Friday, August 13, 2010

Another great week in Croatia

It's only been about a week since my last post, but we've been very busy, so it's best to get caught up now before we forget.

Trogir and Stomorska

Trogir is yet another pretty, medieval town. I don't think we'll ever get tired of them, but we're feeling less compelled to visit each one we hear about. A highlight for us in Trogir was the excellent fresh produce market. Too bad it doesn't keep better: we would have bought lots more.

View of Trogir from the anchorage

Note to cruisers: The anchorage at Trogir cost 15 kuna/meter (Croatian currency currently about 2€), which is half what they charge for the city pier. (We yelped at the rate, and the nice young men in the dinghy only charged us for our first 10 meters.) There are lots of wakes from traffic in both places, and I figure it's more comfortable to be on the hook in those conditions than banging against a concrete wall. At the city pier they charge extra for the electricity and water, so it's only the convenience you're paying for. There were no normal yachts at the pier when we went by, just super and mega motor yachts.

Stomorska on the island of Šolta is only about 15 miles from Trogir, and we wanted to stay in close range for our rendezvous with Boris, so it was ideal. We found a spot to anchor, and when Islay Mist came in, they dropped anchor across from the town pier and took a line ashore. I think son Daniel is a big help to them; he was the one who swam the line ashore. After dinner we dinghied over and took everyone ashore for beers. It looked like the town pier was a very friendly spot, and Alisha, who has a keen ear for children speaking English, made friends with the British people at the table next to us, who were on a boat at the pier. After Linda and Alistair had a chat with them, Solstice and Islay Mist both decided to come to the pier the next day for water and a good charge of electricity, both of which are included in the rate of 20 kuna/meter.

We got a spot right next to Islay Mist, which was convenient for getting on and off the boat since they let us use their passerelle, and we didn't have to rig our own. We also borrowed their super-long hose again for water. When it came to power, though, we had some issues, and John spent quite a bit of time troubleshooting and repairing bits of our system while I started in on the laundry: three kitchen sinks full of hand washing. There are no washing machines for boaters to use at Stomorska, but the toilet and shower facility is very nice at a small extra charge. We had a little farewell party with Islay Mist that night after dinner, and everyone suffered a bit for it in the morning, but it was fun. We're hoping to catch up with Islay Mist again in Greece.

Starigrad, Korčula, Mljet, and back to Korčula

Starigrad on the north side of the island of Hvar is a nice little town with stores and markets for provisioning, as well as the usual full complement of restaurants. While we waited for Boris and crew (from Paris and London) to arrive, we took a trip ashore and wandered around. Later, after Boris got the last mooring buoy, we took everyone (six adults and four teenagers) in for ice cream and drinks. (Everyone loves our dinghy. It carried the adults comfortably, and we towed the young people in the dinghy that came with their charter boat.)

Starigrad across the cove

Next morning early we set off for Korčula. Boris had reservations at the marina, and we headed for the cove where we had anchored with Islay Mist. The last hour or so of the 50+-mile passage, we finally got enough wind from the proper direction to turn off the engine, and we had a nice, fast, downwind sail the rest of the way to the anchorage. It was made more exciting by the wind surfers, kite boarders, and ferries that we had to dodge in the channel. One wind surfer fell in front of a ferry (just a little ferry), and we kept our fingers crossed every time one zipped across in front of us that they would make it. Of course, as we approached the narrow part of the channel where the big ferries dock, we had one pull out in front of us. We watched a sailboat slip through in front of the ferry and we chose to cross their stern. Finally, after we turned into the wind to drop our sail, a flock of kayaks and canoes decided to swarm around us. John finally yelled at the inflatable that was accompanying them that we were limited in our ability to maneuver and that they needed to keep a safe distance from us. Whew! We were glad to relax after we dropped the anchor in the cove and watch the charter boats come in to try to find a place.

Boat traffic around Korčula

View of Korčula from the water

The excitement continued when we took the dinghy into the town of Korčula to meet up with Boris and friends. The wind that had made our sail so great hadn't let up after sundown as it usually does, so there was lots of chop to slow us down. And as we rounded the point at the ferry dock (thankfully, sans ferries), a wave drenched us. Good thing we hadn't dressed up for the excursion. There is a bus from our cove to town, but it doesn't run at night. The trip back was drier but very dark, and we were glad that we had our hand-held GPS with us to guide us.

The town of Korčula is very beautiful, especially lit up at night. It's another of the ubiquitous (in Croatia, at least) walled towns, like Dubrovnik, but much smaller and more accessible. As we walked up the ramp to the gate in the wall with its lighted tower, the wall lined with trinket vendors, I couldn't help but say, "Welcome to the magic kingdom." It felt like Disneyland, but it was real.

Korčula during the day
(The camera didn't go on the wet dinghy ride.)

After a trip to town by bus the next day, everyone headed to the island of Mljet and its national park. We anchored in a long bay lined with charter boats and took a line ashore. Boris had planned to dock at a pier in front of one of the restaurants, but it was already full, so they joined us in the anchorage. They wanted to enjoy a traditional grilled fish dinner at a restaurant, but it would be dinner on board for them unless we wanted to go out too. No arm-twisting was needed to convince us, so the dinghy train went to town.

The fish dinner was excellent and fun. Boris's family and friends are a delight, and we really enjoyed visiting with them. I do remember all the names, but don't know how to spell them. We're so glad to have been able to share the experience.

Awesome fish dinner

The next day Boris's group went to visit the park's lakes. The young people swam across the cove while the adults paddled their dinghy. We were lazy and hung out on the boat. The swimming was excellent where we were. Meanwhile, a British couple we had met in Otranto, Italy, had arrived in Croatia and were spending the night at a different village on Mljet, so we arranged to meet them in Korčula the next day.

That was yesterday. Kadore with Steven and Fiona aboard was waiting for us when we arrived back at our cove. It's fun to see them again, and we've enjoyed showing them a bit of Korčula, but they're heading north and we're going south, so another farewell is in our immediate future.

As we were moving from island to island, we received a text message from Islay Mist. They're on their way to Greece now and were having wind on the nose, so they were looking for a weather forecast. Southerlies weren't in the forecast then, but now they are, so we hope their passage hasn't been too miserable. A cold front is approaching, which means unsettled weather ahead. After it passes we'll look for good weather to follow Islay Mist to Greece.

No comments: