Our 2024 BVI Flotilla was – again – a lot of fun!


For our first flotilla of the 2024 we chose for the second year in a row the British Virgin Islands and, in order to get ready for the cruise, I flew from Fort Lauderdale, via San Juan, PR. to Tortola on February 23.

Our new mascot, Cholita, was happy to come along for the ride.  Last year, she started replacing our previous mascot, Swea’Pea who somewhere in his native Croatia had jumped ship.  We never found him back and believe he joined the French Foreign Legion.  He was such a macho little guy, always fascinated by anything military.

       Sweet Cholita at FLL AirportSwea’Pea before he jumped ship

The flight from FLL to SJU was on a twin Cessna 420, truly a puddle jumper. Sitting to the right of the pilot brought back many memories of my flying days and I had fun following the flight on my Navionics App.

Clearing customs at the Tortola airport was a non-event compared to clearing at the ferry terminal, when coming from St. Thomas.

Ready for take-off at SJU

Friday, on my way to lunch, I ran into our good friends Jamie and Keith who had sailed with us before. A good excuse for some drinks. Don from Sea Safaris Sailing School in Milwaukee soon joined us for a few.

Always good to see old friends again

Saturday evening was full moon and therefore the traditional Full Moon Festival at Trellis Bay. I did not stay too long there because Sunday would be a long day.

Sunday, February 25, sunny skies, a warm breeze blowing over the Navigare charter base in Nanny Cay on Tortola, and our twenty-eight participants started showing up for a week of fun and sailing in the warm waters of the BVI.

Three catamarans and one monohull with crew from Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, New York, Oregon and California were part of the Med Sailing Adventures Flotilla with two more catamarans, booked by our friends from Sea Safaris Sailing School in Milwaukee, joining us the following day from Village Cay Marina.


The Sea Safaris Sailing School Crew

Our Med Sailing Adventures crew was a mix of return sailors, like Brian and Nicole, Ken and Cathy, Jamie and Keith and Sandy, and of first M.S.A. timers, like Barry, Joe and Soledad, Michael and his crew.

After our provisioning and getting settled on the yachts, we spent the evening getting acquainted over drinks and dinners at the Peg Leg restaurant in Nanny Cay.  For many it was the first time in the BVI and their first exposure to the iconic but treacherous Painkiller cocktail.

On Monday morning, we still had two yachts that needed to be checked out by the base but, as soon as the skippers had signed off on the paperwork, we dropped the lines and headed for Salt Island for some snorkeling over the wreck of the Rhone, a British Royal Mail ship that got caught in a hurricane, broke in two and sank.

Marina Cay Bar and restaurant

From there, we sailed to Marina Cay, across from Trellis Bay.  With Tramontane, our Lagoon 45F, secure on her mooring ball, we took the dinghy to the marina restaurant for a nice dinner with, you guessed it, a few Painkillers.

The following morning, the mainsail was raised while still at the mooring buoy and we sailed off to our next destination, The Baths. There were already quite a few yachts anchored there but we had not too much trouble finding a safe spot to drop the hook. The dinghy was dropped from it davits and the crew, minus Keith and myself, headed for the shore to check out the awesome rock formations. I had decided to stay behind as anchor watch. I had the opportunity to visit The Baths in 2023 and, although impressive, they are small compared to the huge granite rock formations of the Seychelles that we saw a few years ago.

The Baths

When the complete crew was safely back aboard, we headed for the legendary Bitter End Yacht Club.  What once was a stunning resort got wiped out by hurricanes Irma and Maria but has since been rebuilt and has regained much of its former beauty.

Back from The Baths

We had reserved dock space for our four yachts and, as soon as we had cleated the lines, we went to explore the facilities.  Unfortunately, I could not get a reservation for our crew, and we ended up eating at the bar where, of course, they were eager to serve us our Painkillers.

Dinner and drinks at the Bitter End Yacht Club

The nice thing about spending the night in a marina is that we can enjoy long hot showers and replenish our water tanks.

Wednesday was Anegada day. Only two of our yachts were going to make the thirteen or so nautical mile crossing. Brian and his family and Michael’s Yacht were going to spend another night at the BEYC and explore some local attractions. One of the Sea Safaris Sailing School yachts was also staying behind.

The Beach and mooring field at Anegada

The short passage to Anegada was made under sail. The wind was perfect, and we literally flew across. The mooring field was already quite busy, but we found a buoy and soon, we were in the water for a refreshing swim. We went ashore in the dinghy and walked over to the Lobster Trap restaurant on the beach to confirm our dinner reservations, had a drink (Painkiller?), then walked to the mini-moke rental place. The plan was to rent one of these cute little cars to check out the island. Unfortunately, it was already too late in the afternoon to make that trip worthwhile and we opted for drinks at Potter’s By The Sea where we ran into Ken and his crew. A couple of cocktails later, we headed back to Tramontane to freshen up for dinner.

Barry and Sandy ready to devour some serious lobster

The Lobster Trap is famous for (of course) its lobsters and they are ginormous and delicious.

Our waitress was from the Dominican Republic and delighted that she could speak Spanish with Soledad. I must admit that the chocolate brownie she sold us for dessert was a bit too much and I should have paddled back to the yacht instead of using the outboard to burn off the excess calories.

Painkillers and other libations at Foxy’s

Next destination was the famous Foxy’s Bar on Jost Van Dyke, a good 25NM away.

As soon as we left the channel, we raised the sails but the winds were not in our favor and we ended tacking for hours before throwing in the towel and switching on the engines but, when we arrived in Great Harbor, all the buoys were taken and we had to anchor for the night.

Foxy’s is one of these iconic places that any sailor worth his salt must visit if he goes to the BVI. You will find all kinds of colorful characters at the bar. Crew members of our other flotilla boats were already there, and we swapped our stories of the day over some libations after which we went back to our boat for dinner on board. We made a killer spaghetti and enjoyed it with two bottles of Argentinian Malbec. Life is good…

Enjoying our “killer” pasta meal

That night, however, a storm came up and, around 03:00, a loud noise woke me up in my “coffin” (as our yacht was fully booked, I had to spend my nights in the tiny confines of the skipper’s cabin in the forepeak of the port hull of the catamaran). I opened the hatch and saw the crew of a catamaran trying to untangle her anchor from the mooring buoy of a monohull. This went on for a good hour before the cat was finally free. Our anchor held firm, so I went back to sleep.

My sleeping quarters AKA “The Coffin”

At 06:30, I heard our anchor being raised. Again, I crawled out of my “coffin” to find my crew bringing the hook up. Apparently, the crew of a large catamaran anchored at our stern saw that we were dragging and came knocking on our hull. Joe, who heard the knocking, woke up the others and addressed the situation without waking me up.

