Venetian customs and immigration formalities are easy, once you find out how to do it. In most countries there is a designated anchorage where vessels must stop, displaying a Q flag (“my vessel is healthy and I request free pratique”). There you are visited by customs, immigration, police and the harbour master. Not in Venice.
Here, you simply choose your marina (best to book ahead, on line – I can recommend Certosa Island marina unreservedly). Just arrive, park your boat, chill out, sign in at the marina office and, within a day or two, you can take a ferry to the police office for the 5 minute entry process. There is an iPhone app for vaporetto (ferry) services in Venice, by the way, and I recommend it.
The police office is near Piazzale Roma, which is a ferry stop. Cross the pedestrian bridge near the wharf and you will see the police office is the russet-coloured building among the trees on the western bank of the canal.
As I have said, we like Certosa Island Marina very much. Built on the site of an old military arsenal, it is quiet, pretty and bullet-proof. It is not shown on Navionics or iSailor charts except as a shallow creek. But the minimum depth is more than 3.5 metres.
With the CA discount our daily rate (46′ cutter) is EUR 60. There is a shady walk from our pen to the restaurant and marina office, it is peaceful and there is gorgeous birdsong. At night, silence.
The last few days have been still and unbearably hot. Everyone has been complaining, even the locals. You can only pity the throngs of tourists on the Rialto Bridge and in Piazza San Marco. The spendid architectural installations at the Venice Biennale are set in dark shaded parkland and this has been the only tourist site we have been able to tolerate and enjoy.
Tainui’s cabin feels like one of those galvanised tin sheds which pass for accommodation for Bangladeshi workers in Doha. Maxine has been sleeping in the cockpit, Jasper has fled to a hostel in town and I have been wilting in the saloon under a fan. Tonight however, there is spectacular lightning, intermittent rain and a cooling northerly breeze. After showers and sundowners in the cockpit watching the light show, at last we can safely re-enter the bowels of our oven.