Time to say goodbye – for a while at least

The crossing from Montenegro to Bari, Italy was completely uneventful. 21 hours of very little wind and calm seas meant we had to motor the entire way. There wasn’t even much traffic until we got closer to the Italian coast so it was a very easy passage. We arrived on Tuesday, October 3rd around 0830, refuelled and reversed into our berth. Although both of us were tired from our crossing, having only had a few hours sleep each, we needed to make the most of the weather and get the jobs done that were easier to do whilst she was in the water and before the afternoon sea breeze arrived. This entailed washing the boat, dinghy and kayak so we could deflate and pack them away – obviously not the boat! We also needed to take the genoa down before lifting as sails can get unfurled and damaged in high winds, as we saw a few days later with another yacht. We then washed all the lines we could as they had been covered in salt over the last 5 months and 2,100nm.

We were like anxious parents watching her being lifted out!

The next morning saw Nimmie being lifted out. The yard took great care of her as she was being lifted, washed and then put into her cradle. It probably took the best part of 3 hours. Luckily, the boatyard has a ‘lounge’ area with good wifi so we could keep an eye on her whilst catching up with admin.

Once she was safely on her stand, we decided to explore the shoreline near the marina. It is quite pretty with a number of restaurants, one of which we decided to have a late lunch in. This is where Liz had sea urchins for the first, and probably last, time.  They tasted a bit like oysters but not quite! We also came across Eataly, a sort of Harvey Nicholls Food Hall, that showcased food from Puglia. Lovely stuff on show but very expensive.

Sea urchins and chilled rosé


Beautifully displayed fish counter at Eataly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the next couple of days, we continued to get Nimrod ready for the winter as we have done these past 5 years, including removing anything that may be damaged over the coming months. It’s amazing how long it all takes. We were able to stay on board as the yard had lent us a ladder so we could get up and down. On Thursday, the chief technician came to discuss the jobs we wanted doing. Most of them fairly minor but we had noticed that one of the propeller blades was loose and he also noticed that the cutlass bearings had gone, which means that the propeller shaft itself could move from side to side – neither a good thing!

The menu at Pappa’s

We had hoped for a day off to just chill but the most we managed was a few hours in the old part of Bari. We did find an amazing restaurant called Pappas for lunch, tucked down a side street. It has only been open for a few months and wasn’t very busy but the food melted in your mouth.

We reluctantly left Nimmie on Saturday morning, 7th October to fly back to the UK. Hopefully, she will be well looked after in Nautic Ranieri. We’ve had a marvellous time over the last 5 months and it’s funny how quickly you get back into a live aboard routine. Nimmie has looked after us in some pretty nasty weather, bits have stopped working (windlass) and started again (fridge). It never seems to matter what is thrown at her, she just shrugs her metaphorical shoulders and gets on with it. We’ve had many compliments about her as we toured the Adriatic as she is seen as a ‘proper’ boat with a number of harbourmasters nodding sagely when they see her. We are going to miss her but are looking forward to the next adventure in 2018!

Advertisements
Posted in News | 1 Comment

Montenegro 🇲🇪 

We left Cavtat in Croatia last Monday, September 25 after pulling up the anchor and motoring round to the customs quay. There were a number of charter boats already there but they seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time. We asked if we could raft off the two catamarans that were moored alongside as checking out should only take a few minutes. Also, it meant we didn’t have to deploy our anchor (and Liz pulling it up by hand!). However,  the harbourmaster was ‘busy’ so we had  to go back to the boat to let the others leave. We hovered in the harbour waiting for them to go but finally gave up when the last one was still there 20 mins later. We dropped the anchor and motored back to the quay. They decided to leave at this point and it soon became clear that we had crossed over their anchor chain as they had deployed theirs at 45 degrees away from the front of the boat rather than in front. The Port Authority guy shrugged his shoulders and said ‘Polish’ as if that explained it all. It all got sorted but the wind had got up so we ended up at a jaunty angle thanks to our new friends, now called the numpties. The Port Authority mooring guy was impressed that two women could handle a boat – a first for him. Bless. The checking out only took ten minutes so by 1130 we were on our way to Montenegro. 

The wind was on the nose – as usual –  so we had to motorsail to Tivat, some 25 miles away. We decided to check in at Porto Montenegro marina as they handle all the paperwork. Montenegro seemed to be even more bureaucratic than Croatia with visits to the police, harbourmaster, customs and back to the police. Amazingly, it only took 20  minutes and we then went round to the marina as an indulgence (€82 per night to moor). It is an upmarket marina with superyachts galore but very welcoming to us mere sailors. 

Porto Montenegro – full of super yachts and Nimmie!

The next morning we popped round to the Maritime Museum by the marina and it included a really interesting visit around a Yugoslav submarine. (Liz has an obsession with submarine pens and submarines.) 