Now that we were all up, we decided to get out of the anchorage and head for Soper’s Hole to bunker water and refuel. As soon as we had left Great Harbor heading towards the Thatch Island Cut, we got beaten up by heavy seas on our port beam.  A miserable 3.5NM later, under bare poles, we found the calm of Soper’s Hole and started looking for the fuel dock and, after motoring around the marina for a good fifteen minutes, we finally docked at the Voyage charter company dock, where we bought water and diesel.

The highlight of my trip, swimming with “Myrtle The Turtle”

After refueling, we left the protection of Soper’s Hole and got beaten up again during our crossing to Norman Island, where we found a buoy in calm waters in the anchorage of The Bight.

Because of the lack of sleep of the previous night, I opted for a nice nap while the rest of the crew went for a dinghy ride to the Willy T’s and to the Pirate’s Bight. Later that afternoon, we went snorkeling and I was so thrilled to capture a gorgeous sea turtle on my GoPro.

The (in)famous Willy T’s

Dinner for our last night of the flotilla was aboard the Willy T’s floating bar and restaurant where there is always some fun action with people jumping from the top deck in the water.

Capt. Ken jumping off the Willy T’s (photo sent by Ken)

We made it an early night because we would leave Norman Island the following morning around 07:00 as several members of our crew had to take the early ferry back to St. Thomas.

Spindrift at the buoy in The Bight of Norman Island

Saturday and that’s the end of it.  We made the 5NM crossing from Norman Island to Nanny Cay, did a final refuel and checked out on the yacht. Goodbye hugs and promises to sail together again.

My flight was scheduled for 18:00 which meant I had plenty of time to kill or rather to assassinate.

Thank you to all participants who joined this flotilla!

Be on the look-out for the 2025 edition.


Capt. Jean De Keyser



A Brazilian Sailing Adventure

After an eight-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami, Latam flight 8191 landed at Guarulhos Airport of Sao Paolo.

Getting our bags was a bit confusing as duffel bags were delivered on a different carrousel than for regular suitcases.  Immigration and Customs were only a mere formality and soon we headed to the door marked “Saida” or “Exit” where our driver was waiting for us to start the four-hour drive to Paraty.

In no time, we were on less congested roads with large and small farms dotting the landscape.  We drove on the highway linking Sao Paolo to Rio De Janeiro but, after about two hours, we took the two-lane road heading straight towards the coast to Ubatuba and our final destination of the day, the historic colonial city of Paraty.

350 islands and even more beaches waiting to be discovered

The views of the sea from the road were spectacular and gave us an idea of what we would be experiencing in the week to come.

We came here on an invitation from Wind Charters who were putting a Brazilian-made Delta 41 sailboat at our disposal to discover the area with the idea of promoting this destination with American sailors.

We had invited long-time flotilla supporters, Kevin and Delana from Oklahoma, to join us on this adventure.  Med Sailing Adventures was about to become a South Atlantic Sailing Adventure.

Our crew for the week

After having checked in at our hotel, Pousada Bartolomeu, in the Old City of Paraty and, after a quick shower, we went for a walk and lunch in this UNESCO Heritage Site of Humanity.

Paraty was founded in 1597 by Portuguese colonizers who built a port here to ship riches from the hinterland, like gold, precious stones and silver, to Portugal.

The city was built in typical Portuguese colonial architecture and, according to some locals, looks like what Lisbon must have looked like many centuries ago. Well, kind of…

Street cleaning in progress

The streets of the old city are paved with huge cobblestones, real ankle breakers, and you have to watch carefully where you step in order not to end up with a strained ankle. Colorful houses line these streets and were once the homes of the rich. Of course, in those days, sewage systems were nonexistent, and the streets would end up being a disease-causing mess.  Not to worry too much though.  They had figured a way to solve the problem.  Twice a month, at the new moon and the full moon, the tides would cause the seawater to flood the streets of Paraty and, when they receded, flush all the garbage in the bay.  Et voilà… Problem solved.

Nowadays, the area is a popular attraction and tourists from all over the world come to visit it, enjoy the tropical surroundings, the hundreds of neighboring islands with white sandy beaches and warm waters.

Paraty “by night”

The antique houses have been converted into bars, restaurants, art galleries and souvenir shops and the Old Quarter has become a very lively place.

After navigating the cobblestones, the size of small boulders, we found Banana da Terra, an inviting restaurant with a beautifully decorated patio covered in ferns and orchids.

As we were going to have dinner that evening with the owners of Wind Charter and their staff, we opted for a light lunch.  I had an appetizer of scallops and The Admiral a crab soup.

Paraty is known for its Cachaça, or alcohol distilled from sugar cane juice, and they make several types of derivative drinks and cocktails with it like Gabriela, Caipirinha and Jorge Amado. I had a Jorge Amado with my meal.  A mixture of passion fruit juice, lime juice and Gabriela, it is deliciously addictive but quite treacherous.

You now know how to make it, but you will have to join our flotilla to get the Gabriela…

Lunch over, we met with Kevin and Delana who were staying at the Casa Simone Pousada, around the corner from our hotel, and went for a walk that inevitably ended up in a bar where we had, you guessed it, Cachaça and Jorge Amado. We texted Mariani, the Sales Manager of Wind Charters to join us but she arrived too late for the drinks.

Around 19:00, the owners of Wind Charter, Guilherme and Germano, joined us and we went for dinner at Rio do Ouro, another great eatery in town.

The delicious food and the Caipirinhas helped make the ambiance a lot of fun.  Our Portuguese hosts were fluent in English which was definitely better than our Portuguese, although with my Spanish and French, I can read and understand it.

Having said that, we were able to communicate during the week, using a mixture of Spanish, French with plenty of hand gestures.

The following morning, Mariani and Karine came to pick us up with two small cars and, while Mila and Delana went shopping for provisions, Kevin and I got introduced to the Delta 41, our home away from home for the next seven days.

Wind Charters is a good-size company with sixteen yachts, mostly Brazilian-made Delta sailboats in the 37’ to 41’ range. They also have a couple of Lagoons and a Brazilian-made Cat-Flash 41 sleek-looking catamaran that really impressed us.  I will definitely want to skipper that beauty when we come back for a flotilla event.


Who wants to join me on this sleek cat?

The marina is modern, clean and located in a gated community.  The staff members of Wind Charter are efficient and knowledgeable, but English is not their forte, which could create communication problems when checking in. Fortunately, Marcos, our technician had a very good knowledge of Spanish, and we had no problems understanding his instructions.

As soon as Mila and Delana got back from provisioning (they forgot the beer!), we dropped the lines and set off for our Brazilian adventure. Our destination for the night was a peaceful anchorage on Ilha da Cotia.  Several sailboats and smaller motor yachts had preceded us, but we found a secure place to drop the hook. It was now getting dark and time for a Jorge Amado…

We cooked a tasty spaghetti, without meat (forgotten with the beer) and a bottle or two of red wine.
Life is good.  Time to go to bed but a little drama pushed our bedtime a bit back.


