We had indeed local weather on arrival. Light rain and a bit of sunshine on the dock, heavy rain 3 miles to the North and a sea swell running towards the shore from the wind of yesterday. The Veendam docked in Dubrovnik but the Grand Princess had been scheduled for tendering into the old town. However on arrival they found that the swell was running straight into the old town harbor so the ship moved to the anchorage near our dock with the intention to take our place as soon as we sailed.
Such a late minute change of location causes a bit commotion on the shore side. All the tour buses have to be re-located and shuttle buses have to be arranged at short notice as the dock is located in Gruz harbor and it is a ten minute bus ride to the old town. In two days time we will have to tender as well, as there will be 5 ships in Gruz Harbour (Luka Gruz in the Croatian language) but the pilot promised good weather, so hopefully we will have more luck than the Grand Princess.
Another ship in port that morning was the Spirit of Adventure. This ship belongs to an English company called Saga Cruises and they cater exclusively to a market for the 55 and older. No children on board and the average age is in the mid to late 60â€˜s. The company has three ships, the Saga Rose, Saga Ruby and this one. Marketing is only done in Great Britain. The Spirit of Adventure does not have a Saga name as the company wants to make very clear that the ship is different from the regular product. It offers more adventure style cruises and has a very extensive lecture program on board. The ship was built in 1979 as the Berlin for the German operator Peter Deilmann. It measures just under 10000 tons and with a draft of less then 15 feet it can go too many places where a regular size cruise ship can not go. Thus with the shallow draft they docked all the way into Gruz harbor in the corner that is normally used for ships tenders.
We departed exactly on time and then spent the afternoon sailing between the Croatian islands. As it was still very windy outside there were only a few sailing boats out in the open. If you know how to sail properly a strong breeze really makes it fun to do some ocean sailing but it seemed that most sailers preferred to stay in port that day. We heard several conversations on the VHF with people talking about making restaurant reservations and meeting for cocktails. Just fine for us, the less sailboats out in the open sea, the less issues we have to deal with.
By late evening we were back in the middle of the Northern Adriatic sea and exposed to a whole series of thunderstorms. These storms tend to be very concentrated and as we sail through them we have a downpour for about 15 minutes and the wind can whipped up to 50 or 60 knots. The lightning can be quite spectacular with intense light flashes against a pitch black sky. The rain made at least one man very happy, my chief officer. He had been suffering from complaints from our guests about dirty windows and sand on the deck and nothing he could do about it. In ports he was severely hampered in cleaning due to local regulations and at sea you can not clean windows outside the ships hull. So now with one big downpour all his troubles were taken care of. At least for the next two days, when we come to the Greek islands again.