Today we cruised through the North Adriatic Sea. The name of the sea comes from the old word Adria which means water, so today we were sailing on the water sea. A water- sea which was as smooth as a mirror. It almost felt as if we were committing a sin because the ship was cutting through this mirror with its bulb and was causing the only rivulets on the water. Completely wind still weather is normally not so much of a problem as the ship creates its own wind. They only thing was, that today the ship was not creating much wind as we were only doing 10 knots. Dubrovnik is not that far away but to make it in one night you have to leave Venice early. On an embarkation day that does not work and who wants to leave Venice early if you can have the most romantic sail-away possible? And beautiful it was as the thunder storms had nicely departed and it was dry, cool but not chilly; a perfect temperature to stand outside and watch magnificent scenery.
And most guests were outside with a camera, cellphone or other recording equipment and most of them stayed until we came to the pilot station at 22.15 hrs. It was just too nice to leave. But all humans are different and the sailors who were handling the ropes on departure could not wait to get inside. For a very urgent reason to watch the semi finals of football with England against Croatia. Although Indonesia did not make it into the world cup, most Indonesians are football mad and do not want to miss any game. Their allegiance is mainly for English Clubs if there is no Dutch Club playing but tonight it was more “may the best one win”.
Most of the deck officers are Dutch but we have one from Belgium (very depressed at the moment, as losing is ok but not from the French) and we have two British and one from Romania. The two English guys, as most of their country, were convincing themselves that England would win the World Cup and were thus fully focused on the game. As the whole game was played while were leaving port, the ship had a good connection and the whole game could be followed on a screen in the Bo ‘sun store. The best team won and today we had two more depressed officers, namely our English friends. A very quiet and reflective day on the bridge so to say.
What is not widely known is that there is a considerable amount of oil and gas exploration going on in the Adriatic Sea. Not on the scale of the North Sea or the Gulf of Mexico but a large number of oil wells have been drilled and the tops of these wells are sticking out above water. We sailed by them for most of the day. Some of them were just the end of the well with inspection housing but some of them have a helicopter platform as well and are a little bit bigger. Most of the wells we saw today are in the Economic Zone of Italy but the former Yugoslavian countries such as Slovenia, Montenegro and Croatia are starting to explore as well. More oil is still being found and I have been given to understand that Croatia is handing out concessions further south of the country.
I hope the companies that will go for these concessions will have their house in order as all the countries surrounding the Adriatic Sea have very strict anti-pollution rules. Those apply to the cruise ships as well and thus the Oosterdam runs its cruises here on MGO instead off on bunker fuel. In a port such as Venice, the only thing we are allowed to do is a little bit of cleaning but no painting and no major hosing down of the decks. (This was fine with the sailors as the only thing they wanted to do was watch football) A number of years ago most countries around the Mediterranean realized that the Med. was nearly dead. Because it is basically an inland sea, there is not much circulation as the only flow through is from the Strait of Gibraltar to the entrance to the Suez Canal and the Black Sea. Thus what went into the sea stayed and could not break down by regular circulation. By taking draconian measures everybody was kicked into shape and now things are slowly improving again. (If you ever are in Italy or Croatia or Turkey do not wash your boat or paint it. The fines go up to $ 40,000 for each offense)
Tomorrow we are in Dubrovnik and we are docking in the outer port. The weather should be warm again with a full day of sunshine, temperatures of 85oF or 29oC and a gentle breeze blowing. Our only concern is, if the Bora would start to blow through the river valley near the dock. If so hopefully we are docked before the wind comes through as otherwise we have to wait until 11.00 hrs. or so before it dies down again. But we do not know and we cannot plan for it; we just have to wait and see until we get there.