Sibenik is a beautiful little town near to Split which lies at the end of an amazing canal entrance which then opens out into a wide bay. It has an ancient cathedral with a distinctive barrel dome, which was under repair, an attractive waterfront and a very well appointed marina, Mandelina, with some seriously large superyachts.
We arrived in Sibenik at 1630 with the light rapidly fading. Unfortunately, when we got there it was shut! 1st November is the day when the people of Sibenik mark the “day of the dead” by taking the day off. I was rapidly losing the will to live myself as Alan and I set off to look for the port authority police to get the crew list and permission to sail in Croatian waters, “the Vignette”. The policeman had kindly explained to us where the port authority office was located. 45 minutes later and a few millimetres of shoe leather less we returned to the policeman to explain that we could not find the office and, furthermore, no one in the town seemed to know where it was. By the way we had still not clapped eyes on “the woman” and I was beginning to suspect subterfuge on the part of the policeman. Eventually he relented and put us in the back of his car and drove us to the office. We had in fact passed this office before but had assumed that, in common with everything else in Sibenik, it was shut. There was certainly no light on and the door did not budge when we tried it.
The formalities were soon sorted and Alan and I returned to the policeman with the crew list so that he could stamp it and the customs office next door could look at it – or at least that is all that they seemed to do. What was becoming clear was that this entry /exit malarkey was a bit of a job creation programme. Remember we had not actually left the EU, but Croatia was not yet a signatory to the Schengen Agreement and, as the policeman kept telling me, “that is a problem”.
Still no sign of the woman!
We took the opportunity in Sibenik to have the Volvo Penta Deisel engine serviced. This should be done after 50 hours of running and although we had not yet reached that mark our next stop would be Corfu, some two days sailing away, by which time we would be well beyond the 50 hours. The Penta people in the marina were excellent and had us sorted in no time.
You get the feeling that Sibenik is a “coming place”. Clearly there is a great deal of investment in the marina and its surrounding resort area, and inland there are various sites of interest. It is really only a stone’s throw from Split so it is well situated.
I paid the fine the following morning and after a very acceptable lunch in the deserted but very impressive D-Resort Hotel in the Mandalena Marina we gave a fond farewell to the lovely town of Sibenik, vowing to return some day, when it was open, and, hopefully, meet “the woman”.
I completed the exit formalities with the Croatian Police Authorities who informed me that as we were exiting Croatia we had to move into international waters (12 miles off-shore) as soon as practical.
Although we were all taking turns at helming, the task of getting us in and out of berths was left to Alan as he was the most accomplished in such matters. The exit from Sibenik was my first go at exiting and all went well until I got a little too close to a green lateral marking the exit to the bay and we touched the bottom. It sounded like I had ripped the keel off and I feared the worst. Without hesitation Alan donned mask and snorkel and dived below the hull to inspect the damage. It turned out to be superficial and there was no leakage internally from the keel bolts inside. So, at 1550 on 2nd November and with a wary eye on the keel bolts, we set off for Corfu.
Bloody owners! Who would have them?