The Catamaran Adventures of Noel and Ceu
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Life on Board Life Part 2

Current Location: Seget Donji, Trogir, Croatia
Current Position: 43 31 N 016 13.57 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 62 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

Hello! I’m Heidi, Noel’s mum and, together with my husband, Elmer, we are spending a week as guests of Noel & Ceu on board their luxurious catamaran. Elmer’s marquetry picture features on their salon table.

We are having a wonderful time. The boats is moored in the bay opposite the village of Seget Donji, close to Trogir, on the coast of Croatia. This is the fourth year that we have visited Noel and Ceu on their nautical home, every year a different place on the Mediterranean coast.

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But this time we are not in a marina, and we are not sleeping on board because of problems climbing up on beds etc due to diminished mobility and agility.

So our hosts have booked a well-furnished spacious apartment in the village, a few hundred meters from the beach. This is a large balcony overlooked by a colourful bougainvillea bush. The owners of the apartment regale us with tomatoes, plum, melons and other produce from their garden.

After breakfast on the terrace, Noel and Ceu pick us up, take us for a swim on the beach, and then in the dinghy to Life Part 2 at anchor.

We are getting quite nimble in getting in and out of the dinghy and on and off the yacht. With some help from Ceu and Noel – pulling and pushing us on board (me, especially).

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The day is spent cruising between the numerous islands – mostly uninhabited scrubland or forest, with remnants of ancient terraced cultivations. We stop for a swim from the boat, in transparent aquamarine water at +/-27 deg. C. The Med is very salty and there are few fish or other marine life to be seen when snorkeling. But there is plenty of seafood, fish, calamari etc, at the restaurants!

Back on board we wash off the salt with a lovely fresh water shower.

Of course, we must not forget to mention, the ‘heavenly’ meals prepared for us by Ceu. This lady is a whirlwind of activity. She is the embodiment of ‘multitasking’ – in addition to cooking and cleaning, she is the ideal ship mate. One day, Noel wanted to replace a wind vane at the top of the mast and Ceu had to winch him up and down. This is a task which takes considerable skill and physical strength. It also takes courage and skill for Noel to work in a sling at the top of a 60ft high mast.

DSCN7124-640(One day Heidi did make some German dessert: delicious schwentken knodel with the plums from the apartment’s garden. She doesn’t even know I took the picture!)

 

One day we rented a car and drove to see the UNESCO famous Krka Falls water garden. Even after our life-time of travels we have never seen anything as impressive as this series of step-wise waterfalls for which this park is renowned:

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One day we rented a car and drove to see the UNESCO famous Krka Falls water garden. Even after our life-time of travels we have never seen anything as impressive as this series of step-wise waterfalls for which this park is renowned.

The weather has been very changeable – apparently quite different from what a Croatian summer should offer. Some days it was hot and sunny. Other days cloudy and windy. We have had some spectacular thunderstorms at night – where we were dry and cozy in our apartment.

We really appreciate everything Noel and Ceu have done for us. Sometimes we are difficult guests, for which we apologize. Although we are respectively 85 and 82 years old, we look forward to more wonderful maritime holidays. We have always been boat people, since we owned a cruiser for the Dutch canals for five summers.

We sign off with many thanks and good wishes for future sailing adventures,

- Mum and Dad

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Lost without my wind vane……

Current Location: Pavlesina, Ugljan Island, Croatia
Current Position: 44 7.83 N 015 4.26 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 139 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

We woke up in the middle of the night with thunder storms.  We were about to leave our anchorage this morning and got another downpour. I collected so much rain water from our dinghy that is enough to do all my laundry now. (that is overdue)

We left after lunch with a few clouds in the sky and a nice breeze. It was a slow sail and very smooth. We motored the last hour to finish our short sail of 10 miles or so. Our wind vane gave up on us. Noel worked on that during the trip but no success, even after talking to Raymarine engineer. It will take a trip up the mast to see if the problem is at that end.

 

b8Just after leaving our anchorage Povljana, in the island of Pag this morning. You can see the Vallebit mountains behind us. A friendly couple who swam to our boat from the beach told us the reason for the area being so bare is because Venice stole their trees along with all the slaves from the area.

 

Tonight we are anchored in Pavlesina, in the west side of Ugljan island:

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We arrived at 18:15 in this peaceful bay with a few local swimmers in the small beach and a another catamaran. We knew he would probably be leaving shortly for the night in the marina nearby. Which is the norm for the credit card captain or Triple W”s, as i call them.

