Greece - Clearing In and Cruising
You need to locate the Customs and Immigration Office and the local Port Police at your first port of call in Greece. For us this was Preveza, since this is where we bought our boat. Different rules apply to foreign flagged vessels versus EU registered boats, and it seems the rules are changing daily. So the best advice we can give you is to first check in with the Port Police to announce your presence. Then see the Customs and Immigration officials to start the process of obtaining a Transit Log, and verify the time you will be allowed to cruise before fines or penalties will be applied. If your experience is anything like ours, you will be back and forth between these two a few times before the process is complete. Unfortunately, our experience has been that it really depends on the official you speak with and whether or not they are interested in enforcing the current laws, or even know them! Many cruisers we spoke to never even bother to check in/out or even get a transit log for that matter. We usually try to do the right thing, but it often causes us many hours of grief and frustration. Greece may be one of the less expensive areas to cruise in the Med., but it’s not without aggravation. At the time we were here, 2014/15, there had been discussions about implementing a cruising tax that would make it much less affordable, but after several years of trying it has yet to be put into practice. We hope to be gone before it finally does become law.
Athens, Piraeus specifically:
Piraeus is the main port where all the cruise ships and ferry boats come and go from. Although we did go in to Athens proper to do some site seeing, our primary local while staying on board was in Pireaus.
- The Zea Marina is a great place to stay and reasonably priced in comparison to other marinas in Piraeus. It’s central to a lot of shopping, so it’s also a great place to get some odd jobs done. The staff are very friendly and helpful. We have no problem recommending this marina. Using the bus system from this marina is very easy.
- Quick Wash Laundry is at 72 Fragkiadon, about a 15 minute walk from Zea Marina (1km). Very clean, new machines (2014), and we paid 18 Euros for 3 full loads washed and dried. Once we loaded the clothes into the washers, the guy told us to come back in 2 hours. When we did, our laundry was already loaded into the dryers for us. He even helped us folding some of it when it was done. We had originally gone to the place near the marina, where you drop off your clothes and they do it all for you, but they quoted us 93 Euros for the same loads we did for 18.
- Need medical help? The public hospitals did not charge us for our visits. We ended up using the Attikon Hospital which wasn’t the closest to the marina, but during the Christmas holidays it seemed to be the one easier to get in to. From the Zea Marina, we took the 904 bus into Piraeus terminal and then caught the 845 bus until you see the AB Food store and its about a 10 minute walk from there. We were able to see a specialist on our first trip to the hospital, and he was great. I saw him a total of 5 times for vertigo, and he even gave me his personal phone number should I have any issues or need to ask him anything. I can’t say enough about that kind of personal care!
- Need Stainless Work, Arma Marine (697 435 5570) is a small shop, family owned business, not far from the main port. We had a new solar panel arch built, a bowsprit pole for our spinnaker, as well as a variety of other small items that Robert would dream up along the way. (Papa)Pappous, Vasillis and his son Yani became like family to us and they treated us like we were family too. We can’t say enough about their professionalism and accommodating nature. Robert worked right alongside Pappaous Vasillis in his shop and even though there was a huge language barrier, they still managed to communicate amazingly well. Yani speaks English very well, so in cases of emergency, he could step in! We just love these guys and would highly recommend them to anyone needing stainless/inox work done or marine supplies while staying in Piraeus.
- Marine Supplies very close to Marina Zea in Piraeus can be purchased at TechRep (210 452 1647) and Nautilus (210 428 3478). They are right next door to each other and if you can’t find what you’re looking for at one, you will likely find it at the other. The staff in both stores are very accommodating and knowledgable to help you find what you need.
Montenegro - Clearing In and Duty Free Fuel
Please note that the only area along the Montenegro coastline that we visited is Boka Kotorska, which is the northern most inlet before crossing the line to Croatia. Our comments relate specifically to this area.
The Clearing In process is relatively easy and painless. First, you will need to find the quay at Zelinka, just south of Herceg Novi as you come through the entrance. The customs official there is very friendly and helpful. The cost of your cruising permit is based on the time you expect to stay, with the minimum being 7 days. Once you have cleared in, you can moor your vessel at one of the marinas or anchor. We opted to anchor on the south side of Otok Stradioti island and use our dinghy to see the area.
Duty free fuel can be purchased at the Port of Montenegro. You need to go to their main office and order a stamp for your boat. In 2014 this cost us 30 Euros and was available within 24 hours. You then need to make an appointment with the Bunkering Operations Manager; I have provided his contact information below.
KOSMAS SAKALIDIS Bunkering Operations Manager
Adriatic Marinas Services d.o.o. Porto Montenegro Obala bb 85320 Tivat, Montenegro
Telephone +382 32 661 098
Mobile +382 67 224 762
You need to schedule this for your last day in Montenegro, as you will have to leave as soon as the fuel purchase has been made. They will also provide the service of doing all the clearing out paperwork free of charge, so you won’t need to go back to the quarantine dock to clear out. We were able to purchase diesel for .76 Euro, which was roughly half the price of anywhere else in the Adriatic.
They are very conscientious about the environment here, so fuel spills will be taken very seriously. We found everyone here to be very friendly and helpful.
Croatia - Clearing In and Cruising
Our first port of call in Croatia was at Cavtat. It is quite easy to locate the Quarantine dock by the large bright yellow Q sign. You will need to tie stern-to as there is not much room for many boats. A line handler will assist you here, but will expect to be paid 100 Kuna for the service. You will need to pay cash here, as credit cards are not accepted. The best place to exchange your Euros for Kuna is at a news stand just to the right of the customs and immigration office. Alternatively, you can go to a bank machine, but the rates will be less favourable. Croatia became part of the EU in July 2014, so the currency may change over to Euros in the coming years.
Many people tried to discourage us from visiting Croatia, because of the “high costs”, but we’re glad we didn’t listen. We constantly asked other cruisers that we met along the way, where the best places to anchor were, and only found that we paid to anchor a couple of times. You will pay to anchor in the national parks and in high tourist areas, but there are a lot of anchorages that are well worth the stay for free! Even when we did pay, the cost was not outlandish in our opinion. For example, we paid 200 kuna (roughly $35 Cdn) at Korkula Island for the night in the anchorage and it was well worth the visit. We also found that having a cost to anchor meant that cruisers didn’t sit at anchor for days on end, thus making space available for new cruisers to visit the island.
Turkey - Clearing In and Cruising
One of the best things we did in Turkey was to join a rally called the Eastern Mediterranian Yacht Rally or EMYR. See blog post.
You will most likely need to us an agent to clear in or out of Turkey, but it may depend on the port of call you enter/exit from.
You are only allowed 90/180 days, so you wil need to keep track if you are flying in/out over a 180 day period.
Marmaris is a great place to get work done, and Finike is a great place to stay as a home base. It's not cheap to stay in Turkey anymore, but we really did love our time there.