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Log No. 2007-002: Croatia, Serbia& Montenegro

Day 1: Thursday, 9 August 2007 – arriving in Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb market place

At the Zagreb bus station   

Previous logs will be posted on Past section or Past Logs 2007. You can read our decisions and events leading up to the purchase, boat survey, purchasing process, registration process, etc. under introduction section.

Back to where we are: Seen here are a view from a market place in Zagreb and Bob and Elizabeth with all the luggage we had at the bus station.

After leaving Becky (my wife) and daughter (the real Snow White) with their family in Turkey, I took my flight to Zagreb on the same day coinciding with Camerons' arrival. I had all the inventory I could take with me in two suitcases, plus a backpack and a laptop. Camerons would be arriving from Toronto via Frankfurt at the same time with additional luggage filled with more boat stuff. My flight arrived on time and I checked out with my suitcases without any problem and went straight to the “National” rental car office only to find out they had no car for me. How would we go to Zadar 250 km away? Camerons arrived one hour late and I met them as they came out of the gate. We checked the taxi option which would be 400 Euros and then I saw the airport buses. We decided to take the intercity bus to Zadar which was at 130 Kuna each (approximately $26CD, 1CAD=5 Kunas). The bus person said he would have to charge us extra for luggage which we paid an extra 110 Kuna total after some joking and arguing as if they never seen people with so much luggage. The bus driver drove really fast in a beautiful highway up and down the Dalmatian mountains. We went through at least 10 long tunnels one of them was over 6 km long, so many rain, sunny and cloudy weather conditions and a few rainbows. We arrived in Zadar at around 7 pm looked for a taxi-cab, we found a station wagon taxi who agreed to do two trips at 100 Kuna. He thought he was taking us to downtown marina, we wanted to go to Dalmatia marina. it will now cost 200 Kuna. I agreed to pay him 175 Kuna. We checked the boat and looked for the keys which were left at dealer to be placed in the cockpit locker inside the water bucket. No key was to be found, there was nobody to be seen and it started rain again while we were weighing our options.

  Dalmatia Marina

As I was getting ready to break the hatch, Bob said he could open one of the hatches on deck. That was a great relief, I immediately went in and luckily the main hatch could be opened from inside and we were in. We just threw everything in and lockup again to find a place to eat. We went to the hotel just outside the marina, “Jo-So Hotel” for dinner. The picture is taken from the restaurant showing Dalmatia Marina.

Day 2: Friday 10 August 2007 at Dalmatia (Dalmacija) Marina


Snow White at Dalmatia marina 

The night was almost uneventful with a few thunderstorms and rain. After breakfast, we were able to get internet connection and checked the place out. Later in the morning, we went to the marina restaurant, visited a small market shop, and looked around a marine supply shop. We found out that we could order a rental car which we did. It arrived at 2 pm, we immediately went to the harbour office to get our permit. The captain in charge told us that we have to prepare for export not cruising permit which we replied that we will do that out of Dubrovnik (southern tip of Croatia) on the way to Greece. Their computer was down due to storm, he could not do anything anyway. We also needed customs clearance so he sent us to check customs a few blocks away. It was 4 pm, they had closed at three, no one was there. We resigned to the fact nothing could be established officially and went into the old city of Zadar. It was raining quite a bit, bought a couple of umbrellas from street vendors, found a restaurant and ate a good meal. Then, we walked over to the people’s market place, bought lots of fruits, vegetables, olive oil and cheese from local people. This was a little quaint part of the town. Then, we went for real shopping. Zadar which has multiple large supermarkets and one large shopping center. We visited a couple of them bought different things, loaded the car and came to the marina. The evening and night went quietly with a few more thunderstorms in between.

Day 3: Saturday, 11 August 2007, shopping at Zadar

Jo-So Restaurant 

In the morning the dealer’s son came and told us not to leave Zadar before customs formalities are completed. When he came and told us that we would first get the export/customs papers finished then get cruising permit then the police report in downtown on Monday. He apparently had a broker to look after all that at his expense. Alexandra at the dealer office told us that she will arrange everything early Monday morning. We also received our propane tanks, filled up water tanks, washed the boat, cleaned up, emptied all luggage and settled in nicely. A couple of more thunder storms went by, we went shopping again, this time for marine supplies. Some stores were open but did not have the things we needed, some were closed at 1 pm and opened at 3:30 pm. We walked around the old city again but not much of any activity. Finally, we decided to go back to the same Jo-So restaurant, where we had our meals and happily went back to the marina.