But for the time being I thought we were going to have an audience, and we were providing the entertainment of Noel going up the mast, like it always does. But it turns out they were too busy having their own entertainment:

 

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Well..the catamaran had quite a few people on it. They attempted to leave, I heard their engines on. As Noel goes up higher and higher up the mast their engines just rev higher and higher up to the max, the crew also gets louder and louder and their arms swing up in the air signing to the captain, as Noel yells Stop..he was at the top of the mast.

 

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They drove those engines hard for at least an hour, without trying a trip line, even  a swim or a snorkel to check out their anchor. Eventually they gave up. I hope they have some provisions on board. No dinner out tonight, a bit far for the dinghy and way to many people to take ashore. Well …at least they know they are not moving during the night. Secured anchorage!

As for us, no success fixing the wind vane . Noel says: ” Not Yet!”

We just finished dinner with pretty views, nice music and a glass of wine.

I sit writing this while the sky is still making pretty pictures.

 

 

Who says it’s the busy Season????

We were warned about busy Season and the hassle of anchoring in busy bays, being harassed to pay for anchoring all over the place, and very unfriendly people. So far nothing like it. It sure has been great ! ( ok, ok, they changed some rules and all got educated on how to be nice to the tourists now that they joined the EU. Sure.)

We were expecting it to be very busy by now, on the way back from Venice.

We have been lucky to find many beautiful and deserted spots along the coast. All Free and no one has ever asked for money in any anchorages.

Ok maybe busy season only starts after the 15th??

Bellow are just a few of the anchorages we have been in the last 1o days or so.

Weighing anchor:

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b3This huge anchorage, we are the only ones here for the 3 days we were there. Where is everyone??  They are all close to the Charter points and all follow the same itinerary and this is a bit out of their way. In the cute town of Nin. photo bellow

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We were anchored outside these lagoons in a huge bay, on the right corner of this picture. Short dinghy ride to town. No, we weren’t paragliding again – I stole this picture.

 

boat 1Love it…..

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Above , one of our favorite spots, deserted, only room for one boat in there, us of course! Best snorkeling and clear water we have had in the Med. Just at the top end of island Ilovik.

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This one was in the island of Vir, just before Nin.

Hope to keep avoiding the crowds!

In the mean time we are working our way down South as we have Noel’s parents come for a visit, arriving in Split on the 16th.

I am also a bit behind on putting up a Venice blog post!  Soon!

 

 

 

 

Just another week in the life part 2

The thing about having visitors on board is that you have to make some preparations for their arrival. This time, however, those preparations were a little unusual!

My son, Ben, and his cousin, Mac were due to fly in to Pula on RyanAir on Tuesday afternoon.

So we stationed ourselves in Pula, not far from airport and where we could easily get transportation to and from, and also provisions.

We took a trip to the local market to buy some vegetables and also the fish market.  Ceu wondered to next stall in a hunt for red peppers, but instead she stopped for the best looking cherries she had seen there.  As we were getting the cherries, we got talking with this friendly man who not only could speak good English but another 4 or 5 languages as well. He was asking how long we were visiting for and told him we would be around the area for a week because we had our son arriving. He took interest in knowing how we were getting around. Salvo his name, he was so friendly, in fact, that the next thing we knew we had organized:

  1. A ride to the airport: Salvo would drive us there to pick up the boys for just 100 kuna fuel money (the bus trip would have cost us 138 kuna for all of us – and a lot of waiting around).
  2. A chef for the evening meal: Salvo insisted that he wanted to cook scampi and spaghetti for us on board! And he did:

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We also had managed to pick ourselves some delicious mussels and oysters from a nearby concrete wall. So we added them to the party.

So that got our week off the a good start!

We decided that we would sail/motor around the Istrian peninsula, up to Opatija and then back to Pula where Salvo again drove us to the airport. These are some of the highlights:

 

Salvo’s favourite food is pasta. Anything Italian he says. He worked with Italians for many years.

DSCN4892 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640DSCN4898 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640His wife could not come along for the dinner but he did bring her in the next day for a drink. She was so excited to be in a Catamaran and even more excited when she finds out we live in it for 8 0r 9 months of the year! And then she really could not believe we crossed the Atlantic ocean, which she kept calling  Atlantic city. ” wait till I go to work tomorrow and tell my friends about these people and their lifestyle!” she was so funny and bubbly. Nice couple.

 

DSCN4887 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640Yummy oysters for starters

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The week the boys visited we sailed up the Istrian coast all the way to Opatija in the Istrian Peninsula. A popular Summer and Winter resort town, surrounded by beautiful woods and very picturesque.

