July began with another north easterly storm known as a bora. Exotica was comfortably berthed in the secure marina at Veruda but once it had blown through the two of us set off again into the islands of the northern Adriatic Sea.
Our first stop was the island of Cres (pronounced Tres) where we anchored in the harbour of the town. It has excellent holding as we were to discover on return a few weeks later. Here we were joined by our friend Marino in his Beneteau 36.
The next day another bora was predicted so we made an early start and had a great sail with the wind behind us all the way to the well protected bay of Mali Losinj. We had been here before and it is always nice to enter a familiar marina when the wind is blowing a bit. We arrived quite early and then had the pleasure of watching the charter boats parking when the wind had really blown up.
In the morning Terry had a Croatian haircut, the backstreet barber that he found was rather overenthusiastic and left him completely shorn. It will take at least a month to improve.
We left at midday and had another excellent sail to one of our favourite bays on the island of Unije where the clouds parted, the wind dropped, the sun came out and perfection reigned. Here Terry tried out the hookah dive system, basically an air pump and a long hose with a scuba mouthpiece. One can’t dive more than two metres with this set up but it would be enough to inspect and fix problems under the boat with the propeller or bowthruster. Once tested it was put away and hopefully never used again.
Then it was back to Veruda, which has become a bit of a home port, where we hired a car and set off on another opera trip. This time to Munich with a stop for the night in Bled, a very picturesque lakeside resort in the north of Slovenia. Much favoured by the aristocracy of the Austro-Hungarian empire as a summer resort it was also the retreat of President Tito, the long term dictator of Yugoslavia. His palace has been turned into a hotel and this is where we stayed. I
It is a monument to post war communist luxurious living and has some of the most astonishing wall paintings in the ballroom. However, the view from our room or the restaurant were spectacular.
By chance the Bled Music festival was taking place and we had the great good fortune to stumble on a wonderful cello ensemble in the local church, all young people and so talented.
On to Munich to join our friends Maria and Jϋrgen to see The Magic Flute and Tannhaϋser.
The Magic Flute production was 40 years old and thus very beautiful with no expense spared in terms of costume and scenery. One of the characters in the piece is Monostatos, who is supposed to be black, this tends to be a problem these days but not in Germany where not only was he blacked up but all his henchmen as well. Some American ladies sitting next to Julie were outraged.
Sunday, our friends invited us to a piano recital of winners of a classical and jazz competition at the Steinway Haus in Munich, a rare experience.
The production of Tannhaϋser was new this year and like so many in Germany these days was very weird but the music and singing superb.
Back on Exotica on July 11th. we set off again mainly motoring in a northerly direction as we wanted to get to the island of Krk, the largest of the Croatian Islands. We stopped off in Cres at a favourite anchorage where there were a number of boats at anchor already. We found a comfortable spot and were securely dug in. Just as it was getting dark there came a huge thunderstorm with flashes of lightening, a mighty wind and rain driving so hard it was impossible to see. We didn’t even have time to put waterproofs on it came so quickly. We had the engine on and motoring slowly into the wind to take the strain off the anchor when suddenly a yacht appeared dragging its anchor and bearing down on our port side. We managed to fend it off and it appeared that it was a lone sailor down in his cabin and unaware of what was taking place.
Fortunately these storms only last about twenty minutes, although it feels longer and once it had abated we re-laid our anchor further away from rogue yachts.
We have always wanted to round the northern point of Cres so this lull in the weather enabled us to do so, then south to Marina Punat 2nm from Krk town.
Yet another bora was due so we stayed for three days to let it blow through. It was forecast to remain strong in this part of the Adriatic, we had a 20-25 knot run south to the safe haven of mooring buoys in Ilovik.
As we re still unsure where to over-winter Exotica we sailed south of Zadar to Biograd na Moru, a mainland town heaving with tourists. A nice marina, but I suspect we were put off by the masses.
It’s so much fun to have the time to visit places we have liked the look of on previous cruises, so to Otok Iz, a delightful bay with azzure water and a fee collector who was charming, a rare occurrence!
We really wanted a night at anchor and headed for U Artaturi on Losinj until we heard another thunderstorm warning, so back to Ilovik’s safe mooring buoys.
At 1am it rained and there was some lightning, a disappointing storm!
We have spent many nights at anchor in the bay next to Marina Veruda but were floored last night to find they now charge! There must have been 100 boats anchored, the Italian and German holiday time, so they would have made a tidy sum.
Now back in our home port,Veruda, we leave Exotica for a couple of weeks and drive to Tuscany for a chamber music festival.