Making the same mistake twice!

For once we had a nice sail down to Vis, stopping for the night in one of my favourite turquoise blue anchorages – Krknjas on the island of Veli Drvenik.

13501708_10205987953890843_7381260580628221607_nBut we were on a mission to get to Vis then onto Italy so it was up anchor and onto Vis. We got to Vis around lunchtime and picked up a paid mooring in Komiza.

13495109_10205987998371955_7909134616780263776_nWe spent a day and a half in Vis, waiting for the right weather to cross to Italy. We swam from the back of the boat and at the nice beach, and between the two. We walked through the nice town with its cutesy marina and nice waterfront promenades.
13501691_10205988297779440_1305181831806828228_nWe took the dingy inside the restaurant we’d visited with Ooroo three years ago and had another nice meal overlooking the water. It was all very relaxing.

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Then we checked out of Vis and set off for Brindisi – a day and a night and a day away.

13528740_10205988297819441_5710585993321654046_nThe weather was overcast with light winds. We got the genneker out and had some success using it with one motor running to give us some speed. Then the wind dropped and went on the nose so we furled in the genneker and motor sailed towards Brindisi.

As night fell, Dee went to bed and I watched the lightening on the Italian coastline. I watched a few squalls on the radar, and being 5nm away and somewhat behind us I thought it would take them a while to get to us and thought we could pass by them before they hit us.

Then they were on us. I got Dee up to help reef the main as the wind picked up from 5kts to 35kts in a blink. As we were reefing down the main to the second reef, the dreaded genneker start to unfurl. Yikes.

By now there was quite a swell running making steering a bit difficult. I headed upwind to stop us taking off and stop the genneker unfurling any more. Dee wasn’t keen on this as it took us into a heap of lightning but there was no way we could run away downwind with half a geneker out in 35kts of wind and a large swell. So we tried to ignore the spectacularly scary lightening show as I clipped on and went forward to pull the genneker down as Dee tried to steer whilst lowering the halyard at the same time, letting the geneker fall safely along the length of the boat.

Having made the mistake of leaving the genneker furling up on the bowspit once before in Cascais, Portugal and having the same problem, I was a little bit more equipped to deal with the issue. But I absolutely hate making the same mistake TWICE!!! Mistakes are usually a learning process but this time I got a big fail.

As the genneker came down it managed to knock the Badboy Wi-Fi extender aerial off the spreaders. I somehow managed to find this on the coach roof, but the fall damaged it beyond repair. Once in port we evaluated the damage and couldn’t find the swivel for the top of the sail. We thought it must have come off after I removed the halyard as the top of the sail fell into the water as I was putting it away in the front locker. We ended up buying a new one before finding that the old one had fallen off in the bottom of the locker and had hidden itself under the sail. The whole f***up cost us a few boat dollars.

But I will be much better prepared (well ahead of time) for squalls next time.

With the genneker now down, we found a wind angle that worked and comfortably sailed through the storm to Bari, a little short of where we were originally sailing – but hey we made it to Italy.

Back in Croatia Fixing Stuff

With just Dee and I on board now we decided against another overnighter, opting to get into Pula after dark, where we knew the lay of the land and could anchor up easily. Or that’s what we thought.

It was a pretty uneventful sail/motor back from Venice after an 8 o’clock start, having hung around for the marina guy to show up to help us out of our tight slip.

We got to Pula on dusk and got treated to the light show on the cranes as we came in. We pulled up to the customs dock and checked in quickly and easily. Then we anchored off to the side of the jetty and went to sleep.

We woke to a knocking on the hull as the port guy told us we had to move quickly as a cruise ship was coming and we needed to give him more space. Okay, maybe anchoring wasn’t quite as straight forward as we thought.

 

We didn’t stay re-anchored long as we needed to move into the marina to get our newly repaired wind instrument refitted. The guys had done a good job of refurbishing our badly corroded wind instrument but couldn’t manage to thread the new cable through the mast so they could wire it all up. All they did was manage to pull the old cable out – without the new one attached. Lagoon had left a mouse line in the mast but the top of this had come loose meaning that was no use either. There was much talk of having to drop the mast, before I called a halt to proceeding after having talked to the Croatian Lagoon agent who suggested we sail down to Murter to have things attended to.45629-lrg

So early next morning we headed south. Murter was a bit far in one day so we stopped off in nice bay called Baratol on the island of Pasman, before getting up early to beat the final 15nm into Marina Bertina on the island of Murter, where the Raymarine guys who were recommended hung out.

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We got there just in time as we had 40kt winds for the next few days. The guys managed to get up the mast and get things sorted, finishing late into the evening before the winds got too bad. It was still a bitch of a job, as inside of the mast is a bit tight in places but they managed to get the mouseline, firstly down to where the halyards exit the mast and finally down to a rather crowded exit point where all the other electrical cables exit.