DSCN5115-640The town of Opatija has much history. In 1844,  a rich merchant from Rijeka, founded Villa Angiolina. In 1872 Railways came to the area, it opened the path for the development of tourism in Opatija and Lovran.

In 1882 many villas and were built.

It became a fashionable destination for the Austrian imperial family and Austrian nobility and soon more luxury hotels and villas were built.

 

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Opatija is a beautiful town and very touristic. Many parks and beautiful buildings everywhere you turn.

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A walk along the sea wall takes you to this cute fishing village. We actually first moored here along the town quay and could not find the harbour master to ask for prices and so on…..till he showed up at 4pm telling us he would bring the bill the next morning. “What bill”???? he started to add up and make up some bill in his head. Something like this: hhhmmmm….12 metres times$$$, +$ per person, +$$ for garbage disposal. At that point , I did not believe any of his bull, I told him we would leave and go some where else for the night. He said “fine, but it will cost you more!” haha…that’s when we moved to a beautiful spot in front of the park and the statue of a Maiden with Seagull. Beautiful anchorage, in calm weather of course. And Free of charge.

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We anchored right in the middle of town. This statue, Maiden with Seagull is a symbol of Opatija. The statue Madonna, that once stood here was demolished by communists after the end of World War II. The place is popular with tourists taking hundreds of  pictures of course, and we also saw a wedding party going around there for photos. It was a great spot for us.

DSCN5187-640We walked  along at night too. I love to check out the atmosphere in the evening as well. Lots of live music playing  in the hotels restaurants and bars, and some of the benches had someone playing the guitar or the older men with their accordion….love it!

 

 

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Fun in the sun with the windsurfing board , out for some knee-boarding.

 

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boys2And more sunsets…..every night!

 

DSCN4921 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640Haha…time to put the boys to work now. The fun is yet to begin! It was time to change scenery and we are moving to another destination. It took the 2 of them to hoist it and Noel to supervise and lots of cheering, to get the main up and ready! After  a few days on board they both had a blister on their hands. This is how we keep in shape. How else did you think we did it?

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Noel and I were busy too. The boat’s bottom needed a cleaning. So we scraped away the growing weed

 

Never a dull moment around Life Part 2. From laundry to hair cuts to cleaning and more cleaning….and trying to sail with very little winds or lots of it but in a wrong direction, study weather and charts, where  to go and when????? Sails need a lot of babysitting in the Adriatic. Where is the time to do my knitting or crochet???

I have now been accused of not paying any attention to the sails because of my crochet.

When I was in Turkey the ladies in the Marina were knitting really nice sweaters and I got inspired and bough lots of nice cotton and wool and I have been teaching myself how to knit from the internet. I just finished my first project. Finally. I knitted a tank top. I think I prefer crochet because it goes a lot faster, but it turned out ok.

 

4Noel getting a hair cut

5Cruising is not only fixing boats in exotic places but laundry gets done there too!! The nice town of Rovinj in the background and beside us a is a small cruise ship with their garage open and the toys out for the guests to enjoy. Met some guests from the US, who were enjoying their kayaking around the bay and stopped to chat when they saw the flag.

Of course they all want to know if we crossed the Atlantic…????!!!!

As you can tell by the grammar, Noel started this blog post. And I had to take over , otherwise it would not be published for a long time.

The UPDATE is:

this post was started long time ago so we are now 2 0r 3 weeks behind.

We have since, gone all the way up the coast to Venice and are back down again in Croatia.

At the moment we are in the area of Pula. We have Noel’s son Josh visiting us for a week. It’s beautiful around here and the airport is a 7 minute drive from our anchorage. So it makes it easy to pick up company.

Stay tuned for a post on Venice.

Noel does not want to blog much anymore and so I think I will mostly post pictures and update where we are and then we leave it to you to Google it and find all the great history on it! And great photos too! Isn’t internet fun????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up The Dalmation Coast

Ohhhh…the places we’ve been!

We are picking up from  May 23th. After we left the National Park of Miljet we headed to Korcula. Very cute Medieval town with many narrow little streets and the waterfront lined with Restaurants and shops. We anchored in a nice bay just south of the town.

 

korculaKorcula is also the birth place of Marco Polo. They have a museum and many shops named after him. It’s a small island, 20 km from inland, but very cute with small beaches and coves all around.

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The next day we left to the island of Kvar, but lack of wind and didn’t feel like motoring, we slowly glided through smooth waters into this beautiful empty anchorage for the night.

