Hvar is a very pleasant spot

Hvar is a very pleasant spot.

It seems to attract more than its fair share of celebrities…..

Along with us of course.

13268598_10205840469123816_390956440944016902_o 13260035_10205829260043596_5639279868960662801_n  We pulled up a mooring next to the wall and then took a couple of long lines back to the wall at the back of the boat. A nice little arrangement that allowed us to swim off the back of the boat. Cost us 160 kunas ($80AUD) for the privilege.

13305036_10205840459003563_2130719477274654067_o

We took the dingy to shore and wandered around the boardwalk and into the old town. Lots of intriguing narrow laneways with bars and restaurants spilling into the harbour surroundings. 13316952_10205829262963669_6936745552338655209_o

Next morning we followed the boardwalk around the other way, past more bars and restaurants with some hotels thrown in for good measure, before heading up to the castle, with its spectacular views overlooking the harbour.

13305212_10205837593211920_5058992416945157295_oThe castle was in pretty good nick and was good to wander through but the highlight was the views looking down on the harbor and the town. Photos taken, it was back to the boat for swim and then off to Split.

Split is a bit problematic when it comes to getting a berth. Cant really anchor there and the town wall is as expensive as the marina as we found out. The town itself is pretty nice with some a great Roman palace, impressive wall and some nice churches and Roman ruins but I wouldn’t stress if you missed it.

13323803_10205840458043539_6281482019083162928_o

We spent an afternoon and evening there before leaving early for Krka.

Fresh Water Sailing

Krka is one of the highlights of our sailing trip to Croatia. I always thought it was on an island as you always see it in Croatian cruising guides but in fact its quite a way inland.

13344809_10205842984386696_5271675735809263024_n After a motor sail up from Split, we turned right into a interesting channel that takes you into a large inland bay, with the major town of Sibernik in front of you. We then turned left into the impressive Krka river. We passed mussel farms on each side, as we slid under a very high traffic bridge, before entering a stunning river gorge with steep cliffs either side. We burst out into a large lake that was half fresh and half salt. We motored across the lake for 1.5nm before re-entering the fresh water river. Another 5nm later we passed under a tall bridge, before anchoring off Skradin, a cute little town where all the boats leave to go up to the Krka falls. 13325501_10205840403602178_9186686154278776428_nIt was a delightful anchorage in about 7m of water, in amongst the reed banks, with a steady current of fresh water flowing through. Great to have a fresh water flush – toilets as well as the boat, dingy and genset motors. We also took the opportunity to clean our dirty bottom, hoping that whatever was growing down there wouldn’t like the change in salinity.

13307261_10205840403682180_1667016121885838864_n13335787_10205840403642179_3331757623451029055_n

We sat back and enjoyed watching the white swans, with their cygnets in tow, come up to the boat looking for a feed. The scenery was stunning and the sunset to die for.

We put the dingy in and explored the pretty little riverside town, with its combination of stone and brightly painted houses. There’s a reasonable marina there, but we liked our free anchorage. Lots of cutesy restaurants and touristy shops. We walked up to the old castle ruins to get some great views down to the town and the surrounding forest.

Next day it was off to the famous Krka Falls. You can’t take your dingy up there, you have to take a tourist boat, the price of which is all wrapped up into the National Park entrance fee. So off we went in someone else’s boat for a change.

13346243_10205842984426697_7545531846444504562_o-2

13330895_10205842986186741_843779775203261118_nWe disembarked and walked up to the main falls, which are called Skradinski Buk, considered to be one of the most beautiful calcium carbonate waterfalls in Europe. And who am I to disagree. At the bottom of the falls is a massive clear natural pool where you can swim. Behind this pool is 17 different waterfalls stretching for 800m, falling over 50m. We wandered around a series of pleasant paths winding their way around these waterfalls and fish filled pools. We came across remnants of Tesla’s hydro-electric power plant, the second in the world to dish out AC power to Sibernick (Tesla is Croatian).

13342973_10205842986106739_1099408022636451063_nThen we hopped on another boat and headed further up the river to Visovac island with an old Franciscan monastery on it. It was founded way back in the 14th Century and in 1445 harboured Franciscan monks from Bosnia fleeing the Ottoman Empire. We spent a very pleasant 30 minutes wandering around the small museum, the church and the grounds.

13321789_10205840328440299_4194425252147836064_n

National Park done (not really as there’s a whole other set of falls that we didn’t visit) we headed back on the Park boat to get back to La Mischief. The rest of the afternoon was spent swimming and relaxing, watching the wildlife and the scenery. Cruising at its best.

Next morning it was up early and off to Zadar, stopping along the way to buy some fresh mussels (5KG) of course.

