After a hearty Tainui breakfast (coffee, a cigarette, Metamucil, fluoxetine and paracetamol) I let go our lines at dawn and Tainui slipped out of Venice on the last of the ebb. A grey morning with dark clouds to the north portending rain. I am sad to be leaving this wonderful city but it is good to be on the move again.

You think your vessel is ready for sea but it is surprising how many little jobs remain after you have let go – stowing fenders, making up mooring lines, shore power cable and hose, taking in the courtesy flags, closing and sealing all hatches, tying down the dinghy, clearing weed from the speedo impeller, checking the seacocks, plotting the course, cross-referencing courses and waypoints on our 3 separate nav programs, setting the up the runners and topping the boom out of the gallows. When you’re alone it takes a good hour to work methodically through the list.

After my third coffee, the main goes up and the yankee is set. Now it is time for one of Tainui’s most hallowed rituals – the departure ale. Doesn’t matter what the time is, this is an essential part of all her voyages. It took Maxine a while to realise that this has nothing to do with the desperate needs of an established alcoholic, but my respectful observation of a fine nautical tradition. There are 2 other similar celebrations – on passing the halfway mark and when arriving at destination. In Tainui there may be a few other intervening traditions as well, depending on the circumstances.

Venice017 Venice019As the Lido dissolves in the murk behind us we have clear sky to the south, a steady northeast breeze and it is 65 miles to Pula. Our sojourn in Venice was most memorable but it is good to be back at sea.

Already the mountains of Croatia are visible on the port bow.The sun is warm and this faithful, uncomplaining ship is dancing through the seas at 8 knots, in the first favorable breeze she has had for months.

All is well.

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