Goodbye Croatia - Italy here we come

Steve & Carol
Sun 2 Oct 2022 07:00
39:59.667N 018:29.072E
We were up early and set off at first light for the customs dock at Dubrovnik, everyone had the same idea and were pulling anchors etc up as we passed by, We were a little apprehensive as we had heard and read stories of boats being fined when they checked out for various reasons none of which seem very clear so we weren’t 100% sure we had followed all the rules etc while we were here and half expected a fine for doing something we were meant to 😬. The dock was empty when we arrived and after mooring up  Steve headed off to see the Harbourmaster, port police and customs officers, meanwhile other boats were arriving and soon the dock was full, the other boats seem to be heading to Greece or Montenegro and it looks like Jack the Lad and us are the only 2 heading for Italy.  Why on earth the boats heading for Montenegro would choose to check out of Dubrovnik is beyond us!  We are all aware the Croatians like to fine foreign flagged visitor boats, their rules are very clear - The master of the vessel entering/leaving the Republic of Croatia by sea shall use the shortest way to enter/leave the closest port open to international traffic for the purpose of passing the immigration office control, and to endorse the crew and passenger list in the Harbourmaster's Office etc so why check out of Dubrovnik if you then sail past the entry port of Cavtat? It's asking for trouble as one of the boats found out when they were stopped, boarded and fined near Cavtat - though only a small fine the equivalent of £75.00 but not a great experience and one they could have easily avoided if they had followed the rules!
We head off shore so as to be heading out of Croatian waters in the most direct route to Italy, the sea was a bit lumpier than we had hoped for and the wind light so we were unable to sail until we were a few miles off shore then we sailed for most of the day, at about 4 pm we were delighted to see a pod of dolphins leaping out of the water heading towards the boat - they looked equally happy to see us and played in the bow wave for a short while before getting bored - we weren’t going fast enough to keep them amused and they soon lost interest and headed off in search of something more exciting to play with.
Come nightfall the waves got the better of the wind and the sails began flogging so we decided to motor for most of the night! By day break though the wind had filled in and we were sailing again,  the wind slowly increased until we were having a great sail arriving in Santa Maria Di Leuca just before it got dark and mooring in the one space there was on the free dock we have used before, luckily Jack the lad who were just behind us had wanted to anchor and not go on the quay so the lack of space wasn’t a problem.