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.

From Trogir to Sibenik

The lovely anchorage at Vinisce.

For our week with Paula (my best woman!), we were to be blessed with fair and calm weather.  We decided to take small hops up the coast to Sibenik, from where we could visit the renowned Krka Falls.

Ian, Paula and Me

After a slow start on Paula’s first morning we set off to explore Old Trogir a little and buy some last minute provisions. (Loo paper). We left the quay at about noon and had a short sail across to Vinisce Bay, which is a fantastic anchorage. Shallow, with facilities ashore, there is loads of room to swing and not worry.

We enjoyed a pleasant evening there listening to the rather strident and raucous band noise from a nearby event.  But, luckily it didn’t go on late, this being Croatia, that kind of nonsense seems to be frowned upon.

We set off the following morning for an almost perfect sail north.  We tacked into the wind and made great progress.  We arrived at our next anchorage and after a quick survey decided that it wasn’t good enough for us.  We motored to plan B’s location a little further in.  This bay is a large hammerhead shaped bay north east of Rogoznica town. 

rpt

We chose the east end of the hammerhead and anchored comfortably in sand.  There were holiday homes ashore but no other facilities.  A short dinghy ride into Rogoznica was worthwhile.  It is a lovely town and we enjoyed a cocktail and some local wine whilst watching the sun set. 

The following day we sailed about 15nm to Mirine Bay which is a deserted bay with shallow water and a sandy bottom.  There is an impressive defensive wall that strings across the headland so this bay is often referred to as Wall Bay.

We had a very quiet night here with, perhaps, two other boats.

The next day, we made our way to an anchorage

that was not listed in our pilot guide but which we had heard about from friends on Otoka.  A stunning spot tucked in behind an island fort at the mouth of the Krka River and surrounded by pine trees, a beach and an isthmus connecting the root of the fort to the land.

We shot into Sibenik

in the dinghy and had a wander around the pretty town. Then, we swam, chilled and took a walk across to the fort.  The following day, we set off up river for only the second time since departing Portugal.  We motored for a while and then managed to sail downwind until we approached the first road bridge.  As it is an arching bridge with 26m air draft at its highest point we put the head sail away and aimed for the centre of the arch under motor to make sure our 20m mast plus aerial easily passed beneath.

We sailed for a while across the huge lake and then motored the final section of river until we reached the jetty of Konoba Smokvic where we had booked to spend the night.  We swam in the fresh water of the river which was beautifully chilly and marvelled at how much less buoyant we were than in salt water.

That evening, we went to the restaurant to eat.  Soon after, Alice and Ian Daggett arrived to surprise us.  They had landed in Split that morning and were heading up to Plitvice Lakes in their hire car.  They had booked a hotel nearby and decided to join us for dinner.  How adventurous they are as there is only a dirt road access to the restaurant.  We had a wonderful evening with them.

Me, Paula, Ian, Alice and Ian D in Skradin.

Next day, we dinghy-ed up to Skradin early and bought tickets to go to the National Park of Krka Falls.

First, you take a river boat up river and then walk around a beautiful circular path and wooden walkways, weaving through fifty shades of green. . 

We decided to extend the trip and caught the 11.09am (Croastian precision) taxi boat up to Roski Slap waterfalls further up river.  There was glorious scenery all around and it was utterly quiet and deserted. In the midst of all this nature there was an island originally created stone on stone by the sheer hard labour of Franciscan Monks many years ago.  Now, the man-made island has a huge monastery, church and beautiful garden. Living here now are a handful of novice monks and a guiding priest.  There was an interesting museum too, but for me the gardens and attending butterflies were the most special part of the place.

We continued up river and arrived at the gorgeous Roski Falls and grabbed a quick, refreshing swim and a picnic lunch.  We had the chance to look around an interesting flour mill.  Totally water driven and in full working order again.

All too soon it was time to return.  We all had a little snooze on the way back.  We had walked at least 12km in the heat and humidity and we were in need of refreshment!

We were glad to be back on Linea to cool off and share a couple of beers and ‘interesting arguments’ with Goran (and Ian!!) from the restaurant.  We went up to Skradin in the evening to meet Alice and Ian after their day at Plitvice and also spotted Gary and Shillini on Sarasi, new CA friends we met in Rogoznica.

Next day, we motored back to Sibenik, we stopped off to buy some mussels from the mussel farm in the river and then I whizzed Paula ashore and we sorted out her bus trip back to the airport.

What a lovely week.  Some great sailing, a little exercise, some swimming, sights and scenes.

Next time, read about our stormy week with Alice and Ian!

Carry on Croatia

Old Town Quay Trogir

So far we remain very impressed by Croatia. There are beautiful islands, pristine waters and stunning coves. There is interesting history and stunning churches, buildings and monuments. The sailing has been good and there are loads of free anchorages so living is relatively cheap.

We were very much looking forward to visiting Old Korcula town as we had heard so much about it. What worried us was how we go about visiting without it costing us an arm and a leg. After much research and advice from fellow cruisers, we decided we would anchor a couple of miles away and zip in in the dinghy. We visited couple of times and one evening we attended a farmers’ market. It was a very low key affair with mostly wine, tomatoes, olive oil and lavendar on sale – but pleasant enough. We bought some red Crno Suho Vino Plavac Mali and a white Petrusac made from Posip grapes from this characterful guy with a splendid moustache.

Next day, we did a drive by the monastery so I could take a decent pic. Here is the Franciscan Monastery of Badija.

After our Vrnik anchorage, we were heading for Loviste on the tip of the Peljesac Peninsula. We made the journey in good time and anchored off. It was a huge bay with good protection from wind and swell. We took the dinghy ashore and found a nice quiet village with supermarket, post office, bars and restaurants.

Next stop was Scedro Island and then we made the jump to the archipelago of the Pakleni Islands which look like a series of joined up epiglottises!

The Pakleni Islands.

We headed for an anchorage but it was so incredibly busy with day trip boats from nearby Hvar. It was noisy and unpleasant and there was a lot of swell from the boats buzzing about like mosquitoes. In the morning, we were getting too close to a boat behind so we decided to leave. However, the wind, once we were outside the protection of this anchorage, had really got up and we battled and bounced into it for a couple of hours. Then we had a fantastic sail northwards with three reefs in the sail.

It being a Sunday, we passed some one hundred and fifty charter yachts heading south on the first day of their week’s charter. We were the only boat going north – it was like dodgems! A lot of the charter boats were over-powered and struggling with too much sail. We were glad to have only a tiny bit of sail out. We arrived on Brac and anchored in a still and calm bay east of Milna, Uvala Lucice (middle bay) It was all peace and quiet. We tied back to the shore and stayed there for a couple of days.

After a further stop in an anchorage (deserted) on the south coast of Solta island we made our way to Ciovo to the north and anchored off a lovely camp site. Then onwards to Trogir. I had booked us onto the town quay there so we could fill up with water and pick up crew.

Despite the searing heat bouncing off the quay and the buildings, we had to crack on with all our jobs and Ian had to go to the dentist for what turned out to be root canal treatment. He is feeling much better now.

We had a little time to wander round old Trogir, which is beautiful before it was time to catch a bus to Split airport and pick up Paula.

Next time, read all about our lovely week bobbing up the coast to the north to reach the fantastic Krka National Park.