Welcome to Lesbirdsnest.com - John and Eva Bird on the M/Y 'Destiny'.
lesbirds@msn.com Contact Us Phone: 0044 (0)787 222 69 65 or 0033 (0)620 719 335

DESTINY DIARY 2009, - Croatian Tour Part 3

Skadin River
My favourite place. Beautifully green
As we said before, we stayed in Dalmatia and did not go to the north of Croatia. We visited the Krka waterfalls 3 times in all, the woodlands, the clear water with a secure anchorage and the small village of Skradin with its tiny riverfront and cafes. I walked up to the top of an old tower and had a beautiful view of the area, including the town, the river and lakes. You can still see some scars left over from the war, houses with big holes and even the church roof unrepaired.
The other reason I like this place is that each time we came we met new cruisers such as Phil and Margaret on 'Argos' who introduced us to the 'Dragnet'. These are long term cruisers from all over the world Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, even one or two English speakers. Every morning at 8am they contact each other on the short wave radio keeping in touch, informing who is where and swapping useful information. We could hear people cruising in Croatia, Italy, Greece and even France.
PIII Halcyon
Wtih Chris and Carol enjoying the Falls. Always lots of fun meeting with Roy and Moira.
On our second visit to the falls we stayed ten days! As we were arriving, Roy and Moira on 'Halcyon' appeared alongside, they were just leaving Skradin to fly back to Scotland with their grand children. But John and Roy kept on talking for so long that they finally stayed for the night. I made Spaghetti for everybody and we had a great evening. The next day we met Bob and Sam on 'Blue Banana' from the USA; Bill and Becky on 'Stardust' also Americans and Liam and Anny on 'Gone with the Wind' a catamaran from Australia. These were/are the founders of the 'Dragnet' and call themselves the 'Herd',they have been cruising for several years, so it was interesting listening to their experiences sailing up from Asia, through Red Sea and into the Med. For a change, we decided to walk to the falls, but we took the wrong road and went up and up and up a hill until we realised our mistake and had to come back down to the boat, completely exhausted. The following day we took the ferry and saw the road we should have taken. I enjoyed walking around the water falls again, on the planked paths, going over the different streams that flow through and join together, to finally tumble down to the bottom main fall. As we returned to the boat we found the Pele and Lulu on 'Froggy' moored not far from us, then later Chris and Carol on 'Philipidies the Famous' arrived. We were reunited again first time since Brendisi! Again we had a great evening. The following day we walked to the falls again, this time with Chris and Carol and had a swim. We finally left Skradin for Primostern, a small fortified town on an island. We treated ourselves to a restaurant and listened to a concert in town.
Rogoznica Stomorska
Rogoznica. Stomorska.
Next stop was Rogoznica, we anchored off and went to visit the new modern marina to see what we were missing and found that, that same evening the election of Miss Dalmatia was planned but John refused to go after I'd chained him up! We continued our way southward, stopped on the town quay of Stomorska, a small village on Solta island; that was real Croatia as we had expected to see during our visit of this country, friendly people, small stoned houses around the harbour palm trees and good restaurants. We missed a rendez-vous with PIII and went to Vrboska on Hvar before continuing to Brac and anchored in Sumartin then on U Tocinjak; both were nice anchorages but spoiled by a blaring all night disco from a mainland holiday resort, 5 miles away. Peter and Coralie came to see us so we returned to Split where we found Roy and Moira on 'Halcyon' who were back from Scotland. Like us they were not enjoying Croatia and were heading south. From Split we went to Kastela Marina, our first marina for 3 weeks. Being close to the airport, it's the home of more than 250 charter boats! but being Tuesday, it was empty, all the charter boats were out. Unfortunately for Peter and Coralie, the weather changed to rain and wind as soon as they arrived so we left the boat in the marina and took the bus to Split to show them the old town and the Diocletian Palace, or what is left of it.
Walkfalls Falls
Walking down the wooden path. My favourite place.
Of course we had to show Peter and Coralie our favourite spot at the falls in Skradin. We enjoyed again the 9 miles trip inland up the scenic river Krk and Moffi was suitably impressed. This time we met another yacht called Destiny from the US owned by Kent, he had a beautiful dog 'Jolie'. I went to the falls with Peter and Coralie because 'Destiny' had sprung a water leak somewhere in the plumbing and it was the captains priviledge to sort it out. He found a hole in one of the pipes hidden down in one of the most inaccessable places behind the mains transformer and had to change the water pump as well. Poor John, he really hates plumbing, (or it hates me - Ed) but as usual he did a good (fantastic - Ed) job, but it was not the end, the next day the fridge had defrosted overnight, soaking the carpet. John found a loose connection to the compressor, so not a big problem, just a big mess.
