The calm after the storm…and the last part of Paddy and Louis’ week

The storm passed overhead to continue to cause such havoc further down the mainland coast towards Split that it was mentioned on National News sites. Luckily, we slept like logs in the cool air after the cold front had passed.

We awoke at a leisurely pace.  Paddy nipped ashore to buy a few supplies. We set off to go round the headland and south to a lovely anchorage between Uglijan and Pasman.  There was no wind today so we motored all of it.

Having anchored in the protected bay, we went ashore and explored the village.  A cute holiday village.  Next morning, we set off north again.  Despite my ordering calm seas and no wind, there was some swell  between us and the mainland it would be best if P and L could catch a ferry from Preko on Uglijan, to Zadar. Subsequently, they could catch a bus to Trogir and the airport.

I whizzed the boys ashore in the dinghy and waved them off feeling rather choked.  It had been a lovely week for us despite the many thrashings we received at cards!

Next, we venture further north whilst we await the arrival of Keira and Lucy.

The Big Storm!

Muline Bay on the north side of the isthmus at the top of Uglijan Island.

The next day there were a few fluffy clouds present but it all seemed very benign.  We ended up motoring some of the way north in light winds. 

We shuddered as we passed the low bridge between Pasman and Uglijan. Only two weeks before we had seen a charter boat atempt to sail under it with damaging consequences. 

In the mid afternoon, we anchored in the gorgeous tree-lined bay of Pavlesina with protection from a jutting headland to our west and north. 

After a swim and relax, we had time to head to shore and walk across the isthmus to Muline and enjoy a beer.

Louis and Paddy

As we sat under the large Ozujsko Beer umbrella, we saw that huge rain clouds were pummelling  the islands to the north and west of us (Dugi Otok island).  Hmm.  Perhaps they are heading our way afterall.

Getting darker!

We were just setting off back to the boat when Paddy suggested that we go to eat at one of the restaurants in the village.  He commented that the BBQ looked good; and it certainly smelled good.

So, after a little discussion and the toss of three coins, (only with Paddy!) we decided that it would be best to return to the boat due to the forecasted storms.  But, we were sorely tempted; and so ended up sitting down to have a delicious dinner in the Konoba Kod Sime.

The view through the restaurant window

Just as we were contemplating ordering a further carafe of wine we saw worsening weather coming in from the west.

The staff closed the windows.

Rain and waves lashing the windows

The wind and waves opened them again!  We attempted to force them shut.  Torrential rain and waves began to lash the windows.

We were worried!  After all, we had left Linea all alone in the bay to the south.  I asked for a bin bag.  I wanted to try to keep warm and dry on the walk home.

We began to stride back across the Isthmus.  Slipping and sliding along the muddy track trying to get back to the boat before she dragged out of the anchorage. 

Louis dancing in the rain

When we arrived back we saw four anchor lights and breathed sighs of relief.  We all jumped in the dinghy and were soon back on board assessing the situation.

Luckily, Ian had closed all the hatches so the boat was fairly dry.  Neither of the heads hatches had been closed so the shower rooms were full of water – but they are designed for that.  No problem!

We were beginning to realise just how lucky we were that Linea had stayed where we left her!!

We may take our time with anchoring and making sure we are set but it is definitely worth it. 

We played calming games of Bonus Whist and Rummy. 

In the morning, Ian went to survey the sea bed.  We had dragged 2m through the sand but our anchor had reset perfectly.

A German boat motored past us in the morning asking us if we had recorded the wind speed the previous evening. Sadly, no, we said.  They replied that another boat had recorded 55kn of wind during the storm!!!!!  That is quite possibly the most we have ever encountered.  Today, I read a Croatian newspaper article about the mess left behind after a vicious storm on Friday 2nd August which demolished tables, chairs, and umbrellas on seaside quays and weather stations had recorded 150km winds in the area! 

Yikes, we had been very lucky.

Brac Island and up north

Rain coming thick and fast!

After receiving Paddy’s phone call we decided to hang out in the wonderful anchorage Northeast of Rogoznica until Paddy and Louis arrived.  This superbly protected anchorage is great because you are still so close to all the facilities you may need whilst being protected all round from any weather; which was just as well since a series of summer storms had been forecast.

Rain heading our way NE of Rogoznica

Hey ho! 

We were enjoying a quiet few days despite there being not many other boats around us.  One evening Ian spotted a nearby yacht having trouble with their anchor.  He went off to help them and was promptly asked over for a beer.

We were pleased to have some company and had a pleasant evening with Reinhart and Racine on Cisma.

