On Your Mark

Preparing to travel is always a bit tricky. When you think you are packed, there is always that uneasy feeling that you forgot something.

We have now been working for three weeks getting Bente ready for the Watermelon Voyage and there are still a few things to do. I feel ready and prepared, thinking that our diligence has paid off. I wonder if there is anything we forgot.

I do remember that today is the 4th of July. That’s important for the boat because if I was back in the states I would not have the whole day to work on the boat. Here in Croatia July 4 is just another work day for us. Being the day before we leave on our voyage, it’s critical we take care of anything essential.

Today we head out from Jadranovo, north of Crikvenica, down the coast to Novi Vinodolski, where we will step the new mast we built over the last couple weeks. Needing a new mizzen mast was not something we forgot about for this trip. You would also notice the big stick missing from the back of the ship. But sometimes it is the big things that get in the way if remembering little ones.

Over the past few weeks we have painted, cleaned, repaired tanks, changed oil, fixed pumps, replaced navigation lights, taken apart toilets and patched dingies. These are just a few of the things that we have done.

It has been great to have help on the boat. Kresomir Vidas, the owner of Bente, is surely one of the most hard working guys in the the Adriatic. He is presently building or reconstructing four ships. He is a great friend and without him, and his generosity and enthusiasm, the Great Watermelon Voyage would not be possible.

Kreso’s father is Branko Vidas, who is chief engineer on a large LPG tanker, and he too worked generously for several days. It is always a time to learn just by watching such an expert solve problems. Branko doesn’t forget much.

Coincidentally, I had two friends named Lovro working on Bente. Lovro Skraćič from the island Murter, and Lovro Cipetelo, who participated in the program in 2010. He was a student from the Maestral home and now will be an officer for the voyage. Without these people and several more the trip would not be possible.

So today we are off to step our new mast and put the finishing touches on this lovely vessel. A quiet celebration will ensue.

Our trip to Novi Vinodokski will also be the quietest sail of the expedition, since only Lovro Cipetelo and I will be on the boat. That will give me time to remember what I am forgetting.


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