Earlier in the summer, whilst we were sailing in Croatia on our Bavaria Lagoon 430, David and Lisa had contacted us to ask if we would like to complete a six week hosting stint back at their chalet in Tignes Le Chevril over Christmas and New Year. How could we refuse? Thinking that there was a chance that Keira would be in Val d’Isere for Christmas to see Sam, we jumped at the chance to do a shortened season.
Six weeks was perfect.
But now we were concerned that Ian would not be well enough after his bout of sepsis or have a relapse. We worried about the effects of altitude and consulted the medics. Suitably reassured by the consultant and doctors we set off.
We thoroughly enjoyed hosting all our guests. We had a marvellous time; lots of snow and great skiing. We met up with Keira and Sam, Lucy, Tracy and Lauren, Sue, Tim and Cheryl, Evie and Tom, Jon Dawes, Nigel and Berry (Yachtie friends from MDR).
Ian and I decided to take a quick day trip to Split from our anchorage in Vinisce. This involved a couple a buses from Vinisce to Trogir and then from there to Split. All very easy to figure out. We arrived in Split around midday and headed to the old town. Here we wandered round taking in the sights.
It was of course very warm and we soon ran out of the impetus to wander round much more. We headed for a fabulous health food bistro Step by Step and ordered some yummy salads and ravioli.
Having re-fuelled we felt better and were able to summon up the energy to walk back to the bus station. The bus times worked perfectly for us and although we arrived back after dark there were no problems getting back to the boat.
Following our whistle-stop tour of Split only yesterday we left our anchorage really early to make sure that we arrived at the head of the queue for a spot on the town quay in Milna on Brac island.
We wanted to be there in order to meet Keira and Lucy who were coming into Brac on the ferry from Dubrovnik.
We tootled into the beautiful harbour area trying to identify a suitable gap. If we got it wrong we would potentially be paying marina prices, which are always huge, PLUS a massive August supplementary charge. This we wanted to avoid.
It certainly takes some persistence and just a little bit of good fortune.
First, we hovered around the quay
An official looking chap directed us to the marina.
I said that we want to go on the town quay.
He shrugged. Why, he asked.
I said that we preferred to be there. I asked him where we can moor.
He said to anchor off in the bay and wait til his colleague comes on at 1500h.
We anchored off as instructed.
At 1600h we are called and asked to come in alongside the quay.
RESULT! 300kn (about £28 including free (delicious) water and right in the heart of town.
Our patience and gentle insistence seemed to have paid off. In the marina we would have paid in excess of £100.
Later that evening we strolled round the gorgeous harbour to the ferry terminal and watched the maneuverings of the ferries with some awe. Keira and Lucy had safely arrived after a full on night and day in Dubrovnik.
I won’t go into great detail as Lucy has written a guest blog but will include a brief summary of our journey and a few photos.
Milna, Brac to Smrka Bay, Brac***Swam, explored the submarine pen, swam and chilled
Smrka Bay to Vis Town, Vis***Chilled, ran, swam, did military tour, saw Bohemian Rhapsody in the open air cinema.
Vis to Prizba Bay, Korcula***Listened to the third test. What a match! Chilled and swam.
Korcula to Ubli, U Kremena, Lastovo***Chilled, wandered around Ubli, hired bikes, cycled miles, explored Lastovo town, had lunch.
U Kremeno to O. Cesvinica, Lastovo***Chilled, quiet night, swam and girls went up the mast.
Lastovo Archipeligo to Korcula, U Badija***Sat out strong winds, rescued a dragging charter boat, walked round Badija island, went ashore to Korcula in the dinghy and set off for Kobas on the Peljesac peninsula.
Badija to Kobas nr Ston***Moored to a restaurant jetty, took on water, had dinner (fish and chips) expensive but fun as met the crew of the huge motor yacht Polauris, visited Ston and the Great Wall of Europe
Kobas to Cavtat, U Tiha.***Anchored off and found reasonable holding. Strong winds during the eve. Nice spot despite noise from shore. Dropped Keira, who cadged a lift to the airport with the chief electrical engineer on Eclipse (Roman Obramovich’s motor yacht).
