THE REST IS ISTRIA
Nicola Beykirch headed to Venice in search of a cheap winter berth and endured the hardship of sailing the length of the Croatian coast en route
Words & Photography
Regular readers of Sailing Today will recall that Captain Barry and I had sailed Bella Rose, our Oyster 545, along the Mediterranean to Sicily, and then on to the Ionian Islands, before turning up the Adriatic to Albania and Montenegro before flying back for a two-week break in London. We now returned to the port of Kotor and Bella Rose, eager to resume our summer adventure by sailing north to Croatia before finishing in Venice.
From the port of Kotor, after purchasing supplies, we motored into the sun at 7pm. Behind us, the peaks bathed in a lavender glow and we motored to the nearest customs port at Tivat for Barry to check out. Upon arrival in July, our clearing agent had arranged our cruising permit and said we could check out from any port after we had returned, with no need for another permit. I stayed on board for over an hour before Barry returned having been told that our cruising permit had expired while we were in London, and we were in trouble because we had used the boat for more than 3 miles.
Incredibly appalling behaviour by the ‘Bella Rosas’! We pleaded for our fine so we could get sailing, but no chance. We were told to stay the night and visit Kotor customs between 8am and 10am.
Dejected, we returned to the marina at 11pm and struggled to tie up to the pontoon in the dark. We arrived at the harbour master’s office in Kotor at 8am sharp and we were issued a €100 fine and €20 for the 24-hour ‘vignette’. After the customs official and police had inspected the yacht we were free to leave, and the Montenegrins considered the Albanians awkward!