As mentioned in a previous post, I’m staying in a town called Bakar, just out of Rijeka in Northern Croatia. Bakar is now primarily a maritime village, and home to one of my ex workmates from Conferenz – Anja.
Anja’s family have had a history of sailing and owning boats in the town, but they have been living overseas for a few years and their last boat had fallen into disrepair and been left out to the elements next to the hotel in town. It ended up being a popular rubbish bin for the old dudes in town to place their empty cigarette packets and beer bottles.
We decided on a plan, we were going to tidy up the boat, and move it into the back garden, either to fix if we could, or turn into a massive planter (the boat is around 100 years old and was built by her great grandfather, so has quite a bit of family history/sentimental value) if it couldn’t be fixed.
This wasn’t going to be a particular easy or straightforward job, after all – this is Croatia. First we needed to find a way of opening the back gate in the wall – it turns out the only person who had a key was a friend of an uncle. Then we needed to find a guy (whom neither of us had ever met) who had what we expected to be a trailer for moving the boat.We sourced the key, and then ventured into the local cafes and bars trying to find the guy by asking around. Somehow we managed to locate not only the guy with the key, but also the guy whom we thought was bringing some sort of trailer to he boat. After agreeing that they would bring help (in the form of a few ex sailor pensioners) we went off to purchase beer for afterwards and start cleaning up.
It turns out there was a LOT of rubbish in there. About 5 bags of broken bottles, bottle caps, hosepipes, cigarette boxes and other junk later and the boat was looking a little lighter. We were then joined by Anja’s brother and our slightly elderly workforce. The trailer turned out to be a 2foot long metal I beam with wheels attached and about 2m of rope. We started to get slightly worried!
Luckily these guys were ex sailors and have been dealing with boats all of their lives – they knew what they were doing. In a mix of Croatian and broken English we were given orders on how to get the boat onto our little movement device and started to lug it by hand across town to the family house. We got some slightly funny looks due to having a 20 something girl ordering around 4 guys pulling a rowboat down the streets, and eventually made it to the gate, and the slight problem of a curb, a boat, and no ramp.After a bit of muscle power, and a few crashes into the walls, we managed to get the boat into the compound. Where.. of course we proceeded to get stuck… a few times. The boat was finally home.
Half an hour later, we’d cleaned it up, realised that it wasn’t going to be seaworthy again, so it will become a planter with a massive history in the garden, and the registration/berthing will be passed onto another boat in the family.The old guys had earned their reward, so off we went to grab the beers – which were in the best natural fridge you can get. Ice cold freshwater flowing into the sea.Which leaves me how I started the day. Sitting on the deck, in the sun, with a beer in one hand, and an ebook in the other for a well deserved rest before we check out Rijeka’s nightlife tonight.