DSCN4535 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640Uvala Zukova….just Paradise

 

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Kvar main square

DSCN4467 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640 Cathedral of St. Stephen, which dominates the main town square. Most of their historical monuments were built during the Venetian times.
DSCN4476 - Copy (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy-640 They call it the suuniest Croatian island. Thanks to this climate Hvar island produces high quality wine Along the coast the vineyards stretch up into steep slopes, reminds me of the Douro in Portugal.

 

 

DSCN4480 - Copy (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy-640We looked around the town harbour area to anchor but it was too deep in the middle and very busy with tourist boats and ferries going by.We just went across to little island of Jerolim, which is a naturist island, but no one was around. It was late in the day and early in the season, plus it was not very hot back then yet! We took the dinghy across to visit Kvar town. We walked up to some Spanish fortress, where one can get a really nice view of the Kornati Islands

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DSCN4969 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640The harbour was lined up with beautiful boats all arriving and tying up together in the town quay.

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Coast line near Kvar island

We are now en route to Split

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We also took a little detour from our route to Split. I wanted to check out this beach that I read was the most beautiful beach in the Adriatic. It is in the island of Brac, in Bol. It is a spit of white sandy beach and amazing turquoise waters. Croatia does not have many white sandy beaches. They are mostly pebble beaches and a lot of rocks. Very rocky shores with many sunbathers on them. Some are dressed, some are not…here everything and nothing goes! We arrived here and there many boats all just drifting around doing the same thing we were doing, checking out what the fuss was about and….fotos!

 

Welcome to Split

We are now anchored in the suburb of Spinut. Right outside busy Spinut yacht club, in 5 meters and holding well. A nice 15-20 minutes walk into downtown Split.

DSCN4562 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640DSCN4636 - Copy - Copy - Copy-640Emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace here in the third century.

DSCN4640 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640The Cathedral was just amazing….and in the Piazza, one can sit around listen to the many young musicians, have a coffe, something to eat, the Restaurants bring out collourful mats and chair pads and line the stairs around it. Just an amazing ambiance!

Emperor Diocletian built his retirement palace here in the third century.The Palace is more like a walled town where you find many museums, Roman ruins and art galleries to explore. It has endured the Byzantines, Croatian kings, Venetians, Austrians and Italians planted their flag on the great city. Split is Croatia’s second largest city and very turistic.

 

 

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DSCN4631 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640They say if you rub his toe and make a wish…it will come true. He now has a golden toe, from being rubbed so much.

DSCN4622 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640It is a beautiful city full of life, water sports everywhere, music, lots of young people, and everyone always so friendly

The narrow cobbled streets were already full with the many tourists

 

DSCN4565 - Copy (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy-640Beautiful palm tree lined promenade with benches everywhere. In the evening, after all the walking around town we sat down to listen to  a great concert that night with the proceeds going to all the flood victims from somewhere near Montenegro….

 

DSCN4688 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640From the wooded Park Marjin hill we had great views of Split by night…and by day!

 

DSCN4660 - Copy (2) - Copy - Copy - Copy-640We enjoyed Split very much. We stocked up at the market for fish and veggies and some good steak before departing  to Krka National park, with a night stop in cute island of Drvenik. We are sure having fun pronouncing their names. Where are the vowels??? How about we also anchored in Prtljug in the island of Ugljan. We also anchored in the town quay with a big audience in the cute town of Morscnicka, plus all the accents that I dont find on this keyboard. Soo much fun….

 

 

DSCN4729 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640This is the town of Sibenik right at the entrance of the Krka river.

 

DSCN4736 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640After this bridge you arrive in Skradin. We motored up the channel but not quit that far up. We were told that it can get pretty busy there. So we dropped anchor in the south east corner, a 10 minute dinghy ride away from Skradin. Only one other boat there. Very peaceful.

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DSCN4745 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640View of the Skradin harbour takenfrom small ruins we walked to, above the town. Here is the last stop one can take own boat to. No one is allowed after this point.

River boats start at 8am and run every hour. At 9am we were ashore and ready to go and explore. The boat ride is included in the price of the entrance fee to the park.

 

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Krka River is one of Croatia’s best known natural wonders. The water falls were created by travertine barriers, islands and lakes

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We were defenately visiting at a good time of the year, because it was water flowing and overflowing from everywhere

DSCN4802 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640It makes it very easy to visit anytime of the year really, because of the trails and bridges everywhere.

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falls-640The park is amazingly beautiful and lots of wildlife. It’s also like a museum. They have some preserved 19th century, mills from how wheat was milled, old kitchens and food preparations, bags and carpets being woven, cloth washed, and horseshoes smithed.

