Thursday, August 5, 2010

Up to Iž and back to Trogir

It’s hard to believe it’s been less than two weeks since we left Dubrovnik. Time just doesn’t seem very important here, and we sometimes have to look up the date in order to write our log entries. The weather is what we really pay attention to. It can change quite suddenly, and the Croatian meteorological service provides good forecasts, but you need to be sure to get the latest. I find an anchorage based on the morning forecast, but before we drop the hook, we’ve learned to see if something new has developed.

So where have we been since Dubrovnik? We spent the first few days in company with Islay Mist, stopping first at the western end of the island of Šipan in a cove protected by a small island. Boy was it hot that day! I could barely wait to get in the water when we anchored, and I swam over to Islay Mist to chat. The girls are getting to be good little swimmers and were eager to show me that they were swimming now without their water wings.

After our swims (John needed one too) we took the dinghy around the corner and down the long inlet to the little town of Šipanska Luka. It’s a pretty little town, but we didn’t linger there. All we really needed was to find an ATM so that we could buy more Internet credit. In Croatia you can buy credit for cell phones at the ATMs. It’s very convenient that way, and the USB modem is basically just a cell phone.

The next morning the wind had picked up, making our anchorage a little uncomfortable, so I was up to see Islay Mist sail off to our next destination on the island of Korčula. It looked like so much fun that we hurried and set off after them. We had a couple of lovely hours of sailing, towing the dinghy behind us and still doing more than six knots, before the wind changed direction and then died. Islay Mist was about five miles in front of us, and when Linda sent me a text that they had seen lightning and dropped their sails, we followed suit. (I don’t remember ever texting in the States, but I’ve been doing a lot of it since last summer to coordinate with sailing friends. Yes, I do sometimes text while driving the boat, but never in traffic.)

When we arrived at the little cove just west of Lumbarda, I swam over to Islay Mist again, and Alisha swam out to meet me. Then Kaylee showed me that she could swim around the dinghy. I showed them how to float on their backs to rest, but so far they don’t like it and would rather tread water.

Holiday activity at the cove

We spent two nights in the little cove, one quite windy, but the holding was excellent. Then we got word from our friend Boris, a former colleague from the States, that he would be visiting friends on the island of Iž and that we were welcome to join them. After staying up late to celebrate Linda’s birthday, we set off fairly early the next morning.

It took us the best part of three days to get to Iž. The first night we had planned to anchor on the island of Hvar near the town of the same name, but what a busy place that turned out to be! We couldn’t find an anchorage to suit us that wasn’t already full, so we went around the little island of Sv. Klement and anchored at Soline. It was crowded too, but we found room.

Our destination for the next night was the town of Rogoznica. We had the wind on our nose, and there was so much of it that we really had no choice but to sail. Even tacking back and forth we made more forward progress than we could with our motor straight into the wind, but it made for a long day. It was also a little wet because that stretch of the coast isn’t protected by islands, so we had waves. We were happy to find that Rogoznica had lots of room to anchor and good shelter.

When we arrived the next day at Knež on the island of , we found that the anchorage we had planned to use had been taken over by mooring buoys. There may still have been room to anchor, but we decided to take a buoy for a change. In Croatia many of the mooring buoys are maintained by restaurants on shore, and that was the case here. If you eat at the restaurant, you can moor for free. That isn’t really such a bargain because the mooring usually only costs about 20€, and dinner for two at a restaurant is more than that, but we decided to splurge. Boris and his friends had gone to the beach on a neighboring island, but we told him where we were going, and he found us at the restaurant.

The next morning the wind had changed direction leaving our buoy exposed to the building waves, so we moved to another buoy closer to the shelter of a little island before going to join Boris and his friends, the Slamnig/Novković family, for coffee at their summer home, which is part of an old castle. Well, it was actually coffee and the local grappa. Plus, we learned that the island of grows olives, and our hosts have olive trees. They take their harvest to the local co-op to have them pressed for oil, so the family has its very own olive oil. Of course, we had to try it, and it really was delicious, as were the olives and cheese and wine that we were served with it. We all met again later in the afternoon, but by the time we returned to the boat from the afternoon excursion, summer thunderstorms had set in, and we just stayed put that night.

We had been invited back to the house the third evening for a barbecue, but it just wouldn’t quit raining, so it didn’t look like we would make it. At the last minute, however, the skies dried, so we hurried ashore. In addition to delicious food, we had the treat of spectacular views including a double rainbow and live guitar music by Boris and friends. It was a lovely evening, and we are very grateful to the Slamnig/Novković family for their hospitality. We’ll see Boris again this weekend when he and some other friends go sailing and we tag along.

Boris with his guitar-playing friends

Rainbow from the top of the castle

After Iž we decided to head to a Croatian national park called Krka. It’s up the Krka river, and the major attraction is its waterfalls. We had seen so many waterfalls in British Columbia that we considered skipping this, but we’re both very glad we didn’t. It’s like another world as you follow the river through its limestone gorges to the town of Skradin. From Skradin you take a national park boat to the base of the falls. There’s a walk that takes you to the top and across the river in a loop back to the base. It’s very much worth doing. We were advised to go in the morning, and as we headed back to the boat before noon, we could see the crowds arriving.


Bottom of the falls

Leaving Iž we were very lucky with our anchorages. Even though they were documented in our guide, we had them to ourselves. Considering how many boats are on the water here, that’s pretty amazing. It was a different story when we arrived at Trogir, of course, and this is the first anchorage we have had to pay for. We’ve met up with Islay Mist again here, but we haven’t yet done the tourist thing in the old city. We’ll do that today and then find another free anchorage, we hope with Islay Mist, somewhere that has nice water for swimming.

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