Marina Kastela Saturday August 22nd. 2015
Croatia is having a hot summer this year, unlike last year, the locals say. We have become rather used to blue, cloudless skies and temperatures in the mid 30s, the air-conditioner a blessing but we still have some sleepless nights. After our return from Austria we waited for days for workmen to sort out Exotica’s generator, engine and battery charging problems with only limited success. Enough, however, to escape the still air of the marina and enjoy the company of Ruth and Mick Donnelly to explore the waters north of Split. If the wind was on the nose we changed course, found lovely anchorages in sandy bottomed bays and swam in the crystal aquamarine waters. We were just so sorry that their, and our, friend Sara did not make it this year.
August 4th – 9th
After a short but exciting beat inside Otok Zlarin we joined a procession of boats entering the narrow, two nautical mile channel leading from the sea to the city and port of Sibenik. We stopped at the very smart Marina Mandalina, some distance SE of the old town. A water taxi took us there for dinner on the quay. It’s hard to believe this city was badly damaged in the 1991-92 war. The steep, limestone steps winding up through ancient buildings are a delight, even in the busiest time of the year.
From there we motored to the Krka River National Park, a gorge twisting its way to the 2.5 miles long and 1 mile wide shallow lake, Prukljansko Jezero, from where another narrow, twisting channel of the Krka River continues to Skradin. This pretty little riverside town has brightly painted stone houses and a ruined fortress towering above.
The highlight is a ferry trip to Stradinski Buk, where there is a boardwalk connecting emerald green, fish-filled river and the park’s largest waterfall.The 800 m. long cascade falls 46 m. before crashing into the lower lake. If it wasn’t high summer we would have swum in the lake but it was insanely busy, so we didn’t. A windy evening at anchor in the lake, accompanied by a family of swans, the wind died at 0100, the noisy party on the shore began at 0130 until 0430. How can people make so much noise!
Lunchtimes we found secluded, aquamarine bays to swim and charming towns to moor at night.
Primosten is one of the nicest ports we have visited, once an islet just off the coast, fortified during the Turkish threat in the 16th century. We dined on the ramparts under the stars after a spectacular sunset.
Our long-planned evening at Restaurant Pasarela in Rogac on Otok Solta, was disappointing to say the least. Even though we had rung to announce our arrival, there were no berths available, 40 minutes later they acknowledged us, cleared space only to find it was too shallow, luckily there was room for us on the town quay. Not to be deterred we kept our table booking, Mick chose Scampi Flambe with honey and lime. The menu said there should be four scampi but only three arrived. When questioned the superior waitress announced that they are bigger today so you get three! This young lady needs some lessons from Canadian servers. Mick, incensed, wrote to Tripadvisor immediately! Although the three were tasty, it left a bad taste with all of us.
August 12th – 18th
We had a spectacular beat to Otok Vis, the most westerly island with Jane and Jeff Carryer on board. Inhabited for thousands of years, in WW11 it was a base for the British Special Operations Executive forces, a sea cave on a nearby island provided a hiding place for a British naval torpedo vessel. Until 1989 foreigners were not allowed to land on Vis nor navigate within 300 m. off their shores, so developers have not spoilt the charming villages. We picked up an mooring in Kut in the eastern end of Vis harbour looking forward to a swim until wave after wave of unpleasant debris drifted past, a shower on the stern had to suffice!
On the western coast is the village and port of Komiza, the prettiest town overlooked by the 17th-century church on the site of a Benedictine monastery, a perfect evening stroll complete with old lady selling fresh figs. The water here was magic there are many mooring buoys however, our second night we were on the town quay, sadly this exposed harbour brought in an uncomfortable swell, so unusual in Croatia.
Leaving Komiza the hot, settled weather of the last few weeks broke. Threatening clouds did not deter us from our planned 14nm passage to the Pakleni Islands until we rounded the NW point to be hit by gusts of 34 knots, on the nose, of course. We were making heavy weather against the sea and wind and being chased by an impressive electrical storm so changed course, back to Vis harbour where we knew we could pick up a secure mooring. It poured for 24 hours, consequently the air is now cooler and less humid.
Our last night with the Carryers we again picked up a restaurant mooring in Sesula, on Solta. A very sheltered long, narrow inlet with crystal water. The food was excellent although they were out of lamb that day! They pack boats into the inlet and onto the moorings, we had a charter boat tied to us, thankfully when the storm began at 5am there was more lightening and rain than wind.
Every boat owner will tell you there is always something going wrong on a boat, Exotica is excelling. Batteries not being charged by the motor, eventual solution, new splitter. Autohelm and chartplotter failed, solution, a Raymarine expert. Generator failing to produce water and not charging batteries, solution, have the generator craned out of the boat to find the solution! All this means days in the marina, so while Terry sat around waiting for workmen Jane and Jeff Carryer and Julie explored the seven Kastel ancient villages along this bay. Our visitors have departed and we again wait for workmen…….next week will be more Central Dalmatian cruising.