 

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They also have remnants of the power plant plant that began operations in 1895, just 2 days after Tesla’s Hydroelectric plant in Niagra Falls. Thanks to the builders Supuk and engineer Meischner, Sibenik received power before many European cities. Wow….It sure was a great day out in the nature.

 

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Welcome to Pula

pula gateWe were pressing on to get to Pula. We had Ben and his cousin Mac visiting for a week arriving at Pula airport on the 3rd.

pula arena2The Pula Arena is what they call the Roman amphitheatre. It could sit up to 23,000 people. It is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers . A series of underground passageways were built underneath the arena along the main axis from which animals and fighters could be released. It is in really good shape.

 

 

 

Rounding off the peninsula south of Pula and going up the Istrian east coast.

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lighthouse

We are anchored in Rabac. We took taxi ride to a cute town of Labin above, where we strolled the old town and found a nice hike back down to Life Part 2 in Rabac.

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DSCN4983 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640Many of the Churches we visited lately are decorated for a wedding.

From our anchorage we also watched 2 different wedding parties walking along the waterfront taking fotos.

 

 

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DSCN5000 - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy-640A view of Rabac town taken from Lanin. Life Part  2 awaits just on the left side of the beach and hotels

 

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Yummy…after hearing about their iced coffee with ice cream in it, I couldn’t wait to try one! As you can see in the photo, I don’t look disappointed. It was more like a sundae and after all that walking around town, it was even more delicious!

 

DSCN5032 - Copy - Copy - Copy-640A beautiful wooded walk into town with caves and small water falls and a nice picnic along the way.

DSCN5035 - Copy - Copy - Copy-640We did sail all the way up to Opatija in the east side of the beautiful Istrian coast.

We will do a post on our week with the boys soon.

We came back to Pula again where the boys had to get to their flight. Time flies when you’re having fun!

 

Off we go the next day heading our way to Venice, up the west coast of Istria with a stop in the beautiful town of Rovinj

8Rovinj is very charming and picturesque. It also looks a lot like Italy. Italian is their official second language. It was Italian that was mostly spoken on the VHF.

6The old town is lined with houses from the 16th century. In every street at every step there is a surprise, from old beautifully carved doors to monuments and churches and arches awaiting…..We loved it. It will probably be another stop there on the way down from Venice.
1We didn’t just go around the peninsula to take these fotos…we were looking where to fill up with water. Just before we tied up at the dock near here, a fisherman told us to get it on the other side of the town, at the fuel dock.

 

7As we came around the corner, we filled with water, went to pay at the office and they said “no charge”. Great! They also said we anchor for free there, for the day only. Fine with us, we were moving to an anchorage for the night anyways. We anchored near this beautiful cruise ship.

At 6pm an Italian Oficial came and said we were there all day, so we must pay” not very much, only 100 kuna”. We told him it has to be a mis-understanding because we were tol at the office to anchor there Free for the day. He called the office in Italian and confirm. He was still smiling and said “ok, dobra.

Moved around to our anchorage less than 2 miles north good holding. Big bay surrounded by beaches and campsite.

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We have been delighted with the most beautiful sunsets every night…..

And on the other side we had full moon last night

With a night like that and the “light” winds they predicted, we set off to Venice.

 

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Checking out of Croatia right here. Venice, here we come

Ahhhh…. You have already the update from the captain, that we had a good sail  to Burano

I did not read his post. This post was supposed to be published before we got to Venice. So I had all my photos uploaded and started to write, thinking i would have lots of time during this very calm night.

Too many interruptions, and not just the 5 minute hold up with the anchor chain. As soon as we got underway, a beautiful display of fire works got our attention. They had big screens in outdoor parks and other venues because Brasil and Croatia were playing. Noel could not understand why after the fire works and loud noise I was anxious to check the scores in the internet.

Can you imagine if Brasil lost at home?? hhmmmm. That is worrisome.

I guess Croatia was celebrating their only goal.

Went back to my post only to find some photos were not there…had to search and by then…….I must have crossed some border, my Croatian internet was not working anymore!

So here it goes today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a night! …

Current Location: Burano anchorage, Venice lagoon, Italy
Current Position: 45 29.35 N 012 25.4 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 70 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

The forecast was for calm winds. And when we set off from Rovinj at 10pm last night it was, indeed a flat calm. At least we tried to set off. Ceu was working on the various blog posts all evening. But then, as we tried to leave, our anchor chain got jammed and needed some crowbar action. Finally we got that sorted out, and we started to drift vaguely in the right direction.

Then, as we left, we saw fireworks ashore, so we figured Croatia must have scored against Brazil.

