After dropping Sarah off at Catania Airport then navigating Sicilian public transport back to Nova Jean in Syracuse, we decided we'd had our fill of Sicily and it was time to start heading to our winter home in Montenegro. There was a reasonable weather window to make the crossing so we would head off the following day for an overnight sail to Crotone in the south of Italy. We had some good following wind on the second day so even managed to sail some of the way. We cooked up a BBQ and got right to bed. We got going early the next day and started our crossing of the "arch" in Italy's boot. We motor sailed most of the way across and anchored in the delightful coastal town of Otranto, which is a little way up the "stiletto" of Italy's boot. We were now in the Adriatic Sea and It's a short step from here across to Albania. However we need to go further north before crossing to Montenegro. We were super tired when we arrived in Otranto and only took a handful of photos.
The weather was turning again so we did a quick day sail up to the historic town of Brindisi where we were able to moor on the town dock for free. Brindisi would have to be one of the most safe natural harbours that I have ever seen. It's like mooring in a river but without the current or tides you would usually find. We would be stuck here for 2 weeks waiting for weather and I couldn't think of a better place to do it. Did I mention it was free...
Brindisi is a very interesting and historic town as it was critical to the Roman Empire's expansion into the East. There is a Roman column here that marks the end of the famous Appian Way. The Roman empires first major highway. The town is dotted with archaeological excavations and it has a glorious promenade around the harbour where the locals love to take their evening stroll "La Passeggiata". Once we mastered it, even the public transport system was good. We even found a café that made good coffee and sold Italy's answer to the Australian sausage roll (a footy frank in puff pastry or pig in blanket). Anyway, they were good.
After 2 weeks in Brindisi, the low pressure system that had parked itself in the Adriatic decided to move on. There was more weather forecast to follow it, however we had a small window to do our overnight crossing to Montenegro. Day one of our sail was extremely uncomfortable. Two weeks of a stationary low pressure system had left the Adriatic with a very confused swell. Thankfully, by midnight it was improving. By dawn it was almost glass. We arrived in spectacular Montenegro at about 10am and were greeted at the customs doc by a cavalcade of Australian sailors that were also wintering in Montenegro. It turned out that there is more than 15 Australian flagged boats in the Porto Montenegro Marina alone. I just can't express how stunning Montenegro and the bay of Kotor is. Everywhere you look is postcard material. We will be here for a couple of months next year so I will write more about the place then. In the mean time, here are a few teaser photos...
BELGRADE SERBIA, November 3,2022
On Friday October 28 we hauled Nova Jean out and started packing her up for winter. We had booked flights home with a 7 hour stopover in Belgrade Serbia, so decided to take a quick tour of the city which was really interesting. The locals have a fascinating view of the world. Not for discussion here though
And finally on our way home :)