The small beach of Ilha da Cotia

We were sitting in the cockpit having a bit of Cachaça, for medicinal and digestive purposes of course, when we noticed a boat dragging her anchor and heading our way at a fast clip.  No crew members to be seen.  They were already tucked in for the night.  We started yelling to attract their attention and had roving fenders ready. About another hundred yards away from us, crew members on another boat started yelling too.  Finally, the crew of the wayward yacht came up from below, but they had no clue what to do.

First, they shouted back at us that we were moving and not them.  When they saw that they were the ones drifting, and, when they realized what was going on, they were in total panic on how to handle the situation.  They had booked a crewed charter but, at the end of each day, the skipper would secure the yacht for the night and the charter company picked him, leaving the customers with their privacy.  Without the skipper on board and with no sailing experience, they were floating further away towards the rocky shore.

We yelled for them to start the engine so they could raise the dragging anchor.  Just in time, before hitting another yacht, they were saved by the crew of the other boat who had come to their assistance with their fast RIB.

After they had been safely anchored, the cove turned quiet, and everyone got a well-deserved rest.

The freshest oysters you can buy

The sky was sunny when we woke up on Sunday and, while we were enjoying a late breakfast in the cockpit of our Delta 41, Malicia, a local fisherman paddled by in his dugout and offered to sell oysters.  We ordered two dozen, which he shucked right there in his canoe.  They were oh so fresh and the whole thing cost us about $15.00.  What a deal…

Living the dream!

The skiff from the charter company came by to drop off the skipper on the wayward yacht and we explained to the company rep that the skipper had not properly anchored his yacht before leaving for the night. I guess he must have gotten quite an earful afterwards.

From Ilha da Cotia, we sailed to the other side of the bay of Ilha Grande to the small island of Cedro for a swim and lunch at the beach restaurant of Bar do Coqueiro.  We had delicious empanadas and a large bowl full of small fried shrimp, of course all washed down with numerous delicious Cachaças and Jorge Amado cocktails.

We took in the scenery and pushed the little daughter of the owner on her swing but, with no beer, bread or meat on board, we needed to go to nearby Saco de Tarituba and its small fishing village where there are some provisioning possibilities.  Kevin, Delana and Mila paddled to shore in the rain to buy whatever was available in the small store.  We had some snacks, cheese and wine for dinner and decided to spend the night at anchor among the local fishing boats.

The following morning, Monday, November 7. Kevin and I paddled to the shore in search of additional food.  We found wine, pasta, bread and some veggies and were directed to the local fish store where we bought two beautiful snappers and more shrimp.  The fishmonger cleaned and fileted one of the fish and removed the scales and innards of the second one.  The filets ended up as a delicious ceviche, prepared by Kevin, for lunch and the whole snapper was destined for the grill.

The picturesque small port of Tarituba

You have read now twice that we had to paddle our dinghy.  Well, the yacht came without an outboard engine, but we got a rail-mounted grill. Unlike the Magma grills in the U.S.A., the grill here was not propane-powered but worked on charcoal. So, we had to light charcoal with alcohol and waited for it to heat up sufficiently to grill on.

After our shopping was done and we were back on the yacht, we pulled the anchor and motor sailed, sometimes in brief rain showers, to the small bay of Piraquara de Dentro.

This bay is very well protected from winds from all quarters but, as our water tanks were getting low, we opted to go to nearby Porto de Frade, a luxury resort with a well-equipped marina. There was no dock space available, and we got a buoy close to the entrance for the equivalent of US$40.00. Not a bad deal.  Fortunately, it came with free water taxi service.

Rather than cooking on board, we opted for dinner on shore.  The restaurants in the resort did not appeal to us and we wanted meat.  The concierge of the resort suggested that we go to Angra dos Reis, the main city of the region, twenty-four miles away, and recommended a steakhouse in the Mall of the Marina Piratas.  I will agree with my fellow crew members when they say that the food was good, but I had expected a so-called churrascaria.  Little did I know then that I would have more churrascaria than I bargained for during the following week in Rio de Janeiro…

On our way back to the marina, in the dark, our taxi was stopped by a police control with some mean-looking officers carrying menacing submachine guns.  We must have looked honest because they let us through without even verifying our papers.

Our water taxi brought us back to our boat for a well-deserved night rest, of course after a Cachaça for digestive purposes.

The following morning, we went to the dock and filled up our water tanks and motor sailed to nearby Ilha Cunhambebe Grande, named after an Indian chieftain who revolted against Portuguese invaders.


Cunhambebe was one tough guy with a penchant for Portuguese human cuisine

The Indians massacred the foreign invaders and ate their bodies.  The Portuguese did not let them digest this too well because they beat them and decimated Cunhambebe and his followers.  They killed them all and that was the end of that revolt.

The island is beautiful with a very nice anchorage, but the rest of the crew was not as enthusiastic as I was, and we ended up in the anchorage of nearby Ilha de Itanhangá. We dropped the hook under the impressive sheer monolith of a rock. There was a floating bar nearby but nobody to serve us.


Kevin played with his drone for a while, recording video images that I hope to put online at some point.

Mila, Kevin and Delana paddled to shore and hiked a trail all the way up to the top of the monolith from where they had a spectacular view of the surrounding area.

That night, we had the snapper grilled on board and served it with a tasty pepper stew and Mila’s signature potato salad.

It was absolutely delicious. Thank Goodness, we had not forgotten to reprovision wine while at the Marina Frade resort. A bit of celebration was called for and Kevin and I sipped on some good tasting Cachaça and enjoyed great cigars. Life is good…

Wednesday morning, we woke up to sunny skies.  As with every seven-day charter or flotilla, Wednesday is the day that we realize that our trip is almost over. Only two full days left after this. Truly a hump day…

A nearby beach, called Praia da Piedade has an adorable small white colonial church, right on the edge of the water.  Several trails lead from there to nearby beaches on the island of Ilha Gipóia.  Legend has it that island is haunted by the ghosts of the first adventurers who got marooned here.

Whatever the stories, it is a delightful place, worth visiting.  We were anchored off the beach off Praia da Piedade and I decided to stay on the boat while the rest of the crew paddled ashore near the church.  They followed a trail and, at the end of it they found (of course) a bar that served cocktails.  Meanwhile I was doing anchor watch near an oyster farm.

The adorable little church of Praia da Piedade. Are that two ghosts taking selfies?