Given how large it looked outside, it was amazingly cramped inside for the 28 sailors


We decided to stay in the Bay of Kotor for the first few days as we had heard that the bay was spectacular. It does have a feel of a Norwegian fjord with small villages dotted around the waterline dwarfed by the mountains. We went to Risan and moored up on a town quay, although it was very shallow and not exactly pristine.  Still, it was free even if the locals use the quay as a meeting place until 2am! The only bright moment was the local Roman mosaics. 

Roman Mosaics at Risan

 

The following morning (Weds) we caught a bus to nearby Perast, which sits on the shores of the bay.  A lovely little town but, like most of Montenegro, clearly showing signs of being at the end of the summer season. 

Perast on the shores of the Bay of Kotor


The yacht charter companies are still operating in October so we decided to go to Kotor mid week when it shouldn’t be too busy. Kotor is a medieval town with a city wall that reaches up to the mountain behind. As we approached, we saw that the cruise liner, Queen Victoria, was moored on the quay.  

Top of Kotor City walls looking down on Nimmie and Queen Victoria


Kotor itself dates back to the Greeks but the current town was built by the Venetians and you can tell. Both of us preferred Split or Dubrovnik as the old town was full of tacky souvenir shops, which was a shame. However, the climb up the city walls gave fantastic views down into the harbour and across the bay. The weather by now had turned so it has been decently chilly in the evening and the wind has definitely cooled during the day. Still around 21/22 degrees in the shade and a lot more cloud cover but that could be as a result of the majestic mountains that surround you in the bay. We decided to eat out that evening and had a lovely meal at Galion restaurant overlooking the bay (and Nimmie). 

The weather forecast wasn’t great for Thursday so instead of exploring the beaches (and beach bars!), we sailed to Herceg Novi as it has been recommended by friends and is close to the mouth of the bay. We thought it would be an industrial harbour. How wrong could we be. It is a delightful town with nice shops, lovely bars and cafes around the promontory and an old town that was a joy to walk round and gave fantastic views down the bay. The only downside was that mooring the boat was challenging as we had a strong breeze pushing us sideways so we gently ferry glided in slowly and carefully. It seems that both harbourmaster and the other yachts were impressed! We ended up between two Irish charter boats – as you can imagine, they were great fun. Then the Polish mini flotilla (aka numpties) arrived. Luckily, they were not next to us otherwise words might have been exchanged! 

We went into the old town (Starigrad), which involved a long climb but well worth it for the views and also the tasteful shops. On the way back we also walked around the promontory which reminded us of the one at Bol on Brač with its kiosks and cafes. We found a mobile phone shop that sold a 200GB data SIM card for €5 as Montenegro isn’t part of the EU and therefore the roaming changes don’t apply here. Bargain!

The old town of Herceg Novi looking down the Bay of Kotor


By Friday, Liz was getting itchy feet and keen to explore the numerous beaches along the coast so we headed out of the bay and went exploring. We ended up at Sveti Stefan which is a hamlet on another promontory although now it is an exclusive hotel complex where they charge €1000 a night for a room. We anchored underneath the complex with the much better view! The wind was double what had been forecast so we had a pretty disturbed night checking all was well. The next day we went ashore and found a lovely walk. 

Sveti Stefan

 

Sveti Stefan with Nimmie

Back at the boat we headed north towards the Bay of Kotor as we needed to check out on Monday. Our vignette (cruising tax) was only valid for 7 days. The various beaches didn’t look terribly sheltered or inviting in the overcast sky so we continued to Bigova, half way between Sveti Stefan and the Kotor Bay. It is a lovely inlet that is very sheltered and there are mooring buoys available if you eat at the Grispolis restaurant. We had already decided that we would eat out so we had a free mooring for the night. 

View of Bigova from our mooring buoy

 

Given that we had reserved a slot at the duty free fuel berth at Tivat on Monday morning, we wanted to be relatively close by. We found another lovely bay just before the Bay of Kotor called Zanjica that also had mooring buoys. We told the lad that came to help us that we didn’t want to eat out that night so, once he confirmed with his boss, we got a free mooring for the night. We just said we would go and have a drink at the bar. The restaurant was really a beach lounge/bar/restaurant so we had gin and tonics watching the sunset set with chill out music playing. What a lovely way to spend our last night in Montenegro. 

Uvala Zanjica

Sunset from Ribarsko Selo in Zanjica

 

Next morning we were up bright and early to go round to duty free fuel berth. We filled up with 170 litres for €92, which is the same amount we paid in Italy for 60 litres!! They also dealt with checking out so by 1130  we were on our way over to Bari, Italy – some 113nm and 21 hours later. 

