We’ve been gone a whole month and posted almost nothing. I’ll bet you’re checking the website every day wondering, “What are the Amantes up to?!?!” OK, so rather than blather on about it all I’ll summarize it to bullets. Since we arrived in Italy, life can be reduced to these:
* Arrival and readjustment to Italy and boat life, the highlights being visiting Bologna and staying in Fano, much thanks to the wonderful Palazzo Rotati, and making new friends in Fano.
* Cooking school in Tuscany for Vanessa and more boat work for Neal, followed by a weekend in Florence/Tuscany for both!
* Test sail and successful un-grounding of 8.6 foot deep Amante from our first trip in and out of the +/- 6 foot deep harbor in Fano.
* This one is the biggie- MATT AND EMMA”S WEDDING back in New Jersey
* Return to Italy and one night in Venezia.
* Another great dinner at Palazzo Rotati with Gabriella and Marcello, who included our friends Joan and Paul, arrivederci visits with new friends Kristen and Lucia Kate, and welcome to friends from home who came to visit Amante. Then the adventure part begins.
* Getting stuck on the way out and nearly running over the tied-on dinghy. Anchor out first night off the Fano disco, which went until 5 am.
* Arrival in Croatia- welcome to Croatia, give us 600 euro each.
* 2 perfect nights at anchor in Croatia- Duki Otak and Otak Molat.
* Arrival in Zadar and faring well Joan and Paul.
I will cover each in different detail, as I feel like, but since we have only been afloat 3 days, I will start there since we left Fano with friends aboard from home. We were in sight of the channel opening, after having seen depths in the 6 foot range, when we came to a slow stop. Amante draws 8.6 feet. The harbor in Fano is notoriously shallow, but they SWORE to us they would dredge the harbor in winter and we would have NO PROBLEMS getting out. They dredged a few times, but what we didn’t realize is that Amante leaving was the primary dredging they had in mind. The bottom is loose silty mud, but once stuck we were stuck. The marina had a dinghy out to guide us and the guys who took care of Amante all winter were following in our dinghy (whose name is Tiny). When Amante stopped, the guys in Tiny attached a line to the stern of the dinghy and pulled the bow of Amante starboard, and it worked! We were free and moving along, but the 2 guys driving were yelling in Italian, Neal was driving in English, and GO GO GO sounds just like NO NO NO when the dinghy is alongside and invisible to the helm. Translation issues, the dinghy driver putting the gear into reverse instead of forward, much confusion resulted in a terrible outcome. I saw the dinghy heading for Davy Jones’ locker underneath Amante. I was in – “Screw the paint job, we’re about to see 2 nice guys die” – mode of screaming. Neal stopped, the dinghy was submerged up to the tubes and the outboard engine went (there is some debate here) underwater? Mostly underwater? Enough underwater to cut out? We got the dinghy untied (really hard to do in a hurry, under load, with lives at stake) and the marina towed it out of the harbor. We got out, tested the engine, bow thrusters, rudder, no problems with Amante, but they couldn’t get the dinghy started. They assumed it was the fuses, this was saturday night, and the shop opens Monday morning, and the two guys who had helped us out, climbed aboard another boat and LEFT US there with no dinghy outside Fano harbor. I near-‘bout had a hissy fit. Until I saw Dom, il Maestro of the boatyard coming out of the harbor in his own red sailboat to help. By then, Neal had done that thing he does where he touched the dinghy key and it started- in their confusion they had failed to put the gear back into neutral. Fresh water rinse, bilge pump for awhile, (it was up to the seats) and Bob is your uncle, Tiny is fine. Looks like we need a new battery, tho. Anyway, we spent a calm, flat night in front of Fano listening to the beat of disco music until 5 am. We left at 6 am for Croatia.
It was sad, as I have come to love Fano! It is an unheard of by American ears, fishing town on the Adriatic that was once on the Road to Rimini (from Rome) as part of the Roman empire. So much history and nice people, long beaches with boardwalks filled with people exercising, walking dogs, kissing ciao two times and drinking Morettas (Moretti). I heart Fano and will miss this darling small, old town.