A few highlights from a fantastic two week holiday in Croatia…
After a flying visit to Dubrovnik with Keira, we travelled 4 hours by ferry on Wednesday to Milna on the island of Brač. Sarah and Ian were on the town quay awaiting our arrival and we walked to where Linea was moored. After a long catch up, a delicious homemade curry, and a few glasses of wine, we were ready for bed, and slept soundly for the first night on the boat.
Thursday, we set off to Smrka bay, which was beautiful, it even housed an old Military tunnel left over from the Former Yugoslavia, and an old house left in its original state.
The house was complete with an outside shower and toilet, as well as a large open fire in the main room of the house, used for cooking a traditional supper for dinner guests who wish to enjoy a traditional Croatian meal.
Friday, we managed to sail the full 19 miles to Vis as we were lucky with the 5.6 knots of wind in our favour.
Saturday was by far the most interesting day as we set off from Vis town by Land Rover to visit three different military bases. Equipped with helmets and headlamps, the tour started in the underground tunnels. We explored the labyrinth of tunnels and bunkers, saw the remains of cannons and abandoned warehouses.
The views from the top were incredible! The tour guide pointed out Tito’s cave and informed us that the leader used this as a Partisan hideout from the invading Nazi forces during the Second World War. We were left fascinated by a tour so rich in culture and history that afterwards, we spent some time discussing it with our guide over a well-earned beer.
Sunday, we sailed 30 miles to Korčula.
I think now it is the right time to mention that England thrashed Australia in the Ashes. Despite mine and Keira’s disinterest in the cricket, I know that S+I will be thrilled that I mention this here, it did create a buzzy atmosphere on the boat and we celebrated by enjoying G+T’s on the top deck and were introduced to ‘Black Mariah’.
The following three days were spent in Lastovo’s Archipelago Nature park- the most idyllic place of all. We were spoilt by the luscious vegetation and marine life that surrounded us. Some personal highlights from this wonderful island: locals who travelled around by dinghy delivering bread and pastries to any anchored vessel, the four of us star gazing on the top deck- mesmerised by the little air pollution, the exhausting yet thoroughly enjoyable 20 mile cycle around the island topped with a fantastic lunch in ‘Fumari’.
Next up was a 30 mile sail to Ston, we spent the evening in a restaurant where a large table of crew members dined from the world’s second largest super yacht named ‘Perlorus’.
We indulged in freshly barbequed fish and home grown salad and chips and enjoyed conversing with the crew members and learning how ‘the other half live’! Keira and I spent our last night on the boat in Cavtat before S+I took us to shore to wave us goodbye as we parted ways. A truly unforgettable holiday filled with cultural discoveries, delicious food, some exercise, and great company- thank you Sarah and Ian for a wonderful boating experience.
I don’t know if you want to put this in the blog but I just wanted to say a special thank you to Ian for teaching me the basics about sailing, I can confidently work out the maths when it comes to calculating the distance, speed, and duration from destination to destination (just about!) Sarah, thank you for inspiring me with your cooking and acting as nurse when I fell over and cut my knee. I am so grateful to you both for inviting me onto the boat, you spoilt me! I look back with such fond memories that will stay with me forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
After a stressful period of exams, I was relieved and excited to have the opportunity to finally fulfil my dream of sailing in the Med. It was very daunting flying “solo” to a place I had never been before and staying with people whom I had never met. However, I was quickly put at ease by Sarah and Ian.
We drove to the Marina where the spectacular Linea was waiting and I was delighted to find out that we had good company present in the form of “gin palace” rental man Lorenzo. We conversed with him for a short while before heading off to the beach to top up the tan. However, we found out that this was one of the few bays in the fingers which was harbouring hundreds of sea urchins. We put this thought to the back of our minds and ventured out into deeper water. While snorkelling there we enjoyed chasing the fish which were inhabiting the coral. Normally snorkelling is not my biggest hobby due to the waters of sunny Cornwall not being particularly warm, however swimming in water hot enough to bath in was wonderful. Upon return to the yacht I was pleasantly surprised to find an iced coffee waiting for me, made by Lorenzo. We finished the day with a very pleasant evening at the beach taverna accompanied by great food and local entertainment.
The next day we said farewell to our neighbours and set off to the next finger. Sam and I both took turns helming which was great fun. During our journey we practiced our man overboard principles, experimenting with buoys and a lost “frozen ball”. Nobody was harmed during this exercise and both the buoy and the frozen ball were recovered safely. Upon arrival to our destination we anchored up and packed all the sails away. Sam and I then began to wind down and we engaged in activities such as diving off the boat. We spent the rest of the night together eating on board and after packing everything away we brought out the cards and had a great game of Uno.
