October 22 – 23, 2019 —
On we went to Vlore, and currently the only marina in Albania. When we arrived we repeatedly radioed the marina office. No answer. Eventually we phoned the marina and found the marina manager who had his employee come and guide us to a slip. The marina looked tired, with old boats in various stages of disrepair and the marina buildings completely empty. Even the storefronts along the main dock were all empty, except for the marina office. There was not even a spot to get a cup of coffee. The marina manager, Louigi, was very nice and impeccably dressed in a three-piece suit. It looked like he comes in everyday all dressed up to do business but we think we were probably the only customer for weeks. It was all very odd. The closest town is 5-6 miles away so a little difficult without a car. Apartments were built above the stores, and they too were empty. The marina is owned by an Italian who lives in Tuscany.
Our last night we spent in Durres, which is the main port for the country. Since they are unprepared for yachts, we were tied up to a huge commercial dock, next to a container ship which was being unloaded. Again, as required, we had an agent to check us in and out of Durres and now also out of Albania. We had to climb over huge black rubber fenders to get onto the dock. A bit of agility was needed but we did it. Durres is a pleasant town and we enjoyed spending some time walking around. There are nice beaches nearby which brings tourism and the city is also supported by having a university there. We could have enjoyed another day to explore Durres, but our marina contract in Montenegro had long since started and we were anxious to get there. The following morning we headed directly offshore to Bar, Montenegro, enjoying another calm reading day on the sea, and trying our luck at fishing with our new high-tech spool and low-tech goat bell to tell us when we get something–not!