Log #22f Istria to Trieste

September 16, 2001 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 22 Croatia, The Logs

Log #22f Istria to Trieste

Prozura, Otok Mljet, Croatia
Sept. 16, 2001
Covers the period Aug. 17 to

We anchored in the broad bay of Funtana (45 10.8N, 013 35.9E) in 20 feet of water with good holding. There were a couple of buoys unused, but these may have belonged to local fishermen. We were a couple of hundred yards off a campground swimming area, and the main town dock. Funtana, between Porec and Vrsar, is not mentioned in the Adriatic Pilot, and the Mediterranean Almanac only refers to a pierhead light. However, we found it a pleasant well-sheltered bay with facilities of the campground nearby and a pleasant town with market, post office, tourist information office, fishmongers and several nice restaurants and tourist accommodations. We stopped there as that is where Judy took our Simrad Wheelpilot to be fixed while we were in Split. It was ready, at no charge, with the problem being its electrical supply. However, we also bought a spare belt just in case.

That evening, we showered at the beach shower of the campsite and went to the local Marina Restaurant for an enjoyable supper, on the patio overlooking the bay. In the morning we walked to the shop in town for supplies and stopped at the fishmongers for a kilo of prawns before going back to Veleda and weighing anchor before 1030. Going southerly, we went inside the Brioni Islands. These are a group of islands with restricted access as they are part of a National Park and Yugoslav (Tito) memorial. It was a vacation home for Tito in which he entertained heads of state, movie stars and other VIP’s. There is a harbour there, but only for the super rich, as a few years ago the fee started at 560 Kuna ($110.00 Canadian) a night and the crew could not stay on board overnight. However, the fee did include access to the park. The only other access is via tour boats from Pula. The islands house the remains of a Roman villa, three temples, and a Byzantine castle, as well as free roaming deer. We did not land or catch a tour boat to it, just enjoyed the tranquil scenery as we passed. By 1500 we had motored the 25 miles down to the old naval port of Pula, to anchor in its inner bay off the ACI Marina boatyard (44 52.6N, 013 50.7E).

On one side, from where we were anchored in Veleda, we were in sight of the ancient Roman amphitheatre with its arched porticos eternally encompassing a still-used theatrical setting, and on the other, a busy modern shipyard with its heavy cranes dominating the skyline like prehistoric birds of prey hovering over the skeletons of partially completed ships. We wandered the town and of course had to go through the amphitheatre. It is still used and that evening was being prepared for a production of Verdi’s Don Carlos. This is the sixth largest amphitheatre, and although the central tunnel was incomplete, housing a display of olive presses and amphorae, the tops of the outer walls still displayed the stone rails that anchored the woven tarpaulin that could cover the entire theatre. At night we could see it silhouetted from inside by the lights of the performance of Verdi’s opera, and after the performance, golden tones bathed the outside arched walls as they proclaimed their immortal character in Ozymandias-like glory.

We have been fortunate to have seen several other amphitheatres, some larger and some in better condition than this; at Arles in France, Carthage and El Djem in Tunisia, and Syracusa in Sicily. El Djem was the best so far, with Arles a close second in my estimation.

We wandered around the star-shaped fortress in the centre of Pula, visiting the grounds of the archeological museum, going through the 2000 year old triumphal Arch of the Sergians which led up a stone-paved pedestrian alley to the remains of the Temple of Augustus, which have been incorporated into the town hall and an exhibition centre. Pula dates back to an Illyrian settlement of the 5th century BC. In 44 BC the Roman settlement founded here was soon to become the administrative centre for Roman province of Istria. Pula was under Venician control from 1331 to 1797 when it became a major Austrian ship yard and military port as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Between WW I and WW II it was governed by Italy, and then became part of Yugoslavia in 1947.

We stayed for only one night in this historical location before taking off next day. We met a interesting couple, Robbie and Barbara Samson, on board FELIX 2, with whom Judy exchanged some books, and we had them report in on the cruisers’ net for us, as we can only listen to the net on our short wave receiver, not broadcast. This net comes on at 0530 Greenwich (0730 local) on channel 8104 (switching shortly to 8122). It was started last April by several cruisers who were in Barcelona for the winter. There they had organized a local VHF net each day, and decided to keep a net operational after they left Barcelona for their summer’s cruising the Med.

Each morning this net comes on, managed each day by a different cruiser. When it comes on the first thing announced is the purpose of the net, and a request for any emergency traffic. The boats under way are asked to report in, after which boats in port are similarly requested to check in. As each boat checks in, the name of the boat, its location or destination, barometer reading, and wind strength and direction are given. This way we have a chance to see where many of our friends are. When checking in they will often give additional information about their location or passage experiences for others who may sail similar waters or to those locations. Then any announcements, messages, requests or relays are asked for and given. At the end of the net one of the cruisers with good internet access gives a rundown of weather conditions and forecasts for all the major areas of the Med, indeed a valuable service. Any boat to boat traffic takes place after the net is over for the day. However, we can only hear the net, and sometimes not well, so when we meet another boat with SSB or short wave, we ask them to check in for us so our friends will know we are OK and where we are. Thank you Felix 2.

We departed at 0800 Aug. 19 to motor sail and motor the 27 nautical miles up to anchor in Porec (45 13.6N, 013 35.2E) in a large well-sheltered harbour on the northeast of Otok Sv. Nikola (St. Nicholas Island). There were several boats at anchor behind the breakwater, but they left before dark, at which time a harbour/marina boat came over to collect a 68 kuna harbour fee. This entitled us to make use of the marina facilities, which we did in the form of a luxurious shower, and a take-out pizza.

We enjoyed wandering the old walled town, with its glassy smooth stone streets and alleys, basilica, palaces, museums, town squares, and old battlements. As interesting as it was, there are dozens of quaint ancient and medieval walled towns in Croatia with hundred or thousand year old buildings, palaces, cathedrals, and 2000 years of habitation, ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Ostrogoths, Visigoths or Vandals, Saracens or Turks, then by Venice, Austria, Italy and Yugoslavia. As well they had their share of local Balkan sectarian or religious conflicts, not the least being the war for independence in the early 1990’s as part of Croatia. After a while, these towns start to blend together in memory. However, they are at peace now, and provide extremely good and safe tourist and cruising destinations.

Our next destination 14 miles up the peninsula was Umag (45 26.2N, 013 31.2E) where we anchored rather than pick up one of the many buoys available in their large well-sheltered harbour. We found out there was a small harbour charge of 40 kuna ($8.00 Canadian) whether at a buoy or not. The ACI marina was at the far side of the harbour from the town, but provided a tourist tractor/train service back and forth. We noticed in several places that the marinas (in which we never stayed) were across the harbour from the town, not “downtown”. The ACI marinas are fairly expensive, but provide good and secure facilities. We prefer to anchor or pick up a buoy or go bow-on to the local town docks, as we cannot afford the expense of marinas very often.

Before leaving next day we checked out with immigration and the local police as our next stop was to be Trieste in Italy, a short 20 mile trip across the small coastal stretch of Slovenia, before crossing the Gulf of  Trieste. This gulf marks the northern part of the Istrian peninsula. After going alongside the customs dock we finally found an office that officially checked us in to Italy with a crew list and all. No charge, no inspection, just fill out the crew list and have our passports noted. We then motored a few hundred metres over to Yacht Club Adriaco where they were expecting us, and gave us a warm welcome and a free alongside mooring right beside the clubhouse. Thank you, Livio Bisiani who invited us, and Y. C. Adriaco, for your hospitality.