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My big Adriatic adventure - a trip report. Now includes Venice. Warning - Picture heavy

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Between September 10th and 17th 2016 I had a chance partake in a sailing cruise on North Adriatic Sea, fulfilling the duty of a first officer on a boat with crew of 8. During said cruise we visited four ports and  two bays in three different countries. Using Google Maps I created this gif to approximate our route.

The route

Our port of origin was Izola, small city on Slovenian coast. From there, we crossed Adriatic to the west, reaching our main goal of Venice. After spending full day there, we crossed Adriatic back to the east, reaching Slovenian city of Piran, not far from Izola. From there, we decided to sail west, to visit two bays - Dalja and Lone, near the city of Rovinj – and a port town of Umag on Istria Peninsula in Croatia. Final leg of our journey took us from Umag back to Izola, homeport of our vessel.

The yacht

We used Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37 type yacht for our cruise. A 37 foot (a little over 11m) long, hence the 37 in type name, sailboat, with about 60 square meters sail area, capable of housing crew of 8 comfortably in three double cabins plus two final bunks in mess area, doubling as sofas for day use, with fully equipped galley (stove, oven, sink, fridge), head and internal, as well as external showers. We even had TV on board but we never used it. The schematics above shows exact plan of our yacht.

I think this makes up for a short enough introduction. If your are interested in reading more about the trip, I'd like to hear your opinion on how to proceed now. I can either wrote a short summary of each day, adding pictures whenever applicable, but maybe you would be more interested in shorter version, say just selected few (dozen Very Happy) pictures with short descriptions?

Last edited by SzalonyChemik on Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:51 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Sounds like you had a great trip. It's been years since I've been to sea. How was the Med?

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3 Day 0-1 on Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:11 pm

Day 0 – Friday, September 9th.

The trip for me started actually in Friday, around 1pm, when I got on board of a… train that took me from my hometown to city where most of my future crew lived. It took me about three hours and one train change to get there. I met with the captain and we awaited together for the rest of the crew. They arrived in a 9 seat people carrier that was to take us all the way from Poland to Izloa in Slovenia. We left around 5:30pm, making a stop in Kraków few hours later, to pick final two crew members. We drove to the west of Poland, crossing Czech border, then south-west through Czech Republic, Austria and finally Slovenia. We entered that last country early morning on Saturday, September 10th.

Day 1 – Saturday, September 10th.

Although we were in our country of destination, we were still quite far away from Izola and the coast iself and it took us another three hours to get there, bringing total driving time up to about 15 hours (plus 3 hours on train for me). After the hard night spent in car, I have Slovenian highways to thank for keeping me awake through that morning. Here, in Poland, I’m accustomed to highways going across huge flats with nearly nothing interesting to watch.  There, however…  Road goes through mountains, tunnels and gentle curves are common and the sights… houses dotting green hill- and mountainsides, roads serpentine between them. At one point we were driving across a flat with mountains visible in the distance, all around us – in front of the car, behind it and to both sides. Not before long I saw the sea for the first time in over 20 years and after a bit of stumbling through streets Izola, we finally saw this:

The marina in Izola has berths for over  700 yachts, there is also a hotel, beach and few bars and restaurants around. On the day we arrived there were actually rowing regattas held there. Not long after, few cars arrived, carrying crews of the two yachts that were to sail with us. After waiting a bit more we went through the yacht checklist with the shipowner, received our pontoon, to act as our tender (a smaller boat, required to transfer crew ashore if the yacht is anchored offshore). After that we transferred our luggage to the boat and we went to Old Town of Izola which is located to the north-east from the marina.

We had amazing dinner/supper of seafood there (in case someone finds themself in Izola, I cannot recommend restaurant Bujol enough) and after a little while of sightseeing we went back to our yacht for the night somewhat early because we were expected to sail away by 6am next day.

Last edited by SzalonyChemik on Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:22 am; edited 1 time in total

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So, what was the reason for the trip? Are these your friends or are you part of some club or charity or something?

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The captain used to be my sailing instructor. He was putting a crew together out of his friends from work, people about my age. He first approached me about the possibility of such cruise when we mate at sea shanty festival early this year and I just decided I have to go. I think it wouldn't be too much to say that we are all friends now Smile

Last edited by SzalonyChemik on Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Sorry for not updating the topic. I had two quite busy days, and Thursday shapes up to be another one. So, Friday seems to be the earliest I'll be able to reasonably post another update. Once again, sorry for the delay.

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Okay, thanks for the update. I'm looking forward to more.

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8 Day 2 on Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:49 pm

Day 2 – Sunday, September 11th.

We left Marina Izola around 7am, just after sunrise. When we got up an hour earlier, it was still pitch black dark. After clearing the breakwaters we finally got to the open sea. The weather was very calm, with barely any wind, great visibility, little cloudy but with lots of sun and temperatures reaching 85°F/30°C. Lack of the wind made it infeasible  to set sail right away, so initially we went under engine power. While we waited for the other two yachts, every member of the crew had the chance to familiarize themselves with our boat steering and behavior and practice some basic maneuvers (keeping and changing course).

