Log #22g Trieste to Venice

September 19, 2001 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 22 Croatia, The Logs

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Sept. 19, 2001

Hi Folks,

We’re still here in Gruz, just outside of Dubrovnik, getting ready for a sail tomorrow down to Corfu in Greece hopefully. We’ve been here three days getting supplies, fixing Sprite’s outboard, and waiting for better weather. We had some horrendous winds the last few days plus several days of rain. It cleared up today and tomorrow is looking good. We only have two more months before we settle in at a marina in Turkey, as long as the political/international situation does not get worse.

We are planning to return to Canada from mid Dec. to mid Feb. to see family and friends and to get caught up on my logs, and prepare some slide presentations for different groups. I have a wish list a mile long of things I would like to get while back. We will put Veleda up on dry land while gone, scraping her bottom before leaving then giving her several coats of bottom paint and doing other maintenance tasks after we return in Feb. We have had a fantastic amount of barnacles and coral-like growth below the water line since leaving the Balearics last May. At that time the bottom was clear. I guess it is a result of greater

salinity levels and warmer water in this eastern part of the Med. Veleda has not been stationary for any length of time to accumulate such growth. We have been in 20 different ports over the past 30 days and have not stayed in one place for more than three days. I’ll seek local advice before selecting the next bottom paint, as we will be in the eastern Med probably for another year.

For those of you interested in songs about the cruising life, we just received news of the latest Eileen Quinn CD which we have ordered. I am pasting below the introduction she gave to it and the website you can check if you are interested.

“I’m writing to let you know that I’ve recorded a new album, Mean Low Water.  I wanted the people who have supported my music to be the first to know.  Mean Low Water is the culmination of another two
years of cruising and writing songs.  It’s my way of laughing at and  making sense of the ridiculous and the sublime aspects of life on the water.

There are 12 new songs on Mean Low Water, including:  “If I Killed The Captain”, “Speedboat Babe”, “Building a Boat”, “Piranha  Potluck”, “Time to Move On” …  You can hear samples and follow our cruising adventures at  www.eileenquinn.com.”

No, we are not getting any commission from her sales, but just wanted to let our friends know of some interesting and entertaining music about the cruising life.

Anyway, enjoy this Log #22g taking us around Trieste and up to Venice.

All the best,
Aubrey

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Log #22g Trieste to Venice

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Sept. 19, 2001
Covers the period Aug. 21 to 25, 2001

At the customs dock we met an Italian boat Ariadne who helped us alongside and then produced an SSCA Commodore’s pennant, as we were the first SSCA members he had seen since getting his swallowtail.  After checking in, a minimal process that only required our passports to be stamped and crew list completed (at no cost, no inspection, and no ships papers shown), we motored over to the Yacht Club Adriaco where a member saw us and waved us in to a mooring right beside the clubhouse. They were expecting us and welcomed us, even though our friend Livio was not there yet.

We stayed several enjoyable days in Trieste, guests of Livio Basiani and  YC Adriaco. The Vice Commodore of the club welcomed us, visited us a couple of times, and presented us with the club burgee, a club tie for me and a scarf for Judy. At our request, Toronto Hydroplane and Sailing Club, our home club, is sending a burgee and a letter of appreciation for their hospitality to Y.C. Adriaco. For those in Toronto, Adriaco is like the R.C.Y.C of Trieste. It was right downtown, allowing us to walk, or in a couple of cases dinghy, to places of interest. The night we arrive Livio had a reporter interview us about our trip. It was written up the next day, Aug. 22nd, with picture as well, in the local Il Piccolo Giornale di Trieste newspaper.

We enjoyed very much the Maritime Museum a few hundred metres down the road from the club. We would rank it as one of the best we have visited. It did not have any military links, but had very good dioramas of early ship building, fishing techniques, salt flats, and the expansion of Trieste Harbour. There were several cutaway half models of sailing and screw driven ships intricately showing the below deck layouts: cargo holds, engine rooms, bunkers, accommodations, superstructures, and ballast and anchor cable spaces. Several excellent models of small fishing boats showing the gear in use, fish in nets and stored on board, rigging, sails, and the masthead banners used with religious or superstitious symbols for good luck – all absorbed our interest as we scrutinized the minute details. We were particularly impressed by several knot boards, and even more so by a couple of artistically displayed fishing tackle boards with hundreds of polished glistening hooks, lures, leaders, sinkers, and lines of varying sizes, all symmetrically displayed, with wrappings and the brass logos of the original company in England that manufactured them a century ago. Although not as big or professionally finished as the Maritime Museums in Malta, Barcelona, or London, it still rated as one of our favorites.

As we were about to leave the museum, a few of the staff at the entrance desk started talking to us in Italian, and pointing to us and then to their newspaper. There we were, on the front page of the second section, with the picture and interview taking up a quarter page. They recognized us. We were celebrities of the moment. Too bad they didn’t see it as we entered, maybe we could have gotten in for free. We couldn’t understand what they were saying, but they were pleased we were there and were congratulating us on our voyage. One lady even came out with us and showed us behind the museum some machinery that was not on public display, and plucked some fresh figs from the small orchard there. Delicious!

