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.
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!
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 next day was Friday the 2nd of August, 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 attempt 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.
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.
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.
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.
The wind and waves opened them again! We attempted to force them shut. Torrential rain and waves began to lash the
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. Ever the practical one.
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.
When we arrived back we saw our anchor light 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 the anchor is well 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. They informed us that another boat had recorded 55 knots 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 the 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!
Friends on the other side of the island recorded 72 knots of wind. Clearly the wind had been gathering speed as it travelled South.
We continued to hop along the coast of Southern Italy and made it as far as Brindisi. The thing about hopping along the coast to arrive at a destination some way off is that it means you are doing very long days and when you arrive you have no energy to go off and explore. This means you probably need to stay at least two days to be able to see any of the places you stop at. Each time you anchor it is necessary to lower the dinghy into the water and reverse the process when it is time to go – so its a bit of a pain.
As it happens, we have only managed to go ashore in Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi.
In Brindisi, we moored stern to the quay in a fab location by the Appian Way steps; the boat was thoroughly put to bed; we had completed our log updates; changed into our shore clothes and even applied a little lippy (Just Sarah!), we were just getting ready to disembark – so some considerable time had elapsed…when an official in a Brindisi to Corfu Ragatta 2019 T-shirt showed up and told us emphatically that we couldn’t park there. Grrr! Where was he when we came in??
So, we headed off again, this time to the marina. We were tied up securely by about 7pm. After sorting out the paperwork with the office (all in Italian!) and getting ship shape we decided on a pizza supper in the marina restaurant. (42 Euros per night, laundry, more sinks at various heights and showers and loos than I have ever seen in any marina, friendly marineros and staff, just a bus ride out of the main town.)
Our plan was to carry on up the east coast to Vieste and then a short 50 mile hop across to Croatia. By now we has spent a lot of time motoring and looking at the weather for the next five days we would be doing a lot more motoring, we decided that the best possible chance of sailing to Croatia would be the following day. So plan A was abandoned in favour of a crossing direct from Brindisi. The following morning whilst Ian sorted out an issue with the batteries and filled up with water, I headed to the mini market to stock up on supplies for the thirty hour crossing to Ubli, Lastovo, Croatia.
We managed to sail all day and all night and then motored
the remaining 30nm when the wind died to 6 knots.
En route we saw a couple of pods of dolphins and some big fish swam with the boat for about an hour.
Now that we have given up fishing after the fishing line debacle in Syracuse, we see fish! I could practically have scooped them out with a net! Typical!
Lastovo is absolutely GORGEOUS! We found the check – in process to be smooth and efficient. The people were lovely. The place is spotless. We hired bikes from Dado at Rentacarlastovo and he brought them right to us. We enjoyed a big day cycling all round the island although we did find 5km of up on a gravel road in 35 degree heat quite a challenge!
We arrived back about 1800h in time for a refreshing beer with our new friend.
We didn’t even mind paying the National Marine Park fees of 200Kn/night. That’s about £25.
After three days we had a great sail north to Korcula and a pretty anchorage on the east side of an isthmus. Then the following day we managed a nice motor/sail east and round to an anchorage south of Korcula Town.
We have been here three days and its going to be hard to leave. We are in a fab, safe anchorage. It is only a short dinghy ride to Korcula. There is a pleasant breeze. The water is crystal clear.