And, an hour later, it suddenly blew up to a force 7, and stayed that way for most of the night! Don’t know where that came from, but both the strength and direction were contrary to multiple forecasts that I had checked.

Nevertheless, we managed to sail pretty much on course.  We were doing a steady 7kts for several hours, close hauled on starboard and making some great power with our water generator until daylight, at which point the wind then dropped, backed 90 degrees, and now we were close hauled on port, going slower, but still pretty much on course.

With all the excitement, Ceu was unable to finish up her blog post, and by the time things had settled down, we were out of range of the internet connection, so we are rather behind with our photos since Mljet, and also of the boy’s visit last week, which was a hoot. We will get those up soon, promise!

At 11:30 we entered Porto Di Lido, the entrance to the Venice lagoon, in flat calm, having motored the last couple of hours. Ceu put up here flag to support her team at the World Cup.

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As per Bob’s instructions, we turned right, motored another hour with a favourable tide of a couple of knots, and anchored just north of Burano, where we snagged some free wifi!

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Burano

And so here we are in Venice!

We will dinghy ashore to Burano, and start the explorations.

Made it to Pula!

Current Location: Pula, Croatia
Current Position: 44 52.7 N 013 50.62 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 40 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

We set off this morning at 8:45am (wow – a lie in!) with the wind blowing 20-25kts from the north east. Since we wanted to go north west, that looked good to go.

And good to go it was! With two reefs and a roll we were making 8kts eastward to round the tip of the island. Then we hardened up to close hauled, still making 6-7kts. This was a perfect course for Pula, so we just kept going.

Gradually the wind dropped, and we then let out the jib rolls, and then the two main reefs.

Finally the wind was down to 11kts, and we were bearing away to round the bottom tip of the Istria peninsula.

As we did so, there were hoards of ‘credit card captains’ sailing south from Pula. They had, no doubt, just picked up their boats and were starting off on their holidays. A glorious day for it – sun shining, 12kts of wind on a beam reach, full sail, holidays for a week or two – what could be better?

And then what happened? Wind disappeared. Vanished. Then came back briefly from the wrong direction and vanished again. We decided to cut our losses and anchor in a small bay, 8 miles short of Pula.

We anchored overnight in Paltana bay.

We anchored overnight in Paltana bay.

This morning the sun was out, and a light wind was blowing from the northwest. We motored the final stretch to Pula,

The cranes at Pula harbour

The cranes at Pula harbour

got ourselves some fuel and water, and are anchored, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Ben tomorrow! Let’s hope the weather stays fine like it is today.

The amphitheater at Pula. The fuel dock is just at the right of the boat

The amphitheater at Pula. The fuel dock is just at the right of the boat

Sailing at the Crack of Dawn

Current Location: Otok Koludarc, Croatia
Current Position: 44 33.07 N 014 25.73 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 261 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

Since Ben has booked a flight to arrive in Pula on Tuesday, we figured it was time to get ourselves in that direction!

So, after our visit to the waterfalls on the Krka river, and with 130nm to go to Pula, we decided to press on. Unfortunately, the normal wind here is NW. And we needed to go northwest.

Ah, but a closer look at the weather charts revealed that at night the wind was in the right direction, but by lunchtime it switches to the wrong way. So, steeling ourselves for a couple of early mornings, we decided to leave the curtains open in our bedroom.

What does that accomplish? Well, it gets light at 5:30am and thus wakes us up. And, sure enough, yesterday and today we were sailing by 6am.

As you can see from our course, yesterday was fine for the first few hours – after doing just 1.8 miles in the first hour, followed by an hour of motoring, the wind then picked up and we were chomping along in the right direction at 7kts.

track

In case you are wondering what all the black squares are – they are the concessions where there are mooring balls laid – ie no free anchoring.

Alas, at 11am – three hours earlier than promised, the wind did a sudden switch and now we had to beat the rest of the way.

In the end, we sailed for 12 hours, covering 37 nautical miles – for a very slow average of just 3kts. If there is one complaint about this boat it is the lack of upwind performance! Very frustrating watching racing monohulls zoom past us pointing 15 degrees higher! Oh, well – they have to cope with heeling all the time. Hee hee.

We anchored in a beautiful peaceful cove with two other boats, and then again set off this morning by 6am.

This time we were stomping along – speeds of up to 9 kts with winds of up to 32kts. Two reefs in the main and some rolls in the jib. My new water generator was churning out the power!

And then, after 29.5 nautical miles, guess what happened?

