June, 2012

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Tuesday June 19 on Mljet

Monday, June 18th, 2012

It is a beautiful, already hot, sunny morning. I am in the bay on the NW corner of the island, Polace. I am looking to see if can can in touch with any relative of the Gig Harbor Markovich families. But the first inquiries look like this may not be that simple, they are spread out over the entire island.

Had a wonderful sail here, full main and 150% on flat seas.

My battery is low and internet is a real problem.



Sunday June 17th Dubrovnik

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

I got up, by habit, at sunrise which is now close to 5 a.m. Good thing, because after I had done most of my pictures in the old walled town of Dubrovnik the tourists had taken over. I found an 11 o’clock English service at Saint Ignatius of Loyola. I read the first reading and the responsorial psalm. I was tempted to improvise and sing the psalm but may be just as well that I abondened that idea. This was the first time that there were zero Filipinos in attendance. Must have something to do with the immigration laws here. In Turkey and Greece the Filipinos and next the Nigerians filled the English services.

This YC moorage is a little secret to most and very convenient to get to the old town. The main marina is a half hour up the river from here and dear. I am trying to make my plans and waiting for some answers to e-mails as to how to search for contacts of relatives of the Croatian founders of Gig Harbor and the Saint Nicholas Church there. Most likely I will sail for the island of Brac and/or Mljet tomorrow.

Dubrovnik is a magical experience. It turned out beyond my expectations. I also visited the memorial museum of the 1991-1995 Bosnian war. The city has done an incredible job of reconstructing from the damage of this senseless destruction.

Saturday June 16 Dubrovnik

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

I left at 6 o’clock and arrived in Dubrovnik at 7.00 p.m. I was very fortunate with the weather conditions. Usually I would have been beating into a fairly strong N.W. but I managed to keep the main filled while motor sailing the entire way. Following the Montenegro coast line . Yachts are not allowed in the old port of D-bnik. I am moored in a very nice private YC “Orsan”. On the back side of the city. It is already 10.30 p.m. but the club’s restaurant is still packed and there is a guitar trio entertaining. The table next to me is a group of Russians. They are everywhere. They are Europe’s Nouveau Riche. In the parking lot at the Bar Marina the most expensive cars had Russian plates. Can they drink!!!

I cleared in. Customs, Harbor Master, Police. I had to pay $ 250 for the privilege of spending my money in Croatia for 15 days. I have been warned that Croatia is expensive, anchorages are not free either.

My plan is to stay here till Monday and then visit the islands where most of the N.W. Croatians came from, Brac, Vis, Mljet and end my Croatian visit in Split. I want to go to Trobovlje, inland, in Slovenia where there are friends of my long time friend Roman Wydra. His father is buried there.  I have to find a place to leave the boat and rent a car or go by public transport.

Tomorrow I intend to go to mass in the old city and play tourist.

Friday June 15. Croatia: I’m coming

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Down the beach they are playing “Hit the road Jack”. I will, reluctantly because I like this place. It does not have the narrow alleys, old Roman forts. Most of the town, here next to the commercial port was built in nineties. But some excellent planning went into it. It has something for every kind of vacationer and locals. Particularly the children. Lots of open spaces near the beach, parks, tennis courts, esplanades. And the people come out and stroll the waterside.

I went to tell the harbor master that I am leaving at the crack of dawn. Then he told me that they had agreed to give me a “Vignette” (Sticker) after all. But I had already made my plans to head straight for Croatia. Why spend 45 euroes now for the vignette? If I had known this earlier I would have considered sailing to Kotor in Montenegro where at least one of the Gig Harbor settler families are from.

There is a chance that I can make it to Dubrovnik by tomorrow evening. The forecast is for fairly weak NW and clouds.

I got my bi-monthly hair cut. Four Euro. That is a heck of a lot cheaper than Amsterdam’s 30 odd euro, in Athens I paid 10 euro. The oil barons are not getting rich on me either. I filled up this afternoon, 26 liters. The previous fill up was in Patras 320 (nautical) miles ago.  The Swedes just scored their second goal against the Brits in the Europa soccer cup. They were 0-1 behind at half time. And now the Brits just made it 2-2.