Even though Trieste (45 38.8N, 013 45.5E) is at approximately the same latitude as Toronto, date, fig and palm trees grow there. This also was the northern most port we visited in the Adriatic. The course to take us over to Venice would be WSW or about 250 true.

We wandered over town and up to the citadel fort (unfortunately the long way around) to see an interesting medieval church and go through the open but deserted remains of the fort. Trieste is not a major tourist destination and as a result the fort was not well set up for visitors. Outside was a memorial to various war dead. The last use of the fortification was by the German occupying troops in 1945 who retreated to the fort and held out until they could surrender to the allied forces rather than the townspeople. The downtown is a downtown, nothing spectacular.

We caught a bus out of town to try to see a WW II concentration camp. The problems started with the bus. Only tickets were acceptable, and they could not be bought on the bus. So we had to walk a few more blocks to find a tobacconist/newsstand/pub/stationers that sold tickets. After the third location we were finally able to get them, of course missing a half hourly bus in the meantime. A half hour ride took us to a suburb where there was now a large stadium and sports field. The driver wasn’t sure where the camp/museum was, and we had to walk about five long blocks to get to the location behind the sports complex. We saw this stone and brick desolate building that we assumed was the camp/museum. We walked around it looking for the entrance, and when finally located found out the place was closed, even though we were there in the hours published in the guide book and on the door. So, after shopping in a large superstore for a few more supplies, we caught the bus closer to the museum, on the other side of the road from the store, so we wouldn’t have to walk the five long blocks to where we got off originally. Sounds good. No way! The bus went back towards Trieste OK, but two blocks later took a 180 turn and returned back to where we originally got off the first bus. We needed a different bus number to return, and as we walked towards it with all our parcels, it took off. Another wait. Oh well, if you can’t take a joke…

When we were about to leave, the next door boat asked us where we were headed. When we replied Venice, he said he was from Venice and invited us to stay at his club on Isola San  Giorgio Maggiore, across from the famous St. Marks Square. Great, as we were wondering where we would tie up. If the hospitality there was like what we received in Trieste, we would be very fortunate indeed.

We had an enjoyable dockside lunch with Livio before our final preparations to get under way.  He hopes to do what we are doing some day, and assured us if we had any difficulties while in the Adriatic to phone him and he would be glad to help. We got off just before sunset for the overnight 64 mile trip to Venice. We actually sailed most of the distance, with a nice wing on wing run for a short while, but gave up on that after an hour and furled the genoa. Normally, I would have set up the whisker pole to hold the genoa out, but it was blowing a force 5, with noticeable following seas, and I didn’t want to risk setting it up in those conditions at night. So we continued under mainsail only for five hours until a wind shift, as we closed the coast, allowed us to unfurl the genoa again for a broad reach the rest of the way to the entrance to Venice Lagoon.

Venice is a couple of low lying islands separated by the S-shaped Grand Canal, and honeycombed with smaller canals as numerous as streets. It is located in a large lagoon/estuary where several rivers enter in a complex delta to gently ease into the northern Adriatic. The lagoon entrance to Venice is between two long, low, narrow, protective islands called Lido and Punta Sabbioni. There are other small islands around Venice, almost like suburbs, each having its own history and character, such as Murano, noted for glass making, and Burano for its quaint coloured houses and fishing village.

We had to be sure to stay within the pilings marking the channel in order to see where the channel runs. It is confusing at the junction of channels as there are hundreds of pilings, widely separated but branching off into the different channels. The islands are so low that there are no distinguishing land features to guide us in. The boat traffic as we got closer to the Grand Canal was intimidating. As we finally recognized the entrance to the yacht club at San Giorgio, and were lining up to enter, we heard a horn beeping at us, and here was one of the vaporettos (water buses) behind us coming in to a bus stop just beside the opening. I did a 360 to let him go ahead. I was not going to pull out the rule book on overtaking vessels and the right of way. We went through the narrow entrance to the mooring area, and were directed to a bows on mooring facing across the channel with the tower and palace of Piazzo San Marco in full panoramic view. We even had lazy lines to use for stern mooring rather than having to use our stern anchor. We were in the famed historic Venice at last.

A sleek blue hulled 12 metre yacht was alongside the opposite wall. It was Azzura, Italy’s challenge in the 1983 America’s Cup Challenger series. I have a sweatshirt from it when I visited their crew mansion on Narraganset Ave. in Newport, Rhode Island, the year I was down there on Acadian, a Canadian patrol vessel serving as an escort to Canada I in the same competition. We actually saw Acadian again in Cuba, now privately owned and up for sale, but still flying her Canadian ensign.

There are no cars in Venice. Water buses ply the canals on regular routes, coming alongside floating bus stop barges. Water taxis are all over the place, and gondolas smoothly ply both the big and small canals. But more about Venice in my next log.