Murter is a pretty little marina port just north of Split. It has many great facilities for sailors, some very kind people but, unfortunately, it is not an entry port for Croatia. The significance of this will become clear shortly. In the meantime, our priority was to find what had caused the water tank to empty and to dry out the bilges. It was late afternoon when we arrived. We did the best we could but other priorities emerged – food and beer! Our host in Murter was Gary Conway. An old colleague of Alan’s he was very helpful in describing to us the intricacies of entering Croatia in a boat. The rule is that you call into the nearest entry port once you have crossed into national waters. We had actually passed by four entry ports before finally calling into Murter which, as I mentioned earlier, is not an entry port. Now you might think why would the skipper get such a basic thing wrong and I would have to accept a good deal of the responsibility for this error, but I believe that the people in Portoroz should have made this clear before we left. The entry and exit procedures for each country are all slightly different. I’ll try to explain later.
We discussed our options with Gary and the general consensus was that we should just exit again without bothering the port authorities and hope for the best. None of us was particularly keen on this course but as it happens the decision was taken out of our hands. Early the next morning a policeman and his colleague turned up at the boat and it became clear that we had committed a serious offense in the eyes of the Croatian authorities which could only be corrected through the exchange of substantial amounts of money in the form of a fine.
In order to pay this fine we had to take the boat to the policeman’s office in Sibenik, about ten miles south, where he informed us we would not only meet up again with him and his colleague but, rather mysteriously, also with a woman! The policeman was very apologetic about all of this and had obviously deduced that the prospect of seeing a woman after some two days at sea in the grip of the troublesome Bora would soften the blow on we four weary sailors. As you can imagine the prospect of seeing this woman swung it for us, especially John.
In the meantime, John had discovered the source of the leak. The pipe connection on the deck shower unit was faulty and the pipe had detached, opening up the flow and causing the water pump to engage until all the water had exited the tank (thank you Hanse). Temporary repairs were made then it was off to Sibenik.
We encountered a regatta as we exited Murter.