Lunch Date at the Uncanin Residence

With Dubrovnick done, it was time to head to Korkula to see Rade and Marinka and their new addition (baby, not house). We had a great time with Rade 3 years ago and unfortunately this time he was up to his ears with work, house and new baby so he couldn’t come sailing with us this time.

13239432_10205821348885822_6955233961731489531_nWe stopped off in Mljet National Park on the way to Korkula, a nice anchorage off a small village.

Next morning, we set off early to Zavalatica, Rade’s Village on Korcula, as we needed to get there by lunchtime.

Talk about good timing, it was a National Holiday in Croatia and Rade had the day off. Perfect planning – of course.

13268139_10205821851858396_1969315993694678800_o

Once again the wind was on our nose so we motored over in light winds. We pulled up at the dock in…. and went for a quick swim off the back of the boat in beautiful clear water.

13316831_10205821851898397_3006915899552976505_o

Lunch was brilliant. Marinko (Marinka’s Dad) had been slow cooking the meat all morning and it was particularly delicious. Especially when washed down with Rade’s Posip wine, 12 litres of which found its way onto La Mischief , along with some Olive Oil. Thanks Rade.

After lunch, Marinko drove us to Korkula Town, where we had a walk around the city walls, stopping for a drink overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

13308706_10205821852738418_9026059107239608547_o

We finished off a brilliant day with a few (more) drinks on La Mischief.

13254928_10205821854818470_4346011200471595833_oNext day, we were off to Hvar.

Those Mad Austrian Charterers Strike Again

Don’t get me wrong – I like Austrians. And I even like Austrians on charter boats. But it appears only when safely at anchor – away from La Mischief. We had a great night 3 years ago in Vis, with a whole group of them, drinking long into the night on the deck of La Mischief. But not so much fun this time in a confined harbour in 40kts. But I’m getting ahead of myself….  13227666_10205821333405435_7217026054497723030_o We left Kortor at 8am after successfully checking out of Montenegro, heading for Cavtat in Croatia. The winds did their usual in the fjordland of Kotor, going from 0 to lots. We make it out into the open sea to find a beautiful following breeze. Now that makes a change. We flew up the coast and nearly got to Cavtat before we needed a reef. We decided to take the sails down instead of reefing as we were close enough.

We had been to Cavtat before so we knew the procedure. Cavtat is where you must check in to Croatia, you can’t go past or you will get fined. No loitering either, as soon as you get to Croatia you must check in. No anchoring in a nice bay on the way in.

Many cruisers get fined in Croatia – me included 3 years ago, and this time I was determined to stay on the right side of the law this time.

13254945_10205821334485462_7463042704846718402_o

By the time we got to the customs dock it was blowing 40kts. We waited for a couple of boats to get sorted then dropped our anchor and backed in. We tied up to the dock, stern to, and I went off to get cleared in at the Harbour Master’s office and the Police office.

Meanwhile back at the boat……

Dee watched in amazement as a group of Austrian Charterers tried to come into the dock by dropping their anchor across everyone else’s chain and backing in all over the place. Dee felt our chain loosen as a result and put the motors on the keep us off the wall.

Then she watched in even more amazement (as did the harbour guy who helps people tie up) as the Austrians nearly rammed us. I got back to the boat to find Dee’s jaw on the ground, and we preceded to get off the wall as quickly as we could.

That wasn’t the problem. Our anchor winch stalled in the middle of the harbour (not where we left our anchor) as the mad Austrians yelled across to say they had our chain on their anchor. As they continued to motor around the harbour in 40kts of breeze, I suggested that perhaps they should think about getting it off. NOW!

Instead they grabbed their camera and started to take photos. Somehow they thought we needed to get our chain off their anchor. We talked then through the procedure. Put a rope round our chain you d#@ckh@#ds was sort of how the conversation went.

They finally stopped their photoshoot and one of them jumped in the water. It was a major exercise working out how to get a rope under a chain. Meanwhile they were all looking out the front and whoever was on the helm wasn’t looking at the looming rocks out the back. Somehow they managed to both get their anchor dislodged from our chain and keep off the rocks. Miracles do happen as they went off to terrorize someone else.

Not so easy for us. Our anchor winch was on strike due to having a whole heap of harbour junk dragging off our anchor. We managed to get it up little by little until we only had 6m out – the depth of the harbour.

We were then able to drag our anchor and its accompanying entourage back across the harbour to the wall where we were able to side tie (for 80 euros a night). I was rueing the fact that we don’t have a dive tank on board as it cost us a 100 euros for a diver to free all the sh@t off our anchor using a lift bag.

