POSITION : 40°o9'•1 N and 18°29'°6 E,
11.09.2012, 2000h UTC
We , that is Fati and I, left Sibenik on the 7th of September 2012 for our epic journey. Attached pictures should prove it. We could have stayed much longer, honestly . Every day we worked on a ' to do list ' , and in the evening we had a new one, longer than the one before. Finally I believe we all got tired, so we decided: Ok, we have no freezer working, we have not done this nor that, but what the heck, let's go. And Robert from Yachting 2000, actually it is Roberto from now on ! , said : Michele, you will either stay in the next bay and write all your blogs from there during the winter, or you will go ! Now ! And so I left, or better, we left .
But before we left, and whilst Pieter was still around, I got a new name. 'Einstein'. It can't be because of my general knowledge of Maths and Physics, so I assume it is because of my new hair style. Anyway, I thought I should not let the others outside my newly found fame, so Fatii became Zwei-Stein, Pieter is Drei-Stein, Jim we decided is Vier-Stein, and Ian should be Fuenf-Stein. Leaves us with Olaf, who then we will call Sex- Stein, sorry, wrong spelling, Sechs-Stein. It's late, I apologise.
Anyway, I hope everybdy is happy now and nobody will feel left outside. WE ARE THE 'X-STEIN-TEAM NOW !!!!!!
The rest is quickly told. Left Sibenik, quick stop in Hvar to say hello to Alain, Toma, and his beautiful daughter Ivana from the restaurant Luna, then to Cavtat, said hi to Ivo Bobic and his restaurant, checking out with customs ( they are really friendly in Cavtat, really !) , and during the night to Brindisi/ Italy.
I called the Harbour Master 10x on approach around lunch time, but who works at lunchtime in southern Italy. So we went straight in, but the whole quay is closed due to gas works. Anyway, got a place just opposite the Harbour Master's office, checked in with Border Police, and waited at the HM office for something to happen. Now if you want to see 'red tape', here it is, walking in front of you, however in white ! All beautifuuly dressed in white marine uniforms, golden or silver braclet, golden necklace with cross, tanned, black hair, Ray Ban sunglasses, regardless of the fact that it was cool and dark in the building. Ladies of the world , forget the '50 shades of Grey' , but come to Brindisi and go for the 'White'. No shades here though, all immaculate white, and plenty of time to have a chat, coffee, going for a ride, or what else.
Brindisi has surely seen its heydays. Under Rome the Appian Way ended here, at the quay in the harbour. Huge columns as markers can still be admired today. From here together with the more southern town of Otranto, most vessels started from here their journeys to Greece. But those days are long gone. Even 10 years ago, so the 'Commandante' I dealt with in the office told me, saw every day many ferries arriving from Greece or Albania for day visiting and shopping. But today it is more 10 boats a month. And you can see the depression in the eyes of the people.
Anyway, the aforementioned Commandante helped me with the papers ( PAPER, FORMS , another FORM, another signature ), but at the end in good spirit, and finally done. I wish President Monti would arrive one day incognito with his boat in Brindisi and see how his maritime employees are struggling with 19th century technology. What an effort, what a waste. But surely done by nice people.
When we were told to move the boat I had enough of Brindisi. Bad weather is moving in this week anyway, so although quite tired we left for Otranto further south, where we arrived late in the evening, and anchored next to two other boats. Which reminds me of another 'out of the blue' encounter.
Last year in the Ionian see I met Jonathan, the owner of another Jeanneau 57. We met a couple of times in various ports, always by coincidence, as if we were following each other for no good reasons. On the last leg we left from Corfu home, him into Montenegro, me back to Sibenik/Croatia. During the winter I had sent him a couple of mails, challenging him for a race across the Atlantic, but he declined. So this Sunday, when we were about to leave Cavtat, I had sent him a mail saying we were on our way, and whether he was in the vicinity. And believe me , one day later I met him, or better saw him, him leaving, me arriving in Brindisi. And when we anchored in Otranto, there he was again. I couldn't believe it myself.
We had a chat, him going to the Iolian Islands, and therefore, Bye Bye, Jonathan, meet you surely again elsewhere.
Gosh, THE WORLD IS SMALL !