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In fact Murter is a bit of a find, being one of those places in Croatia where you find really good technicians. Talked to a lot of satisfied customers in the marina who had various things fixed over the years.

Murter is also connected to the mainland via a traffic bridge making it a good island to leave the boat for a bit of exploring by car.

But no time for that in our quest to get around to Sicily, before picking up Claire and Kane in Sorrento in a few weeks time. With the wind gone and the wind instrument reporting the fact, it was time to head for Vis, our final destination in Croatia.

Colourful Cranes and Ancient Amphitheatres

After a leisurely breakfast, we pulled anchor and headed out. This time we had to head SW to get around the headland before heading the last little bit to Pula. Along the way we hit water so glassy we could see the reflections of the clouds in the sea.

The entrance to Pula is rather interesting. We had to sail 1nm north to skirt around old disused jetty. Then we sailed into the large bay and past the oldest surviving ship yard in the world.

We considered anchoring near the customs jetty but in the end went to the Marina as we needed to get our wind instrument attended to. Our resident electrician got only so far before pointing out the demarcation that meant we needed an electronics guy!!!

The marina cost us 94 euro a night all inclusive – not too bad by Croatian standards. And it was right in the middle of town.

After finding a Raymarine guy to attend to our non-responsive wind instrumentation (booked in for tomorrow), we checked out the impressive Colosseum, second only to the one in Rome.

Then we walked around the cobbled walking street to the Temple of Augiustus, some pretty impressive Roman Mosiacs, the Triumphal Arch of Sergius, the morning markets and up to the Fortress with its great view and Nautical Museum. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to do the underground tunnels. Pretty interesting city.

Then it was back to the boat for some pre-dinner drinks before asking the ACI Marina staff where to eat. One of them gave us a lift to a non-tourist restaurant 5km out of town. The Istrian Steak was really nice but lacked a certain amount of ambiance right next to the highway.

 Back at the boat, we sat waiting for Pula’s latest attraction, a stunning lighting display at the city’s circa 1856 Uljanik shipyard, one of the world’s oldest working shipyards. “Renowned lighting designer Dean Skira has lit up the shipyard’s iconic cranes in 16,000 different colour schemes, which come alive four times every evening on the hour, starting at 9pm for 15 minutes.”

Then its time for bed as tomorrow we head for Venice.

7.5M into 11M then add current

We left Molat and headed North. The Italians were already under way, racing against each other with their spinakers up in very light winds. We soon passed them, courtesy of our iron sail and headed off to the bottom of Cres, 36nm away. We picked out a group of bays for a bit of wilderness experience. We settled on Majiska and picked up one of about 6 moorings in 2m of water. The 777 cruising guide suggested sighting of royal elk in the evenings in the dense vegetation. Dee and I ventured out on the paddle boards at 7pm to search them out but no such luck for us. 

About 8.30pm, a fishing boat came round the corner and collected 156 kuna for the mooring (about 30AUD).

Next morning we headed off for Cres Town, by going up the channel between Losinj and Cres islands. This involved going through a 11m channel. Yes 11m!!! And with up to a 5knot current at times. We checked our sanity, but decided anyway it was too much of an adventure to pass up. After all, our 7.5m wide La Mischief had a metre and a half on either side – what could possibly go wrong?

We weren’t entirely sure if the swing bridge would open for us before 5pm. The guide said it would open on demand, the internet said it only opened at 9am and 5pm. We got to the bridge just before noon and of course it didn’t open to 5pm. No going to Cres Town that day.

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5 hours to kill involved some people watching over a litre of white in the pleasant little historical town of Osor, followed by some unsuccessful boat jobs. Stevo gave us a lesson in soldering the anchor winch handhold, which was suffering from corrosion and we tried to suss out why our wind speed was reading zero. No such luck sorting out either.

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Then it was time to go. We joined a line of boats and managed to get through without drama despite the little turn in the middle of the 200m long channel.

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Adventure over, we found the wind on the other side was blowing exactly in the opposite direction so we quickly looked in the cruising guide and on the internet for an alternative anchorage for the night. We found one in a little bay off a camping ground. It was a bit rolly but otherwise okay.

Next morning it was off to Cres Town. We got there at 10.30am and anchored off some shingle beaches between the town and the ACI Marina in 7m of water. Another free anchorage.

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As the anchor went down it started to rain so we waited a while until there was a break. We then dingied into town in and out of the cute small boat harbour, which was chockers with boats and lined with restaurants.

Just as we tied up the dingy it started to rain again so we headed for cover. We were on a mission to taste the famous lamb from Cres. We found a nice (dry) restaurant with roast Cres lamb on the specials board so that was it. We pigged out on two serves of roast lamb and one lamb chops.

