whipped us home to meet his lovely wife, Marinka, and his Father in law, Marinko.

We were then treated to his wine (quite good) and his grappa (strong – not so nice!!!!), along with some of his olives (which were yummy evidently). Then it was off to see a big of Korcula by car. We headed over to Vela Luka, a largish harbour town, which looked well worth a visit. Along the way we drove through Rade’s vineyard and along a pleasant inland highway. After buying some fuel and stopping off for some cocktails at a nice bar we headed back to a wonderful feast that Marinka and Rade had prepared for us. What wonderful hospitality.

Over a few more glasses of Rade’s wine, we hatched up a plan to sail down to Dubrovnik to pick up Mark and Leanne, and then back to Rade’s to watch the AFL Grand Final at 6.30am in the morning. Then we would sail back to Dubrovnik to drop everyone off at the airport. Simple really. Rade fitted neatly into this plan as he could delay starting work and come along with us for the week.

So next morning at 6.30am, Marinka dropped Rade off along with enough wine to nearly sink the good ship La Mischief, and off we went. Rade was having a great time sitting up at the helm station taking in the wind and the sea as we bashed our way into 25kts.

It settled down as we entered the straight between Mjet and Peljesec and by the time we got to Dubrovnik, the seas were really calm and we anchored right in front of the main town – prime spot.

Safely anchored, we took the dingy into the old port and found Mark and Leanne waiting for us. With them safely aboard we had a full boat of 7 – but La Mischief has heaps of space so it worked really well.

Rade had a cousin who worked at the Excelsior , a rather posh hotel on the cliff face, so after grabbing pizzas in the old town we walked up there to sample his cocktails (which were rather excellent), whilst sitting on a balcony overlooking La Mischief in front of Dubrovnik all lit up at night. The hotel had a wall with pictures of all the rich and famous that had stayed there – no usual – Richard Burton and Liz Taylor etc. – funnily enough nobody asked us for our photos.

Next day, we spent a lovely morning, showing Brad, Bec and Cas around the old city, whilst Rade (who’d seen it all before) had a great time lazing about on La Mischief. We did the wall walk and Brad got a little infatuated with the waitress at the bar on top of the wall. Definitely a tick.

We finished the morning at a great restaurant overlooking the bay. Rade came and picked us up in the dingy after we got back and we spent the afternoon swimming and paddle-boarding.

Next day it was time to meander slowly back, visiting some of the highlights between Dubrovnik and Korkula. First stop was Otuk Lupid island, where we found a beautiful white sandy beach at Uvala Sunj. It was perfect, great beach, with a couple of bars behind, all a comfortable swimming distance from where we dropped the anchor. A perfect lunchtime stopover.

From here it was a short sail to Sipanska Sipan on Otuk Sipan, where we were planning to continue our Tour De Fork. We anchored off the restaurant where we were planning to eat and went off exploring the town. We were particularly interested in all these renovated buildings, quite big buildings. completely wrapped in plastic.

Then it was off to continue our Tour De Fork. Hopefully someone will help us out with the restaurant name as neither Google nor I can come up with its name. Anyway, whatever it was called it was damn good. We each ordered a main course, either fish or veal and then they proceeded to bring us out a hundred and one entrees, all brilliant. Couldn’t argue with any of them. When we finally got to the mains, we did have an argument about which was better – I think the veal won. Then it was onto desert and coffees. Somehow we didn’t sink the dingy on the way back to La Mischief.

Next morning it was up early and off to Mljet. Rade got a good laugh around our pronunciation of Mljet, but came round to our way of thinking in the end. Bit of an in joke with Howie.

The wind had started to pick up from the south so we had a lively sail up to the top of Mljet where it was lovely and protected. The top end of Mljet is a national park and is a wonderful wilderness. We found a beautiful anchorage in a bay near Pomena at the northern end of the island. It offered the perfect shelter with beautiful clear water around its edges. We anchored in the middle and backed into the shallow water tying up to a tree on the shore at the back.

It didn’t take long before Brad was jumping off the roof into the water, enticing Bec, Mark and Leanne to follow suit. Leanne was careful make sure she cleared the lifelines on the side of La Mischief, which made for an interesting face plant on her first attempt. The bay was dead calm so out came the paddle board and canoe and everyone had a great time whiling away the afternoon.

Next morning, after a swim, we were off back to Rade’s so we repay Rade and Marinka for their hospitality with an Australian BBQ on the back on La Mischief on the wall in Zavalatica. We arrived just after lunch, delivering Rade safely home. The girls took off with Marinka to do the food shopping, whilst the boys remarked the anchor chain and then had a bonding session over a beer or two, waiting for the girls to return.

We had a great night on La Mischief, with Marinko, Marinka’s dad coming along together with some other friends of Marinka and Rade.

Then it was off to bed to get some sleep before getting up early to watch the AFL Grand Final at Rade’s the next morning at 6.30am. (Yes….that is how far I’m behind in my Blogging – need to put in a big effort to catch up).

For pictures of Dubrovnik (Take 2) see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200362833666353&type=1&l=904eb9555e

For pictures of our trip back to Korcula see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200377239026478.1073741880.1620379103&type=1&l=1a1c5c6cd0