It’s May 30th, rewind 42 days on this adventure, we sailed from Milna, Croatia just 20 miles down the cost to Luka Vrboska on the northern coast of Hvar. We had sailed to Milna to buy a new fresh water pump after ours had exploded violently when firing up the water maker for the first time this season. After I installed the new pump we just wanted to get away from the hustle of the holiday crowd and anchor in a quiet bay, swim, cook dinner, make water and watch a movie. Chill out. Luka Vrboska on the north shore of Hvar fit the bill nicely. I had hopped off the transom onto the town queue at Milna to pay for our dockage, untied the stern lines while Kelly raised the anchor and off we slipped into the quiet blue. We enjoyed a nice short sail and a perfect, nearly empty anchorage.
Where is my wallet? I used it to pay and walked straight back to the boat and took off. Maybe 50 meters tops. We tore the boat apart. Passport…..sigh of relief… still with the others and the boat papers but no wallet! I was beginning to call it my (fill in the blank) wallet. I was sure it was onboard. We checked everywhere. And checked again. I put a bounty of $10usd, then $20, and eventually $50 for any child who found it. Nothing. I called the Milna office. Nothing. We checked the credit cards online. No fishy charges. Just nothing. Crap.
Kelly did some hard phone holding time and eventually got one credit card sent via spaceship to Porto Montenegro where we’d be in a week or two. The sweet lady at the Barclays credit cubicle had the hardest time entering the extremely foreign address into her necessary fields to get it shipped explaining that an upside down space helmet with a line through it and a backwards number 3 were not on her keyboard. When we got back to Tivat, Montenegro I asked each day if there was a package for me. Each day there was none.
When it was time for our weather window to transit Albania down to Greece it was time. Weather has no interest in credit cards or international shipping. We left. I explained over the phone to Porto Montenegro that an envelope was coming, probably last week, but hopefully still coming and could they forward it to Corfu when they see it. “We will gladly do this for you captain. We will simply need $43 euro for the service which you are welcome to pay via credit card over the phone.” (Picture steam propelled brains splattering on the cabin roof). We got it done with Kelly’s card. Thank goodness I have skills the family relies on underway or I’d have fallen into a hole of useless depression.
Corfu came and went. No credit card. “Sweetie….I have no money. Can I buy a beer please?” !$&@%##*+!!!!! Ouch. Fortunately we made a friend in Corfu named Sevestiana who knows the Greek mail, boats, geography, customs, politics, food, anchorages, etc expertly. She stayed vigilant as we continued south and eventually received the envelope and put it on a ferry to Zakinthos where I could get it from her colleague. All worked out. She wouldn’t take payment. Just being another awesome Greek human. At last I can buy myself a beer.
Fast forward to July 9th some 800 sea miles later. I get a cryptic text from a Slovenian telephone number “is this Justin Walling?” Too many weird scams out there. I can’t imagine what someone could achieve by confirming it was indeed me but to be careful I replied “por que?” (“For why?” In Spanish….that’ll throw em off the trail. Brilliant cloak and dagger work as usual).
Here is what followed:
Mystery person: Have you been sailing in Croatia not so long ago? I wrote you on Facebook and Whatsapp. We found a wallet with Justin Walling’s documents and some money while diving. I found this phone number and a website on a business card so im making sure i found the right person
Dumbfounded me: We did not go to the city of HVAR but to the island. On the east side. Did you find credit cards? I am surprised there was money in it if it showed up somewhere we had not been… Thank you so much for reaching out
we did not go to the city as well. We found it in the bay while diving. Maybe you lost in on the way to your destination. We found all the documents and money.. and some extra crabs in it as well!?
It was likely in our cockpit and fell fell off while sailing. That is amazing
I have sailed to Athens without this.
ahahah let us know how you did this so we can take some notes??
where are you now?
how can we get the documents and money to you?
Downtown Athens eating Chinese food with my wife’s credit
You have a good wife then!
We love chinese food too, So we can use your credit cards now?!?? hahaha
No need saying Rea Sigler, s/y Skone, from Slovenia and her family are my heroes. We had very nice text conversations and are officially invited to Slovenia next year as is her whole crew welcome to visit Folly Beach. They spread the contents of my wallet on their dining table and sent a photo. Literally all intact just wet. Over 40 days at the bottom of a bay. Not on the beach or in a bush but deep, in the middle, like 1 in a million to find if you knew what you were looking for in the first place lucky. Amazing. You just can’t make this stuff up. Yet another reason I am humbled by this life, this luck and this love. We’re downtown Athens now deep, but not with the crabs deep. Rome, Venice and Bari await. We’ll keep writing about our experiences and fortunes both good and ill as we always have. This one is just hard to beat.
Stay tuned. Much love.