Saturday morning: I forgot to mention that I did do the repair job on the crack in the hull surface. I first used the grinder and then the orbital sander. A tough job, hanging over the edge, down to the water line. It worked well. But I was unable to sand off the excess epoxy filler close to the waterline. I’ll need to work from a float or a dinghy and have electricity. The quay was too high. But the spot is secure and the filler nearly matches the hull color. Next I did remove the water tank. That is a really poor way this item is made by VETUS. The edges of the bladder wear off. I taped it with duct tape and put a bead of 5200 on the edges. I do not dare to fill the tank yet till it is fully cured. So, I’m working off my emergency jerry can for the next days. I just got my exit clearance but then the police gave me a hard time for not having the “Vignette”. They refuse to believe me that I was in 50 plus countries without a skippers license.


Thursday June 14 still in the bar in Bar,Persona non Grata, in Montenegro

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

First a house keeping item. That picture of the girl with the enormous glasses hanging  from a window in Corfu, in my Sunday posting,  turns out to be an upside down picture and she is either the future wife of Justin Beaber/Beaver (??) or the future minister of Greek finance. I’d vote for the last, has to be an improvement.

I went back to the harbor master’s office this morning. Well, I am not welcome in Montenegro because I’m an incompetent mariner. I cannot produce a skippers’ license. This is the first country after visiting, I lost count at 50, a few other countries. They all apologized all over the place. And suggested that one of these days the Montenegro office of Tourism will realize the business they are turning away. At one time Croatia had the same regulation. The USA, Australia, Canada, France, to name a few, do not require a Skipper License. Germany has about four categories of it.  I am too old to try and find a skippers license after having been accepted as a competent mariner by the rest of the world.

The harbor master allows me to make my repairs to the wagter tank and the hull. But then I am to leave Montenegro and move to the enxt coutry, without stopping anywhere in Montenegro. I am disappointed. I really like this country. It combines the best of Romania and Bulgaria and beyond it has a relaxed atmosphere, no grafitti, no slums. gorgeous Slavic women, a language I can make small talk in, and the prices are good. With the exception of the marina. Nearly 50 euroes, $70. But they let me use an alongside berth instead of Med-moored, so that I could address the problem I discovered in Lefkas when the sun light shone rigth on the problem. A scarf joint done in 1981 by Tom Jackson in Anacortes after I had put “Fleetwood” sideways on a reef in Clallam Bay in the Memorial day Swiftsure race. If you take a good look at the picture on the home page, you wil see a lighter colored panel, that was scarfed in by Tom Jackson with Bruynzeel mahogany plywood. Apparently the scarf joint is failing on the surface. I used my grinder to remove the loose wood surface and then the orbital disc sander to smooth the loose areas to a firm connection and then used my extensive on board wooden boat builders material inventory to fill in the area with epoxy and filler. This would have been a major challenge when the boat was still clear finished.

My next chore was to address the still leaking rubber water tank. Part of the problem was a loose hose clamp bit the real problem is a a seam on the bladder. And that means a new bladder. I will try get the next visitor coming to join me from Holland to bring with them a new Vetus rubber bladder.Next chore was laundry, now that I am on a fresh water spicket. And I took a real shower. Next is a visit to the local barber.

I’ll check the weather in the morning for moving north to Croatia, if good I’ll go. Otherwise I will sand out the repair patch and repaint the surface.

I have received some realy good suggestions from my friends in Bellingham about the roots of the Croation fishermen in B’ham. Apparently they are mostly from Vis. I will make a stop there and show off my Serbo-Croatian vocabulary I learned from my late friend Roman Wydra.

the crack I discovered in Lefkas



Wednesday June 13.Leaped to Montenegro

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

I am in a bar in Bar, Montenegro where I arrived a few hours ago. It is a beautiful evening, 7.30 p.m. and still hot but a refreshing breeze from the Adriatic. I will try to watch the Holland-Germany Europa Cup soccer match at 20.45

