On September 1st. the weather knew that Autumn had arrived and for the last three weeks of our cruise on Exotica we had plenty of wind and rain and the temperature cooled significantly.
After our final guests left us in Biograd Marina we stayed put in our berth for three days with all lines doubled as the wind and rain lashed the whole area. We were snug and comfortable and happy to stay below and read a book rather than battle with the elements outside.
Our plan had been to spend another few days making our way slowly back to Veruda where we are leaving the boat over winter, it started well with our first night tied to a restaurant mooring buoy in the town of Iz Mali.
Whilst on her row around the bay Julie noticed a “boxing kangaroo” flying from the backstay of a Dufour 405, Songbird has also been cruising the Med for the last five summers. Keen racers from Freemantle, their boat has specifications to win! We are always pleased to meet up with, and rarely find, other English speakers, Sharanne and Stuart were certainly entertaining dinner companions.
A brisk sou’easterly blew up overnight causing lumpy conditions on the calm waters of the previous evening, we sailed north to the sheltered bay of Zapuntel on the northern side of Molat Island, more aquamarine water and very sheltered from the increasing SE winds.
We planned to sit out the next blow here, however, on the morning of Friday 15th. September, we woke to the sound of the bilge pump working. This means that water was getting into the boat, something we do not want. Examination under the floorboards revealed a leak of fresh water from the hot water system. Not a major problem but we couldn’t contemplate staying in a nearly deserted bay without it being fixed.
We decided to curtail our cruise and return to Veruda straight away, about 60 nautical miles. There was a brisk sou’ easterly right behind us so to reach our destination we motored, reluctantly. Our guru, Marino, said there were huge winds and seas in the south of Istria, so change of plan, we headed for a marina, and boatyard, in Mali Losinj.
From nowhere nasty, black storm clouds appeared to the north east and with them a strong bora hit us. We escaped the storm but the winds increased to 28 knots making berthing in Losinj untenable.
Another quick change of plan, we headed again for Veruda.The latter part of the trip was a wild ride in 15-25 knots across the open sea of the northern Adriatic with fully reefed sails, wind and swell on the beam and spray over the decks. It was very exhilarating but we were glad when the wind eased a little as we entered the marina so we could dock without too much trouble.
We then had a week to prepare Exotica for the winter, it was cold and wet for four days, our only respite was a very jolly evening with the crew of Johanem., a boat we had met 3 years ago in Porta de Roma. After an excellent meal at Boccaporta we seven adjourned to Exotica where they pretty well emptied our cellar and we raucously sang 60’s songs while Terry acted as DJ!
Thankfully, the last three days were sunny so we could use our beloved washing machine, pack a dry headsail and put Exotica to bed and were quite happy to bring the 2017 Cruise to an end.
Stats for 2017:
Days on board 115, in Venice 30, sailing days 53, distance travelled 1249nm, engine hours 158, guests 8
Exotica was lifted onto the hard standing on Saturday September 23rd. and we flew to England that evening for 10 days visiting family and friends.