Don’t get me wrong – I like Austrians. And I even like Austrians on charter boats. But it appears only when safely at anchor – away from La Mischief. We had a great night 3 years ago in Vis, with a whole group of them, drinking long into the night on the deck of La Mischief. But not so much fun this time in a confined harbour in 40kts. But I’m getting ahead of myself…. We left Kortor at 8am after successfully checking out of Montenegro, heading for Cavtat in Croatia. The winds did their usual in the fjordland of Kotor, going from 0 to lots. We make it out into the open sea to find a beautiful following breeze. Now that makes a change. We flew up the coast and nearly got to Cavtat before we needed a reef. We decided to take the sails down instead of reefing as we were close enough.
We had been to Cavtat before so we knew the procedure. Cavtat is where you must check in to Croatia, you can’t go past or you will get fined. No loitering either, as soon as you get to Croatia you must check in. No anchoring in a nice bay on the way in.
Many cruisers get fined in Croatia – me included 3 years ago, and this time I was determined to stay on the right side of the law this time.
By the time we got to the customs dock it was blowing 40kts. We waited for a couple of boats to get sorted then dropped our anchor and backed in. We tied up to the dock, stern to, and I went off to get cleared in at the Harbour Master’s office and the Police office.
Meanwhile back at the boat……
Dee watched in amazement as a group of Austrian Charterers tried to come into the dock by dropping their anchor across everyone else’s chain and backing in all over the place. Dee felt our chain loosen as a result and put the motors on the keep us off the wall.
Then she watched in even more amazement (as did the harbour guy who helps people tie up) as the Austrians nearly rammed us. I got back to the boat to find Dee’s jaw on the ground, and we preceded to get off the wall as quickly as we could.
That wasn’t the problem. Our anchor winch stalled in the middle of the harbour (not where we left our anchor) as the mad Austrians yelled across to say they had our chain on their anchor. As they continued to motor around the harbour in 40kts of breeze, I suggested that perhaps they should think about getting it off. NOW!
Instead they grabbed their camera and started to take photos. Somehow they thought we needed to get our chain off their anchor. We talked then through the procedure. Put a rope round our chain you d#@ckh@#ds was sort of how the conversation went.
They finally stopped their photoshoot and one of them jumped in the water. It was a major exercise working out how to get a rope under a chain. Meanwhile they were all looking out the front and whoever was on the helm wasn’t looking at the looming rocks out the back. Somehow they managed to both get their anchor dislodged from our chain and keep off the rocks. Miracles do happen as they went off to terrorize someone else.
Not so easy for us. Our anchor winch was on strike due to having a whole heap of harbour junk dragging off our anchor. We managed to get it up little by little until we only had 6m out – the depth of the harbour.
We were then able to drag our anchor and its accompanying entourage back across the harbour to the wall where we were able to side tie (for 80 euros a night). I was rueing the fact that we don’t have a dive tank on board as it cost us a 100 euros for a diver to free all the sh@t off our anchor using a lift bag.
And there we stayed, having a quick drink with the Harbour Guy, reminiscing about the mad Austrians, before catching a cab out to get Stevo from the airport. The good thing about Cavtat is that its 10 minutes from Dubrovnick airport. After feeding Stevo a Beer or two, we had a quick look at the anchor, before deciding it could wait until tomorrow and off we went to dinner.
The next day we caught a bus into Dubrovnick, which scared the sh@t out of Stevo, as he peered over the side of the bus down the cliffs far below. Dubvovnick never fails to disappoint. Except for the weather! We did all the obligatories. The walk around the top of the wall, the gondola ride to the top of the hill/mountain for the views down to Dubrovnick, wandering the streets and Mexican for lunch. Whilst there, we handed over 165 kuna for a cruising permit for our dingy as you need this if you want to use the dingy for a bit of sightseeing as we often do. Part of my Don’t Get Fined in Croatia this time strategy.
Back at the boat, Stevo managed to get our anchor winch working from the helm station but the handheld refused to play ball. But that was enough to see us leave and head for Mjet.