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Dalmatia

On Saturday morning (16 September), we dinghied over to Slano town to reprovision before our next guests arrived that evening. We moored the dinghy at the marina in Slano and bumped into Tom and Susie from Sirena. We hadn’t actually met up with them since Brindisi but we had been following each other through emails and blogs. This was a lovely surprise. We also met Dave and Anne Lovejoy from the Cruising Association walking into town – it is a small world, indeed! The wind had got up during the morning so we had a very wet dinghy back to the boat – luckily the food survived although the figs took a beating. The boys on Limoni had sensibly taken their yacht over to the town quay to shop and take on water. 

As we were meeting our next guests, Helen and Nicky, off the ferry at Sipanska Luka, Šipan that evening we decided to moor up on the town quay to make things easier. Easy is not how I would describe the mooring, though, given the strong winds that were blowing through! We also found out that the windlass (that pulls the anchor chain up) has decided not to work so poor Liz has to pull it up by hand now. 

Šipan is one of the Elephites Islands that lie close to the Dalmatian coast and means deer – not that there are any left on these islands now. The port of Sipanska Luka is a lovely little place but can’t really be called a port. It’s a small harbour that the ferry calls into, there’s nothing commercial about it. 

Sipanska Luka on a very grey day

The wind and sea continued to build during the night but we only had a short passage back to the south east corner of Mljet in a bay called Saplunara so we set off after a leisurely breakfast. Whilst the bay at Saplunara is deep, there are mooring buoys belonging to the restaurants there that you can use for free if you eat at one of them. With five boats and 23 people, one restaurant, Kod Ante, was very happy to accommodate us and even helped us moor. A splendid evening was had once we had all dried off following the drenching we got on the way over.

Saplunara Luka with restaurant behind

We were keen to get to the island of Lastovo the following day as it has a reputation for being unspoilt as well as part of a national park. As it is one of the most westerly of the islands, we knew that this may be our last chance to go there given the weather forecast. The weather on the Monday was perfect for sailing so we had full sails up under clear blue skies and reaching speeds of 7.4 knots. Our first stop was the bay of Strivena Luka that was pretty but fairly ordinary when you’ve seen so many pretty bays!

The next day was a short hop around the corner to Jurjeva Luka to a lovely anchorage. Not long after we arrived, the heavens opened and an idyllic anchorage became a scene out of Noah’s Ark. 

However, the skies cleared for a while so you could see what all the fuss was about. 

Taken from Todd’s drone in Lastovo

Our crew joined others for a walk around the island to a submarine pen, similar to the one on Vis. This didn’t seem as deep but was in fact just as big. This island wasn’t opened to the public until 1989 due to its military operations. On our way out of Lastovo we saw another pen so I suspect that there were more hidden secrets within the island. 

Yet another submarine pen, complete with yacht moored alongside!

 

We then had a long motor sail back towards Mljet and anchored in the charming bay of Polače. It is part of a national park and I could have happily spent a couple of days there but we needed to ensure the fleet were back in Dubrovnik by Friday evening so it was only an overnight stay. However, Nicky and Helen treated us to breakfast the next morning. This was probably the first day in a while that actually felt warm. It seems that the temperature has really dropped in the last two weeks. We shouldn’t complain as we know that the UK is much cooler.  

Liz, Helen and Nicky at breakfast

Another 5 hour motor sail for us this time to  Sudarad on the opposite side of Šipan to Stipanska Luka. Again, there were mooring buoys here free of charge as the restaurant didn’t mind if we ate with them or not. In the end, we did as this would be the last meal we would have together as a charter (and we were down to three boats by now). However, only after movie night which involved each boat dressing up as a movie. Our film was Thelma and Louise. 

Baby Nimmie transformed into a movie set!

 
A leisurely morning  followed as we only had a three hour journey to the south of Dubrovnik. We walked up to a hilltop church that had amazing views. 

Looking south towards Lopud and the mainland.


The other boats needed to be back at base by the evening and we had decided to find an anchorage near the airport so that Nicky and Helen didn’t need to travel far on the Saturday. On the way down we passed by Dubrovnik, still looking impressive. We were here 13 years ago and it seemed like yesterday. The bay we had in mind wasn’t suitable so we continued to Cavtat, which is very close to the airport. It’s a cute little town dating back to the Greeks. We’ve been anchored here for two days now and taken the opportunity to spend a day in Dubrovnik, including watching the sunset from Fort Imperial, high up the hillside overlooking the town. Since we were here last they have installed a cable car Up to Fort Imperial so you get amazing views of the city and the surrounding islands. We also went round the Homeland War exhibition in the fort, which gave you some insight into how the Croatians feel about the 1991-2 war and especially the bombardment of Dubrovnik. 

