Change Of Plan As We Leave Croatia And Italy


The day after Philippa and James left we remained in Trogir Marina and worked on the decks.  To maintain the fine brown colour of the teak we use a two-part solution.  First a UV protective coat and, once dry, a clear Nano sealant.  It takes both of us working all day, somewhat exhausting in the heat but once done the decks look as they did when we bought Exotica.


The brewing storm, once again in Vinisce, our safe anchorage

This time we really are saying farewell to Vinisce, the calm after the storm

As we motored towards the entrance of Trogir bay we noticed very dense back clouds to the west moving quite fast towards us, so our planned sail south to the island of Hvar was changed to the ever secure anchorage of Vinisce. Here we weathered yet another storm comfortably at anchor. A good decision as we heard the storm intensified and by the time it got to Korcula, near Hvar, there were winds of 70 knots with blinding rain blowing 54 foot yachts sideways.

Early morning departure from Vinisce, August 15th.

Mooring buoys in Uvala Tiha, Hvar


A gentle sail the following day to Hvar, probably the most famous of the Croatian islands for expensive living and wild parties of the rich and famous.  We found a delightful spot with three adjoining bays near Starigrad and picked up a mooring in the middle arm.  During the afternoon a vast charter fleet sailed into the right arm.  We took the dinghy round to have a look and counted sixty-five yachts and catamarans all rafted together, calling themselves Yacht Week.  A brief search on the internet revealed that this was an organised sail in company where the average age was twenty-seven. We expected a huge noisy party but apart from a little bass noise we were not unduly disturbed, or could a short, sharp shower at 11pm have dampened their ardour.

The floating stage in halfway along these boats




Sail week , thankfully we chose a different arm to this bay

Exotica at peace



The dinghy captain

Turquoise waters of Uvala Gradina on Korcula



Three years ago we visited the north of Korcula, this time we wanted to see the western coast.



Dining with ones boat in the background

Spectacular sunset







Korcula island en route to Miljet

Tied up to Konoba Barbaive, Pomena

We moved on every day to another island and met up with our friends Juliet and Nick Mason-Jones on their yacht Johanem.  We met them first at Porta di Roma in 2014 and have kept in touch, meeting from time to time particularly this year as our plans are roughly similar, we both intend to winter in Greece.  Here we got together at Pomena on the island of Miljet.  We moored stern to at one if the six restaurants on the quay. The mooring is free provided you eat at the restaurant which we did where they cooked great steaks and fish over the wood fired stove.

Exotica from the hotel bar

Pomena sunset





From our dining table

Crew of Johanem








A nice new little marina in Slano, complete with swimming pool


From there we went to the little town of Slano on the Croatian mainland, just north of Dubrovnik, and booked into the marina for the night.  Apparently, the town was completely destroyed by a Serbian bombardment in the Yugoslav war of 1991 – 1992 but has now been rebuilt.  There are, however, still a few reminders of this tragic event.

A sad reminder of the 1991 war in Slano

It was in Slano that we had to make a complete change of all our plans for the rest of the season.  Our intention all year had been to go to Greece via Montenegro and Albania. Unfortunately, the crew we had invited to help us do the trip had to cancel for family health reasons.  We were not comfortable going to Albania where the infrastructure for yachts is non-existent without at least one more experienced sailor so we abandoned that plan and instead decided to cross over to Italy and cruise down the east coast before crossing back to Greece.

Sipan, we were here in June 2015


En route we stopped in Sipan, a secluded bay with elegant reminders of days gone by. we have fond memories of our night there three years ago.


Renowned Konoba Kod Marka. A table of 10 from a superyacht arrived for lunch at 1300 and left at 1845…..a very long lunch

This storm wasn’t forecast in Sipan





Tied up to the restaurant mooring buoy with 2 metres below the keel

The rain stopped by 8pm, a wet dinghy ride to dinner, which lived up to expectations








And then to Lastovo, the most south westerly island of Croatia and where we could check out with police and customs.

A tight fuel dock at the very end of this bay in Ubli, our last stop in Croatia

The dreaded pontoon that gave us a sleepless night

Here we had an interesting experience.  We had tied up the now disused seaplane pontoon next to the police shed and were permitted to stay the night. It was a calm night and we expected no problem.  However, at midnight a huge ferry arrived and its wake caused a surge on the boat sufficient to break off one of the cleats to which we were attached with an almighty bang.  Julie was not asleep and rushed up to see us slowly swinging round on the bowline towards the rocks.  Dashing about in our night attire we managed to get the engine on and get ourselves back into position and a cat’s cradle of lines to every available cleat on the jetty.  On closer inspection they were all made of a very soft alloy and simply not up to holding any substantial vessel.

