Rovinj looked very peaceful and unspoilt as we approached and took a space inside the harbour breakwater.
We understood that we had to complete certain formalities upon our arrival in Croatia but apart from the need to purchase a Cruising Permit we were not sure what else was required or how to carry out the process.
It turned out that it necessitated some form filling and stamping by the police then more form filling and stamping by the harbour authorities who extracted a fee of a few hundred pounds and gave us our visitor pass (which is calculated by some obscure formula involving the number of berths on the yacht, the size of the engine and how long the residence in Croatia) and the Cruising Permit which seemed to defy any explanation.
We would have liked to explore what promised to be a pretty town but we were only on a temporary ‘clear in’ berth so we chose to press on.
While mooring in Rovinj, I was disturbed by the hollow note of the exhaust as it reflected from the harbour wall. Noting to check once in open water, we discovered very little water exiting the exhaust and the temperature running high. The first suspicion lay with the strainer and this proved to be stuffed with weed. Running the engine again we sadly observed no change. The second potential issue was the water pump impeller. I had not changed this at the winter service as I have fitted the speed seal with the PTFE washer and felt that it would be ok.
So, into the furnace which is the engine room on passage to replace the impeller only to discover that the existing impeller and water pump were perfectly ok
The reduced water flow continued so it was time to ‘phone a friend’ who was of course Barry – the oracle of all things boaty. His prognosis was that, having done what we had, the most likely cause of reduced water flow was a build-up of weed in the inaccessible inlet grill. There are two ways of addressing this, diving underneath or removing the strainer, opening the sea cock and fishing around for the errant weed in the head of sea water pouring into the yacht through the opening. We opted for this option and, drifting in open water opened the strainer outlet and sea cock expecting to get soaked and – nothing ! So this was clearly the problem, the inlet below the strainer was blocked with the weed which was so abundant in the Venice Lagoon. A ‘root around’ with a hooked wire soon produced a wad of weed and the expected head of water flooding the interior which perversely was a great relief. Replacing all the ‘gubbins’, the exhaust produced the abundant and reassuring discharges of cooling water and there were two very happy sailors.
We had booked and paid for a Marina berth in Pula as, having had an overnight with compromised sleep, a secure night of sleep with AC was rather compelling.
A visit to the impressive Amphitheatre was a must and it was enormous and relatively intact in a dusty neglected sort of way.
There were tunnels underneath from where they released the wild animal for the sport and where they took the dead gladiators and I jokingly remarked to Bob that we would have to exit through the gift shop as it didn’t seem to be the sort of place to have a gift shop. Lo and behold we had to exit through a very swish and modern gift shop.
It is worth mentioning that I added the obligatory chilli flakes to our evening chicken and rice but the two teaspoons were too much for Bob – am I ever going to reduce my stock.
There are several remarkable aspects of Croatia registered to date:
- The surliness of almost all locals, certainly those whom we have met. Almost without exception, the police authorities, tourist agency staff and marina staff appear to be miserable bas***ds! Not a smile, nor grin, not even a vestige of a smirk alters their countenances. Nick has tried almost all of his best jokes, but to absolutely no positive avail; ‘no change there’ I hear our reader cry! The only slight twitching of a face we have succeeded in finding was that of the young girl who served us in the marina bar and that only after the offering of a fairly hefty tip!
- The impossibly un-feeling and totally inconsiderate actions of communist party town planners. To allow a shipyard (constructing very old style, single skin tankers….I didn’t think that they were legal?) to be located immediately adjacent to a beautiful Palladian style church, next to a block of now very run down communist style block of flats, all of which are over-looked by an absolutely striking, first century amphitheatre, really does seem to be an error of the first water and provides a hugely negative blight on the landscape, certainly as far as Pula is concerned. The amphitheatre would be recognised as a world heritage site in most other countries and is in far better condition than the Colosseum, for example.
- The multitude of ATMs. A walk round Pula revealed that approximately every second shop was, in fact, an ATM! This can only indicate that the population of Pula exists in large part on laundered money? No wonder your UK bank asks all sorts of seemingly obtuse questions when you try to deposit a cheque for £50! Blame the Croatians!
- Last, but certainly not least, my accommodation on board has been upgraded! The reader will most probably be very pleased to hear that I no longer have to clamber into the upper berth of the mid-ships cabin (aka ‘the coffin’, or alternatively ‘the rubbish bin’, for an understanding of that rather arcane reference, you will have to refer to blog entries dated towards the end of 2015!), but have been allowed into the hallowed quarters that Barry enjoyed, ‘the washing machine’! This allows me a much easier access to the scratcher when compared to the Fosbury flop that had to be performed to get into the coffin. I may be allowed to embellish this further, Master permitting! Please read the next blog to see whether or not this has been allowed.
- I cannot leave this blog insert without mentioning that the 2kgs of chili flakes on board was hardly touched for last night’s meal, but for all that I can only conclude that Nick purchased a particularly fiery brand of Scotch Bonnet! Even ‘cast iron gullet’ Mines’ mouth was smarting!