Before sunset, we brought the boat to the northside of the small Ilha da Piedade and anchored for the night in front of the bar. Unfortunately, it is only open during the day.  Apart from a few empty local skiffs and launches, we were the only boat in the anchorage.  I cooked a Spanish-style Camarones al Ajillo dish of shrimp served with pasta.  With no neighbors in the anchorage, we had a very quiet night.

And it is Thursday!  Time to sail back to the other side of the Bahia da Ilha Grande and sail we did.

Before raising the sails, we stopped for some swimming and snorkeling at the Ilhas da Botina, two small rock formations with palm trees growing on top and surrounded by crystal clear green waters full of fish.

Ilhas da Botina

We played around for a good hour until the anchorage started filling up with tour boats carrying day trippers from Angra dos Reis.  These waters are like an open-air aquarium.  I looked for octopus in the rocks and for sea turtles but no luck.  We swam among lots of triggerfish, zebrafish, and other smaller types of which I do not know the names.

As soon as we left the Ilhas Botinas, the wind picked up and we reached peaks of eight knots of speed on our almost straight shot of a thirteen-mile-long port tack from Ilha Grande to the entrance of the Saco de Mamanguá, which de locals call the only fjord in Brazil.  It is a long and narrow bay that ends in a cul-de-sac with, on the southeast side, depths of less than 2 meters and a swampy area.

Fun sailing action

On the way to Mamanguá, we passed several empty crude oil tankers at anchor, waiting for their next load.

Halfway down the “fjord” we found the village of Praia do Cruzeiro and anchored there for lunch before continuing further inside to Bananal, a stunning anchorage, well protected from all winds and with white sand beaches. A perfect place to spend our last night before returning to the base.

Or so we thought… We had left our hatches open with the mosquito screens in place, but these screens were no barrier for the pesky No-See-Ums.  We all got attacked so aggressively that we had to close the hatches at half past midnight, trying to kill as many as we could find and trying to go back to sleep.

At six o’clock, I heard Kevin start the engines and soon he and Delana raised the anchor to escape the onslaught of these miserable insects.

Bananal anchorage, a mosquito’s paradise

In the hope to improve our day by finding fresh oysters for breakfast, we made a beeline for Ilha da Cotia, where we had spent our first night.  No oysters and still plenty of flies inside the boat.

Around noon, we left the anchorage and visited nearby Paraty Mirim, a tiny village with a restored colonial church and a long beach with some bars.  The wind was blowing and, while Kevin, Mila and I paddled ashore to explore the area, Delana stayed on the boat.  Taking a rest from walking around, we had a Jorge Amado in a rustic bar and learned about the history of this settlement.

When the Portuguese first started bringing African slaves to Brazil, Paraty was one of the ports where they would be sold.  However, after several weeks on the ocean and carrying God-knows-what kind of diseases, the slaves were disembarked in this small village of Paraty Mirim and kept for forty days in quarantine. Survivors and those deemed to be in good health were then transferred to Paraty to be sold.

The small church of Paraty Mirim, inaugurated in 1746

Supposedly, Paraty Mirim was a smaller version of Paraty with a similar architecture, but we did not find any ruins to confirm this.

The wind was still blowing straight into the beach and paddling that dinghy back would have been an exercise in futility. Fortunately, we found a local water taxi willing to drag us back to our yacht and we got ready for our final leg, back to the base, where the dock crew was waiting and helped us dock.

They came on board with insect killer and fumigated the cabins to kill the last bloodsuckers that were still hiding in nooks and crannies. Being on shore power, we finally were able use the air conditioning on board without having to worry about open hatches and No-See-Ums.

For our last dinner in Paraty, we chose the restaurant of the marina where we enjoyed a delicious meal and excellent service and soon, we were in the AC-comfort of our cabins for our final night on Malicia.

We got checked out at around eight-thirty the following morning, had breakfast at the marina restaurant and boarded our taxi for the four-hour ride to Rio de Janeiro, where, like any other tourist, we had to visit the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the statue of Christ on top of the Corcovado and, of course the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.




This is a sailing area largely unknown to foreigners, except for Argentinians who come here to charter, and it deserves to be discovered by North Americans.

The weather in November is not supposed to be as rainy as what we experienced but it did not bother us that much.  When the sun comes out however, the scenery is spectacular,

We have only scratched the surface of what can be seen and done in this area.  Too bad that we did not have an outboard on our dinghy.  We would have been able to access more secluded places.

The Delta yachts are Brazilian made.  They are comfortable yachts with the same IKEA-like interiors (as I call them) as the Bénéteau’s, Jeanneau’s and other mass-produced sailing yachts.

They sail well and they offer excellent value for the money. A 41’ Delta costs, ready to sail, about $150,000.00 compared to almost double that amount for a Bénéteau Oceanis 40.1.

These boats have no wastewater tanks. The one we sailed had electric heads and everything went overboard.

If you wish to charter in Brazil, you will need to provide a copy of your ASA IPC or be able to prove that you have the ASA 104 certification. Contact us for charter rates and availability in Paraty with Wind Charters.

Will we return? Absolutely… And we hope that you will join us there for our 2023 flotilla.

Capt. Jean De Keyser

Med Sailing Adventures.




We are always being told that, when we get lemons, we should make lemonade and I have – figuratively – been making lemonade for the last few months.

With all our trips in the Med having been cancelled, we had plenty of time for other projects, like remodeling our new home in Punta Gorda, Florida, and replacing the teak slats of the seats in the cockpit of my sailboat with Flexiteak.  Still, my mind wanders to where we would have been this week, if not for that bleeping virus.


We had planned our trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro and the awe-inspiring Bay of Kotor. Last week Saturday, we would have left the ACI Marina of Dubrovnik and, after sailing around the fortified waterfront of the old city, we would have spent the night at anchor in the charming small city of Cavtat. The anchorage is absolutely stunning and, although you could dock the boats at the seawall, we prefer to anchor out and enjoy the view. We would then go ashore by dinghy for food in one of the local restaurants along the promenade.

Waiting to be released from Customs
Waiting to be released from Customs quarantine

The following morning, we would motor to the customs dock and, while the crew members would now not be allowed to cross the gate, the skippers would take care of all the paperwork with Croatian Customs and the Harbor Master to be cleared out of Croatia and head for Montenegro. Once all the formalities have been done, we are not allowed to set foot on Croatian soil and must go straight to neighboring Montenegro. Fines are very high for violators and the Croats keep track of us on their radar and with their patrol boats.

Keeping an eye on us

Our next stop is the small town of Zelenika in Montenegro where we clear customs. We must show all passports and boat papers to Customs and the Harbor Police and, again, in the meantime, the crew cannot leave the quarantine area. Once we have been cleared through customs, we can lower the yellow quarantine flag and raise the Montenegrin courtesy flag on the starboard flag halyard of our yachts. We now are officially in Montenegro and, after a short sail, we end up in the brand new Lazure Marina with its fabulous restaurant. We had the best meal and service there last year for half or what we would have paid in Croatia.