Dubrovnik from the city walls

A magical sunset from the top of the cable car

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Korčula and Mljet

We did indeed spent another day in Vela Luka on Korčula island during which the heavens opened several times. Truly torrential rain but it did mean that the sea had a chance to calm down a bit. So, on Tuesday morning, we topped up with fuel before setting off for Korčula Town, some 35nm away where the rest of our club charter were. As always, the wind wasn’t quite coming from the direction they forecast so it was bang on the nose and the sea state started to build again. However, once we were in the channel between the Pelješac peninsula and Korčula island, it was a lot flatter and easier. We sailed past the old town into an anchorage just two miles south to meet the other boats only two days late!

Korčula Town

The old town that stands today dates back to 15th century and was the birthplace of Marco Polo. When we last visited here in 2004, it wasn’t as touristy and certainly didn’t make much of the fact that Marco Polo was its most famous son. That has all changed with Marco Polo museum, the house he lives in, memorabilia and tours. The front overlooking the harbour is now full of restaurants and cafes, showcasing a wonderful vista. The bell tower is a short but very steep climb to give you amazing views.

We spent the night in a quiet anchorage and walked round to Lumbarda village to eat in one of the many restaurants. It was an okay meal but lovely to be with everyone. We spent the next day wandering around Korčula as it was only a couple of miles in the dinghy and yacht Limoni gave us a lift one way! After Korčula we had a fabulous sail up the channel to Loviste on the Pelješac peninsular. It was a huge but quiet anchorage (at least until we turned up!). We had fabulous drinks and canapés on board Artmedia, a Hanse 575, with loads of toys including its own wine fridge, electric height adjustable tables and the necessary generator to power all these luxuries!

Artmedia in Loviste

Next day was a long motor sail down to Okuklje on Mljet. Liz and I were here in 2004 but have absolutely no recollection! Most of the moorings are for the restaurants but there is a very small town quay so we  snuck on there free of charge. Our fridge decided to pack up again so we ate on board whilst the rest of the club ate at one of the restaurants in this bay.

Okuklje on Mljet

Today we sailed all of 6nm across from Mljet to Luka Slano on the mainland via a lunchtime stop on Jakljan. There is a cove just inside the Slano bay called Banja and whilst fairly deep at 12m (this means that we have to put out 45m of chain), it’s a beautiful anchorage with its own chapel. Eating on board again and watching the stars after pre dinner drinks on Limoni. Magical.

Banja

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Carpe Diem

So, the plan for Friday was to get as far as Korčula island as that’s half way to Dubrovnik. However, the wind and sea were directly on the nose and as any sailor will tell you, waves can stop you dead in your tracks. After 3 hours of going precisely nowhere, we gave up and changed direction to the Pakleni Islands. We covered more distance in the next hour than we had all morning! Mother Nature was telling us something. We picked up a mooring buoy in between two islands in a perfectly calm bay. The buoys belonged to a restaurant and you can stay free of charge if you eat there. We thought it would be rude not to so we had a very nice lunch, washed down with the homemade wine. 

View from the restaurant in U. Zdrica


This island also happens to be the same island that the beach club Carpe Diem is on so we wandered round to have a look. There was a path of sorts but it wasn’t obvious even in daylight. It was pretty quiet at 5pm but then it doesn’t really get going until 12.30am!


Back to the boat and Liz went for a 4 hour nap in preparation for a visit back to the bar. I hadn’t managed to get any sleep during the evening so Liz waited for me until 2am so I had had a few hours sleep at least. We then dinghied over to the restaurant dock and then walked for about 20 mins, in the dark, to the club. It wasn’t really busy but enough customers to create a bit of a buzz. The music varied in quality so we stayed until around 4am before heading back to the boat. 

Eye candy for some

Can’t believe we looked so wide awake!


In the morning, we decided to see whether we could continue on southwards, hoping that the sea state had calmed down. Seizing the day, we managed to get across to the western tip of Korčula island before the next storm would hit us and tied up to a mooring buoy in the harbour and close to shore. The nightly cost is 150 kuna, which is the cheapest we have paid to date (not counting the free ones!). The mooring is very secure and even in the high winds we can dinghy to shore. Given we have seen 30 knots of wind in the harbour, we can only imagine what it must be like out at sea. 

Today (Sunday) has continued to be stormy and windy but we have managed to get various jobs done on the boat as well as a bit of sightseeing. Vela Luka is the 2nd largest town on Korčula although having at least 8 supermarkets seems a little over the top! It is also home to Vela Spila (meaning big cave). This is a cave that dates back 17,000 years to the ice age when Korčula and Vis were part of the Croatia mainland. It took us 30 mins to walk up to it high above the town and 10 mins to look round it! Still, all quite interesting. 

Vela Spila cave


Then we walked part round the bay (its three miles long!) and had to divert into a bar when the thunderstorm started. We may end up being stuck here another day until this Sirocco blows through and the sea calms down. 