Farewell Croatia at daybreak

The next morning, we called the police at 3.30 am, we were checked out of Croatia by 4.15 am and on our way to Italy.  It was very dark and motoring out of this tiny harbour with two sharp right angle turns, avoiding the considerable shallows, caused some anxiety especially as the aforementioned huge ferry was right behind us but once clear of the island we were headed due south.

The sun rises

and rises






Quite spectacular

It was trip of 96 nautical miles to Bari where we arrived after thirteen hours of motor sailing across the Adriatic seeing very little other shipping and no wildlife at all.  All the dolphins seem to have disappeared from the Mediterranean.

Bari Cathedral at night

We had three days in Bari and were joined again by Johanem, who were surprised to find us in Italy rather than Albania. Bari has a substantial old town right on the port. It was of particular interest as a friend’s mother was there in the NZ Nursing Corps from 1943-45. She recalled the ferocious German bombing which devastated Bari and blew up a US ship secretly containing mustard gas, a retaliatory measure in case the Germans resorted to gas warfare. Many seamen were killed and injured but the authorities refused to tell the medical staff the contents of the ship, severely hindering the treatment given. This information was not made public until 1972.

Bari cathedral at night

The city walls in Bari old town

Borgo Antica a charming lunch in Bari









Bari old town from the sea

A fishing boat in the sunrise, leaving Bari








Dodging those storms


We motored 64nm in nine hours to the next large port of Brindisi. A less comfortable trip as there were storms around which we could plainly see and managed to avoid, although along the edge of them were some strong winds.  We tied up in the Brindisi Marina during a lull. This was the port we departed Italy in June 2015 to Montenegro and Croatia.

Brindisi in sight, a choppy ride

Entering Brindisi harbour, we missed that storm






Brindisi marina, it’s nice to re-visit harbours you know

It takes 45 minutes to walk to the lighthouse on this substantial breakwater protecting Brindisi port







The NW wind from the marina, blowing 30 knots here




Strong NW winds kept us in Brindisi for four days. Johanem caught up with us again for the last night.


Surfs up in Brindisi

Last time we left Brindisi there was strong wind and choppy seas also



In NW 18-20 and very choppy seas we left Brindisi yesterday for a 30nm run to Santa Foce di Meledugno, a rather uninspiring fishing town with several sandy beaches full of Italians on their holidays.

Safely tucked into Marina Santa Foce di Melendugno

Italians at the seaside





Exotica protected by the sea wall, enormous blocks of concrete line the sea side

Tomorrow, August 31st we leave Italy at dawn for our final passage to Greece.

Munich and Calm Weather

The storm brewing, once again in Vinisce, our safe anchorage, August 14th


It seems that the only time we get to update this blog is when we are sheltering from a storm.  This is the case at present as we are tucked into a well sheltered bay, Vinisce, near Trogir, with 50 metres of anchor chain down and keeping a close eye on the boats and land surrounding us.


Sundowners listening to BBC 4 news from our balcony overlooking Hotel Maximilian’s courtyard garden, an oasis in central Munich

Our second floor balcony at Hotel Maximilian

Our trip to Munich was a great success. It was, of course, for the Ring and we were privileged to hear, arguably, the four best singers in the world of the present generation in their respective roles. The first Act of Die Walküre with Jonas Kaufman and Anja Kampe was the best we have ever heard, as was the whole of Götterdämerung with the magnificent Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde and Stefan Vinke as Siegfried.

Dining with Siegfried, Stefan Vinke, and friends at der Katzlmacher, one of Munich’s excellent Italian restaurants

Cast list die Walkure




Photo shoot outside the Staatsoper on a very cold evening

Fascinated opera patrons



Bayerische Staatsoper

Staatsoper ceiling



Curtain call Siegfried

Beanbags on the steps of the opera house


The Clarkes at the opera

Promenading during the interval



The spectacular cast of Gotterdamerung

Curtain call, a colourful production


On one of the non-Wagner nights we went to Les Vêpres sicilienne by Verdi, an infrequently performed opera but a most enjoyable evening.

Scicilian Vespers

There were many Australians attending this Ring and, coincidentally, a tour group were staying in our hotel which was only a short walk from the Opera House. So, we had many friends to chat with during the intervals as well as our Munich friend Jürgen Lüders who was in town as well.

Gothic architecture of St Peter’s Dom, Regensburg. Built between 1273 completed in 1872. The solid silver altar is magnificent


On a day off from opera, we took a tour to Regensburg, a well-preserved medieval city on the Danube, untouched by bombing unlike Munich.