I had some stuff to do so I left Dee and Stevo to explore. They checked out the old town and then went to the marina in search of a Yacht Club. With no such club to be found they were back on the boat and swimming to the shore, as the afternoon turned out to be nice and sunny.

Then it was time for a beer and a snooze!

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3 Boats Full of Venetians

Luckily it was only a short 17nm hop from Zadar to Molat as when we woke up the sky was black with rain clouds. So we waited in Zadar until they had passed and set off in pristine conditions – pristine if you are a motor boat as there was absolutely no wind.

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13332806_10205862436872996_3518623038098138016_nWe got to Molat at 3pm and anchored in Luka Jazi. We’d picked out Molat because it looked off the tourist track and the bay on the chart looked inviting. It turned out to be a gem of a pick.

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We anchored in 3m of water and had a quick swim to check the anchor and our surroundings. Then we headed in for a walk around the island. We ended up walking across to the other side where we found a cute little marina and some restaurants and bars. Obviously we stopped for a drink before heading back to the boat.

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The water was like glass and out came the wine and the camera in no particular order. Some more yachts came into the bay – we have about 10 here now – obviously not as much a secret as I first thought.

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Three boats came in at once and we asked across the water where they were from. “Venice” was the answer and after dinner we headed off in the dingy to introduce ourselves and pick their brains about Venice. Good move. We also enjoyed their Italian food, wine and company and had a really nice time. Even got a free T Shirt for their cruising club. The emblem has the compass points pointing to different Italian wines. My sort of cruising club.

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Great night in a great bay 🙂

230 Photos Later

13312830_10205848923775177_2922788766211216683_nWe motor sailed up from the fresh water river of Skadin back out to the Adriatic and pointed our nose North. Passed lots of yachts racing as we dodged numerous islands, large and small. We arived at Zadar at 4pm, passing the famous sea organ and headed to Zadar Marina, which at 130 euros a night (ouch) was the cheapest of any of the marinas in the immediate area. Marinas are It in Zadar – not much in the way of anchoring.

13312599_10205848929935331_1387001444668736071_nWe tied up and walked into the old town where we checked out the old walls and gates, the Roman forum and some impressive old churches.

Next day, we hired a car and drove a couple of hours into the mountains to visit Croatia’s Number 1 tourist attraction.

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The sheer beauty of Plitvice National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland. Its supposedly populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species, although we somehow missed seeing any of these. The National Park covers a total area of 300 square kilometres, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of eight kilometres.

13315642_10205856744210683_5414550576617365483_nWe parked and hopped on a bus/train that takes you to the top of a chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. We followed the walkways that wind around and across the water, before taking the Lake Kozjak ferry that links the upper and lower lakes. After a quick lunch, we continued to explore the lower lakes until we got to Veliki Slap, a 78m-high waterfall. Luckily we left the best to last.

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What a day. Took 230 photos but will only bore you with this selection. One of the most stunning natural places we’ve visited on our adventure!

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Pula

​After a leisurely breakfast, we pulled anchor and headed out. This time we had to head SW to get around the headland before heading the last little bit to Pula. 

Along the way we hit water so glassy we could see the reflections of the clouds in the sea.
The entrance to Pula is rather interesting. We had to sail 1nm north to skirt around old disused jetty. Then we sailed into the large bay and past the circa 1856 Uljanik shipyard, one of the world’s oldest working shipyards in the world.

We considered anchoring near the customs jetty but in the end went to the Marina as we needed to get our wind instrument attended to. Our resident electrician got only so far before pointing out the demarcation that meant we needed an electromnics guy!!!

The marina cost us 94 euro a night all inclusive – not too bad by Croatian standards. And it was right in the middle of town. 

Af ter finding a Raymarine guy to attend to our non-responsive wind instrumentation, we checked out the impressive Colleseum, second only to the one in Rome. 

Then we walked around the cobbled walking streets to the Temple of Augiustus, some pretty impressive Roman Mosiacs, the Triumphal Arch of Sergius, the morning markets and up to the Fortress with its great view and Nautical Museum. Pretty interesting city. 

Sightseeing done, it was back to the boat for some pre-dinner drinks before asking the ACI Marina staff where to eat. One of them gave us a lift to a non-tourist restaurant 5km out of town. The Istrian Steak was really nice but lacked a certain amount of ambiance right next to the highway. 

Back at the boat, we sat waiting for Pula’s latest attraction, a stunning lighting display at the city’s shipyards, just off the front of the boat.

 “Renowned lighting designer Dean Skira has lit up the shipyard’s iconic cranes in 16,000 different colour schemes, which come alive four times every evening on the hour, starting at 9pm for 15 minutes.”

Next afternoon it was off on a night sail to Venice,  after visiting the immagation dock to check out of Croatia.  The checkout from Pula is quite straightforward with everything close by.