On the morrow there are customs formalities because we are leaving Croatia, bound for Venice. We all go ashore to present our passports and Carolyn and I buy some bread and dried figs. These are pale and dry, quite different (and rather nicer in my view) from the dark, greasy looking figs you buy in packets at the supermarket.
I am busying in my cabin when I hear the engine start up and we are very soon heading for open water. A queasy wave runs through me and I need to go up on deck. It’s not a brilliant day weatherwise and although the swell is not as severe as that experienced earlier in the passage, the combination of that and the wind direction in relation to the course on which we are set creates an unpleasant motion. It’s a 7-hour crossing that we face so I adopt a belt and braces approach, swallowing 2 Stugeron and wearing my wrist bands. I tuck myself up under the dodger with a warm jacket, my sunhat pulled firmly down and snooze with the warm sun on my bare legs.
Come lunch-time I am ready for a cuppa soup and a salad roll then go below for a sleep. They wake me when we enter the Canal of Chioggia but it takes me a good while to pull myself round. I feel somewhat drugged (and blame the sickness pills). We have entered the Venice lagoon at its southern end and Chioggia, which is close to Padua on the Po River Delta and situated on a two small islands (900x200m), is at this southern entrance. The two islands are separated by the ‘main drag’, the Canale Vena. We are about 25 km south of Venice (50 km by road); causeways connect Choggia to the mainland. The population is around 25,000.
Once we are tied up to the quay there is time for Bucks Fizz in the cockpit and I am beginning to rally round. We then face a walk into Choggia to seek out a restaurant called El Gato (the Cat) which specialises in fish. It turns out to be rather pricey but this is our shout to treat the Derricks. Sadly when I have my platter of grilled seafood placed before me I find I have no appetite for it and a general feeling of unwellness. Fortunately my companions help me out but we have to leave the restaurant abruptly, to the consternation of the staff, none of whom speaks English, and therefore believe that we are not happy. Despite an attempt at miming the problem we end up leaving some perplexed Italians behind.
Carolyn takes my temperature and we find it is a bit elevated and I’ve no idea whether this is an effect of the sun, although I was never fully out in it, or a virus. I’m better the next day and before we head for Venice we go ashore again to explore Chioggia a bit more and visit the Museum (unfortunately closed that day) which houses archaeological finds and describes the works that are being carried out to save the settlements in the Venice lagoon from flooding.
Chioggia retains its traditional role as a fishing and port city, with tourism now also an important part of the local economy. Chioggia is a miniature version of Venice although not quite so illustrious. But it gives us a taste of a town which arose from marshland and whose principal thoroughfares are waterways. After lunch on board we start the passage north to Venice itself.