End of the ‘road’

We eventually made it back to our home harbour without any further incident. Queued up for the fuel for what felt like hours but then had the final photo.

From top left : Ongy, Goochy, Michal, Me, Amber, Maria, Matteusz

Had the final meal, drank the final beers and then partied with some crazy Hungarians until the harbour police turned up and threatened to call the cops.

Spent a final few hours in Dubrovnik Old Town killing time until my flight and eventually made it home. Took quite a few days to recover.

Calm before the chaos

We set off from ACI Slaton heading for Sipanska Luka. Everything was beautiful. Three of us started the day with a swim in the sea and then we headed for the pool in the marina which had a pool bar.

Captain Michal pretending to wait for a beer

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t hot enough for us to sit at the pool bar and have a beer…but we still had a morning beer.

We set sail for Sipanska and I took the boat off the mooring with some great coaching from Michal. I took us out into the main body of water heading for Sipanska and we decided to raise the genoa. We sailed along like this for a while and turned off the engines. We were making about 5kts and the winds were good so we decided to raise the main sail. We didn’t want the Genoa bumping about as we put the main sail up so we furled it away…a bit. In hindsight we should have furled it away entirely but hindsight is a bugger. It took us a while to get the mainsail up due to various problems and all this time the Genoa was flapping about. This flapping managed to loosen the shackle that attached the Genoa to the sheet until the shackle undid completely and shot the length of the boat like a bullet narrowly missing taking out Goochy. So now we had a mainsail half up and a severely flapping Genoa that we now had no control over. We managed to furl the Genoa some more to get rid of that problem for now, and then we carried on with the mainsail. It was at this point we put the first reef sheet into the electric winch to put some tension in it. Sadly we came straight out of the jammer and onto the electric winch at a bad angle. So when we started the electric winch it ripped the sheet out of the jammer and we broke it. So now we had a broken Genoa and a broken jammer, but we had a mainsail up.

Unfortunately on a Catamaran you can’t really sail on just a main as the boat becomes unbalanced and keeps heading into wind. So we dropped the mainsail again and started heading to a protected bay to make repairs.

We found a decent enough spot to park and anchored. We found a spare shackle and put the sheet back onto the Genoa and then tried to furl it away completely only to discover we’d over rotated the self furling jib mechanism thing and couldn’t put it away. So we made some more repairs, fixed that problem and then had a beer and did a little swimming.

Finally the time came to head to Sipanska so we decided to weigh anchor and get ready to go. We had some issues with the anchor earlier on the trip where the anchor chain would sometimes bundle up near the winch instead of dropping neatly into the anchor chain locker. This time it bundled up before we could stop it and knocked the anchor chain off the winch. This meant the anchor chain was attached to nothing and instead of raising the anchor chain we deposited 100m of chain onto the seabed. Fortunately the end of the chain is attached to the boat by a line so we were able to drag a few metres of chain back into the boat by hand, attach it the winch and started lifting the anchor again. This time I occupied the locker next to the anchor chain and kept jamming to end of the boat hook into the pile of chain to make sure there was room for the anchor chain to drop neatly.

We eventually made it to Sipanska for some much needed food and wine.

End result – we snapped some plastic off the jammer.

e-foiling

Kamil [ the skipper of the other yacht in our “flotilla” ] brought along his e-foil. It’s like a powered surfboard with a foil underneath that lifts the whole thing out of the water when you get going. Pretty bloody hard to do but I managed to almost get the hang of it before becoming exhausted and cold.

Photo courtesy of Goochy

Ston

Ston is a beautiful town that is famous for having the longest maintained wall in Europe or something. Turns out the wall is also a pretty excellent hike with views from the top. Due to me being a bit of an early bird I left the rest of the crew on the boat and went for a walk into town before it got too hot.

The view of the walls from the top of the fort.

I decided to wait for the rest of the boat at the top of the walls and so bought a ticket to visit the fort and walk the walls. I had a leisurely stroll up the walls taking it pretty easy. It was a hard climb but the views were fantastic.

You can just about make out our boat in the distance.

Turns out that Ston built the fort and the walls to protect the salt making pools in the picture above on the right. I also learned that the word salary comes from the word salt and that roman soldiers used to be paid in salt.

Anyway, the rest of the crew of my boat decided it was a bit hot by the time they got into town and went for beer instead. I joined them!

Michal

Our fantastic skipper showing off his boat. This trip has certainly been a lot more relaxed than other voyages I’ve been on. All thanks to this very good friend of mine

Setting Sail

Having been in Dubrovnik for three days I was pretty ready to get out of the place. Beautiful buildings, excellent restaurants and lots of stuff to do and see but there were so many tourists it became a little annoying, and this was in the quiet season.

We had a final lunch and a few beers on the main street and headed out to ACI Marina Dubrovnik to collect our 45ft Catamaran Tuvalu.

Berthed in ACI Dubrovnik
Sunj Beach. We all got a bit wet getting out of the tender and we managed to get a line stuck around the propellor and Josh fell over and submerged dragging the dinghy onto the beach. Other than that it all went smoothly.

Ston. Fantastic walls and fort. Excellent hike. Photos in the next post
Okuklje. This is where we did the e-foiling and got a “free” mooring as long as we ate in the restaurant. We should have just paid the 50 euros mooring fee rather than dropping 250 euros in the restaurant. Especially given that we have a boat absolutely full of food.

Dubrovnik

I got invited to go on a bit of a sail around Croatia. I was unsure for a while but at the last minute decided it sounded like a stellar idea. Unfortunately we were picking the boats up on the Saturday but the only flight I could get would put me in Dubrovnik on the Wednesday before. So a few days in Dubrovnik it was.

Walking the walls of Dubrovnik, with the obligatory early morning livener.

