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DESTINY DIARY 2009, - Croatian Tour Part 2.

Storm Sunset
Stormy weather. Sun set in Croatia.
We have now been cruising in Croatia for over a month. So far we have only stayed in Central Adriatic. As we said previously the first two days on Lastovo island were very enjoyable, the weather and the water was great. We did not have any specific plan or destination, but we decided to go north from Lastovo and leave the Dubovnik coast for our way back down, as we also we want to visit Montenegro.
Chris and Carole on Philippidies III stayed in convoy with us and we went onto Korcula Island on the south side, we were aiming for the village of Brna, but could not find a suitable anchoring, little did we know that this would not be the first time. We went along the coast looking at the various anchorages mentioned in the pilot book, but these were not attractive and finally we dropped the anchor in the bay of Gradina few miles from the main town of Vela Luka on the west side of the Island. The holding was good, few houses and a restaurant around the bay and water clear but still cold. PhiIippidies III joined us later that evening and we went to the restaurant on the beach to celebrate Chris 60th birthday. The waitress was very friendly; the food enjoyable and the company great.
We stayed there for 2 nights. When we went ashore for a walk, it was like being in Provence fifty years ago, same vegetation and rocky land, few people and houses, and the vegetation wild.
Hvar Maison
Hvar Harbour Local architecture
Next we went to the small island of Scedro and anchored for the night in Uvala Lovisce. We left the following day for the island of Hvar and cruised along the south side of Hvar Island, the steep slopes are covered with vineyards, it can't be easy picking the grapes. We found space in the harbour the town of Hvar which is a picturesque and historic town of Venetian origin, squeezed between the sea and the hills. The cathedral of Sv Stjepan is located at the end of a spacious cobble piazza a very pleasant place as cars are allowed in the streets around the harbour.. Being a very busy harbour we did not want to stay for the night so went on to the Islands of Pakleni.
These peculiars shaped islands look beautiful from the air, but there are very few anchorages available due to the depth. We went to Luka Soline where we had our first disaster. We were towing the dinghy, as we reversed for the anchoring I was concerned as John said to me the day before never to reverse with the dinghy behind. As he told me not to worry since he was more concerned that the anchor wasn't biting I left the dinghy behind and stayed behind the steering wheel. I should not have listen to him as the line of the dinghy got caught by the propeller, the dinghy went under the boat! I was so mad. John had to spend the next 3 hours trying to free the wire, rope and a plastic bag from around the prop, whilst I bailed the dinghy and tried to keep it afloat. The dinghy had 2 big holes ; one on the top made by the anode and the other one on the bow made by the propellers. We put the dinghy on the davits and went to the next bay Tarsce where we successfully dropped the anchor; it was very busy but we suddenly found that Pele and Lulu on 'Froggy' were moored just in front of us.
Phare Starigrad
Light House Starigrad
We spend the next day trying to repair the dinghy having hauled it onto the foredeck. Luckily we had 3 dinghy repair kits on board, but we still had to borrow glue from 'Froggy'. We invited them for diner on board, spend a nice evening trying to forget about the upsetting dinghy saga. The following day we re-inflated the dinghy; the top patch was OK but the bottom leaked, it was a difficult repair due to layers and the bent aluminium hull.
We had to find a ships chandler to buy more glue. According to the pilot Stari Grad was the place, so we went there and tied up to the town quay. It's a nice town, and probably was once a very important. We found the ships chandler but it didn't have the glue we needed, in fact he didn't have much at all but... But we did an find an internet point to catch up with our Emails, and a post office to send cards and a supermarket to top up our stores.
In the evening we found a nice little restaurant for dinner. John had contacted Ante whom we met through work 3 years ago in Croatia. He was very kind and found us someone in Split that could professionally repair the dinghy. So Split became our next destination.
Split Split
Old town of Split Whats left of Diocesan's palace
We stopped overnight on Island of Solta U. Necujam, the wind came up strongly early the following morning; so had a bit of a rough crossing to Split. We had called the marina to book a place but when we got there the wind was blowing so we had to wait before they let us moor. We ended up on the sea wall outside the marina, not very sheltered from the wash of the ferries. We managed to find the people for the repair of the dinghy and arranged for them to come to the boat the following day. They did a good job, but warned us that it was a difficult repair and it might not be 100% ; they were right, we still had a leak which meant pumping the boat every day. We stayed two nights in the marina but would not recommend it to anybody, the staff were very unfriendly and we complained that they could not charge us full price since we were outside the protection of the marina. But we did find a nice place for lunch overlooking the bay of Split.