Day 4: Sunday, 12 August 2007, more shopping at Zadar

  Placing Toronto on Snow White

Sunny day, after having a full breakfast on board, we were ready to do more shopping in Zadar. We bought more supplies thinking that we could leave the next day. We returned the rental car and went to explore the beachside of the marina. It was very pleasant with many people swimming. We settled at a nice café/restaurant at the tip of the marina which opened to the beach and had supper there. They were out of hamburgers (!) so we ate some local meals.

Day 5: Monday, 13 August 2007, exporting Snow White

  Leaving Zadar, Croatia


Supper at first anchorage

We were anxiously waiting, no one came and went to the dealer’s office by the dock, no one was there. The next door charter operations office told me that Alexandra was not coming in today. I tried to call the broker with no luck, asked to charter person to call Alexandra, he reluctantly agreed and talked to her over the phone. He said that we should wait until Alexandra informs him for us to leave. Elizabeth and Bob decided to do the laundry, I waited at the boat. At 10:30 the news came and he said we should leave immediately. I ran to the laundry place and found out that laundry is being washed. We took them out without drying and came to the boat, got it ready in 15 minutes, then Alexandra phoned me to take the boat to the marina. She said “broker is waiting for you”. I said we are on our way and off we leave the marina where Snow White stayed for first 3.5 years of her life.

It was a beautiful motoring to Zadar, except that at the hour, there were this huge black rubber siding spaced a boat length apart, we could not get to. After a few tries and near disasters, Bob took the helm, I jumped over and tied to boat. Now, the danger was that any time a huge ferry boat goes by, the boat moves wildly against those black markers and scratches the newly painted Snow White. I left those concerns there and went to straight to customs office. No broker was there, surprise! There was no answer to my phone calls, then I asked a local person to call him. He was able to get a hold of him and asked me to wait by the boat. 10 minutes later a young fellow showed up with papers. He was the broker’s assistant. We went to customs office, they wanted to have a crew list, we went to the harbour office, they still had their computer down could not issue crew list, we went back to customs, he advised us to get a police record or a temporary crew list. We were back at the harbour master arguing, asking almost begging for a temporary crew list. Finally, the senior officer came back and agreed to sign a hand written list but we had to have stamps and police approval. We went to the customs and informed that all in order and he should complete his inspection before closing time at three pm. We ran to get the stamps, obtained the crew list, went to the police a few buildings away, signed papers that we will leave Croatia right away, then getting back to the harbour master, the harbour captain who asked for our papers on the way. He said we have to leave Croatia and the only place we could go is across Adriatic to Italy. I went back to the boat, Camerons would not risk to go to Italy crossing the Adriatic due to being unfamiliar with the boat and water. I went back to the harbour master’s office, was told that they were closed until three for a break. Well, if we don’t get the papers, the customs will be closed at three and the police wants us out of the country, what do we do know? I think I am getting sick, really to near collapsing with heat exhaustion and stress load. The young broker’s assistant suggested that we talked to the harbour master again. We met them by the door, he reluctantly agreed to let us in, gave us the approval stamp and their signatures. He also advised me that it would be too dangerous to go thru Adriatic sea, we should consider coming back towards Split and continue our journey from there. I understood his concerns and asked for more explanations. After confirming that I understood what he meant, I gave them a little present, thank them and left the office. Then the assistant ran to the custom’s office to get the inspector and I went straight to the boat thinking we have to leave Croatia but how do I tell that to Camerons.  

The broker’s assistant came to the boat a few minutes later and said all the custom’s papers were complete and we should leave now and never come back to Zadar. But he added jokingly that we could come back to Split later. I said “crew: we are going out of Croatia now, I don’t want any arguments!” So, we did.


Day 6: Tuesday, 14 August 2007, returning to Croatia via Split


Leaving Split

On the way out to the open sea, we found out that our mast furling sail was stuck. It was getting dark, and we saw a little set of islands with anchoring marks on the map. We decided to overnight there and decide what to do next, possibly go to Split to get the mast fixed. The place called Kakan at 44.41’.536N and 15.40’.144N turned out to be a popular place with many overnight boats, well protected, pristine location. After having a nice dinner thanks to Elizabeth, we retired early to go to Split in the morning.