Kissing Point was on our walk – I leave it up to you as to whether we obliged!

Vela Luka

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Otok Vis

Having spent several days on Hvar and the Pakleni Islands, it was time to move on to the island of Vis, about ten miles south as there was a southerly blow coming through. As it was a Friday (so no charter boats) the town quay was virtually empty but we opted for a mooring buoy at half the cost. After a quick food shop, Loui and Kate decided to wander around town whilst Liz and I walked up to Fort George on a nearby hilltop. It had great views and even better cocktails so we were both happy. 

Sunset from Fort George

The next morning, we decided to move to the town quay as there was a storm due overnight and rain forecast for the next two days, which would not have been much fun for our guests if they’re stuck on a mooring buoy. And my, did it rain but at least Nimmie had a good wash. There was a temporary respite in the weather on Saturday afternoon so we hiked across to an old submarine bunker, dating back to Tito’s era and part of the set for the James Bond film “The world is not enough” followed by the now mandatory sundowner at Fort George. 

Submarine bunker with prayer flags in it!

Vis was a partisan stronghold during WWII and also Tito’s HQ up until 1980. The island itself wasn’t opened to tourism until 1989. 

Sunday was a lazy day doing admin and generally chilling whilst the rain hammered down. Liz, of course, couldn’t sit still for too long so she went for a walk to a British cemetery that dates back to the Napoleanic wars, hence the naming of Fort George, in between showers. She even found time for a much needed haircut! We had originally hoped to go across to the island of Bisevo to visit the Blue Cave whilst the charter boats were back in port for changeover but the weather had conspired against us. Instead, we slipped our lines at 0545 on Monday morning to go the 12nm to the cave. We picked up a mooring buoy there at 0815 so that we could get one of the first water taxis into the cave. What an amazing sight. We had the boat to ourselves so Kate was able to take as many photos as she wanted. Brilliant. 

The Blue Cave really is that blue!

We then moved on to the island of Budikovac, just south of Vis. There are actually two islands, Mala Budikovac (meaning small) and Veli Budikovac (meaning big). There was turquoise, clear water between the two of them so we moored there for the night.

Budikovac


 

The Green Cave was on the nearby Ravnik island so we took the dinghy there to have a look. For the pricely sum of 50 kuna each, we were allowed to row our own boat into the cave. You can swim in there but we decided that it was too cold. None of us felt it was a patch on the Blue Cave. 

Inside the Green Cave


 

Back on board, we had a BBQ and watched the moon come up. What a lovely day. 

Liz had read that there was a gorge nearby at Stiniva where you can moor up so on Tuesday we went to have a look. It was pretty busy with charter and day tripper boats so we moored up in an adjacent bay (Vela Travna) and walked round. The walk down from the top was more akin to mountaineering than a gentle hike as stated in the guidebooks! Still, the view was spectacular. 

Stiniva Gorge from half way down!

Again, we ate on board and decided to dinghy round to the gorge early in the morning when it would be quieter. We set off around 0830 and got there before the day trips had arrived. It was amazingly clear with a lot of fish and fauna.  The snack bar there cooked us breakfast, even though it wasn’t on the menu. 

A lovely morning followed by a great afternoon in our next cove, Stončica, which actually has a sandy beach as well as the mandatory turquoise water. We were lucky to be able to pick up a mooring buoy right by the swimming area so spent the afternoon swimming and chilling although it does seem to get quite chilly (20 odd degrees!) once the sun goes down. We were then treated to a meal in the beach restaurant by Kate and Loui as it was their last night with us. 


It was a very early start for us this morning as we needed to get Kate and Loui to Vis Town to catch the 7am ferry to Split. We left our mooring at 0515 to make the 4nm journey.  As we came into Vis harbour, we realised it was chock o’block as 30 yachts that form ‘Yacht Week’ were in town. Luckily,  there was a mooring buoy free near to the fuel station so we were able to dinghy our guests and their luggage ashore. We spent the rest of the day food shopping and going on a wild goose chase to refill our camping gaz bottle. We decided to stay here all day as we were tired and the strong winds would have been on the nose and a hard slog to move further south towards Dubrovnik (where we need to be by Sunday).  We’ll attempt that tomorrow!

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Party time!

We needed to go back to the UK for a few days last week so went into Marina Kaštela, just outside Split on Wednesday afternoon as it was close to the airport and a large Konzum supermarket. Our friends, Kate and Loui, were supposed to join us from the Tuesday but this had to be postponed until we got back on the Sunday. However, we did manage to meet up with them for dinner on the Wednesday evening in Split. Split is a wonderful city with the historical centre alive and vibrant. It was great to catch up although it was after midnight before we left the restaurant and 1am when we got back to the boat. All this would have been fine if we weren’t catching an early flight home!