A great time was had by all. We ate some gorgeous vegetarian food and Lucy’s speciality Overnight Oats and Chia Puddings, too! (See Pages for more detail about the kind of food we eat on board Linea)
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 Paddy and Louis departed for Zadar we headed north towards the island of Molat. There is an anchorage on the east side of the island which is protected from south winds that were expected for the next couple of days.
We had a good sail up and were pleasantly surprised by the space available in the anchorage. The depth was 6 metres, the water clear and the swell non-existent. Perfect.
Next morning, we set off to walk across the island to the west side via the village
to the harbour of Lucina on the west side where the ferry comes into.
The harbour front was lovely and we enjoyed a chat with some Yorkshire Tikes (Rondy and Dave on Elise) who were proudly flying their white rose.
David and Rondy told us of the traumas that occurred here during the storm of the 2nd August (we were in Uglian with Paddy at the time) when six boats were washed ashore in the eastern anchorage. Trees were felled and all kinds of damage was done. Again, we realised how lucky we had been to be in a protected anchorage.
We left Molat and headed to Olib.
Again expecting south winds. This bay on the west side of Olib offers good protection. We anchored off near a de-commissioned mooring block and had a quiet couple of days here. We decided to walk across the island to look at the anchorage on the other side.
Setting off down a track bounded on both sides by dry stone walls with styles. Just like Yorkshire!
The main track petered out and soon we found ourselves battling through the undergrowth, brambles, bilberry twigs and overgrown trees and shrubbery in an attempt to reach our destination. After what seemed like an eternity, we burst out of the vegetation on to the main concreted path that leads between the two coasts; sweating, cursing, scratched, bleeding, with leaves in our hair and thorns, spikes in our skin.
Definitely beer o’clock even though it was only 1130h!
We heard about an intriguing sounding Donkey Festival
taking place on Dugi Otok some time in August so we about faced and headed south. We found a great anchorage north of Sali town and whizzed into Sali in the dinghy that evening, arriving in the harbour to be shrouded in wisps of smoke and clouds of cordite from the fireworks display floating off into the atmosphere.
The place was buzzing. We discovered that the following evening there would be a parade, donkey music and a donkey race. We were up for that.
The parade was led by the Old Timers (see pic) followed by a stream of men marching along blowing into cow horns. The noise produced was reminiscent of donkey braying and was accompanied by a beating rhythm created from clanking pieces of metal inside an old fashioned hot coals style of iron.
They beat their donkey tattoo all down the harbour front, sashaying in and out of each other in snaking lines.
It really was quite a spectacle, if somewhat limited in its dynamics, being essentially one note from the horn and one rhythm from the iron. However, what it lacked in musicality it more than made up for in volume. The great cacophony continued to reverberate round the harbour and everyone enjoyed the quirkiness of it all.
Next the donkeys came behind, being alternatively cajoled, tempted and bullied into following along.
One guy leading a donkey had carrots tucked into his belt.
Here we were fortunate to be sitting near a delightful Croatian lady from the island who had lived in California since 1967. She now come ‘home’ every year with here husband Tony who was the flag bearer of the parade.
Then came the donkey race…a mad dash round the harbour on the aforementioned donkeys. This was quite a sight to behold. Poor donkeys.
There was an out and out winner of the eight or so donkeys in the race and he was duly presented with a huge prosciutto ham. I don’t know what the donkey was given.
After all this excitement, we bid farewell to our new best friends and headed back to the boat.
In Murter once more, we refuel-ed, stocked up on provisions and water, did a stack of laundry and prepared for the next few weeks.
We met up with two Brit boats and had a boozy and very late night on Linea with Chris from Windependent and Miles and Bridget from Nirvana.
We then had a good sail south to Rogoznica from where I would be leaving Ian and Linea to pop back briefly to the UK for a reunion with the girls I used to share a house with on Brudenell Avenue whilst at Carnegie – Leeds in the 80s.
Next time, read about my weekend in Leeds and after that about our time with Keira and Lucy as we take in some of the southern Croatian islands.