Nicola Beykirch works her way north from the Ionian Islands to explore Albania and Montenegro – two Balkan nations of contrasting allure
Words & Photography
September 2020 Edition
Regular readers of “Sailing Today” may recall from the April edition that Captain Barry and I had spent a couple of weeks exploring Greece’s Ionian Islands on “Bella Rose“, our Oyster 545. After that we decided to challenge ourselves by sailing up the Adriatic to Albania before concluding our latest voyage in Montenegro.
Albania conjured up thoughts of isolation and mystery and appeared a bold place to visit, let alone sail. We relished the challenge, and so one August dawn we found ourselves setting sail from Erikoussa Island, northwest of Corfu, to commence our adventure.
A sloppy sea and erratic winds over 50 miles transported us to Vlorë Habour, the only harbour in Albania that permitted foreign boats to check-in.
We arranged a clearing agent who assisted us in tying up. He then grabbed our documents, hopped on his bicycle and sorted out the paperwork at the harbour office.
We then sailed 6.5 miles to Marina Orikum, the only marina in Albania, where we spent two nights. The marina was run by an Italian company with prices to match at €180 per night. Booking proved challenging as they didn’t reply to email or calls; fortunately, they responded to the Navily App…