Lazure Marina

After a restful night digesting all that good food and wine, we leave the Bay of Kotor and anchor outside a blue cave for some swimming and snorkeling with lunch on board. Time to go to our next overnight anchorage in the small Bay of Bigova. The local restaurant, Grispolis, serves great Mediterranean seafood and they offer a free shuttle service from and to our anchored yachts.

Tuesday, after breakfast, we weigh anchor and sail back to the Bay of Kotor. After a lunch and swim stop in the bay of Zanjic with its beautiful Serbian Orthodox monastery on a minuscule island, we re-enter the majestic bay, the largest fjord in southern Europe, and go to our next destination, the super luxurious Porto Montenegro Marina. Our sailing yachts look puny compared to the super yachts of Russian oligarchs, Arab Sheikhs and other multi-billionaires. Still, the docking costs are reasonable and soon we go discover the port with its exclusive shops. If you are looking for Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Rolex, Balenciaga or other expensive items, this is the place. All that window shopping makes us hungry and we leave the marina for a delicious meal in nearby Tivat.

Wednesday’s destination is the walled medieval city of Kotor, the city of cats. It is located at the very end of the bay and towering mountains protect it from every angle. Before reaching Kotor, we make a short detour via the twin Perast islands with the Byzantine church of Our Lady of the Rocks.

The Perast Islands with St. Mary of the Rocks

The municipal marina of Kotor is quite small, and we have to cross the busy road to enter the main gate but soon we are wandering along in the narrow streets. Cat-themed stores are everywhere and there is even a cat museum. Of course, there are felines everywhere. Thank goodness there are no cats on the menus of the local restaurants but you will have plenty of good Mediterranean and Balkan food to choose from.

Cats Galore

Overlooking the city is the imposing fortress of St. John.  It is quite a climb to get there but the spectacular view is the reward for the intrepid hiker.

So, now we are Thursday and we have to make our way back to Dubrovnik. No time to waste but first a stop in Zelenika to clear out of Montenegro and then on our way back to Cavtat, under the watchful eye of the Croatian radar system to make sure we do not stop before we get through Croatian Customs.

Raising the yellow quarantine flag

If we arrive too late in Cavtat, we will have to stay at anchor with our yellow quarantine flag up and we will have to remain on board until we can clear in the morning. If the Customs office is still open, we will be allowed to clear and can then have dinner ashore. We love Cavtat and try to make sure that we can spend that night enjoying a good meal and gelato along the waterfront.


We will hang out most of Friday morning relaxing in Cavtat before our last sail back to the ACI Marina in Dubrovnik where total pandemonium reigns. Before docking, we must refuel the yachts and the only fuel dock is right on the river with many boats waiting in line. If you drift too much to port, you will end in the shallows. It is a zoo with impatient skippers barking orders to their frustrated crewmembers. 

As soon as we have refueled, we must find our slip in the overcrowded marina and maneuver the yachts to the dock. ACI Marinas are all over Croatia and are excellent but the one in Dubrovnik is awful. We cannot wait to be at the dock and get out of there as soon as feasible but, that having been said, we leave with unforgettable memories of a fantastic sailing trip.

This is what we would have been doing this week on our last of four weeks of sailing in Croatia and Dubrovnik.

Let us hope that we can do it again next year.  We do not need another stinking crisis and it is more fun than replacing the teak on my boat.

Fair winds! Stay healthy and safe.

Capt. Jean De Keyser



The Krka National Park with its stunning waterfalls has been one of our favorite destinations when we sail in Croatia.

Located upriver from the historic city of Sibenik, it definitely is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. Whereas “normal” tourists travel there by car or bus, we do the trip motorsailing up the river, through a canyon and across a lake before reaching the small village of Skradin with its history reaching back to the Roman times and beyond.

Skradin has excellent marina facilities operated by ACI. You either dock at the marina or take a buoy across the river where the swans will come beg for food.

From Skradin you can hike or bike to the Krka falls or you take one of the gullet ferries.

Hiking through the forest surrounding the falls or when swimming in the cool fresh water with hundreds of small fish darting to-and-fro around you, you do not realize that this magical place was the location of the second oldest hydro-electric plant in the world. It opened on August 28, 1895, only two days after the one at Niagara Falls. Pieces of the old turbine can still be seen there.

It was the brainchild of Nikola Tesla the incredible genius and constant nemesis of Thomas Edison.

Tesla, an ethnic Serb, was born in Smiljanin in what is now Croatia when it was still part of the Austrian Empire. He was the brain behind the development of the alternating current and, when he arrived in the States, he teamed up with Westinghouse.

His invention of the polyphase alternate current was used during the 1893 Chicago World Fair to supply power to the lighting of the show and the functioning of several electric motors.

Tesla died in the United States in 1943 but his final resting place is in Belgrade, Serbia.

History, culture and gastronomy combined with fun flotilla sailing makes for unique vacations experiences.

Although the so-called pandemic has ruined our plans for for 2020, we are looking forward to returning to all these interesting places with old and new sailing friends in 2021.

In the meantime, stay healthy and safe!

Capt. Jean De Keyser



Celebrating Father’s Day and our twelfth anniversary

As they say in the social media vernacular, OMG! It has been since April that I have not written a blog… Time to catch up with the Med Sailing Adventures Team…

So, for those of you who have not followed our Facebook postings, the Admiral went to Peru in March to visit her parents in Lima and to celebrate their birthdays with them. Little did she know that the virus would strike so fast and, before she knew it, she was stuck in Peru with a very strict stay-at-home policy. Meanwhile, I drove to Florida to our house in Punta Gorda. Sick and tired of the cold and the snow.

Being in sunny Florida, while there was still the occasional snowfall in Chicago, helped me a lot coping with the solitude caused by Mila’s absence.

She finally made it back on June 6 and we are now staying on our sailboat in Burnt Store Marina. We sold our house here as we wanted to downsize but have not decided on a new property yet. In the meantime, we celebrated Mila’s half century and our twelfth anniversary and we are enjoying our stay in the marina.

A beautiful SW Florida sunset

There is something to be said for staying on a boat in a marina. It is so peaceful and we sleep so well at night. The fellow liveaboards are very nice people, always willing to help, and the sunsets as seen from a boat are spectacular.

While I was still in the house here, in solitary confinement and with Mila south of the Equator, my therapy was mainly cooking and enjoying a good wine. I would post what I called food-porn pictures on Facebook but, ever since she came back, I have not posted too many. So here is one to wet the appetite of the ones who are gastronomically adventurous.

Anticuchos de corazon… Que bueno!

