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.