Over the next couple of days we did some bay hopping and Sam and I both took the opportunity to go to shore to walk to the various towns around our position to collect some supplies and take some photos. We continued to do some diving off the front of the boat and we also erected a rope swing which was thoroughly enjoyable. During the nights which we stayed in the bays Sam and I were tasked with cooking some carbonara. It was not too bad, however, Sam and I seemed to use too little pasta and cream meaning portions were a bit thin! Cooking on a boat, rocking from side to side, was quite a challenging experience but it was nonetheless enjoyable. On the next night we watched a talent show unfold from our boat. The “talent” was not actually visible to us (as we were watching from afar), however the music was certainly audible, so much so that we were all very tempted to go ashore and cut the audio cables. The music went on into the early hours of the morning.
The next morning we prepared the boat in order for a short sail across to the second finger. We got the spinnaker out and we caught some nice wind, maxing out at roughly 6 Knots. The sail did have to come down before we arrived, as we had reached a fairly treacherous point of our journey- the entrance to Diaporos. We were therefore forced to motor in and we found a lovely sheltered spot in which we were accompanied by fellow Brits, an Aussie, a Frenchman and a Hungarian. At the Diaporos we continued diving and swimming from the boat, but we also took up games such as backgammon and draughts. We did this mainly, however on several occasions we ventured off into some of the inlets for some snorkelling and a general look around the stunning collective of bays. During these days we also played a lot of beach tennis, however we never did finish our mini “Wimbledon/Diaporos” tennis tournament. We finished off our stay in the Diaporos Island with a visit to the local restaurant based at one of the campsites dotted around the coast of the mainland. Our hosts were very welcoming however throughout the night there was an ongoing issue in the communication department, which meant that my main meal never arrived. This aside we all had a great night out and Sam and I were lucky enough to meet some of the locals, with whom we snatched up the opportunity of a photo.
The next day we set off to our final destination of the trip and while under sail we conducted some more man overboard drills. We arrived at a pontoon and tied ourselves up. Sam and I then jetted off on the tender to Ormos Panagias to have a walk to the long strip of beach in the bay adjacent to the one in which we were staying. Unfortunately for us, during the trip back from the beach to Linea the engine very abruptly cut out on us- as we had run out of fuel- meaning we had to row back.
In doing this I worked up quite an appetite which was met with splendid seafood from one of the restaurants in Ormos Panagias.
This was a wonderful way to finish off our fantastic 11 day stay on Linea.
Thank you so much for allowing me aboard you home and for making me feel welcome.
Rory Cornelius Smith
(Apologies Sheena for the delay in posting, ed)
Notes taken by an inexperienced crew member way back in September on the trip from Marina di Ragusa to Kefalonia
After a serious list of boat vocab (halyard, sheet, reefing rope, gib, gennacker and so on, I found a short list of needy knots such as the bowline and the very useful half hitch and some instructions on how to do them (it took me an unacceptably long time to fully grasp Sarah’s knot lesson) we move on to a list of boaty expressions, cooked up after a glass of wine or two……,.
THE SUN IS OVER THE YARD ARM (time for a drink) every evening at dusk except when out at sea
THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND (drunk) not every evening…….honest
ALL HANDS ON DECK (everyone get to work) when Captain gave the orders
SHIP-SHAPE (tidy) how Sarah keeps her boat
ANY PORT IN THE STORM (anything goes) no storms but an unplanned port for sure
BATON DOWN THE HATCHES (get ready for a difficult moment) cos if you don’t you find water dripping on your head in the middle of the night
DOWN THE HATCH (eat up) yes this happened very often as there is not just one breakfast on board the Linea
BRACE YOURSELF (get ready) well we must have done it as no one went overboard this time
I LIKE THE CUT OF YOUR GIB Ian’s chat up line
SHE’S HITCHED (married) “sorry but I’m already hitched” – perhaps after the above
SHE’S HALF HITCHED (not sure if this means your marital state or your mental state) whatever it means it made us laugh
TO TIE THE KNOT (get married) well this doesn’t really apply to us oldies
TO MISS THE BOAT (miss an opportunity) but I really did nearly miss it one day when I spent too long saying goodbye to the turtles…
GET KNOTTED what you mustn’t say to the Captain
TO BE DECKED (k:o.) this is what happens if you tell the Captain to get knotted
Sheena – Linea crew Sicily to Kephalonia; September 2016
When I saw that email asking whether anyone would like to join the sail over from Sicily to Kefalonia I jumped at the chance, booking my flight down to Sicily almost before getting the go ahead!