We moved out and anchored in the harbour where we stayed for a week. PhiIippidies III came and joined. We had lousy weather with wind, thunderstorms and rain but the anchor was OK until PhiIippidies decided to jump us!
PIII had dragged their anchor in a gust and ended up across our bow with their rudder hooked over our anchor chain, with the extra weight on our anchor we now started dragging - so picture the scene - two boats T-boned in the semi dark of evening rapidly being blown towards the big (expensive) boats, on the marina sea wall. I'll tell you what happened in the next instalment...
Cooling Split
With Carole and Phil Split
OK, here goes, firstly an explanation, when we anchor we use what is called a snubber, this is a heavy duty rope with a hook on it (about 4-5 metres long) which attaches to the anchor chain when the anchor is set and is then tied off to a sturdy cleat. This takes the weight off of the anchor windlass and stops the anchor chain squeaking all night on the bow roller.
To free ourselves from PIII We had no choice but to let the anchor chain drop freely so that it would sink under the rudder of PIII, unfortunately, because the snubber was under strain there was no way to recover it, so we quickly sent it to the bottom of Split harbour, anyway we did succeed in detaching the two boats and now we could our anchor and go around in circles, in the dark, in the wind looking for a new spot in which to re- anchor. It took us and hour to settle again.
Chris came across the following morning, with profuse apologies, though it was hardly anybodies fault and insisted on paying for the snubber, which was extremely generous of him. We sat in Split harbour for another 24 hrs whilst the weather did its worst - more rain, more thunderstorms.The following day, Chris decided to leave early, he was going to a marina around the corner the to leave his boat and fly to the UK for a short time, so he came across in the dinghy to bid his farewells and a final chat.Half an hour later he brought up his anchor and incredibly, brought up my anchor snubber with his anchor, as I said it's only 4 meters long and in the whole of Split harbour.... he kindly brought it over to us and I had to give him back the money he'd given me for a replacement....I should have charged him rental!
Despite the weather we enjoyed Split, a very lively port, beautiful old town built inside Diocesan's (one of the Caesar's family) palace, a very good market and shopping. We bought a local telephone and internet chip and ended up staying anchored in the bay for a week. We got to know the town well and we both had a haircut!
Trogir Trogir
Old Trogir Trogir Cathedral
Trogir Trogir
View from the Top Another - View from the Top
Then it was time to go on. I wanted to see Trogir into the bay we went left to the Town of Marina instead of right to Trogir. Were enchanted by the town of Marina and the friendliness of the Agana harbour, a private marina; also we had the best dinner in the best restaurant so far in Croatia called RAAFOURTY located in an old tower completely refurbished. The food was divine, the waiter/sommelier Niko was just great, the menu is like a book ! 'Froggy' came also to stay in Agana and they kindly invited us to share a typical Swedish mid summer dinner- good food and drinks -Great.
Marina Two deserts each!
We did go to Trogir but by bus from Marina, which was a lot easier. Trogir is a very old medieval town small street, old building and also with a good market and swarming with tourists. Back to the boat, we decided to investigate the problem of the deflating dinghy which was getting worse. This time we found another hole, hidden on the inside. It was right at the front where the chamber meets the hull, and we struggled to try to patch it. The marina had a large charter fleet and John asked one of the technicians if he had any idea of what could be done, he called an expert that came and said he could not do anything within the next 2 days, and funny enough the dinghy stayed inflated for the next 2 whole days. We thought we had finally fixed it!
We left Marina after 5 days and went cruising around the islands, but there were very few places where we could stop as the bays are very deep (mostly over 20 meters), we finally dropped the anchor in Potcuina on the island of Kakan, we liked the place and stayed 3 nights, the weather was improving and the water getting warmer. Next we went around the islands of Kaprije, Zmajan, Zlarin without finding a suitable anchoring place but finally stopped in the bay or Tijasica on the Island of Tijat where we met up again with Froggy. We decided it was time for a change of scenery. yes, you can get bored with too many islands, sea and sun! So we went up to the lake Prokljansko on the river Krka.
Falls In the water
Falls In the water
Skradin Visovac
Skradin View Visovac Monastry
On the way up river, we were being followed by another trawler yacht 'Argus' owned by Phil and Margaret from Australia. We chatted on the radio and decided to meet up and anchor in the Beretusa bay at the top of the lake. They came all the way from Australia, quite an adventure. The following day we continued up river to the little town of Skradin and anchored in the bay. All four of us took a boat to the Roski waterfalls and then onto the monastery on the island of Viscovac. This is the most beautiful part of Croatia so far, I enjoyed swimming in the clear unsalted water, next to the waterfall, it was such an experience, so much current (undoubtedly generated from copious amounts of rainwater).