We prepped the boat for visitors, giving everything a good clean and we enjoyed a couple of walks around the headlands. 

On the Saturday we had a wet and windy dinghy ride to shore to re-supply our dwindling stocks of wine, beer and food and then it was simply a matter of waiting the arrival later that evening of my brill brother and his youngest son, the lovely Louis.  

As forecast, the storm arrived and the downpour was so heavy that I was able to have a leisurely rainwater shower in the cockpit. 

All clean and fresh after my al fresco shower.

Delicious.  

At 2030h we tried to start the dinghy engine but it was very damp after the deluge and was feeling temperamental.  Finally, we got it going and went ashore.  We walked up to the main road literally EXACTLY at the same time that Paddy and Louis’ taxi was driving past!  Perfect!  We walked the 50m back to the shore and took them out to Linea where Louis promptly enjoyed his first swim of the week.

How kind to bring our favourites…plus gin!!!

Next day, all that remained to do was go to the fuel dock to fill up with diesel and water. 

THe first half of the week with Paddy and Louis.

This we duly did and soon we were sailing at a jaunty angle towards Otok Zlarin, Uvala Magarna, which was to be our first anchorage with them. Needless to say, I was happy that they volunteered to take the lines ashore.

We enjoyed some snorkelling here and found no less than eight star fish, the most we have ever seen in one spot, and some tiny electric blue fish.

Next day, we had a short sail to Prvic where we were to meet up with Andrew Geddes on Genial Bee.  The second Cruising Association member we have met since being in Croatia. Together with Andrew, we all walked over to Sepurine Bay to sample the beer and then we enjoyed a fish supper in a restaurant in Prvic.

The sign says, ‘Anchorage’ in Croatian so why were we asked to move??

After our educational visit to the Faust Vrancic museum in Prvic in the morning we were enjoying a coffee on the sea front when we saw the Kapitaneria arrive in their RIB.  They told the Norwegian boat anchored near us that if they didn’t move immediately they would be liable to be fined 7000 Euros!!!!  They moved!

So did we!

Next stop, a lovely anchorage off a nudist camp site on Murter.  It certainly kept Louis entertained!

It should have been a two tack sail north to Sv. Ante on Pasman, but the wind was playing silly buggers and so it was taking rather longer than expected.  Great practice for the crew though. We anchored in a lovely bay, villas with private jetties ashore, and enjoyed a quiet night.

The calm before the storm?

Murter to Brac

The view south from the terrace of Ali and Paul’s villa in Osibova Bay.

Having waved off Alice and Ian we set sail to the south to sort out Ian’s tooth and head for Brac to meet the Clements-Hunts. We arrived in our anchorage after a fantastic downwind sail. We listened to Test Match Special commentary on the World Cup Cricket the whole way! Fantastic! 

We arrived in Vinisce, a large protected bay where we have been before.  It was quite busy on a Thursday as it is a good last stop for charter boats returning to base in Trogir.

However, we squeezed in next to an Austrian boat we had previously seen in Prolak Mali Zdrelac.

Nice spot.   

Next morning we motored over to Trogir and anchored off resort town called Segut from where we could take the dinghy ashore for Ian’s visit to the dentist. 

The wind was fairly brisk but the holding was good and we felt reasonably confident in leaving the boat for a couple of hours.

Ian’s treatment went well and now all that remains is for him to have a crown fitted at some point.  But, no more pain.

We scuttled back to Vinisce and awaited further windy and unsettled weather.

The weather forecast was still rather gloomy; showing that there would be strong gusts accompanied by thunder and lightning over the next few days. 

Although we had started the engine and had every intention of setting off to Brac on the Saturday to meet up with Alison and Paul et al, in the end, we just weren’t happy and decided to play safe and stay in the wonderful protection of Vinisce.

On the plus side, were able to listen to the cricket and some of the tennis on Five Live but decided to download the Wimbledon men’s final so I could watch it at leisure on Monday.  (Hence, I was off my phone for 24 hours so I wouldn’t accidentally hear/see the results although one of the commentators on TMS nearly let the cat out of the bag! In any case, we couldn’t have coped with the tension of listening to/watching both the cricket and the tennis simultaneously!)

We went ashore and took a lovely walk all the way along to the headland.  With a couple of restaurants, bars, shops, buses and bakery there was everything here that we could possibly need, and all so close at hand.

On Monday, after the promised storms had failed to materialise fully and we felt safe enough to set off.  I watched the tennis.  What a match!