I am checked in with the authorities and plan move to the nearby marina in the morning. I’ll stay at the customs dock for the night. But I am afraid that I did another Fiji like exit on Greece. I wrote that I was to get the riot act read to me for not knowing that I was supposed to check in with every port I stopped at in Greece. As it turned out the first port where I got my transit log, in Chios, did not have the port police stamp on it. I know I was there. When I showed up on Monday morning, instead of the riot act, I received a document from the port police and was told to go to Customs. I sat waiting for the custom agent to show up for over an hour and then he sent me back again to the office I had been sent from. Then a lot of phone calls were made, reports written up and I was given a bill for about $ 350.00 for a charge I have not been able to figure out. And I was supposed to go to the tax office to pay this and then come back.But there was a little problem, the tax office people were on strike and not sure when they’d be back to work. Then I had to do one more chore, go to the post office to send a package to Germany. It was a gift and I had wrapped it in the bubble pack that my running back stay had come in from Florida. In the post office I had to take a number: A) for anything but parcels B) parcels. After waiting an hour for my turn the clerk advised me that  I had to go back and pull another number because what I had was a “LETTER”…… I was livid. After I sat back in line waiting a nice Greek man told me to give him the package, when his turn had come, and that saved me much time. But I left Greece with a very bad taste in my mouth. These people are burying themselves in bureaucracy. civil service and graffiti.

I anchored the night in a nice Albanian bay and in the morning the wind came up from the south. There are not many good anchorages and marinas in Albania and I decided to ride out this southerly as far north as I could. Because the predominant winds is the Meltempi, from the N.W. and that is right on the nose. But I got a lot more wind than I deserve on a retirement holiday. I had expected that it would ease off during the night. But it was a wild ride under just the storm jib. The waves and the swell were huge. It was all of force 6. It is hard to show it in pictures. The below is an attempt.

And those were taken before it really got wild and I had no pleasure in trying to hang on and take pictures at the same time.  The moon came up, what is left of it, at 1.30 this morning. After sunrise the wind calmed but the swell and waves were still a real challenge.  I did not get much sleep.  But for most of the day I was able to sail with full main and my largest head sail. From Corfu till here, about 130 nautical miles I sailed most of the way.

Holland lost to Germany. 2 to 1. Good game. I really like what I have seen thus far from Montenegro. Clean, inexpensive. A draft beer is 1 Euro, in Greece it is from 2.50 to 4.00 euros in most restaurants. People, locals and vacationers come out to walk in the town. It seems to have all the things I liked about Romania and Bulgaria but a much higher standard of living. I might stay here a couple days. If any Gig Harbor/Tacoma people can help me with more information of the places that the early Croation settlers in Gig Harbor and Tacoma are from. I’d like to try and see if I can contact some of their remaining relatives here. I don’t think they’ll have ever seen a sail boat with Gig Harbor on it’s transom show up here. What I have written down is that the Jersiches come from Kotor in Monte Negro, The Skansies , the town of San Martin on the island of Brac. And my friend Maggie wrote me today that Markovich family came from Split and from Mljet . The Bujacich  and Sulich (Shulich) families came from Sundse ( or some such spelling). If any one can add to this, please, let me know.


Sunday June 10. Trinity Sunday.

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

According to today’s gospel when Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on his disciples.

That is a promise, I believe in. I might have stepped out now and then. But the door will always be open. When is the end of age? Here I am exploring the places His disciples travelled. Two millenniums ago and witnessing civilization as early as 7 millenniums before Christ.

Smart people have figured it all out but for me sailing across all the oceans witnessing the seasons and the  immense vastness of the universe I stand in awe and I know that you and  I are part of God’s creation.





Saturday June 9. Exploring Corfu

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

It is getting summer here. My first searches for the mosquito net have not turned it up. The nights are getting too warm to sleep even under a cotton sheet and I need that mosquito net. This morning I went to clear out of Greece with the police and customs but I have to come back Monday morning and be read the riot act and pay fines. Apparently the police in Chios did not stamp my transit log. I know for certain that I visited them on several occasions. And then I was supposed to check in with every police station along the way. But I was never told or asked to do this. And how would I have found them?

I spent a couple hours in the Byzantine Museum of Antivouniotissa. A church built in the early 16th century. It contains some beautiful icons. One of them depicts scenes in the life of Saint Nicholas. This should be of interest to the parishioners of my home parish, St. Nicholas church in Gig Harbor, Washington. When I celebrated Easter, a week later than the Roman calendar, in Chios, last April, it was in a Saint Nicholas church. I brought this, and the photographs, to the attention of the web master of the parish and school at St. Nicholas in Gig Harbor. I suggested that the students might want to follow my journey on the web site and this way appreciate some of the discoveries I make along the way of the geography and history. It fell on deaf ears.

