A Little Golf And Then Back To Croatia

 

Julie returned from her successful trip to Sydney, where she was caring for her aunt, on August 5th having been away for two weeks.  Terry had Venice and Exotica all to himself.

Julie delivered from the airport directly to our berth by Emirates water taxi, with storm threatening.

Julie delivered from the airport directly to our berth by Emirates water taxi, with storm threatening.

The Dolomites from Isola Certosa, Venezia

The Dolomites from Isola Certosa, Venezia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The very next day we finally left Venice after over 2 months on Certosa Island. We headed north against choppy seas and windy weather, as it was hard on the nose we had to motor for seven hours, finally arriving in Marina Sant Andrea, a very quiet marina 4nm up a canal in another large and shallow lagoon.  This is just about the most northerly place in the whole Mediterranean.

Leaving Venice after a two month stay.

Leaving Venice after a two month stay.

We had chosen this marina as we needed to have somewhere to leave Exotica for a week as we had a trip planned to the Austrian Tyrol where, having hired a car at Trieste airport, we drove over the Dolomites by way of the Plockenpass, steep and narrow and requiring about a thousand gear changes in a small manual car.

Dolomitengolf course, spectacular.

Dolomitengolf course, spectacular.

Even JC was tempted to learn golf at this superb resort

Even JC was tempted to learn golf at this superb resort

Our destination was the Dolomitengolf Hotel where we joined our friends Maria and Juergen Luders. They are keen golfers and have come here for many years to play on the beautiful 27 hole golf course.  It is an amazing place, a valley surrounded by the mountains of the Dolomites close to the town of Lienz.  Despite the awesome ranges on all sides the golf course is almost completely flat and beautifully maintained with lush grass. Terry bought some golf shoes, hired some clubs and played every day of our stay. Julie utilised the gyms and the pools.

Juergen, JC, Maria & TC Grossglockner lookout

Juergen, JC, Maria & TC Grossglockner lookout

We hate the cold, it snowed on the way up to the lookout.

We hate the cold, it snowed on the way up to the lookout.

 

 

 

Juergen drove us to glimpse the highest Austrian peak, Grossglockner, 3,798m. It was a freezing 1C from the lookout point but worth the chill as the clouds parted to give us a spectacular view of the peak and glazier.

 

Clouds part to view Austria's highest peak

Clouds part to view Austria’s highest peak

Maria and Juergen could interpret the wine tasting in German

Maria and Juergen could interpret the wine tasting in German

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idyllic Austria. Dolomitengolf Resort

Idyllic Austria. Dolomitengolf Resort

The 4 nautical mile channel from Marina Sant Andrea through Laguna di Marano. Northern-most tip of the Med.

The 4 nautical mile channel from Marina Sant Andrea through Laguna di Marano. Northern-most tip of the Med.

We returned to Exotica on August 13th and after a day for cleaning, restocking and washing we set off across the Adriatic again, stopping briefly in Piran, Slovenia, to check out of the Shengen zone of the EU and then the few miles to Umag, the most northerly port in Croatia, to visit the police and pay the sizeable sum which allows the boat to stay in Croatia.

Re-visiting Piran in Slovenia to exit Schengen. Dreaded party boat on right.

Re-visiting Piran in Slovenia to exit Schengen. Dreaded party boat on right.

Storm brewing over Ronvinj

Storm brewing over Ronvinj

Over the next few days we made our way south on the western Istrian peninsula, stopping on a mooring in Porec and another one in Rovinj, where we had previously stayed in the marina on our way to Venice.  During the night there was a very impressive electrical thunderstorm from the west and a fierce gale blew up from the NE.  It didn’t last long but we were grateful to be on a reliable concrete block.

Inner harbour in Cres town

Inner harbour in Cres town

Exotica safely tied up in shipyard marina, Cres town, while Bora howled for 3 days

Exotica safely tied up in shipyard marina, Cres town, while Bora howled for 3 days

Since then we have cruised through the islands of the northern Adriatic. For three days we were storm bound in the small town of Cres, capital of the island of that name.  This was during the passage of a bora, a very strong north easterly wind which funnels down from the Dolomite mountains to the north and roars down the east side of the Adriatic.  It can come suddenly with high winds and large seas.  Fortunately forecasting is very good and one has warning so that we know when to head for a safe port.

Car rental on Cres, there was considerable stress on the track to and from Lubenica!

Car rental on Cres, there was considerable stress on the track to and from Lubenica!

Two large yachts braving the stormy seas between Cres and Istria, taken from our vantage spot high above in Lubenice

Two large yachts braving the stormy seas between Cres and Istria, taken from our vantage spot high above in Lubenica

The bora may blow fiercely but it brings clear, blue skies so we hired a (yet another tiny manual) car and explored the islands of Cres and Losinj by land. There is a very narrow, treacherous road up to the clifftop ancient town of Lubenica. From there we were nearly blown off looking down at the huge seas, very glad we had chosen to remain landlubbers that day.

JC nearly blown off the cliff at Lubenice

JC nearly blown off the cliff at Lubenica

Paltana Bay at Banjole, Marino's home port

Paltana Bay at Banjole, Marino’s home port

We have also been lucky to have joined Marino Skoko with his 36 foot yacht Homeless.  Marino is a friend who comes from Istria and knows this part of the world intimately.  He also spends the seven European winter months in Sydney.

Goose-winging behind Homeless past Otak Ilovik

Goose-winging behind Homeless past Otak Ilovik

Following Homeless through Osor canal, with cheering onlookers.

Following Homeless through Osor canal, with cheering onlookers.

Over the past week he has led us into beautiful harbours and anchorages such as Ustrine on Cres Island, then through the tiny canal at Osor where a swing bridge opens twice a day, the passage of the boats affords the days highlight for the holidaymakers.  We anchored for the night at shallow, quiet bay of Sonte and then sailed all day, for a change, including a delightful narrow passage between two islands at Ilovik.

Otok Silba, idyllic bay. Protected from Bora

Otok Silba, idyllic bay. Protected from Bora

Otok Susak, tiny harbour surrounded by hills of bamboo covered sandy mud

Otok Susak, tiny harbour surrounded by hills of bamboo covered sandy mud

Finally the idyllic bay, Luke Svet Ant, on Silba and the tiny harbour of Susac. This island is unique in this part of Croatia, they say it was a meterorite. Instead of rocks and soil it’s vegetation is bamboo, holding fine sandy mud hillsides together. Much of the island is covered with vines which produce an exceptionally good Sauvignon Blanc and a very smooth red.

One of the few sandy beaches in Croatia, Susak. Exotica is the highest mast.

One of the few sandy beaches in Croatia, Susak. Exotica is the highest mast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Susak town with vineyards covering a third of this sandy island

Susak town with vineyards covering a third of this sandy island

Marino and Terry on Isola Unije

Marino and Terry on Isola Unije

 

We returned to Veruda, booked our winter berth, washed the salt off the boat, re-provisioned and collected our next guest, Angela Bush. We are now cruising more islands, harbours and anchorages in the northern Adriatic in blue skies and pleasant end of summer temperatures.

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