Statue Jolie
Meet the locals. Meet Jolie!
PetC Cayak
Hard life on Destiny. Racing boys against girls
We left the river for the last time and headed to another good anchorage we like on the island of Kakan U.Potkucina. There we met Mark and Amanda on 'Balvenie' from NZ and David and Sheryle on 'Samsara' from Australia, (more members of the Dragnet gang). The following day Phil and Margaret on 'Argos' and Liam and Anny on 'Gone with the Wind' joined the party. But things got spoiled when a guy came to ask us to pay for being anchored! We were not very happy about it and all refused to pay the 200kr, despite his threat of a fine of 2000kr. Mark had a long discussion on the phone with somebody, but it was no use, there is too much corruption and it seems some locals take advantage of a popular anchoring place, lay down some buoys and then asked everybody to pay, even if they use there own anchor. They come late evening when it is too late to leave and this gives a really negative feeling about the country and has soured many peoples opinion of Croatia. The following day we returned to Marina Kastela to take Peter and Coralie back to the airport. Unfortunately for them we did not have the best of weather, but there's always next time.'Argos' had also followed us into Kastela as there was a good Cash and Carry store for restocking. So from here on it was head south out of Croatia.
Kastella Sunset
Kastella. Another sunset.
We went to visit the Island of Vis and anchored in Kut, in the evening a man came on a official dinghy asking for payment, being very apologetic as he realised it was not really a fair deal to ask us to pay for being on our own anchor, but we gave him the 70Kr he asked at least were allowed to use the quay for water and electricity if we wanted too! In the morning we took the dinghy to Vis, a nice town but did not really have time to visit as we wanted to continue to Rukavac on the south side for a swimm.
Next Island back to Gradina on Korcula where we stopped in June, the following morning needing bred and milk we took the dinghy to Vela Luka which turn out to be a nice town. Onward south and we motored between Korcula and Peljesac Islands, a beautiful narrow gorge like passage. We passed the picturesque town of Korcula and stopped at the end of the Island between Badija and Planjak anchored in front of an old monastary, that is being rebuilt.
Korcula Monastry
Korcula Monastry
Kut Vis
Kut Vis
Then we moved on to the cove of Polac a national park on the Island of Mljet where we found 'Argos'. We took the trip to the lakes of Jezero and visited the former Benedictine monastary which is also being rebuilt. The water is the lake is very salty and warm, almost too warm to be refreshing. We had a nice long walk back to the boat.
I think we made a mistake when we arrived in Croatia in heading north towards Split, because the best cruising is southern Dalmatia. Vis, Korcula, Mljet and Lastovo are very green islands, with pleasant coves, you can go ashore and walk around, not like the barren rocks to the north. - Too late now, never mind.
On Sunday 23rd we went to Dubrovnik and on the way stopped on the island of Celo and anchored in Kolocep bay for lunch and a swim, then made our way up the river Dubrovacka, which is one of the few places you can anchor around the town. 'Argos' were still with us, so we took a bus into Dubrovnik. I liked this old town and despite its 'huge tourist' trade, it is worth seeing. We entered the town through the Pile gate and took the walk around the wall, some 2 kms and up to 25m high at some points. We walked through the town to the harbour, unfortunately the maritime museum was closed and we were too weary to visit any other museums. John had had enough of old stones, but he and Phil got a haircut at a very unusual barber shop. (Hey everybody needs a souvenir - Ed)
Dubrovnik Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik from inside. Dubrovnik from the sea.
It was the end of our visit to Croatia, we cleared customs in Cravat and went onto Montenegro.
So what do I think of Croatia. Looking at all the pilots and brochures. Croatia looks a wonderful place to cruise among its thousand islands, but in reality it was difficult to find any suitable spot to anchor. They were either pay anchorages even if you used your own anchor, too busy, too small, too deep, or full of mooring buoys and restaurant docks (both of which you pay for; or eat at the restaurant), too noisy with disco music, and once you finally find a place you liked, there was nowhere to walk onshore. It is a tourist trap, pay for this, pay for that and not done in a friendly way.
From all we saw, the south Dalmatian coast is probably the best, the islands are bigger, greener, more accessible and you can find shallow anchorages and visit the islands. In general, although the people were friendly, something was missing. Will we comeback? I don't think so!

Next episode MONTENEGRO....
Polace Starclipper
Polace The other way to cruise!
On to the Next Page Back to the Home Page