The last journey | Part 1 – When the boat becomes a burden

The last journey “When the Boat Becomes a Burden” deals with the challenges faced by two small business owners who make a living from tourism. The consequences of the lockdowns leave a strong mark on their business, and they find themselves in financial distress due to the loss of income. 

While grappling with changes in the canal where their Catamaran Ariki is moored, they decide whether to spend the money to pay for the mooring or to repair the Ariki. This is followed by a consideration of the future, which is marked by financial uncertainty and severe pressure from the authorities. The final decision leads to the relocation of Ariki to land, while also highlighting the social changes in seaside towns over time, where traditional activities give way to new trends of tourism and urbanization.

The last journey, The last journey, The last journey, The last journey, The last journey, The last journey, The last journey, The last journey, The last journey, The last journey, 

A different way to the sea

Usually our journey to the sea starts in the morning. Back then, everything was different than usual. We set off late in the afternoon, not at all happy, with anxiety and a lump in our throats. For the first time in years, we weren’t looking forward to meeting Ariki.

The consequences of the lockdowns were disastrous for our small company. Tourist books about Slovenia are sold at sales points at the visited tourist spots. The month of July 2021 is already coming to an end. There were no travelers and vacationers from abroad in Slovenia for the second year in a row. As a result, many outlets have closed down. Many did not open again. As a result, there were no sales and therefore we had no income. It was only with difficulty that we got together every month the minimum required by the state for the existence of our small company.

When the boat becomes a burden

It was announced that a port would be built in the canal where Ariki’s home is. Until then, all boats were there for free. But then that changed too. Just like everywhere else on the Slovenian coast, the desire to make money prevailed there as well. Although the construction of the port has not yet started, the bill for the mooring has arrived in our mailbox. We had the money to pay, but Ariki needed a thorough repair.

We had enough money to pay for the mooring. Also, the amount saved could easily cover the repairs. Even for a short sailing excursion, there would be some left. But it was not enough for both, that is, for the repair and the payment of the mooring. So we asked ourselves what should we do?

If we paid for the mooring, the next winter Ariki would be failing miserably there. The question is how expensive it would be to fix it and how long it would take.

That summer in 2021, we did not know what the future would hold. Will the lockdowns continue? How will we survive the winter? Will we even be able to financially maintain the boat in the sea next year?

The last journey

Last night in the channel

Ariki was still there, on our pier. As always, he was waiting for us. Although that evening was not exactly as usual. He was too much towards the middle of the canal. The rope with which he was tied to the pier was in the sea. It probably untied itself. I strongly doubt that someone would untie it on purpose. Something like this has never happened on our pier in the 17 years Ariki has been there.

We prepared Ariki for sailing already in the evening. We spent the last night in the canal alone with our dear Ariki.

We were still wondering why we would have a boat in the sea when wandering was not possible for us in that situation. Not only because of the money, but also because of the pressures of the authorities and conditioning the crossing of the border with testing and vaccinations, which of course was out of the question for us.

The decision was made

That’s why we decided to take Ariki far from the sea, to our backyard, among the forests under the mountains. Exactly where he was built. There he will wait for better times. We did not invite friends on this long and tiring journey. It was something we had to do ourselves.

Channel of St. Jernej

We set sail in the early morning. This was Ariki’s last voyage on this canal. Maybe also the last voyage with us on board. Is this the end of the Ariki story? Shall we sell it or keep it? We didn’t know it at the time.

Countless times over the past 16 years, the Ariki has sailed up and down the canal. There, somewhere in the middle of the canal between Cape Seča and the bridge that connects the Piran salt flats to the mainland, was his home, his home berth. Safe, sheltered, half a mile from the sea.

This canal was the last remain of the past on the Slovenian coast. Piers were still being built here as they had been in the past. Tradition was still at home here. These jetties and the old way of mooring boats are something that should make your heart skip a beat. It should be a protected cultural and historical heritage.

But new times came and with them new masters – immigrants. From the 2nd World War until today, so many of them have accumulated here that the real locals have become only an insignificant minority.

Today marks three years since that last canal cruise. During this time, the old piers were torn down, and this one was built:

At the same time as the newly planted tree line and the pier, which also serves as a sidewalk, comes mass tourism. This is no longer the world for us…

The last journey and the end

We left the canal at 8 o’clock in the morning. The sea was like a mirror. There was no wind. The sails remained folden. The engine hummed at low revs. We moved slowly. We were in no hurry. We were destined for Izola. It is about 5 NM far, and we had 3 hours.

We sailed past the ancient city of Piran. The city is built on the headland of a narrow peninsula. Even today it is protected by walls. Its narrow streets are crowded with visitors during the normal summer seasons. This time after the lockdowns, the city was empty. The streets were deserted. Inns and hotels were empty. On the beaches, you could count the bathers on your fingers, there were so few of them.

The sea was also empty. Just a few boats and sailboats. How strange for the month of July, when it should be full tourist season here.

We sailed past Cape Ronek. This is a protected part of the coast – a nature reserve. Sailing in the coastal zone is prohibited here. The protected part of the sea is marked with large yellow buoys. The rules are so strict that you are not even allowed to sail in that area. Even rowing on kayaks and sups is prohibited… Yes indeed..some rules are really excessive.

Ariki's home port

Izola, Ariki’s home port, appeared on the horizon. Izola is a small fishing town that was known for several fish canning factories and a large fishing fleet. Factories closed their doors. The only one still in operation was moved a few years ago to the Karst, 30 km from the coast. But they don’t take fish from Izola there. This is because there are no more fishermen or their boats in Izola. As in Piran, Izola also has very few natives. Vineyards and fields in the lowlands behind the city were built into block settlements or turned into industrial areas. Some call this progress. Who would understand them?

The largest fish canning factory in Izola was right here, next to the shipyard. The buildings are still standing. The shipyard is also still standing, although it no longer builds large ships. It now houses a dry marina for boats and yachts. That’s where we’re headed. We have an elevator date there at 11 o’clock. Ariki goes ashore… This time for a long time. We will tell you more about this in the next article.


Thank you for taking the time to share this special moment with us. If you liked the article or if you have any interesting experience, please share it with us in the comments below. Your opinion is extremely important to us.

See you in the next article, where we will experience second part of this story together. Until then, stay curious and smiley!

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