After the pretty tiring walk around the walls [ steps soooooo many steps ] I opted for some breakfast and it was served with black olives. This is my kind of country.

Pretty sure the rest of that day was spent snoozing and hanging out with the two Josh’s and Amber.

The following day I decided to have lunch at the top of the mountain overlooking the city. It was a little expensive to get up there [ 25 euros for a 3 minute journey ] but the sights were stunning and the meal wasn’t actually that expensive for Dubrovnik.

Due to me being a complete idiot I only booked my apartment until Friday morning. I kinda messed up my dates. So I had to pack up all my stuff and check in to a new apartment for a night. In doing so I left my razor and body wash in the first apartment and I now haven’t had a shave in four days.

Basil

My new passion is growing Basil plants. No way do we need this much Basil but I’ve been cultivating new plants from cuttings and then giving them away as presents. Who in the world does not need a fresh Basil plant on the window sill? Seriously…who?

The mammoth roof paint begins

I hate to raise this again but a couple of years ago we had an extension built. Yes, this saga rumbles on!

Well, the lazy bastard roofer never came back and finished the job. So after two years of looking at it and not knowing what to do I watched a couple of youTube videos and now apparently I’m a roofer.

Step one, jet wash and brush away all the crap that has built up over the years.

Done

The finished driveway

Eight bulk bags of 20mm and 10mm Gold Coast gravel and we have a driveway. Quite happy with the way it’s turned out although the new neighbours friends keep mistaking it for a car park and parking their cars on it!

It won’t look quite so big when we put some more cars on it

Finally, we got a Tesla

Many years ago I pre-ordered a Tesla Model 3 when they were first announced. I didn’t go through with the purchase in the end and now that I finally have one I massively regret that decision. Best car I’ve ever had.

So this post is serving three purposes really.

Purpose 1 : Yes, we finally have a model 3. Long Range AWD

Purpose 2 : You can see the oil patch left behind by the Porsche that I was going to keep but ended up trading it in to get rid of the oil leak problem.

Purpose 3 : You can see what my “driveway” was like yesterday. Today it looks like this…

Hopefully tomorrow it will look a lot better and next week it should be done. Due to a possible “breakdown in communications” between me and the builders they dug up a bit too much of my garden which I’m a little sad about. It’s my fault, I should have got off my arse, bought a tin of that spray paint to mark out the ground and drawn a line exactly where I wanted it. It’ll be fine. I’ll work something out.

Fire!

Anybody that knows me even slightly will know that I like a good fire. Nearly burned my parents’ house down when I was about 6 but that’s a whole different story. You may also remember I accidentally burned down my woodstore too, but that was in a previous post

Turns out I’ve been doing it all wrong. I was out with Mr Simkiss a while ago and he mentioned that he’d been having a near constant fire in a 55 gallon drum. I had a 55 gallon drum sitting about doing nothing so I put some air holes in the bottom, filled it with wood and a little petrol and off we went.

So now I can reseed that bit of ground next to my oil drum and I only have to worry about a small bit of ground getting wrecked when I have a fire. Genius. Should have done it years ago…I’d still have a wood store.

Jet washing

We had new paving laid at the back and it seemed like quite a good idea at the time to have quite a light Indian stone. Turns out it properly shows up dirty dog footprints, dirty boot marks, everything really. We put some “Wet and Forget” on it last year and it took away all the green algae that grows on there but after a cold wet winter it definitely needed a jet wash, which we did the other day, and another dose of “Wet and Forget” that I’ll get around to soon.

Don’t pay too much attention to the black stuff, that’s just crap that’s been washed down by the jet washer…but just look at the colour difference between the washed stone and the unwashed!

Usual April 1st Post

Three years since I stopped working [ mainly due to the Conservative governments ridiculous introduction of IR35 ] at Sky and this time I definitely can’t say I’m still retired. I’ve been doing some bits and pieces for Jason Coope which has been on the whole quite good fun. Ignition is a great tool, Docker and Traefik are excellent fun and Liquibase is quite a good bit of code but does have a few quirks that have been giving me sleepless nights.

Anyway, in keeping with April 1st being the day that I kinda retired I’ll continue making something not particularly healthy for breakfast.

A simple fried egg on white toast with ketchup.

Merseyrail robbing bastards

Paul, Jason and I decided to go for a few drinks in Liverpool. We decided to catch the train – turns out we could have gone in a limo for less money.

The problems began at Ormskirk train station where there was an absolutely massive queue for the ticket office and the train was just sitting on the platform waiting to go. We decided to hop on the train and buy a ticket online. Turns out you can’t do this on Merseyrail. You can do it on pretty much every other train operator in the country but Merseyrail are a bunch of robbing bastards who would rather take the income from fining their customers rather than fixing their systems to accept e-tickets.

We all received a fine of £107.90 which is reduced to £57.90 if paid within 21 days. So it cost £173.70 for the three of us to do a 30 minute journey. But at least we got some nice receipts and a blog post!

Commemorative Plaque

Whilst I was laying the bricks for my workshop in a spectacularly bad manner, Oliver came along to “give me a hand”. He laid one brick. One! It was this one.

He didn’t lay it badly really. Quite proud of him

Zelda

Had my first real life Zelda BoTW or ToTK if you prefer, moment. In an otherwise barren and boggy wood I found a single flower. Kinda made me wanna grab it and see what happened next, but I didn’t, because I’m not yet quite that bonkers.

SoLo

One of our local Michelin starred restaurants does a rather fabulous lunch taster menu with wine pairing. It’s a trifle expensive, especially when you start with cocktails, finish with cocktails add the cheese course and two rounds of plum sake to go with the cheese…but it’s worth it. Probably wouldn’t do it every weekend though

The fallow deer course