We left Kakan at around 9:00 am with sunny, clear weather, 3-4 knots of wind, motored all the way close to the Dreviniki channel then but the genoa up. Downwind wind at about 14-18 knots helped us to get around 7 knots of speed all the way to Split at 43.29’940N and 16.25’970E. We entered the harbour at 3:30 docked at a Beneteau dealer’s dock got instructions where to go, etc. Then we motored to the harbour master’s place, docked at a low boat dock with not much difficulty, tied the boat, I got the passports, left the crew to look after the boat, walked to the nice looking harbour master building, crossing my fingers all the way in. I got in the double doors, three officers sitting at the counters smoking and talking, no one else was in. Now, what happened next surprised the heck out of me! I said I need a new “windjeta” to fix my mast. The harbour master “captain” took a look at my papers and called up the next person at the adjacent counter, he switched over to my window, asked for passports, registration of my boat, insurance. I handed them over, he asked for operator’s license, and couple of questions on specification of boat, etc. Then, he asked for 1,330 Kuna, a permit fee for one year. I said I needed only for a few day to get out of the country again. He replied that there is only one permit and it is good for one year. I only had 1400 Kunas on me, handed over the money, he gave me original documents, a permit for one year and a receipt. I walked out of the office in disbelief that how smooth this had gone. I took my time telling the crew that we could stay in Croatia for the rest of the year if we wanted to. Then I called the surveyor, Srecko, whom we communicated earlier to meet in Split. He promised to meet with us tomorrow morning. Snow White had docked alongside a walking only street which was the main attraction place of the town. Our Canadian flag attracted a few Canadians immediately. We made a ceremonial event to raise the Croatian flag took a few pictures, Camerons had a walk in the old part of the city, I did some scrubbing of the rubber marks. Then, we went to the ACI Marina to dock. We had a nice and long dinner at the marina’s restaurant, a good shower, and a restful evening only to be awaken by fireworks around 11:30 pm. We watched the fireworks until midnight then went to sleep.


Day 7: Wednesday, August 15, 2007, cruising in Croatia

Srecko Fevro Surveyor  On the way to Vis, 8-9 knots speedVis

Srecko and his assistant came along at 9:30 as we were having breakfast. They brought a beautiful set of cruising guide/maps for Croatian coastlines and asked us to stay in Croatia for the rest of the year. We told them about our journey and took some pictures with them. We asked for their help to get the main sail out of the mast which I had liberally lubricated with silicone spray. Lo and behold! The sail came right out with a few pull and push. So, we realized that this was not a big problem and asked for a marine shop for other items that we wanted to buy. They suggested a shop in Dubrovnik, because it was a national holiday on this day (St Mary’s day?), all shops were closed. They gave us some ideas to anchor on the way to Dubrovnik.

It was 11 am, we decided to leave the marina. I paid the fees, we set sail for Vis at about12:30pm. After a 20 knots wind and excellent sailing, we arrived at Vis at around 5:30 into a beautiful bay at 43.04’.734N and 16.11’.921E. Elizabeth and I got into the water right after anchoring and enjoyed the rest of the evening. This was a quiet bay with 15 houses along the slopes of the hills; we saw some Italians, some Americans and heard some Greeks and all having a nice time. I tried to catch some fish with no luck. It was a beautiful evening with tons of stars in the milky way and occasional meteors (or falling stars…) in the sky.


Day 8: Thursday, August 16, 2007, on the way to Dubrovnik

SipanNight out in Sipan

Absolutely gorgeous morning, I was up at seven, I called the crew at 7:15 am to get ready. We had a light breakfast, got the anchor up and left this nice place at 8:15 am. Our second day of real cruising started with a clear sky, no winds, 23 degrees and humming diesel engine at 2200 rpm. It is now 5:30 and we haven’t stopped yet. Our ETA to destination is 7:30 pm. We wanted to get as close to Dubrovnik as possible.

Meanwhile, Bob wanted to mess around with Snow White’s chart plotter and figured out a way to link the way points to the auto pilot and just hit “track” key on auto pilot. Voila! We are tracking to the chart plotter right on. Now, if we could only understand how to enter a route, next time we are cruising on auto pilot all the way to destination. What a convenience!

In the meantime, I let out a lure from the back of the boat all day. It is 5:30 pm ad still no fish, sucks.

At 7:30pm we anchored one of the most beautiful anchorage in the area called Sipan. But unfortunately, it was also crowded with cruisers and large yachts. City is kept in its original shape since centuries. We visited the town, beautiful stone building and ate fish at one of the restaurants.

