Thu 6 May 2010 10:12
Thursday May 6
We have 80 miles to go to Venice. Les wants to arrive around 2-3 pm, so we
are up at dawn, clear Customs and cast off at 6 am. We pass the Uljanik
shipyard, once the most important dockyard of the Austrian empire, and motor
out to sea. It is flat calm with little wind forecast for the Gulf of
Venice, which we are crossing. To our pleasure, a 12 -18 kn SSW breeze gets
up and we sail on at 7-8 knots. In the mid-afternoon we can see an
industrial stack and other signs of land and shortly after, we see the land
itself. We head for the Porto di Lido, the most direct entrance to the
Venetian Lagoon. A medium-sized dragger chugs past us, surrounded by flocks
of gulls feasting off the stirred-up sediment and fish around her stern.
We can pick out the Campanile of San Marco and others in the distance. At
the mouth of the Porto (the entrance to the channel) is an orange dredger
weaving around erratically, stopping occasionally and sucking up the bottom.
James is at the helm and we follow the well-marked channel (green marks to
the right when returning - the opposite of IALA). A strong tide is running
and one has to pay careful attention to maintain course. As we approach
Venice, the traffic increases. We enter the bustling harbour with boats,
ferries, buoys and markers of all descriptions around us. The extraordinary
sights and buildings most of the crew have only read about are all around.
We spot the marina at San Giorgio Maggiore and curve around to the entrance
at the west end where we are met by Gabriel, the marina man. He sets us up
alongside the dock - we are here at last, a dream come true! - JW