Post by chuckr on Feb 5, 2015 13:32:02 GMT
One of the beauties of cruising is trying to find new places where few people have ventured and it is getting harder. Last year we sailed into Orikum Marina in southcentral Albania. The sail was about an 8 hr sail from Ortanto, which by the way has a great anchorage except in east to southeast winds.
Now one of the things we were told my more than one boat we met last year when we told them we were headed to Albania was it is dirty, crime ridden, no food, bad government officials, unfriendly people, and more and more. Now we have heard that about other destinations we have been to and unless our research shows something different we tend to dismiss them as simply a lack of knowledge.
Last year when you entered Vlore bay you had to tie up to one of two old tugs to clear customs using an agent; and you must use an agent. Minutes before we left Ortanto we sent an email to SailAbania - Capt Irene - that we are leaving and your appreciate an agent meeting us. When arrived an agent was on one of the tugs waiting on us and helped us tie up. He took our papers and disappeared and just as quickly reappeared with our papers and we were checked in and left the tie up and headed down the bay to Orikum Marina.
The Marina entrance is fairly straight forward, has floating docks, water and electricity available to all boats and easy check in with help from folks working there. There is good security with police stationed within the marina itself who actually get out and walk the docks. The marina can arrange for a taxi or like us we walked a short distance to the road and caught a minivan to Vlore and were just overwhelmed. We found lots of fresh fruits and veggies, great meat, wonderful resturants and places to have a bit of a sundowner. We walked all over town and the people could not be friendly. As an aside we are Americans and saw more American flags there than anyplace we have been.
We stayed for over a month as we wanted to tour inland and our boat was perfectly safe.
One of the things you have to do is check in and out of each port. We left Orikum by taking a minivan to the Valore and going to the port captains office to check out and he had our agent come over to do the paper work. The Port Capt. did tell us they are surveying and will soon start construction of new facilities in Vlore.
We left Vlore and sailed past Durres and anchored in a small inlet and the next morning sailed into Shengjin. The Imran cruising guide is competely wrong on chart as the entire area has been dredged and the breakwalls have been extended. As we entered we were waved to a new dock and met by an agent who told me to go to a coffee house nearby and he arranged for all officals to meet us there and clear us in. By the way the cruising guide 777 has the proper charts for Shengjin.
What we found were no cruisers, inexpensive food and hardware, friendly and cooperative officials, and just the totally opposite of what people told us. We also now understand that you can sail directly to Orikum and clear customs there.
as infor we are headed back this next summer.