Split has many fine buildings including this Vestibule in Diocletian’s palace

We caught the 0630 flight out of Luton back to Split on the Sunday morning. Luton airport was manic and absolutely rammed with people even at 5am. Tranquility was restored once we were back on Nimmie and after a few hours shopping and getting her ready, we were off back to Bol on Brač to pick up Kate and Loui. We made great time with a strong afternoon breeze so we were mooring up on the town quay by 7pm. Bol is a bit of a party town with loud music going from midnight to around 3am. There was also a lot of wash from ferries and little ribs, which meant that being moored next to other boats increased the likelihood of bashing into each other. It happened although we didn’t discover the damage until yesterday. Seems that the other boat’s stanchion caught the metal strip on our rubbing strake. Liz did a magnificent job of repairing it today so you can’t really see any damage. 

The night was a little calmer although the music was pretty loud. We had a leisurely morning, leaving after midday to make for the island of  Hvar. We decided to stop for the night in the large bay of Stari Grad in a cove called Luka Tiha. We pretty much had the place to ourselves until around 7pm.

Amazing clear, turquoise water in Luka Tiha


After a lovely, quiet evening it was time for another party bay. This time, THE party destination in Croatia – Carpe Diem Beach Bar on the Pakleni Islands. It’s in a secluded anchorage to the south as all the ferries arrive at the north end of the island. We anchored and settled down wondering why the bar was so quiet. Other boats joined us with many dragging their anchors in the high winds. By 9pm, everyone seemed to have sorted themselves out. By midnight, the music started. They have a very good sound system as you could hear every note and word across the bay! It finished at 0530, which is when Liz came to bed, having had her own private beach party on the back of the boat. Her best ever anchor watch !!

We then went a couple of miles along to the island of Klement where there is a large bay called Vinogradisce with mooring buoys, beach bars and restaurants. We had a reserved a place the afternoon before when there was no room for us (and paid 100 kuna for the privilege!) so we knew we had a mooring buoy waiting for us. It is a delightful bay with lots going on and room for 40 boats, some large and none small. With its crystal clear water (a regular feature in Croatia), delightful vista and shelter, we decided to stay two nights. Although lovely, by 11pm all was quiet. 

Vinogradišce Bay with Nimmie in the background

Yesterday evening we caught the water taxi from the marina on the other side of the island across to Hvar Town. 

Hvar Town



The town itself is lovely with its marbled streets, narrow alleyways and town quay but the highlight had to be having cocktails watching the sunset at the Hula Hula Beach Bar. So reminiscent of Cafe del Mar in Ibiza. Brilliant. 

Cocktails at Hula Hula

Sunset in Hvar Town

 

After the very good cocktails we found a gem of a restaurant called Konoba Luviji in the back streets of Hvar which has been run by the same family for generations. Gorgeous food including shark and a goulash to die for. Caught the taxi ferry back and all back on board by midnight. 

A lovely meal with Kate and Loui in Hvar Town

Tonight we are off to sample the cocktails at a nearby beach bar in the bay before a BBQ on board. Happy days. 

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Brač

After leaving Trogir on Thursday morning, we realised what people meant when they said that Croatia is very busy in August. First we made our way over to the Blue Lagoon but it was both very windy and also busy so after a quick fly by, we decided to move onto the island of Solta. 

Leaving Trogir

Blue Lagoon


Every anchorage we went into was full as it was after 3pm. It seems that people leave their previous night’s mooring by 10am and get to the next one by 3pm in high season. We finally found one at the eastern end of Solta but decided that we might as well go onto Brač as we wanted to get to the beach at Zlatni Rat in good time the next morning. 

We found a lovely anchorage in Lucice on the southern side of Brač. One of the arms of this cove was filled with mooring buoys that had been reserved and were associated with the restaurants there so we went into another section. We anchored and took lines ashore, which always takes much longer than you think, especially when there are only two of you! However, all went well and we had a really peaceful night. 

Lines ashore in Lucice

We left early to make our way towards Bol as we had assumed that the mooring buoys there would be a scarce commodity but were surprised to find that there were several free. I think it had something to do with the fact that it was a Friday and all the charter boats were heading back to base. 

Bol with Nimmie in the background


We dinghied over to the famous Zlatni Rat beach to meet up with our friends, Sue and Sheila, who were staying in Bol. Zlatni Rat is great for people watching as it is like a magnet for tourists and locals alike. Every nationality, shape, size and shade of pink were there! 

Zlatni Rat


We spent a lovely couple of days with Sue and Sheila, sampling the local restaurants and also the local wine – all very civilised except that the bars don’t shut until 3am and neither does the loud music. Goodness only knows what it would have been like if we’d moored up to the town quay. 

Cocktails before dinner with Sue and Sheila

Wine tasting in Bol!