Yep, at 10 am the wind vanished. Now instead of doing 9kts, we were doing 1.6kts with barely 4kts of wind. What happened? Crazy forecasts here that bear little resemblance to what the wind actually does. And then, half an hour later, the wind does a 180 deg shift – again, several hours earlier than forecast. So, once again, we are on a beat. Just as well we set off so early so as to catch the good wind on both days.

Still, we decided to press on an extra 7 miles from our original goal (at which we had almost arrived), to put us near the town of Mali Losinj, a mere 27 n miles from Medulin from where we can pick up Ben at the nearby Pula airport. And still two and a half days to go before he arrives, so we should be able to make it on time!

Actually, it turns out we just had to do a couple of tacks to clear an island, and then we are good again – on port tack close hauled instead of starboard on a reach – for about 10 minutes before the wind changes again, and again – up to 22 kts, down to nil and so on.

Finally we made it. The last 10 miles took four hours, plus ages trying to get our anchor to catch. And here we are in a beautiful peaceful bay.

Ah, another great day at sea!

Welcome to Croatia

Current Location: Mljet National Park, Croatia
Current Position: 42 47.43 N 017 22.63 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 44 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

Having checked in at Cavtat (pronounced Tsavtat) our first stop was at World Heritage Site Dubrovnik.

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We sailed around the corner and, apart from the bridge ahead, what we saw were lots of seagulls diving the water, and the water itself churning with fish. Clearly there was a predator or two down there chasing them all.

Well, we had to stop and join the action. So around we motored about five times, trying to drag our lure through the action to entice a fish to take it. Alas to no avail.

 

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So then we motored up the river, and anchored just outside the ACI marina, about 2 miles outside of Dubrovnik town. Incidentally, see where those cruise ships are? Just behind them is a town quay – we discovered that if it is not too busy they will let you tie up for a couple of hours while you do some shopping, as long as you ask (VHF channel 9) first. And we also were able to snag some free water for our tanks. Fortunately the next day the cruise ships had gone, and the crowds went with them.

The following morning at our anchorage we had our Encounter #1 with local fishermen.

Early in the morning we heard some banging on our boat, the sound of a fisherman’s boat bumping in to us. Apparently we had parked ourselves above this guy’s fish traps and he couldn’t get at them to raise them. There were no buoys or markers – he just seems to know where they are, and hooks them up with a long hook. So  how were we supposed to know they were there?

Well, no big deal. He managed to get at them, and all was good.

So we took a bus (15 Kuna each ($2)) to town to walk around the old city:

 

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Goodness were we glad it was May and not August! I can’t imagine how busy it must get then.

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What are these on the railings? First, why are the railings here? Because behind them is a big cliff, famously known as a suicide leap.

And these locks? Who knows how it started, but each one is engraved with the two names of lovers, their love locked together, forever, by the padlock. There is even an online company that will supply you with specially engraved padlocks in different colours.

 

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While I went to sort out a Croatian internet connection, Ceu went to the local market, right next to the dock. It was, apparently, the day before Croatian Mother’s Day – hence all the flowers.

 

 

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The next day we set off for Lopud island, just 8 miles away. Beautiful and peaceful.

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Well, ok, it wasn’t totally peaceful. We did have some tourist boats coming to visit for day trips.

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But none of them ventured as far as the delightful little park, just off the waterfront:

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That, in the background, is NOT a cruise ship. It is, in fact, a hotel built solidly on land.

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It seems our internet connection didn’t get properly activated, so we will have to go back to Dubrovnik on Monday to get it fixed. In the meantime, time for a beer. This is at the other beach, diametrically across the island, just 2 km walk. See how busy the beach is? The girl at the bar said that in two weeks time it will be packed.

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No, not a forest fire, just another sunset:

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And then the next day, another sunset. In fact, we had beautiful sunsets every night on this island.

 

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And, just to complete the picture, a dolphin:

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Onwards and upwards took us to the Island of Mljet, the first of the National Parks. Again, not yet busy. That’s us anchored below, and no one came to charge us anything.

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We had a full day of hiking. Great views. Lots more trails we could do – maybe on the way back down again in a few weeks.

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Here you can see the two salt-water lakes that connect to the sea through a very small channel.

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There is, of course, a monastery on the little island. It seems there always is in Croatia!

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The scenery is very reminiscent of BC.

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And even a swim in one of the lakes!

 

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The bridge over the channel that connects the large lake with the sea exists no more. Want to cross? Then get a taxi:

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The smaller lake feeds into the larger lake under this little bridge:

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So far Croatia has been fantastic. Beautiful landscape, friendly people, wonderful sunsets, but still rather chilly.

Nope, despite what everyone said, no one has charged us for anchoring, nor hassled us for money. In fact, everyone has been very friendly.