Crystal clear waters, quiet and protected. We will post more pictures later.


Day 9: Friday, August 17, 2007, Dubrovnik

We were told to get to Dubrovnik ACI marina early to get a slip, As early as 7 am, I prepared Snow White and awakened Camerons. We were on the way at 7:30 and arrived at ACI around 9:15. We waited about 45 minutes in line to get in, finally settled at a berth without any difficulty. The marina was beautiful, there was even a swimming pool that we took advantage before heading out to town. Pictures tell the story.

Day 10: Saturday, August 17, 2007, Leaving Croatia from Cavtat

Cavtat, rowing back from customs

Entering Serbia & Montenegro


After finding out that Cavtat would be our place to check out from Croatia into Montenegro, we decided we had enough exposure to this beautiful area and marina and should get going the next day. Cavtat is only 12 miles away and easy to get to. We did our shopping and internet business in the morning, paid about 385 Kunas for the night, (arguably the most expensive stay) and left the marina to fill up the diesel. We used up 108 litres of diesel, filled up the extra container and left Dubrovnik at around 1 pm.

We arrived Cavtat harbour at 3 pm. I was able to find the police station to get our papers stamped. He looked at me almost in disbelief (bare footed and sleeveless shirts) and asked where to boat was. I said it was anchored. He sent me to the harbour master to get the crew list stamped. I found the harbour master a few blocks away, got the stamps, asked a few questions and returned to the same police. He stamped the crew list and passports. I rowed back to Snow White and told the crew, sorry, no lunch here, we have to leave now to Montenegro. So, we did. We motored all the way to Zelenika at 2200 rpm. We arrived to Zelenika at approximately 7 pm, moored in front of a white building at approximately 42.27’.053 N and 18.34’.133

Day 11: Saturday, August 18, 2007, entering Serbia & Montenegro via Zelenika

Getting the sugar fix in Bar

The person turned out to be officer on duty for the marina. His name was Vukovic Mladen (382-6935-1765), email: nemomarine@cg.yu apparently a well traveled seaman including North America and Great Lakes. He was very helpful and trying for the marina, how inexpensive it really was. (We paid 26 Euro for the night including electricity and water). While I was completing the paperwork, Camerons talked to the skipper of this American yacht. His name was Jeffery, a retired Serbian-American naval architect out of San Francisco, who built that enormous yacht himself in 11 years and shipped the boat here paying $40,000. He found this marina very good for wintering and cruising around.

At about 3 pm we left the boat to explore the town. The name Bar certainly lived up to its English meaning with many bars along the main street. We had hamburger at a Greek restaurant and took a taxi-cab to the old city fortress about 4 km away, paid 5 Euro. The fortress was magnificent atop the hills surrounded by deep valleys and more hills a naturally protected place. At the base, it was this little town from historical times with sporadic new buildings. There was even a mosque still operating called Omer Pasha Mosque built in around 1600 by the Ottomans. Ottomans ruled this area for about 300 years and this town looked like a small town in Turkey. It was praying time so, I quickly finished the fortress tour (1 Euro, which was ruined by a couple of strong earthquakes) and went to the mosque. Had a chat with imam, a young person in his early thirties and told me that Bar has 45000 inhabitants of those about 15000 are Muslim who supports this mosque.

After a cold drink at the base of the fortress, we took another taxi-cab down to the marina at 5 Euro. The houses along the slopes were beautiful with very large yards, fruit trees, and gardens. Seems like a good place to live, very peaceful.

We got our sugar fix for the day at another restaurant near marina with huge ice cream desserts then walked along the beach with extremely wide sidewalk. People were having a good time at the beach as the sun went down. There were preparations at St. Nichola’s summer house for a concert (I think he was one of the Serbian kings). While we were getting ready to sleep, they started fireworks at 10:30 right over our heads! It lasted almost half an hour. The evening was restful. The next morning, I tried to find the harbour officer of the day to clear but no one was there at 7 pm. At 8 pm, all showed up, I paid the marina fee of 26.75 Euro then went to the police station around the same building, got crew list and returned to the boat. We bid farewell to Jeffery, topped up the diesel across the dock inside the marina (38 litres at 0.95 Euros/lt) and cast off to Greece.

That’s going to be our longest journey, about 160 nautical miles, approximately 30 hours staying off the coast of Albania.


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