We arrived into Osibova Bay on Brac.  We saw everyone waving and really appreciated the wonderful welcome but couldn’t find a spot to anchor nearby because of the depth and narrowness of the bay.  We elected to take a mooring buoy and hang the expense!

We soon locked up the boat and shot over to Ali and Paul’s villa nearby.  It was so lovely to see them all.  We were delighted to meet Sarah, Rupert, George and Anna, too!

We spent the next few days enjoying the feeling of terra firma beneath our feet, eating, drinking, walking, cycling, chatting, reading and relaxing (and, I cannot deny, utilising the luxury of guilt free showers, free flowing fresh water and a washing machine!)

The land gang had organised a boat hire for a few days and so together with our dinghy we were all ten of us able to head out to explore the little bays and inlets nearby.  We packed a picnic and set off.  Jojo acted as wine waiter between the two boats.  We swam in the crystal clear waters and took a walk to an impressive lighthouse.

On the Wednesday, Ian offered to take Paul, Aaron, Jojo, George and Anna for a day out on Linea. 

They were then going to anchor in a bay called Smrka, a little further down the coast. 

Uala Smrka, O Brac, where we enjoyed the traditional and freshly prepared food from www.milnaski.com

There, Ali had organised a traditional Croatian dining experience for us all in a magical setting.  We ate an amazing meal cooked by Andrea and her husband.  All the food was cooked over open coals or under a peka (a metal dome that sits over a dish of meat and potatoes, cooking for hours)

The produce used in cooking, the wine and the olive oil had all been grown on Andrea’s family farm near Milna, Brac.  It was a lovely evening. (You must book in advance on www.milnaski.com)

We stayed on board Linea that night and Andrea gave everyone else a lift home. 

Next day, we motored back to Osibova bay and took up our mooring buoy.  Still no one had come to charge us. (Yeah!)

Next day, we were just sitting around enjoying a pre-prandial drink when a guy came up the steps of the villa.  The mooring buoy fee collector from Lucice Bay restaurant had tracked us down.  Hey ho!  We coughed up the 140Euros we owed him for three nights on a block of concrete with no other services or facilities. The final night we got for free as we had left before he came to collect!

After yet another fantastic group effort on the meal production front, we bid farewell to everyone and went home to Linea.  It had been a wonderful week catching up with great friends from Bangkok days, gosh….26 and a bit years since we first met!

We set off up the coast to the north – aiming for our hurricane hole of Rogoznica.  Whilst en route, my brother Paddy phoned to say he’d like to come and visit and bring my rather large and bulky birthday pressie with him, if that would be ok. 

Absolutely!  And, I was even more delighted, when I guessed that the pressie was to be the size and shape of my nephew Louis!

So, we now have a new set of visitors to look forward to which helps me feel less bereft about having to say goodbye to the last ones.

Next time, read about our week with Paddy and Louis.

From Sibenik to Storms!

In Sibenik you can get ‘paid’ to recycle. Such a good idea to encourage people to do it!

We bid a fond farewell to Paula in Sibenik, where she hopped on a bus back to the airport. It’s a shame she wouldn’t be able to eat the mussels we’d bought!  (On the way to the bus station, we spotted this and the ingenious recycling bins.)

We motored out of the Krka River and the short distance across to Prvic island where we anchored off the harbour wall.  (Once more spotting SY Sarasi – we are not stalking them, honest!)

In the evening, we went ashore and walked the short 2km distance to the village of Sepurine to the north and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The island is car-free bliss.  There were families chatting and people playing petanque and it felt like there was a real community living here and people who return here year after year for their holidays.

We nearly stayed little longer but decided to leave and head north to Murter and it just as well we did because Alice and Ian had completed their tour of Zagreb and were heading back down south.  They were going to meet us in Murter!!!!!

Ian set off in the dinghy to fetch them from the sea front.   By then we had completed a few boat jobs.  We had wandered along the sea front carrying our copious quantities of dirty laundry and an empty gas bottle.  We soon found a petrol station.  We walked inside and waited to be attended. Before we could even ask the question about refilling gas bottles the attendant had thrust a piece of paper in Ian’s hand stating the name and phone number we required. (Bude on 0918983227 for those that may be in need of gas!)

What great service. 

We rang the number and the man said he would come in 5 minutes  and ‘look’ at the bottle.  If it was ok, he would fill it.

He came, he saw, and he filled!

Within half an hour we had a new gas bottle for 100k and we were very happy.  He said he was very happy because he had the only gas bottle filling station on the island!

We sussed out the laundry near the marina and were delighted that they would wash and dry for 90k per load.  It was all so easy!