And there we stayed, having a quick drink with the Harbour Guy, reminiscing about the mad Austrians, before catching a cab out to get Stevo from the airport. The good thing about Cavtat is that its 10 minutes from Dubrovnick airport. After feeding Stevo a Beer or two, we had a quick look at the anchor, before deciding it could wait until tomorrow and off we went to dinner.

13240729_10205821338645566_8085762711738091062_nThe next day we caught a bus into Dubrovnick, which scared the sh@t out of Stevo, as he peered over the side of the bus down the cliffs far below. Dubvovnick never fails to disappoint. Except for the weather! We did all the obligatories. The walk around the top of the wall, the gondola ride to the top of the hill/mountain for the views down to Dubrovnick, wandering the streets and Mexican for lunch. Whilst there, we handed over 165 kuna for a cruising permit for our dingy as you need this if you want to use the dingy for a bit of sightseeing as we often do. Part of my Don’t Get Fined in Croatia this time strategy.

13248341_10205821332085402_762495159580787605_o

Back at the boat, Stevo managed to get our anchor winch working from the helm station but the handheld refused to play ball. But that was enough to see us leave and head for Mjet.

Dubrovnik – Take 3 (subtitled Brian plays Lets Stick Together)

P1010793

We made it back to Dubrovnik as darkness fell and kept going to Cavtat, as some weather was coming in and it was close to the airport for drop offs, as everyone was heading off (bar me). In their place, Anthony and Denise were arriving to help deliver La Mischief all the way to Turkey. 

Cas left early the next morning to spend a day in Rome with her good friend, Steffi. Mark, Leanne, Bec, Brad and I decided to head off to Dubrovnik and do the chair lift to the top of the mountain that backdrops the town. Quite spectacular. We met Anthony and Denise coming down as we were going up – they were spending another night in the old town before joining us the next day n board La Mischief.

We had just enough time to go up the mountain, have a quick bite to eat and a beer, before hopping on the ferry back to Cavtat so that Mark and Leanne could catch their flight to Athens (and then Santorini).

Next day, Anthony and Denise made their way down to Cavtat and onto La Mischief. There wasn’t a great deal of time to get settled before we all hopped on a bus and heading into Dubrovnik once again – for dinner and a free Brian Ferry concert.   The Excelsior Hotel was celebrating a milestone in Dubrovnik and they had organised a free Brian Ferry concert in the main square. Unfortunately, they hadn’t quite organised the weather and about half an hour before it was due to start, the heaven’s opened with a ripper of a thunderstorm.

All hell broke loose, but eventually the rain stopped and Brian started about an hour late. It was well worth waiting for. Mr Ferry can be a bit hit and miss but tonight he had a great band and he was on song. The rain started again about half way in and umbrellas went up everywhere. A nice couple standing next to us lent Brad and Bec their second umbrella so we were good. Lets Stick Together rocked the square away and he had the place jumping by the time he had to stop at midnight. And what a great place for a concert.

For pictures see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200377235586392.1073741879.1620379103&type=1&l=46419b614a

Freo – Way to Go

6am in the morning, the alarm went and Steve, Mark and Leanne were all action. The rest not quite so keen to get up in the dark, get dressed (in purple) and wander up the hill to where Rade had set up his TV and was cooking breakfast.

We made it to Rade’s in time to see the bounce down at 6.30am – the Australian Rules Football Grand Final – Freo vs the Hawks.

Unfortunately things didn’t quite stay on track from this point on as Freo succumbed to grand final nerves and inexperience and lost out to a very determined Hawks. Still it was a great morning, Rade served a great breakfast and we all had a great time. Next year!

With our grand final breakfast over, it was time to say goodbye to Marinka, Rade and Adam and head back once again to Dubrovnik, some 55nm away. The things we do for football.

Pre Grand Final Party in Rade's Town

Pre Grand Final Party in Rade’s Town

DSC_0217

DSC_0219

DSC_0220

DSC_0223

Croatian Hospitality A+

RadeWe arrived in Zavalatica to be greeted by Rade, a cousin of a good friend of ours, who helped tie us up to the wall, which we had all to ourselves. After some quick introductions and a beer or two, Rade whipped us home to meet his lovely wife, Marinka, and his Father in law, Marinko.

We were then treated to his wine (quite good) and his grappa (strong – not so nice!!!!), along with some of his olives (which were yummy evidently). Then it was off to see a big of Korcula by car. We headed over to Vela Luka, a largish harbour town, which looked well worth a visit. Along the way we drove through Rade’s vineyard and along a pleasant inland highway. After buying some fuel and stopping off for some cocktails at a nice bar we headed back to a wonderful feast that Marinka and Rade had prepared for us. What wonderful hospitality.