I brought our small Weber gas grill on board and prepared a typical Peruvian dish called Anticuchos de Corazon. They are skewers with pieces of beef heart marinated in a spicy mixture made of Peruvian peppers and herbs. It is a finger licking delicious dish. If beef heart makes you a bit queasy, you can also make it with chicken.

Today, we received a notice that the European Union countries will probably ban entry for U.S. citizens and residents for fear that they might re-introduce the virus in Europe. The crazy part is that they will allow visitors from China. Go figure but, in the meantime, we will not be able to return to the Med until 2021. Our trip to the Seychelles is still on for October of this year.

Although we will miss sailing with our friends in the Mediterranean, we are looking forward to 2021. Most of this year’s participants have already committed for 2021. Unless a new plague, revolution or out-of-space alien invasion hits us, next year should be a banner year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

We will probably stay a few more weeks in Florida and then drive back to Illinois to see the kids and the grandkids and all our friends up there. Hopefully, we will be able to do some sailing on Lake Michigan as well.

More news in a few days!

Stay healthy and safe.

Capt. Jean De Keyser and “Admiral” Mila.


You always experience something fun and unexpected when sailing.

A few years ago, we were cruising in Croatia during one of our flotillas. We had just visited the moving beach of Zlatni Rat on Brac (pronounced Bratsj), one of the larger islands along the Dalmatian Coast.

Discover Zlatni Rat, most famous beach in Croatia
Zlatni Rat beach, near Bol on Brac Island

Brac is renowned for its white stone and the locals say that stone from their quarries was used for the construction of the White House. I don’t know if it is true, but it makes for a good story.

The beach of Zlatni Rat is a large pebble beach that protrudes from the island into the Hvarski Channel that separates the islands of Brac from Hvar. The beach moves following the tides and currents and basically it sways from East to West with the pebbles rolling back and forth. Quite interesting…

This was Thursday and, the following evening, we had to be back at our base in Kastela, near Split. The flotilla week was almost over. Our plan was to sail along the south coast of Brac through the pass of Splitska Vrata, between the islands of Brac and Solta and then go to the charming small fishing port of Milna on Brac’s west side.

The typical fishing village of Milna
Getting ready for the storm

Unannounced, and not mentioned in the forecast, a storm came up from the northwest and, in a minimum of time, we were heading straight into the wind and the high waves. The three yachts in our flotilla were bucking like broncos. The crew members had donned their foul weather gear and were shivering while we were being pelted by rain and some occasional hail. It was blowing a stink with some gusts exceeding 35 knots.

Squalls are forming

It was getting darker when we fought our way through the Splitska Vrata and we rounded Zaglav point towards Milna where there are three marinas.  We did not have any reservations as, most of the time, you do not need them. You just show up and the dockhands tell you were to dock. Unfortunately, that night, there were no slips available. They had cancelled a sailing race and all the contestants had taken shelter in the three marinas. Anchoring outside was not an option with the weather as the bay in front of the entrance to Milna did not offer any protection.

Google Earth view of Milna, Lucice and Splitzka Vrata pass

A quick look at the charts showed that the closest place with the best protection would be the anchorage of Lucice (pron. Loo-tsjee-tsay). However, to get there, we had to retrace our steps, get back outside in the storm, through Splitska Vrata pass and back in the direction from where we came.  We should see the bay of Lucice on our portside. No way we could miss it and, sure enough, as soon as we turned inside the small bay, the water was flat and we were out of the wind and the storm.

We headed towards the westernmost shore of the bay where we would get the most protection. The charts showed this as a particularly good anchorage but, when we got there, we saw mooring buoys. That would make our lives easier. Our three yachts each picked up a mooring ball and soon a local fisherman came over in his skiff to tell us that we had to pay for the use of the buoys but, if we would eat dinner at the small konoba (restaurant) on-shore, the buoys would be free.

It was already getting late and, after having been cycled and recycled through the Adriatic washing machine, nobody was in the mood to cook on board and soon we headed to shore in our dinghies.

The restaurant was located under the pines and was totally off the grid. An old Cummings generator at the back of the owner’s house was making a racket and provided electricity for the house and the konoba.

The freshest seafood ever…

The kitchen was an open-air grill and all the food was prepared over charcoal. The waiters spoke very little English and there was no menu. They would explain in a mixture of German and English what was available, and it boiled basically down to lamb, fish and scallops. The scallops grilled in their shell on the charcoal were delicious. Unlike in the U.S.A. where you get them cleaned up so that only the white meat remains, in the Mediterranean they serve them with the orange colored corral. It makes a big difference. As far as the fish was concerned, it was still swimming when we picked up our buoys. That fresh…

View over Lucice Bay from the restaurant
It does not get more authentic and rustic…

From what we understood from the waiters, the owner of the restaurant was a retired star soccer player who had his heyday during the Yugoslav Tito years. We were welcome to visit his house and look at all his trophies.

Our host at the Konoba in Lucice

The gentleman, whose name I cannot even recall, met us at the door. He welcomed us in Croatian because he did not speak a word of English of German and, with the help of one of the waiters who could babble a bit in English, he tried to tell his story. We understood that he must have been one of the top players of his times. His house was a shrine to his achievements and there were pictures on the wall of him shaking hands with the likes of Tito and Brezhnev. Too bad we could not communicate better which makes me jump a few years fast forward…

Relaxing the morning after the storm

About three years ago, during another flotilla, and after I had told our participants about this story, we decided to go back to Lucice and show them that same place. It had changed quite a bit. Now they wanted us to pay for the buoys regardless of whether we were going to have dinner at the konoba or not. It seems that the wife of the former star player had taken over the business and she was not exactly customer friendly or, as a matter of fact, not friendly at all. It was a bit of a disappointment but, fortunately, the scenery of the anchorage was still as spectacular as the first time we came here.

We wanted to see the house and the owner again and when I told one of the waiters, who spoke a perfect English, that it had been a pity that we had not been able to communicate with the owner, he told me that he did indeed not speak English or German but was fluent in French. When I met him, I reminded him of our visit a few years ago and we had a good laugh about the fact that, if we had both known at that time, we could have talked in French.

Yep, you should have been there…

Lucice is still one of our favorite anchorages on Brac but, hopefully, the owners of the konoba will get their act together and the business will become again more customer friendly like when we came there the first time.

If it had not been for that storm, we would probably never have discovered its beauty.

Stay safe and healthy!

Capt. Jean De Keyser


It was Monday, September of 2013 and we were docked at the seawall of Komiza on the island of Vis. The weather was great and life was good.

Picturesque Komiza with its waterfront and fortress

Komiza is this “beyond-adorable” fishing village on the southwestern side of the island. It is located at the end of a large bay and at the foot of the imposing Hum mountain. A fort built to protect the village from pirates is one of the main tourist attractions and houses a fishing museum.