A side chapel

Charming architecture

Regensburg was a city of merchants, each wanted to show their wealth by the house they built

This clock tower is empty, it was built only the show it was the tallest house in the city

The Stone Bridge was constructed in the 12th century. For 800 years it was the only bridge across the Danube river in Regensburg and the first in Bavaria

and today








Hitler built the Fuhrerbau between 1933-37, his Munich home. Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement here on September 30th 1938

Another tour of Munich was Hitler and the Third Reich, where we walked around the city with a guide who gave us an extended history lesson on the formation and the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party in Munich.  It is interesting to us that Munich appears scarcely to acknowledge its role in the war and the holocaust whereas Berlin appears to have embraced it with many monuments and commemorations. Our guide was quite critical of the Bavarians, not surprisingly, she came from western Germany.

Royal Residenz, heavily bombed during WW11, it has been completely restored


It takes a couple of days to really appreciate the Residenz of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from 1508 to 1918. There was a castle on this site in 1385. It houses rooms and art collections from the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo to Neoclassicism and bears witness to the taste and political ambition of the Wittelsbach dynasty.

State medals

Residenz Treasury

King Ludwig 1 crown

There are 120 rooms to visit in the Residenz, this is the banqueting hall

Perspective in marble








Siegfried wedding to “Gutrune”

Hardly a wonder that King Ludwig 11 was obsessed with this legend, he was brought up here.

Part of the Nibelungen legend

Hagen murdering Siegfried








Traditional Bavarian fish cooked on a stick in a very local market, our farewell to Munich with thanks to Jurgen for procuring our Ring tickets

We returned to Kastela on Saturday July 28th. and set off the next day not without as certain amount of trouble.  Terry, unfortunately forgot to cast off the starboard mooring rope which we tore away from the shore on our way out, and finally, having come to an abrupt halt in the middle of the marina, let it go to the bottom.  Luckily there is plenty of room in Marina Kastela, no damage was done, except to his amour proper, but it did cost us 80 Euro for the diver to retrieve it.

Since then we have had, until today, almost continuously settled weather, which means continuous sunshine, light airs in the morning, a stiff westerly in the afternoon and quiet nights.

Dining with the superyachts at Marina Kastela’s Spinnaker Konoba. No, you don’t get to sleep on one of those.

We have stayed in the area around Split and the offshore islands as we have had two lots of visitors, our friends from Munich, Maria and Jürgen, were with us for six days.  They had only ever stepped on a yacht once before, a twilight race with us on Sydney Harbour, and we were concerned that they would find it a bit daunting.  However, the weather was very kind, and we experienced many of the pleasures of this lifestyle including mooring in crystal water on islands and local restaurants where the menu is meat, fish or calamari and the wine is red or white.

Early morning light on Konoba Sesula, Otok Solta

Exotica from Konoba Sesula

Returned to Konoba Stupica for whole Orada at reasonable prices. Our last time on beautiful Otok Zirje.







Exotica in the foreground in Stupica Vela, from the Roman fortress

Maria and Julie bobbing the the turquoise waters, bubbly to perfect the moment








Stayed another night in Zirje

Uvala Bacvice, Split’s suburban sandy beach, just near the superb Konoba Matoni

The hosts, after a James Bond pluck from a marina dock after crew arrived in Split


Last weekend Terry’s niece, Philippa and her husband James, flew out for three days. Again, the weather was spectacular and we had some excellent sailing as well as some charming anchorages.

Uvala Poljica,the first of four bays in three days with Phee and James

Back to Konoba Sesula








One of my favourite bays, last visited three years ago, Uvala Krknjes on Drevnik Veli

Perfect turquoise water







Champagne while the sun sets in Vinisce

Sunset reflected in the clouds





Before Julie got her hair wet

Farewell to our safe harbour, Vinisce

There were the usual owners blips since our last blog. The bimini, which shades the cockpit, stitching was coming adrift so we paid up front for a sailmaker to re-stitch it while we were in Munich. On our return our perfectly fitted bimini had a corner flapping and the zip broken. Josip swore it was intact when he re-fitted but Julie would not be so easily fobbed off, so he sent his minion along who would have also denied responsibility had our teak deck “nano” guru not been visiting us. He insisted, in Croatian, that it be fixed and returned by 10am tomorrow….and it was. Thank you Albert.

It’s handy to have a chain counter next to the helm when dropping the anchor but this, too, failed. Two electricians took two hours and 800 kunas to do a twenty minute repair. Thankfully, Terry watched the process carefully and will do it himself next time.

This time we really are saying farewell to Vinisce, the calm after the storm


This is the end of our time in this part of the Adriatic.  When this storm abates we will be heading south, checking out of Croatia and picking up our next crew in Montenegro on our way to Albania and finally Greece.

Early morning departure from Vinisce, August 15th.

Track of Exotica in Croatia 2018 so far.