Tuesday , September 20th, 2022, eight members of AMYC (Nick and Tracie, Tony and Sharon, Robbie and Jill and John and Geraldine) gathered at Tony and Sharon’s house (the closest to Gatwick) in preparation for a very early start to the holiday the following morning. Sharon laid on an early supper and all retired early to bed to get a few hours sleep before the 03.30 taxi to Gatwick.
The journey out was uneventful, and the taxi Nick had booked was duly waiting at arrivals to take us to our start point, Casale, where we picked up our Le Boat. We had arrived ahead of schedule, allowing ample time for a shopping party to the local supermarket while Captain Nick and First Officer Tony attended the pre-cruise briefing. Then, after stowing the massive quantity of food and booze, we were off to our first overnight location, the lace making island of Burano. The boat, it must be said, was a bit of a disappointment. She was old and battered and missing a fair few items from her itinerary. At 17meters LOA and quite heavy, she was propelled by an engine of only 40HP! Needless to say, she was not quick! Our first on-board meal of Pizza provided some amusement as we set the oven to 200 degrees C and poured the wine. The oven light was on and the fan was whirring away. Tracie checked progress after 10 minutes and declared the oven was slow to heat up, so more wine! After a further 15 minutes, with no sign of the oven getting any hotter, a “committee” formed to address the problem. Perhaps there was a fault in the electrics? Did we need to run the generator? Much head scratching and various ideas until the VC stuck his head right inside to discover the fan assisted electric oven was, in fact, gas fuelled!
Burano is a very picturesque town, where the houses are all painted in different, vivid, colours. We spent the following day exploring the town and decided to remain on our mooring that night and make an early start for Venice the following day. Our mooring there was in an up-market Marina where the mooring charges were 100 Euros a night. There were, however, good facilities including showers and we were protected from the wash of the incessant boat traffic. We were only a short walk from the centre of Venice, where we then split up and spent the whole day taking in the sights. Nick and Tracie fancied a gondola trip and put out a Whats App message asking if anyone was willing to join them. Tony and Sharon were close at hand and tagged along. The cost? 80 Euros for half an hour up the Grand Canal (for up to 5 people) or 100 Euros to take in some of the side canals. We opted for the 100 Euro trip and enjoyed a running commentary in mangled English from our very cheery Gondolier.
The following morning, we set out to cruise past the Venice waterfront (a great photo opportunity) before turning towards our next stop, the small island of Vignole where we had planned to take a water taxi to the nearby glass-making island of Murano. On arrival in Vignole, however, the complexities of ticket buying from a machine defeated us, so we decided to moor overnight. The next day, as there were no visitor moorings on Murano, Nick phoned a small boatyard where the proprietor was willing to give us a short stay mooring. It was 3-4 hours for 30 euros. This gave us enough time to explore Murano and visit a glass factory and the glass museum. At the factory we were given a demonstration of glass making by a Master Craftsman, who made a vase and an elegant rearing horse. Sharon purchased a similar horse from the ubiquitous factory retail outlet, not giving a lot of thought as to how to get it home in one piece! This was ultimately achieved by cutting down one of the numerous empty wine boxes and surrounding the horse in tea bags. I am glad to report the horse arrived home safely!
The plan for the remainder of the cruise had been to head for the Lido di Jesolo before taking the easterly loop back to Casale. The route took longer than we had anticipated, and we stopped partway at a public quayside where we spent a most uncomfortable night. It was on a major boat route where, if there was a speed limit, it was widely ignored, and we banged and crashed in the wash created by the passing traffic. This culminated in a particularly violent wash, late at night, which picked the boat up vertically and sheared off the metal ring to which the bow was attached! All hands on deck! Start up engine and manoeuvre back and re moor (double lines!) Robbie has transported the broken ring back home and the intention is to mount it as a piece of AMYC regalia – possibly a prize for future competitions?
We couldn’t wait to get moving next morning, so we started off before breakfast for the cruise to Jesolo being fortified with eggy bread on the way. There was a rumour that a key lifting bridge on the route from Jesolo back to Casale had been put out of action, but we pressed on regardless. When we reached the Lido, Marina staff confirmed this, so rather than staying and committing to the route back which could have left us stranded, we decided to return to Burano and retrace our route out. This was our longest cruising day and the navigating had become a little lax. The various routes around the lagoon are marked by lines of tripod posts known as Dolphins. These all look the same, and intersections of routes need to be studied carefully. Robbie and John both took wrong turnings during their spells at the hem. Just as well Nick was on hand to sort things out! We eventually made it back to our favourite overnight mooring at Burano. During the evening we watched an incredibly intense and long-lasting electrical storm north of Venice. Lightning lit up the sky every few minutes for several hours but we heard no thunder and there was no rain! Next morning, we cruised back up the river towards Casale, stopping overnight just a short distance from our home Marina for a last night meal out at a riverside restaurant. This was the only point in the holiday where it rained (the weather had been very pleasant the whole week with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the low 20’s) Typically, the rain was torrential just as we tied up and stopped almost immediately afterwards. The deck crew looked like drowned rats!
A short cruise the following morning took us back to our start point via a very narrow opening from the river. We had about 6 inches room either side. Had we really negotiated that on the way out in a strange vessel? A good job Nick was helming for both transits!
The journey home was uneventful, marred only by a lengthy wait in the airport for the afternoon flight.
All agreed it had been a very enjoyable cruise, in great company. Here’s to next year’s adventure!