Log #22a Dubrovnik

August 12, 2001 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 22 Croatia, The Logs

Log #22a Dubrovnik

Otoc Tijat, Croatia
Aug. 12, 2001
Covers period July 26 to 29

Gruz Marina is the check in point for Croatia at Dubrovnik. A friendly dock master in a straw hat came over shortly after we had moored bows to, and told us where the harbour master and coastal authorities were located, just 150 metres along the harbour road. We had to pay 735 kuna, plus taxes for a total of 1054 kuna, for our cruising permit. We estimate $1.00 Canadian is worth 5.20 kuna (kn) or about 5 kn to the dollar. Thus our cruising permit, good for a year, cost about $200 for Veleda. The official was very obliging when we indicated our length at 9.75 m, he put down the rate for a 9m boat rather than the next rate higher for 10m. We were not going to argue. This was the only entry fee we had to pay. The police and customs officials then met us down at the dock to complete our crew list and stamp our passports. They did not bother to come onboard, and accepted the fact we had nothing to declare, even though “straight arrow” Judy said we had some wine and rum. We decided to stay at the Gruz Marina for several reasons, rather than go out and around, farther away from Dubrovnik to the more expensive, mosquito infested ACI Dubrovnik Marina.

Other than our light Danforth anchor not holding well, we were quite happy at Gruz Marina. It was closer to the walled town of Dubrovnik, next to a good daily local meat, vegetable, fruit and flower market 100 metres down the dock, near a large good quality grocery and department store, a couple of internet cafes, a post office, a hardware store, an information kiosk, newspaper kiosks where we could get English newspapers, a phone shop where we got a Croatian SIM card for our mobile phone, local bus stops, ferry and intercity bus terminals, gas and diesel available 200 metres across the inlet, plus water on the dock and a water tap from a mountain stream with the best water in Dubrovnik, at the local market. Also it cost only 216 kn ($43.00 Canadian) for three nights, as opposed to the $140.00 Canadian we would have had to pay at the ACI Dubrovnik Marina much further out of town in a swampy river delta. When we go back, we will stay there (Gruz), or, even cheaper, anchor off free of charge, as we found possible when we visited a Swedish boat at anchor there.

We had a nice visit with an American boat Delos, next door, with Steve and his family, and of course exchanged some reading material. Judy has to visit any English speaking boats to see if they want to exchange books, as she will go through three books a day if she has a chance. Thus she is always starved for reading material. Does anyone know how we can download books from the internet onto floppy disc for her to read from our laptop on board?

Next day, after an enjoyable morning at the local outdoor market, we took a local bus into the walled town of Dubrovnik. It is totally enclosed by these intact medieval walls, actually dating back before the ninth century when it repulsed attacks by the Saracens, then expanded to resist the Turks and Venetians in the 14th century. When we entered by the main gate, (there are only two entrances through the walls) we read a plaque indicating the damage done during the 1991-92 war when the town was bombarded by the Yugoslav army of Serbia and Montenegro in a punitive attack with mortar bombs falling on over 65% of the buildings in the town. This was just reprisal for Croatia’s independence, as the town was not occupied by the “enemy” or of any strategic value, but the attack was a historical and cultural tragedy, continuing Balkan bitterness.

The town itself was impressive, a living museum of the ancient, medieval, and modern with cobblestoned streets, narrow alleyways, baroque arched palaces, Franciscan and Dominican cloistered monasteries, towers, plazas, fortifications, bastions, marginal dwellings and trendy boutiques, old ladies making lace and modern internet shops, decrepit fishing boats and modern tour catamarans, churches and fortresses, all enclosed by the ancient port and surrounding ramparts. It was devastated by an earthquake on April 6, 1667, killing over 5000 people, and destroying the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture of one of the most beautiful Mediterranean cities. It rebuilt, but along Baroque lines, the main walls and fortifications still standing.

It was a city state republic and at it height of power in the 15th and 16th centuries, an important maritime, trading and financial centre, with the third largest navy in the world at that time. It remained an autonomous republic until Napoleon’s army marched into the city in 1808. After the defeat of the French, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 transferred sovereignty of Dubrovnik to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, along with Dalmatia and the rest of Croatia, until after WW I when it became part of the Kingdom of the Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. After WW II it became part of the Socialist Republic of Croatia within the Yugoslavia confederation, and since 1991 is part of the independent country of Croatia. Things have settled down here in Croatia since the Dayton Accord of 1995, and the Croatian (Dalmatian) coast is steadily gaining in popularity as a beautiful, stable, cruising area.

We had to reset our stern Danforth anchor a couple of times, as we started to swing towards the boats beside us. We have since taken the lighter (25 lb.) CQR bow anchor, and mounted it on our stern pulpit with 60 feet of chain and 100 feet of line. This was the first time we had to use our stern anchor in bows-on mooring as all other times there were “lazy lines” from the docks out to the stern moorings. When coming in to a Mediterranean mooring, we slowly approach perpendicular to the jetty, and Judy is handed or picks up the “lazy line” from the dock, and hands it back to me in the cockpit. She then goes forward to secure our bow lines to bollards while I can control our forward or sideways movement by heaving in on the stern line, using a cockpit winch. We then middle up the lines so that our bow is close enough to step across from the bow to the jetty but not so close that we touch if there are waves. If no stern line is available, I have to use our stern anchor instead, as we did for the first time here in Gruz. More about our stay in Dubrovnik and voyage up the Dalmatian coastal islands in future logs.