The only thing we had to suss out was water – also easy.  The fuel pontoon would be happy to give us free water when we filled up – sorted!  So far, so brilliant!

Next day, we headed to the fuel pontoon south of the marina and filled up with water which I tasted and pronounced delicious; and fuel, which I did not taste!  All set now.

dav

We decided to head north towards Zadar.  First stop was a lovely anchorage north of Mljane on Pasman Island.  We had a peaceful night there despite a noisy bunch of lads on a charter yacht cavorting about beside us. In the morning, we set off to a protected anchorage between the two islands as electric storms were predicted for the night ahead. 

We arrived and anchored in clear water to the north side of the bay.  We were just about finished putting the boat to bed  when we noticed that the yacht that had been anchored beside us the previous night seemed to be approaching the low bridge at the western part of the bay.  We all held our breath…. Surely they weren’t thinking of going through? 

The air draft under that bridge is only 16.5m and theirs was a boat that was easily as tall as ours.  It seemed as if the tide or current was dragging the boat through and there was nothing they could do.  The mast struck the bridge and scraped and bounced its way underneath as the current dragged them beneath.  Of course, the boat tipped right up and through the binoculars we could see crew scurrying up the now almost vertical deck.  Ian and Ian deployed Thunderbird 2 in the hope that they could help.  Alice and I sat on board having kittens. How embarrassing!  How awful!  And, how lucky…in a way….

The two Ian’s were away for ages and we could not see them at all. Finally, they returned and we received minimal information about the crew but they did relay that the rudder was f….d, the mast head was f….d,  and, quite probably the rigging was, yes, you  guessed it, f…..d!!!

 It was a charter yacht, on their second day.  No, they probably won’t sail again!

The two Ian’s had manoeuvred them on to a mooring buoy until they could be picked up by the charter company. 

With all that drama and the prospect of an inbound electric storm, we needed a game of Bonus Whist or Black Mariah to give us more important things to worry about!

Before we had eaten the flashes began.  We had quite a sound and vision show.

We had all our electronics in the oven (I kid you not – Faraday’s Cage is a technique designed to protect your electronics, etc., from a lightning strike) and were just finishing supper when the wind hit and the wine went for a burton….from no knots, to forty knots, in an instant.  The boat tipped up and span round but we were fine.

Ian stayed up on anchor watch for a while but things quickly settled down.  Next morning, we set off to Preko on Uglijan.  We anchored off this small resort and walked around the bay to catch the Jadrolinija passenger ferry to Old Zadar.  On the way, we met up with Gary and Shillini on Sarasi. 

Turquoise on tourquoise

We had a lovely walk around Old Zadar and found a delightful place to eat.  All too soon, it was time to head back to the ferry.  It was very warm and we decided we needed ice but not before we had walked all the way back into the village, where upon we were informed that ice could only be purchased from the ferry terminal. 

Old Zadar

Not to worry, we set off on Linea and Ian went ashore in the dinghy to purchase two huge bags of the stuff!!!  He really is the Milk Tray Man!!!  We scuttled back to the Prolaz Mali Dzrelac between Pasman and Ugljian and prepared for another stormy night on board.

The storm passed us by, although we saw plenty of lightning again and heard the thunder claps that sounded all too close.  The next day, we arrived back in Murter with the wind building from the NE but decided to anchor.  There was some strong wind forecast, up to 30 odd knots.  We were subject to some fetch but it was fine if bumpy at anchor.  We needed to get off.  Heading across the bay to the car would have been a mad idea as we would have just got absolutely drenched.  So we went with the waves and wind in the opposite direction and jumped ashore to walk around to the car. Ian decided that he ought to stay on board.  Ian, Alice and I enjoyed a walk and then a drive around to Betina where we had a delish lunch.  After the last thirty six hours of bouncing and rolling at anchor we were all feeling a little wobbly on our land legs, especially when going round the very interesting Betina Boat Building Museum.   

Pretty balconies and stone buildings in Betina

We completed a quick driving tour of the islands two roads and then headed back to the boat.

We had bought some sea food and rustled up a huge risotto and hunkered down for yet another blowy and stormy night.  By now, we were accustomed to the noise and flashes of light and largely ignored them.  The wine and the distraction of Black Mariah helped, of course.   

The following day, Alice and Ian disembarked and we set off for a brisk and rolly 40nm downwind sail towards Trogir and the next stage of root canal treatment for Ian. (It was about now that we learned of the truly frightening thunder storms that had so badly affected cruising friends and people in the area of northern Greece which put our stormy nights into perspective.)

Next, read about our wonderful week in Brac with the Clements – Hunts et al.