On the 27th July, exactly 1 year ago, we moved on board ITIKI and she became our home. While we were still in the dock at La Rochelle for another week, we were officially “living aboard”. So how has she shaped up as a mobile home? Setting up a boat from scratch can be confusing, and a boat that you will be living on for most of the year is even more challenging. The list of “options” is long and daunting, and how do you know which ones to get factory fitted, which ones to do ex-factory and which ones to sort out yourselves? Although having had a Lipari gave us a bit of a head start, it was never set up for full-time cruising so that aspect was a big unknown. We asked a lot of questions to other cruisers and are eternally grateful for their generosity, sharing their time and knowledge. Nod from MultiHull Solutions, our dealer, was a great help of course and we nutted out a lot of things over a curry and a couple of beers in Sydney. So looking at ITIKI a year on what are our top five, “big ticket” inclusions that we feel are “must haves” from day one, for a comfortable cruising life (in order of priority!)
As we left Montenegro there was only one thing between us and the Greek Ionian Islands – Albania. Mind you, if you had asked me a year ago where Albania was, I would probably have pointed to somewhere in the Black Sea! With it is 362km of Adriatic coastline it is not a small country, and its southern-most part is only 1nm from the Greek island of Corfu. With its recent history of communism and isolationism, Albania seemed somewhat mysterious, exotic and a little bit scary so we had a lot of discussion about whether to stop there or just bypass it as many sailors do. At the last minute, we decided to recoup our investment in the Albanian courtesy flag, delay our arrival in Corfu and head in to Saranda for a few days to see for ourselves.
We finally said farewell to Croatia after just on 5 weeks of excellent cruising. Checked out at Cavtat in the morning of a public holiday (25th June, Independence day!) so no line boys on duty. I also had to go looking for the Port Police in a nearby café. The Harbourmaster was closed too we got to skip that step! It is only a short hop down the coast to Montenegro, well 33nm by the time we reach our anchorage, and it is mostly motoring as the forecasted 10kts NE fails to materialise until we area about to anchor.
Lynda is slowly getting used to the transition from working to not working and racing to cruising.