So the adventure began….we actually spent a couple of days stocking up and sightseeing, it was great to see my old friends Sarah and Kim again and hope that Ian didn’t get too fed up with our giggles…..if he did he masked it admirably. After a day’s visit to Ragusa, a pretty town split between the upper modern part and the lower ancient part, a maze of little streets, churches, doors and steps, we were ready to go. Next day we got ready to leave the harbour, to my amazement I was at the helm steering us out of the Marina before I knew what was what! But we got out without damage. We had our safety lesson by Il Capitano and a demonstration of useful knots by Skipper Sarah, a subject destined for many a laugh later on when the knots were actually needed….my half-hitch was for a few days somewhat half-hitched but I did eventually become a bit of an expert at attaching fenders!!! We were told that this was the longest ever stretch of sailing so far only when we had left land and couldn’t change our minds!
Italy disappeared over the horizon and soon we were sailing into the blue. No chance of lightening the load as food was part of the out at sea experience. We had some beautiful meals arriving from the hold……often two breakfasts, magnificent lunches and evening meals, snacks and appetizers! But who the hell was it who ate all the chocolate????
Ian and Sarah managed the boat and we muddled around in between, it took me some days to get which way the ropes (I know Ian, that they aren’t called ropes) went around the winches….a phrase was coined “to do a Sheena” that is, to wind it round the wrong way!
Amazing that we managed not to get on top of each other too much in such a small space, for 72 hours at a stretch, even being joined by little Taylor Swift who flew in on her way down to Africa, perched on a bag in one of the toilets, fluffed up her feathers, tucked her head under one wing and slept for the whole night. She continued to follow us for most of the day after, hopefully finding her way eventually to where she was going.
After a lovely gentle sail across the ocean we arrived, tired but exhilarated, almost exactly 3 days later at Argostoli, Kefalonia where John (or was it Giorgo…..) with the long grey ponytail met us at shore. Long grey ponytails seemed to be the fashion in Kefalonia, we were spotting Johns wherever we went. That night, while safely moored, there was a big thunderstorm, I was relieved not to be rolling about on the sea as I staggered about trying to close my hatch.
Next day, late evening, Erin arrived for a visit. Unfortunately being last on board she was relegated to sleep in the cupboard while I luxuriated in the spare room, sorry Erin!
Then we were off again, this time 6 of us on board, but going round the coast of Kefalonia. We tried going into a small harbour but it was too shallow and we had to change plans and sail off to Zante, the opposite island, the winds were good and we raced across. Our port of call was Agios Nicolaus, a small unassuming little village whose claim to fame was some nearby caves and the ferry coming in. We were met as we arrived by Nicolaus, a little man selling oil, honey, olives, sage, currants, bread and cheese, the spice of life! He let us taste his wares and needless to say we bought a bit of everything and he went off with a huge smile on his face!
Next day we sailed back to Kefalonia stopping off for a swim in the middle of the sea, I was waiting for the dolphins to arrive but they didn’t grace us with their presence this time. We arrived at our next stop Effimia (I think) to stock up on wine and ouzo, a busy little place where we had to squeeze into a very tight spot, niftily managed by captain and crew! Getting on to land was a bit dodgy though as we looked longingly at the other boats’ long gangplanks in comparison to ours which needed a bit of a jump at the end to get ashore. Luckily we drank our wine safely onboard!
Next day we had a short way to go to our destination Fiskardo so we anchored in a lovely bay with transparent blue waters where Sarah passed on her fishing skills to her daughter and we had freshly caught sea bream for lunch. Erin for some reason was not using her right hand to wield the killing weapon and I had to look the other way, but the fish was delicious!
Over the bay another boy bonding boat had anchored too and the boys were skinny dipping and showing off their bods, not all worthy of being shown off if I may say so.
At the lovely Fiskardo we anchored on the other side of the bay and sent the young ones off in the dinghy to attach the long mooring lines. There was a strong current and some strong language as we all annoyed Oliver and Erin by shouting instructions like ROW ROW GO GO as they struggled in the current and Oliver’s bowline came astray (oh boy, was I relieved not to have such knot pressure). We eventually managed, only to see a boat full of Swedish girls come sailing in, one of them swimming in with the lines and doing the whole thing quite slickly. However, the wind HAD dropped considerably by then. We had a delicious meal at the famous Nicolas restaurant and the next day we swam with the fish that Sarah was going to catch later on and then we sadly left the boat and caught a bus back down to Argostoli, the airport and real life again.
Thanks guys for the BEST sailing holiday ever, so many laughs, and don’t worry (or perhaps do worry) because I will be back again!!!!