 

Sunday we decided to move on and seek a sheltered cove as another Bora (strong NE wind) was due that night. We found a lovely cove at Bobovišca that has mooring buoys and stern lazy lines so you are very secure and they can get more boats in. The village has a couple of restaurants and the same number of shops but perfect for what we need. Being tucked in we only saw gusts of 25 knots or so rather than the predicted 35 so we had a very good night’s sleep in the cool breeze. We’ve stayed another day here as the wind was still strong the morning and we took the opportunity to give Nimmie a good bottom scrap – boy did she need it!

Bobovišca Bay


Bobovišca with Liz coming back from the shops!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Northern Dalmatia 

We left our friends, Sue and Sheila, to continue their holiday in Croatia on the Saturday morning whilst we re-provisioned and cleaned the boat. Zadar is a lovely town with great restaurants and a maze of little alleyways to explore. We were moored slightly out of town in Marina Borik as the main marina is full at  the weekends due to the charter fleets that operate out of it. 
We left Sunday morning around midday and made our way over to Preko to refuel. We had hoped to change our cooking gas bottle but the chandlery was shut and the fuel berth only had small ones. We wanted to make reasonable headway down towards Trogir so we sailed down to Otok Murter. By the evening the wind has really blown up so we wanted a large safe anchorage with good holding. 


The next morning, the forecast was for more strong winds but we wanted to go round the corner to Tisno where Croatian beach parties are ‘legendary’. The water was turquoise and incredibly clear so we anchored off the beach. The music was blaring at 10.30am so Liz was happy. However, when we kayaked ashore, it was clear that there are two beach bars competing with each other – pretty much cancelling each other out – so it became a din rather than funky music. 

A beautiful vista of Nimmie at Tisno

We decided to make towards Primosten on the mainland, about 15nm from Trogir for our evening stop. The wind was building up to over 25 knots but with it behind us, we managed to get 6.8 knots with just half of the genoa (front headsail) out. Fabulous. However, when we arrived at Primosten the swell was coming straight into the harbour so making it untenable for the night. By this time is was after 7pm so we knew we had another 90 mins of light left. We went round the corner to Rogoznica which is a huge natural harbour that gives pretty much all round protection – perfect. We arrived around 8pm and amazingly there were mooring buoys free just outside the marina there. We decide to go for them rather than go further round to the   anchorage as we had no idea if it would be full and, frankly, we were tired! 
Rogoznica is a pretty town with a sea water lake called Dragon’s Eye. It’s a sinkhole that is tidal and the legend goes that the level rises when the dragon is there and falls when it has left to search for food!

Rogoznica from the boat

Dragon’s Eye


We left at midday as we only had 15nm to get to Trogir. The wind built up during the afternoon so by the time we arrived at the marina, opposite the old town, the wind was blowing quite hard so mooring was a challenge with just the two of us on board. However, all was okay and we will spend tomorrow exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Trogir waterfront from the marina

Posted in News | 3 Comments

Guest blog by Sue and Sheila

Guest blog entry from Sue and Sheila aboard Nimrod from Saturday 5th – Saturday 12th August 2017 in Croatia.

After a relaxing but very hot week in a villa in Premantura near Pula, northern Croatia we joined Nimmie and the girls expecting more of the same!! How wrong we were!
We left Veruda Marina near Pula and headed down to a small bay at Portic, which is part of the Kamenjak National Park. Jo and Liz had already moored there before, knew it was pretty and had a good beach bar! More importantly it was sheltered from the wind forecasted to blow up during the night. Lovely and peaceful, good secure anchorage and settling down to a quiet night!! Wrong again – first one chartered party boat arrived, then another, then another, then another – could they anchor like Jo and Liz? No! The night was incredibly hot, too hot to sleep, but not much chance of sleep anyway – music and karaoke til 2am and boats around us dragging anchors and moving around. Crazy Sail they were called – say no more! Chaos all around us, but nothing compared to the next night!!

Sheila relaxing in Portic

Sunday we had hoped to sail to the island of Cres to meet up with some friends who were part of the previous week’s villa party but the predicted storms and Bora wind meant we had to get much further south to Otok Losinj and to an anchorage in a sheltered bay, called Luka Krivica – very pretty. The sea was quite rough and it was windy – we had a lovely sail with both the main (3 reefs) and Genoa up. We took an hour to make sure we were secure – with teamwork on the helm, the anchor and swimming to take lines to shore (now an apocryphal story that Sheila swam to shore with the ropes between her teeth!). Lots of comments from Jo on the amount of anchor line others had out – far too little, but maybe Liz had been a bit over the top with 50 metres! Thank goodness we did have 50 metres and took an hour sorting it out. We booked a local restaurant in the next cove Luka Balvanida and set off via dingy and walking, hoping to meet the Cres gang! Two of them, Dozy and Carole, attempted to get there by road and track, but had to turn back – it was too steep and rough and sensibly they realised that it would be impossible to do later in the dark. Poor things they got back to Cres very late not having had dinner!! 