One of our regular destinations in Croatia, Komiza is also my favorite place for excellent pizza and beer in one of the several affordable restaurants on the waterfront. I should also not forget to mention the unbelievable gelato’s…

Overlooking the bay of Komiza

So, here we were docked at the seawall and next to us was another charter boat with an all-male Croatian crew. They had set up a small grill on the quay and were grilling tiny sausages that smelled mouthwatering deliciously. While they were preparing their food, they were taking numerous shots of a clear liquor from a bottle that contained a fully grown pear.

Needless to say, we had to strike up a conversation. Two of them spoke perfect English and told me that they were high school friends who had left Yugoslavia when, in the mid-nineties, the country was falling apart. Some of them left for the United States, others to Germany or Italy and, after all these years, they had decided on a reunion in their old country, which is now Croatia. As they always had sailed together when they were young, they wanted to make their get-together a sailing vacation.

Of course, we traded many shots of their pear schnapps with ones from our vodka bottle and they had me taste the finger licking good little sausages called Cevapcici (Che-vap-chi-chi). I order them at restaurants when in Croatia and I love them accompanied with ajvar and fries. Sometimes, when I get an uncontrollable urge for them, I will make them here in the USA and put them on the grill or on the plancha.

If you want to get an idea of how good these cevapcici sausages are, but if you do not have a Balkan-style restaurant close to you or (even worse) you cannot accompany us on our next trip to Croatia, here is my recipe.

You will need:

  • half a pound of ground lamb
  • about one and a half pounds of ground pork or mild Italian sausage
  • one pound of lean ground beef
  • three or four garlic cloves to taste, minced
  • about one teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • a dash of paprika
  • one finely chopped onion
  • one egg white

Mix all the ingredient in a large non-reactive bowl and let rest for a few hours in a cool place to have the mixture thoroughly absorb all the flavors. Form the meat mixture in little sausage of about two and halve inches long and three quarters of an inch think. Cevapcici sausages do not have casings and are really easy to make.

Grill them on a BBQ or on a plancha griddle at medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, turning them frequently and eat them with ajvar, a typical Balkan spread that you can find in the international food sections of major grocery stores, like Pete’s Market and Caputo’s in the Chicagoland area. If you can’t find it, you can easily make it yourself.

Mixed grill with ajvar (the red paste) and cevapcici (the small casingless sausages on the upper right plate). Croatia is for sailors and foodies.

You will need:

  • six red bell peppers
  • one medium eggplant
  • three generous tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • at least three chopped garlic cloves (but more if you really like it garlicky)
  • freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  • a dash of vinegar
  • cayenne pepper to taste (if you like your ajvar hot)
  • a tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • one teaspoon of sugar

Cut the bell peppers and the eggplant in half and put them face down in a hot oven (450F / 232C) until the skins are roasted and blistered. Let them cool down then peel the peppers and discard the skins, scoop up the flesh out of the eggplant and discard the skin. Put all the ingredients in a food blender until well mixed and voila! Your ajvar is ready…

Ajvar is often called the caviar of the poor man. It is healthy and tasty. You can eat it with your cevapcici while dreaming that you are in Croatia, cruising the crystal clear waters with us, or you can also use it as a dip, spread it on a toast, try it as a pizza sauce. Whatever way you use it, you will love it…

More flotilla food stories and travel adventures to follow in my next blog.

Fair Winds and Bon Appétit.

Capt. Jean De Keyser

Med Sailing Adventures


Sailing is one of those activities that always let you meet and get to know interesting people. Our friend Dennis and his lovely wife, Bise, in Vis are two of them.

“Admiral” Mila, Dennis, his wife, Bise, and the “Captain”.

We got to know Dennis when we docked for the first time at the island of Vis in Croatia, over eleven years ago.

We brought our chartered Jeanneau 49i sailboat to the quay, stern first, for a Mediterranean mooring and threw Dennis, who was the dock hand on duty, our stern docking lines. He gave us the lazy lines that we would attach to the bow cleats. There was a very short stone finger pier on the port side of the yacht and one of our crew members got in an argument with Dennis because she insisted on having a spring line to that finger pier.

Picturesque Vis Harbor.

Dennis kept on saying that it was not necessary and that with the stern docking lines and the lazy lines at the bow we would be just fine. With the fenders along the side, the yacht was totally secure. No overkill required…

The discussion became more heated and, as captain, I had to tell the crew member, who is a dear friend of mine, to tone it down. Once we were safely docked, I gave Dennis the boat documents, as is customary in Croatia, and apologized for the ruckus. He was very gracious about it and we chatted a bit. He mentioned that he and his wife had started a small Konoba or restaurant in their vineyard in the mountains of the island. Would we be interested in going there?

When it comes to food and wine, you can always count me in and we made arrangements for him to pick us up a bit later.

Bay of Vis at sunset.

About one hour later, we boarded a beaten up van and headed up the mountain. The road zig-zagged up allowing us to have a great view over the harbor and the city below. We arrived at the vineyard and had to hike our way down from the road to the small establishment that they had recently opened and were welcomed by Dennis’ wife, Bise, a jovial Croatian women, and by her little daughter, Marina, who must not have been more than four years old and by Bise’s sister Dinka.

Sampling the homemade brandies of Konoba Magic.

We were treated to a phenomenal traditional Dalmatian meal. Zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and then deep fried, shark carpaccio, marinated sardine and anchovy fillets, local cheese and more delicious appetizers followed by a fabulous lamb stew dish called Peka. Big chunks of lamb with vegetables and potatoes are put in a deep round dish which is then shoved into a very hot hearth and covered by a heavy steel dome covered with hot ashes. After two hours, one of the most delicious lamb dishes you can imagine is served with a never ending supply of Dennis’ own white and red wines. Let us not forget the home made brandies infused with a variety of herbs…

Peka pots in the open fire.

Over the years, Konoba Magic (pronounced Magitz) has grown and has become one of the more popular restaurants on the island. We return religiously every year with our flotilla crew members. It is an annual gastronomical pilgrimage for us and we are always welcomed with open arms by Bise, Dennis and their parents. The restaurant is family operated and Maika (or grandma) is the Chef in the kitchen. She prepares all the meals from scratch while Juraj tends to the fire in the open hearth and makes sure that the Pekas are kept covered by the hot embers.

The finished product; fall-off-the bone finger-licking delicious with wine from the vineyard!

Dennis and Bise have become very successful and have benefited a lot financially thanks to their hard work. Dennis does not work as a dock hand any longer. We follow them on Facebook and are always very happy for them when we see them spending their winters in exotic places like Thailand and South Beach. When we first met them, their English was quite poor. Nowadays, we hear them discuss their menus in Italian, German and English with their ever increasing number of happy customers.