When all three yachts meet we started heading west, first along Slovenian coastline, then, after passing the city and peninsula of Piran, through the open sea. Piran is visible in the picture above (center of the frame with the tower). I’ll have much more to write about in Day 4 post.

After some time wind picked up a little, letting us set sails. Eastern wind was very favorable, because it carried us straight west, toward our goal, Venice. Because we were reaching downwind, it allowed us to set our sails in so-called “butterfly” formation – with mainsail on one board and headsail on the other – which is in fact rather rarely done. We also kept visual as well as radio contact with the remaining two yachts, taking photo opportunities, whenever we closed the distance between us.

Later the wind died again, so we once again switched to engine. Other two boats formed behind our stern and we continued west to Venice.

We reached Venice at sunset, having spent about 12 hours on sea. The approach to was made interesting by sun in our eyes, making tracking approach buoy markers somewhat straining. We were also passed by five cruise ships leaving Venice before reaching Marina Santelena – one of two yacht marinas in Venice – located at the eastern side of the city (the other marina is located across St. Mark’s Square on the San Giorgio Maggiore Island). Most of the crew went ashore to get a glimpse of nighttime Venice, however, feeling somewhat tired, I decided to stay and gather some strength before the planned main sightseeing next day, decision I actually came to regret later. But, looking on the bright side, prospect of seeing Venice at night will hopefully only strengthen my resolve to return there some day.

Next time – main treat, Venice proper.

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Wow, those are some great pics. Can't wait to see Venice.

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10 Day 3 part 1 of 2. on Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:27 pm

Day 3 – Monday, September 12th, part 1.

Finally, the big day.  Because of the great weather, I was able to actually sleep through the night not in my cabin but on the deck. The thought that I managed to spend the night out in the open in Venice, for some reason always makes me happy, because I think it is not something that many people actually did. Anyway, after a breakfast on the yacht and shower in marina’s bathhouse, me and the rest of the crew left for the city around 10 am.

The eastern section of Venice is less representative, more residential section (which, however, doesn’t mean unsightly). Around us perfectly normal day of work went on.  Beautiful two-masted schooner was being cleaned and maintained on the slip (a concrete ramp used for moving yachts from water to ground and vice versa). Man was unloading his barge with a pneumatic grabber it was equipped with, and then he proceeded to clean after the operation using the same grabber to “grab” water and then splash it on the pier. Kids were walking their dogs – just a regular summer day in port town.

We walked down few alleys, crossed a small park or a green square and before long we got to promenade where we got our first real views of Venetian Lagoon.  We followed the promenade to the west, going towards the city center, getting amazing sights along the way – fine examples of venetian architecture and great views of San Giorgio Maggiore Island to the southwest where the second marina in Venice is located, directly across the historic center.  We then turned right, to the north when we saw very characteristic Arsenal (Arsenale di Venezia) gates in the distance.

After taking a closer look at the gates, as well as the on-foot entrance and sculptures surrounding it we, once again entered the maze of narrow venetian alleys, heading once again towards waterfronts, finally reaching the representative Waterfront of the Slavs (Rivia degli Schiavoni) which connects with Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and Saint Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) on its western end.

The next landmark on our route was Doge’s Palace, the seat of the de jure ruler of Venetian Republic, now a museum, along the famous Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) that connects the palace to the adjacent prison building. Then we turned right to the north again, and through Piazetta San Marco (little square connected to the main one), we reached Saint Mark’s Square, with its main sights – Saint Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco), Saint Mark’s Bell Tower/Campanile (Campanile di San Marco) and the Procuratie – three connected characteristic colonnade buildings going along the perimeter of the Square, housing among others world famous caffé’s. We got to the Square by noon and were able to hear clock tower bells sound the hour.

We continued to the north, exiting through the gate in Saint’s Mark Clocktower (La Torre dell'Orologio), then headed northwest to reach Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) – up to 1854 the only bridge crossing main Venetian canal – Grand Canal (Canal Grande), connecting San Marco and San Polo districts.

On top of the bridge I managed to get a nice picture of Grand Canal looking to the south – a cliché Venetian view, but beautiful nonetheless. Sadly, at that point we decided that we have to start heading back. We scheduled to leave Venice around 4 pm.  However we decided to not retrace our steps, instead we took longer route circling through the San Marco district, which proved to be a good call because it provided us with some amazing photo opportunities of less known Venetian alleys and canals. It would be really hard to write something meaningful about them, so just enjoy this photo dump Wink:

Just before getting back to Saint Mark’s Square, we took a detour, reaching waterfront right around the southern entrance to the Grand Canal, which lend us some great opportunities for panoramic shots. In the first picture above you can see San Giorgio Maggiore Island center in the distance. The building you can partially see to the right is historic Venice’s  customs building, Dogana da Mar, currently art gallery. It is much better visible in the next photo with the Santa Maria della Salute church (basilica) behind it.

We then reentered Saint Mark’s Square through the western Procuratie building and retraced our steps along waterfronts heading east, towards our yacht. Sadly, our time in Venice was at an end.

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It has been over a week since last update. There are no replies, not that many views either. Do you want me to continue? I already shared what I wanted to share most.

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