Lines ashore in crystal clear water


We got back to Nimmie and had just settled down to sleep – some on deck and some below (it was still so hot!) when the electrical storm started, very spectacular sheet lightning and soon the predicted gusting wind started up. We watched the lines to shore anxiously as the gusts went up to 25 knots, then 30 knots, then 35 and hitting 40 knots. But thankfully all held! Not so for those around us – we can only describe it as carnage! Many boats gave up as as anchors dragged and they motored further out in the cove, some tried to re anchor and one boat (‘next door but one’) ran aground on the rocky shore. It was a very hectic night! The wind and lightning eventually receded and next morning was lovely – calm and sunny! Breakfast versus the wasps – the wasps won and we decided to move on, but not before Jo went diving to retrieve the mask and snorkel dropped by Sheila the day before and also to look at the keel with a view to giving it a clean. A tense 20 minutes for all bar Jo, as a number of boats came in to the cove and Sue and Sheila struggled to maintain the role of indicators of ‘diver below’ (normally carried out by orange inflatables attached to the diver!) The mask and snorkel from the bottom of the cove (6metres) were retrieved and Liz’s adrenalin levels eventually subsided!! An orange inflatable was purchased next day!!

Jo about to retrieve the lost snorkel!


Monday we ‘back tracked’ and moored at the town quay of Mali Losinj. We had been unable to get a berth there the previous night, but were keen to meet up with some friends from the villa party who were staying on Cres – Caroline, Val, Dozy and Carole. Mali Losinj is a lovely harbour town with very pretty painted buildings, a few shops and plenty of cafes and restaurants. We met up with all the friends staying on Cres – first for a welcome beer, they happened to be having lunch at a bar just saying wouldn’t it be amazing if Nimmie sailed in, right in front of them – and we didn’t disappoint- and then for a great fish meal on the other side of the harbour, after pre dinner drinks aboard Nimmie. All of it well worth the diversion from our route!

Drinks on Nimmie in Mali Losinj


So continuing our journey south on Tuesday we left Mali Losinj after breakfast out at a cafe and headed towards the islands of Molat and Ist, hoping to pick up a mooring buoy. It was a long way and with the wind almost head on we motor sailed with the main up and didn’t arrive until 7pm. Not surprisingly no mooring buoys left. So we anchored at Siroka on Otok Ist. It was a stunningly beautiful evening and a very pretty anchorage and we ate on board, watching the copper moon rise.

Sunset in Ist


Wednesday we motored to Dugi Otok and picked up a mooring buoy at Veli Rat. Tried to take out the kayaks but it was too rough, so we walked to town hoping to cut across the island to Sakuran Beach, but gave up on that too and had a beer!! Jo and Liz took the dingy to the lighthouse and walked to the top – stunning views! It’s a lighthouse that you can stay in and Sue and Sheila had almost booked it, except that it is not very accessible by ferry. Part of the reason for going there was to see it!

Sunrise at Veli Rat


Thursday – we motored to the beach at Sakuran, passing the Veli Rat lighthouse. Beautiful azure waters, great snorkelling, lots of fish. Took both kayaks to beach to check out if it really was sand as stated (one of top ten sandy beaches in Croatia) and to visit the beach bar. Yes there is a narrow strip of sand, but like many beaches in Croatia the light coloured pebbles make the water look stunning. 


The kayak trip back to the boat was challenging as the wind and waves had really picked up. We then continued to our next stop on the northwest side of Otok Ugljan, which we hoped would be sheltered from the predicted storms coming in the evening and the swell. We were enjoying a pleasant sail with the wind behind us and the Genoa up, when the storm started up EARLY(!) It looked really spectacular moving round the island – dark clouds, orange sky but with gusting winds up to 35 knots, all a bit hectic for us two novices! Gunwhales in the water – Sheila attempting to helm! Jo and Liz remained calm and got us safely to our anchorage at Uvala Pavlesina for the night. 

It is now Friday – we can’t believe our week has gone so fast and we are  now in our final berth (not forever we hope) which is near Zadar from where Sue and Sheila will go by land to Split. It has been a fantastic week – a huge thank you to Jo, Liz and wonderful Nimmie, who have given us so many varied experiences of the sea and sailing in a very short space of time. We have learned a great deal, have seen parts of Croatia we could never have got to, taken hundreds of photos, swam and snorkelled every day in beautiful clear waters, eaten some great meals and best of all spent a week with Jo and Liz. 

Thank you and lots of love from the vaguely competent crew and part time galley slaves!

Posted in News | Leave a comment