Boat Life Croatia Dog Lovers

South Dalmatian Islands and Dubrovnik: and water in the bilge… OMG

Written by Renato Matiolli

P1120071_FotorWe left Split for good this time. Saying goodbye to our Croatian friends was not easy or nice at all. At our departure, Vicky and Duje prepared us a nice surprise: “a Croatian survival kit at sea” with lots of yummy things… Sarinha was all tears while we sail away from Split.

This was our first time out at sea with Feijão and our first stop was quite close. Again we anchored at Brac, but tP1120109_Fotor_Fotorhis time at an even more beautiful and shallow bay called Stipanska. Feijão really enjoyed the ride and the next morning was ready to explore the surroundings of the place.

During this trip we had Ino and Ivana with us, who were amazing guests. Ivana in a few minutes found her away around the boat and was quickly helping Sarah a lot. Ino had made many plans of places to go, so in the morning we moved further south to Scedro, a beautiful island with just a hand full of houses, exactly the type of place we like. DSC00643_Fotor_FotorThe sail south was great; we put the gennaker out and enjoy the ride. On our way we figured out that our AIS system and GPS was not working, but Ino was quite handy solving the problem.

After exploring Scedro, we sailed to the next island; Korcula. However, half way there we figured out that our bilge was getting filled with A LOT of water. I can tell you that this is a pretty scary thing to realize, specially when you are out sailing. Until you find where the water is coming from and until you don’t see the level of the water lowering, you really do not rest in peace. We quickly divided tasks between the four of us: 1) closing all the water inlets and finding where the water was coming from; 2) pumping water out of the boat manually to help the electric pumps; 3) finding the closest bay to go and anchor; 4) driving the boat. After a few minutes we realized that the water was coming from our new watermaker, which had one pipe connection loose, so the water was going into the bilge, instead of into our water tanks. After a lot of pumping, our bilge was finally dry in just a few minutes (but which felt like forever), and we continued on our way.

We arrived safely to the town of Korcula, which felt like a “mini-Dubrovnik”, all surrounded by a city wall, quite charming and a lot less touristy. I highly recommend the place. Some people say that the famous Marco Polo actually started his adventure from here, so we believe it is not a bad start for us either.

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After Korcula we moved further south to Mljet Island, which has a good portion of it protected by a national park. The vegetation and anchoring bays here are great and we found ourselves a really nice place to anchor. However before that we had a REALLY close encounter with an Australian boat. The first anchor place we found was sort of a protected and narrow channel. As we got inside we saw it was getting too shallow and decide to pull back, but suddenly we realized that we had forgotten to bring one of our fishing lines to the boat, so we could not go back and risk getting the line stuck on the propeller, so while we were bring the lure to the boat, we tried to turn around. It seemed we had lots of space and the wind direction should push us away from the Australian boat. Unfortunately, there was a very strong current in this channel that pushed us way too close to them. There was a bit of a stressful moment, Sarah had a fender on her hand to ensure we wouldn’t collide, the Australians were yelling at us, Ino was quickly pulling the fishing line in… and when we looked around, Feijão was all curved… crouching at the bow of the boat taking the biggest dump we have ever seen, like he was trying to say: “I have nothing to do with this whole mess you guys are putting together. Deal with it”.

That night we had another incident, while Ino was driving the dinghy to the bay we were going to anchor, the propeller from our recently purchased Honda outboard engine came out flying and we lost the propulsion. From that point on we had to use paddles to move around with our inflatable dinghy. We ordered a new propeller but it took four days to arrive, instead of one day as promised, so we missed out on Montenegro, it was such a bummer.

After, Mljet we moved to the world famous Drubrovnik, sailing by the city walls was quite a sight. We managed to find ourselves a nice bay close by, drop anchor and enjoy our time in Dubrovnik, while we waited for the late arrival of our new Honda propeller. I had been to Dubrovnik a couple of times a decade before and the city continues to be breathtaking, but to be honest we found the city way too touristy and overcrowded for our standards (even in May), probably thanks to TV series “Game of Thrones”.

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Now, it is time for us to prepare the boat and ourselves mentally for our first bigger crossing so far, the Adriatic Sea, towards Italy.


About the author

Renato Matiolli


  • Hi,

    Just ran across your blog and was wondering if you were still in Dubrovnik? We have our own sail boat in Mexico and we are currently spending the summer traveling through Europe and Croatia on land! As fellow cruisers on a boat we would LOVE to sit down with you and have a coffee, or soda and learn more about what it is like to cruise in Croatia! In exchange we can fill you in about sailing in Mexico. 😉

    I realize you might already be in Italy as this last post was a month ago.


    Denise & Grant

    • Hi Denise,

      Thanks for the message.

      It would br great to meet up. Unfortunatelly we have left. We are in Mykonos.

      In a nutsheel, crusing in Croatia is amazing and we highly recomend the experience.

      Let’s try to meet up in México at some point. Are you in the Pacific or Caribbean side?


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