After spending a month and a half in the Greek waters of the Ionian Sea and enjoying the life of being back at anchor despite the mostly cloudy days and still cold weather we were about to start our journey north towards Croatia, our big destination for the summer season.
Our not so short period in the Ionian part of Greece had allowed us a good glimpse of the area, we tracked our way quite a bit south to Argostoli and then north to Corfu, from where we would leave the Greek waters.
Although June was about to begin the day of our departure looked more like a very early spring day than anything else. The wind forecast, however, seemed to be perfect to our day sail plan, immediately after lifting anchor we set our sails pointed us in our intended direction and turned off the engine.
As we approached the Straits of Corfu, it was easy to see the acceleration zone, the winds being compressed in between the mountains, the white caps appearing on the sea ahead. Lessons learned, we decided to furl the headsail and go just with the Mainsail. As the winds accelerated we didn’t even experience much speed loss without the Genoa. The two other yachts doing the same route motored through.
Shortly after we would be entering Albania the Sarandë harbour for formalities. It had been a great 2.30 hours of sailing!
A few days enjoying that area of Albania and it was time for our next leg, an overnight passage that would take us to Montenegro.
Despite the drizzle and heavy clouds that kept us company for most of the first day, the beauty of Albania’s coastline couldn’t be hidden. The impressively high mountains that rise from the shoreline with heights of around 1500 meters that are like virgin territory untouched by human hands, we could spot only very few constructions and virtually no roads carving the sides of the mountains, a coastline that offers very few protected anchorages.
After motoring during the morning to get out of the dead wind zone of Sarandë we managed to keep a good sail until late afternoon when we arrived in a wind acceleration zone and decided to furl the Genoa and reef the Mainsail. To our frustration shortly after all the necessary manoeuvres to perform the sail changes the wind almost died off completely leaving us under engine again to keep a steady speed of 5 knots to ensure we would arrive in our Port of Entry in Montenegro during office hours and with plenty of time to find an anchorage after the formalities.
The second day brought us some nice winds just forward of the beam allowing us to sail until our destination.
The arrival to Bar, the Port of Entry itself was not so simple, Montenegro has pretty restrictive rules regarding arrivals and we needed to receive instructions from the harbourmaster to come to port.
To no avail, we called and called on VHF on channel 16 and channel 11 for the harbour master.
With the assistance of the marina we found out to which dock we were supposed to go to and with a lot of effort we managed to dock The Dream on our own and then to untie the lines to depart after clearing formalities, the high commercial dock suited for much bigger boats than us a seemingly small sailboat, the dock had definitely some dangers to us.
We would now enjoy one week in Montenegro visiting Budva, Tivat and Kotor before embarking on our next leg and final leg to Croatia, literally just around the corner!
***In the spirit of sharing our dreams and experiences we have shared this blog post in the NOFOREIGNLAND.COM website sailors community.