In the evening we went to the restaurant 'Bonaca' together where we had very tasty and fresh fish. 'Argos' left the following day as they were going on up to Venice. I liked the place and we stayed on. It was too nice and making water with the watermaker was so quick!
But beside the dinghy deflating sickness, we were having problems with the batteries that were not holding charge and John had also found oil in the bottom of the engine bilges which he traced to a leak of from the generator filter. The oil problem was solved quite rapidly by adding a missing seal on the filter and mopping up. As for the batteries, again Ant who was fantastic, came to our rescue, not only did he find us the batteries that John wanted, and at a very good price, but he also delivered them to the boat. - How's that for service...
For the delivery we had moved onto the quay at Skradin; run by a friendly Port Officer Zlatko Pulic. It was hard work getting the old batteries out (60kg each x 3) and the new ones in, and access to the batteries compartment wasn't easy. Unfortunately Ante could not stay too long but he gave us some good tips where to go and what to see in Croatia. WWe'll see him again somewhere down the road.
We stayed four days in Skradin, then went back down river to the lake Prokljansko Jezero and anchored on our own for two nights. We were entertained by the fire fighter aircraft practicing picking up and fire bombing.
River Plane
Lake Another kind of water falls!
Shibernik Zut
Sibernik Zut
On the way out we stopped on the quay side of Sibernik, which is the town at the entrance to the river, as supplies were getting low and then back out to the Islands.
We stopped in the bay of Potcuina on Kakan Island, it was a good anchorage tested overnight as the wind came up. We stayed two nights then went on to the Island of Zut, being French I had to go there (in French Zut means damn or blast, as used in the expression 'zut alors' or 'Oh blast'). We anchored overnight in the bay Luka Hiljaca then moved to the anchorage outside of Zut marina the following day. We went ashore for a walk, but as usual couldn't go too far, the road doesn't go anywhere - what road?
But it was a nice sheltered bay ; the weather was improving and the water getting a little bit warmer. It seems that finally the daily thunder storms were going away. It was after all mid July and we expected better.
Evaland Bell
Veni Vidi Vinci! Another one for the collection!
Our next stop was in front of a couple of small island opposite the Gangaro Island ; a shallow anchorage, 8 meters and nobody around - we had the place to ourselves or at least we thought so, as next morning when we got up there was another boat along side of us, these charter boats are a bit like flies - just when you think you've got rid of them all...another one pops up.
We stayed there for 2 nights, we took the dinghy and landed and walked around on the smallest of the islands and named it EVALAND, inhabitants 2: two lonely sheep (what do they drink?).
Then it was back to civilization for more food shopping so we went to Murter on the Island of Murter, where we tried to find a ship chandlers for some parts. We had some long walks but John did not find what he was looking for. Murter Island is a long narrow Island in front of Croatia main land, between the two the water is shallow and there are plenty of anchorages, we stopped for one night in the bay between the islands of Mala Arta and Radelj, but the wind turned and we were being blown towards the shore, at midnight John decided it wasn't safe, so in the dark we went towards the mainland and anchored in Vela Luka, a bit stressful as it was dark, very shallow and there were boats anchored without lights on. By the morning it was flat calm and I watched the sunrise and had a quiet swim whist John was still asleep. Then as further bad weather was forecast we decided to go back up to Skradin and the waterfalls my favourite place until the weather had cleared.
At the falls JandE
At the falls At the falls
After talking with Ant we decided there was no point in going further north. We are not really overwhelmed by Croatia. The weather has not beeen great, lots of thunderstorms, and there is always the threat of the bora wind which can suddenly blow with violence from the NE. Furthermore the islands are really not exciting, most are uninhabited and impossible to walk around, anchorages are difficult because they tend to be small and quite deep and the charter boats are taking over. As cruising tourists it seems you have to pay for everything, the ACI marinas are v.expensive and not friendly, any good anchorage has been taken over by a restaurant which charges for laid mooring buoys and some places even on your own anchor a charge is due. Considering that on entering Croatia you have already paid for a cruising permit, it seems a bit too much. This is one of the reason we had decided not to visit the Kornati Island as we were really not interested in going around some bare rocks and be charged for it per day.
We'll give you another up date shortly and tell you about the 'Dragnet'.
The gang Planning
Us, Froggy and Phillipidies III Where to next?
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