Next stop is Split and then the waterfalls at Skradan.  We will update with pictures soon!

 

 

 

Arrived in Croatia!

Current Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Current Position: 42 40.28 N 018 7.26 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 197 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

Well, we made it to Croatia!

We left Corfu in pretty calm conditions with both the jib and mainsail up, just about making 3.5kts. After a little while the wind disappeared totally and, when our speed dropped to zero we did put on the motor for about an hour.

Sunset as we are leaving Corfu, bound north

Sunset as we are leaving Corfu, bound north

Then, as expected, the wind started to fill in from behind. Since the main blankets the jib when the wind is astern, there is no point in having both sails up, unless you can persuade the jib to fill on the opposite site of the boat to the main, so called wing-on-wing or goose-winged. Since the jib alone is easier to handle if the winds pick up, we dropped the main. And that was how it remained for the rest of the trip.

Pretty soon we were getting gusts up to 30kts, and were surfing down the 1.5 to 2m waves at up to 12kts, with an average speed of 7-8kts. Our new water generator was working fabulously so that, with the wind and water generators combined, we were getting plus 12-14 amps in the middle of the night – despite the demands of the fridge, autohelm and navigation lights.

One of the waves in 25 - 30kts winds that we caught for some surfing!

One of the waves in 25 – 30kts winds that we caught for some surfing!

But the wind was dying again and by the afternoon our speed was, once again, zero. The forecast was for ongoing light wind, so after drifting for about half an hour, we then motored for another hour at low revs, just to keep us moving. By the time we finished our pineapple chicken with rice the wind was filling in from starboard and before long we were back at 4-5kts with the engine off and just the jib up. Through the night there was some light rain and distant lightning, but nothing exciting back home. The seas have settled down with just small waves now. It is almost a full moon at the moment, so the night is bright, even with the high level cloud cover. There has been minimal shipping traffic.

We arrived at Cavtat at 9am for a 5kt overall average and checked in with no difficulty. Prices have gone down since Croatia joined the EU, but even so we had to pay 1638 Kuna (about $300) for a tourist tax and cruising permit, but both last for a year. They also told us that all the fuss we have heard about people trying to charge one for anchoring have been resolved in a court, and no they can charge ONLY for mooring balls, no matter how close you might anchor. It seems that joining the EU has brought some sanity to here!

That's us on the right, tied up to the immigration dock at Cavtat, Croatia (space for one boat only) while we are checking in

That’s us on the right, tied up to the immigration dock at Cavtat, Croatia (space for one boat only) while we are checking in

The weather is iffy. A low is passing by, and gales with thunderstorms are expected, so having checked in we decided to move up to Dubrovnic and anchor in the river there, where it is nice and sheltered – but with quite a bit of current flowing.

So now we are having lunch and trying to decide what the plan is. We seem to have internet through the marina, next to which we are parked, so that is a plus! But we do need to sort out a 3G internet connection somehow.

It was a good trip.

Setting Sail for Croatia Today

Current Location: Agio Stefanos, Corfu, Greece
Current Position: 39 45.97 N 019 56.99 E Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 285 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

Our strategy on leaving Turkey and dashing across to Greece was to get the south winds up the Adriatic before the prevailing and constant northerlies set in. Well, the tactic seems to be working! Today the winds have swung around to the south, and will stay this way until Tuesday night – just enough time for us to sail from here to Cavtat, the entry port for Croatia.

So that is what we are going to do. We will set sail at 8pm tonight, and hope to arrive at Cavtat sometime between dawn and 6pm on Tuesday for a distance of 190 nautical miles. As always it is so hard to predict the actual sailing time, so we calculate our times based on 4kts, 5kts and 6kts and then set our departure time so as to best ensure that we arrive in daylight.

It should be a reasonably crossing with winds from 10 to 20kts from behind, although we might hit some calmer patches. In the daytime we may have our spinnaker up, at night probably only our genoa. Most likely we won’t hoist our mainsail at all.

We have also been rigging up our new parachute anchor so it is ready to deploy at any time. If we do arrive before dawn we will use that to anchor out at sea until daylight.

Meanwhile Ceu is cooking up a storm – shepherds pie and chicken with pineapple on the menu for the next two days :-)

So, our next contact with you should be from Croatia!

 

Wind forecast for Monday noon, with our intended course from Corfu to Croatia

Wind forecast for Monday noon, with our intended course from Corfu to Croatia. The colours are the wave heights, blue is calm, going to about 1m with the yellowish green. The winds are 5kts per half-feather on the arrows.