Tito’s abandoned Cold War secret torpedo boat base. Very James Bond-like.

Dennis is a great guy and he will gladly share his knowledge of the fascinating history of the island. Vis has always been very strategic real estate during its history and especially during WWII and the post-war Tito years, when it was off-limits to outsiders. It is replete with abandoned fortifications, hidden tunnels and a formerly top-secret torpedo boat base. Dennis can tell you all about these places, but the history of Vis goes way back to even before the Greeks and the Phoenicians and you will readily find remnants from Roman and Byzantine times. Vis was also the setting for the “Greek” island in Mama Mia II.

The Wikipedia page is a must-read and is chock-full of interesting facts about this scenic island and its fascinating history.

If you ever go to Croatia, make it a point to go to Vis, either on a sailing yacht or by regular ferry from Split, and go look up Dennis and Bise at Konoba Magic. Tell them that we sent you and not onnly will you be treated like royalty but you will go home with an unforgettable memory of a unique gastronomic experience.

Fair Winds!

Capt. Jean De Keyser




All these wonderful destinations that we are so privileged to visit have fascinating attractions that we can discover during our flotillas.

Take, the island of Elba for instance, one of the gems of the Tuscan coast of Italy and one of our favorite places to sail.

Elba is nothing short of spectacular. Beautiful ports each with their own interesting history, crystalline waters, gorgeous nature, this place has it all.

Etruscan, Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans and many others have left their imprint on Elba’s history. During the antiquity, the Etruscan and Romans mined the iron ore on the island. Later on in history, Elba was governed by the Republic of Pisa, the Republic of Genoa, Spain, even France and Britain.

The view from Napoleon’s home in exile. Why would you leave this place to get defeated in Waterloo?

Its main claim to fame was that Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled there after he lost the Battle of Leipzig. During his short stay there, he even designed the flag of the island, featuring his personal symbol, the bee.

Napoleon’s Flag of Elba with his bee symbol.

In my humble opinion, he should have stayed on Elba. He had a nice house assigned to him in Portoferraio and could have had a quiet retirement but he decided to return to France and got eventually clobbered in Waterloo. I am sure that his final exile on the island of St. Helena, where he died, was not as agreeable as on Elba.

Portoferraio, is a lovely city with interesting museums and many restaurants that serve delicious authentic local cuisine. An impressive fortress protects the entrance to the municipal marina.

Portoferraio and its Municipal Marina

Porto Azzurro is another attractive port with a very nice marina in the Golfo di Mora. It is protected by two fortresses built by the Spaniards. One that is still used as a jail today was built on the same blueprints as the citadel of my native city, Antwerp in Belgium. Unfortunately, the one in Antwerp does not exist anymore. The waterfront along the port is home to plenty of good restaurants but the visitor should also go discover the charming inner city. Don’t forget to stop at Zero Gradi on the main square facing the port. You will enjoy some of the best gelato in Italy.


Another interesting place is Marciana Marina on the north side of the island. It boasts a large fortified tower in the well protected port and, like Porto Azzurro, has a pleasant center of the city with excellent restaurants.

Fortified tower of Marciana Marina, built during the reign of the Republic of Pisa

When we dock our yachts in Marciana Marina with our flotillas, we make it a point to go into the mountains to the old city of Marciana which dates back to the Romans. It is definitely worth a visit. From there it is a short hike to the cable lift to Monte Capanne, the highest point of Elba 1,019 meters above sea level. What a view from up there!

Elba has so much more to offer, like beautiful beaches and resorts that will welcome sun worshipers for a relaxing vacation but, as far as I am concerned, a sailing trip offers the best perspective to discover this wonderful place in the Mediterranean.

For more information on how to join a sailing flotilla to Elba, contact us at sailing@medsailingadventures.com

Fair Winds and Happy Travels!

Capt Jean De Keyser


OK, so we are organizing flotillas in the Mediterranean and in the Seychelles. Flotillas are fun but are they “adventure”? Are there any adventures to be had during these flotillas? If so, are they really dangerous adventures, like Raiders of the Lost Ark adventures?

Well no, not that kind of adventures but, still, we can experience situations that are out of the ordinary and which will stay with us as memories of great times we had sailing with our friends.

The magically beautiful waterfalls of Krka

Case in point: A few years ago, we were sailing in Croatia from Kastela, near Split, to the city of Sibenik and the Krka Waterfalls National Park. Krka is a wonderful place with stunning waterfalls. This was the location where the second hydroelectric energy plant in the world was opened. One day after the first one in Niagara Falls on November 16th, 1896. Nikola Tesla’s spirit still roams around there…

The view from the Primosten cemetery. Talk about “Rest in Peace”…

Anyway, on our way to the falls, we spent the night at anchor in the large bay in front of the small peninsula of Primosten with its picturesque village. The view from the church and from its cemetery overlooking the Adriatic is precious. The night promised to be quiet and we were three yachts gently rocking on the hook.

Sunset over the anchorage of Primosten with the village in the background

Our yacht was the rowdy one and, because we had no other neighbors than our other two boats, our boombox on board was blaring all kinds of music from Rock to Latin and Zydeco. It was amazing how eight people were able to dance and shake on a 49′ Jeanneau.

In the morning, we had thunderstorms roll in but there was no rain. Only lightning and thunder. I don’t like lightning when on a boat, having experienced some scary moments in recent years but, still, the show was spectacular until, suddenly, two lightning strikes hit the pine forest on shore in two different places. It was like the forest exploded and flames shot up into the sky. With the wind blowing from the land, before long ashes started to fall on our boat. We were not at risk at all and we were just staring in awe at nature’s fury.

Flames shot up in the sky

Then, out of nowhere, a small Cessna dust cropper plane appeared and dumped a load of water on one of the burning spots. It did not do much to alleviate the problem but, soon, two Canadair firefighting tanker planes showed up and dove down into our anchorage, skimmed the water and filled up their tanks followed by a slow and laborious ascent to go spread the water over the fires.

That is when we realized we were in a hazardous situation. These heavily loaded planes literally screamed over the top of our masts and it would not take much for them to hit us, low and slow. A small skiff raced over from the village and urged us to get out of the bay immediately as the planes would be coming back for more water.

We raised anchor and left the bay, hugging the coast line to make sure that the planes would have enough maneuvering space in the middle. We headed straight for Sibenik where we spent the night at the seawall of this beautiful city and kept informed of the situation near Primosten. It took the Canadairs along with the firefighters on the ground two days to extinguish the fires.

Sibenik, worth a visit!

Although we cannot guarantee that you will experience such exciting moments when sailing with us, we promise that you will be going home with unforgettable memories of a truly unique vacation.

Check our website for our 2020 Flotilla programs.

So long and be safe!

Capt. Jean De Keyser


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