I had a similar experience when I came back to Gig Harbor in 2007 after nearly completing a circumnavigation and suggested to my fellow Gig Harbor Yacht Club members to give a slide show of the voyage.They allowed me 5 minutes at the end of the monthly club meeting to give the details, most  of the members walked out while I talked and a handful showed up for the slide show. When I gave the same presentation in Amsterdam, it was standing room only. For many of my home town folks the world ends at Spokane, Portland and Vancouver.

“Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown” Luke 4:24.

I plan to explore the roots, in the next weeks, of the Croatian founders, the fishermen of the town of Gig Harbor and the St. Nicholas parish, which will celebrate it’s first centennial in 2014. It will be interesting to see their relatives, left behind, react when they see a 30 foot sail boat with Gig Harbor as home port, painted on her transom.

My Swedish neighbor has turned out to be an o.k. kind of guy. I just have to excuse myself when he gets in to his detailed explanations. His Siamese cat has to be chased out of the boat and his 10 day old puppy squeals for an hour or so in the early morning.

I saw the Dutch lose from the Danes in the early European Soccer championships, on t.v. in town. Then the Germans played a dull game against the Portuguese and it was o-o at half time. The Dutch can take some consolation that they have a decent chance against the German team.






Friday June 8. Corfu

Friday, June 8th, 2012

It was just a short 20 mile crossing to Corfu. I am moored in the old town port, rafted onto a Swede. The man is a nut case, he babbles on about abstract discoveries he made in mathematical probabalities of ships in the port of Alexandria on AIS compared to Google Earth pictures. He also seems to have a persecution phobia, from the authorities. I think he fried his brains on dope.

I may need to find another moorage. The marinas are dear, upto $ 60 a night. This here is free and it is right in town. Anchoring out is a problem as far as pumping up the dinghy. I plan stay till Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. There is a R.C. mass at the cathedral at 10.30 on Sunday.

Corfu is an amazing place. It has been colonized/occupied by the Romans, Corinthians, Normans, Turks, Venetians then Napoleon till 1814 when the Brits took over. The architecture is heavily influenced by the Italians and the French. Very pleasant place. Lots of tall buildings blocks, many churches and chapels, small piazzas with shade trees, flowers and benches. The Linden trees are starting to bloom. You might remember my delight with the Linden blossom fragrance when in Romania, a year ago. Aso lots of flowering Jacarandas. That is one thing I missewd when sailing in the tropics. Because the only good time to sail in the tropics is in their winter time, because of the threat of hurricanes./cyclones. And the trees blossom in the summer time.

Thursday June 7. Close to Corfu

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I  shall be on Corfu tomorrow and then plan to stay there through Sunday.  I am anchored in a beatutiful small cove near Mourtos at 39.34 N 20.14 E.

I think I am going to invest in a motorized dinghy and go around the anchorages and teach the bare boat charterers how to set an anchor. There is a large boat going around, with a bunch of Germans, for the last hour dropping his anchor all around the bay straight down and then drifting. It is just so simple, you drop the anchor while the boat is not making any headway and then you slowly back off, from the wind or current, direction letting enough chain out and then have the anchor set in the bottom.

Today was one of my best sailing days. I left Lefkada/Lefkas through the 8 a.m. bridge opening. I  had to put two reefs in and used the 90 % jib. It was blowing a good 20 knots. Then the wind eased to about 10/12 knots and I sailed fairly close hauled in a N.Westerly. with full main and the light 150% genoa. Just a little chop. But this is not enough wind for most of the “real” sail boats and most were motoring or motor sailing. That’s when I really appreciate my large main sail and light displacement. The shores have become greener with low brush and pine tres

“De Mastmakersdochters” : I had a long telephone conversation yesterday, on Skype, with the Dutch publisher. He will be able to do both the printed and e-book version. And since the printed version will be printed on demand it will also be possible to update any corrections/additions, that I expect will  come from the readers, in the printed version. Both should be available in the next months.