Over a few more glasses of Rade’s wine, we hatched up a plan to sail down to Dubrovnik to pick up Mark and Leanne, and then back to Rade’s to watch the AFL Grand Final at 6.30am in the morning. Then we would sail back to Dubrovnik to drop everyone off at the airport. Simple really. Rade fitted neatly into this plan as he could delay starting work and come along with us for the week.

So next morning at 6.30am, Marinka dropped Rade off along with enough wine to nearly sink the good ship La Mischief, and off we went. Rade was having a great time sitting up at the helm station taking in the wind and the sea as we bashed our way into 25kts.

It settled down as we entered the straight between Mjet and Peljesec and by the time we got to Dubrovnik, the seas were really calm and we anchored right in front of the main town – prime spot.

Safely anchored, we took the dingy into the old port and found Mark and Leanne waiting for us. With them safely aboard we had a full boat of 7 – but La Mischief has heaps of space so it worked really well.

Rade had a cousin who worked at the Excelsior , a rather posh hotel on the cliff face, so after grabbing pizzas in the old town we walked up there to sample his cocktails (which were rather excellent), whilst sitting on a balcony overlooking La Mischief in front of Dubrovnik all lit up at night. The hotel had a wall with pictures of all the rich and famous that had stayed there – no usual – Richard Burton and Liz Taylor etc. – funnily enough nobody asked us for our photos.

Next day, we spent a lovely morning, showing Brad, Bec and Cas around the old city, whilst Rade (who’d seen it all before) had a great time lazing about on La Mischief. We did the wall walk and Brad got a little infatuated with the waitress at the bar on top of the wall. Definitely a tick.

We finished the morning at a great restaurant overlooking the bay. Rade came and picked us up in the dingy after we got back and we spent the afternoon swimming and paddle-boarding.

Next day it was time to meander slowly back, visiting some of the highlights between Dubrovnik and Korkula. First stop was Otuk Lupid island, where we found a beautiful white sandy beach at Uvala Sunj. It was perfect, great beach, with a couple of bars behind, all a comfortable swimming distance from where we dropped the anchor. A perfect lunchtime stopover.

From here it was a short sail to Sipanska Sipan on Otuk Sipan, where we were planning to continue our Tour De Fork. We anchored off the restaurant where we were planning to eat and went off exploring the town. We were particularly interested in all these renovated buildings, quite big buildings. completely wrapped in plastic.

Then it was off to continue our Tour De Fork. Hopefully someone will help us out with the restaurant name as neither Google nor I can come up with its name. Anyway, whatever it was called it was damn good. We each ordered a main course, either fish or veal and then they proceeded to bring us out a hundred and one entrees, all brilliant. Couldn’t argue with any of them. When we finally got to the mains, we did have an argument about which was better – I think the veal won. Then it was onto desert and coffees. Somehow we didn’t sink the dingy on the way back to La Mischief.

Next morning it was up early and off to Mljet. Rade got a good laugh around our pronunciation of Mljet, but came round to our way of thinking in the end. Bit of an in joke with Howie.

The wind had started to pick up from the south so we had a lively sail up to the top of Mljet where it was lovely and protected. The top end of Mljet is a national park and is a wonderful wilderness. We found a beautiful anchorage in a bay near Pomena at the northern end of the island. It offered the perfect shelter with beautiful clear water around its edges. We anchored in the middle and backed into the shallow water tying up to a tree on the shore at the back.

It didn’t take long before Brad was jumping off the roof into the water, enticing Bec, Mark and Leanne to follow suit. Leanne was careful make sure she cleared the lifelines on the side of La Mischief, which made for an interesting face plant on her first attempt. The bay was dead calm so out came the paddle board and canoe and everyone had a great time whiling away the afternoon.

Next morning, after a swim, we were off back to Rade’s so we repay Rade and Marinka for their hospitality with an Australian BBQ on the back on La Mischief on the wall in Zavalatica. We arrived just after lunch, delivering Rade safely home. The girls took off with Marinka to do the food shopping, whilst the boys remarked the anchor chain and then had a bonding session over a beer or two, waiting for the girls to return.

We had a great night on La Mischief, with Marinko, Marinka’s dad coming along together with some other friends of Marinka and Rade.

Then it was off to bed to get some sleep before getting up early to watch the AFL Grand Final at Rade’s the next morning at 6.30am. (Yes….that is how far I’m behind in my Blogging – need to put in a big effort to catch up).

For pictures of Dubrovnik (Take 2) see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200362833666353&type=1&l=904eb9555e

For pictures of our trip back to Korcula see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200377239026478.1073741880.1620379103&type=1&l=1a1c5c6cd0