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Sept. 2, 2017

17:07 UTC

The late summer weather in early fall was showing signs of tiredness.  And so we reluctantly started the last part of our season by sailing up the Velebit Channel from our anchorage in 35kn of Bora (the anchorage was quiet, the wind started a quarter mile out and it piped up quickly).  We couldn't complain there's no wind, it was on the beam so we were fast, even with a double reef...  We got up near to the end of Pag in no time, ready to continue to Rab...   But, someone turned a switch up there and the Bora disappeared.  Without a trace.  Not even 5 or 6 knots.  Zero.  So we motored the last part to Rab and stopped off in its beatiful southern channel to enjoy some quality beach time one last time...


Arriving into Rab channel from the south, nice beaches on the right

Someone was really happy...

Someone was enjoying the afternoon sun, sorely missing female company, someone to talk to about other than engine and boat troubles, sailing, beer & wine...

Busy looking for hidden gems

... and found a heart!

... and rosehip.

Bad weather was now upon us and for an hour or so we parted company and thought of doing and overnight up to Italy...  But then, on second thought, why rush?  We still had a nice day or so after the system passes...   G suggested we cut through the Mali Losinj draw-bridge channel on its north side to shorten our trip...  Alas, when we saw in the morning the current and traffic coming out from the other direction (it's a very narrow one way channel),  I wasn't going to go first...  Eventually G wouldn't either, so we decided we'll sail around Mali Losinj after all...  There was some wind too, so we did...

The system caught up with us in our Soline bay, an all-round protected anchorage.   Thanks to Rozi, we also had a three-four hour long walk around the area inland...  Unfortunately Dora felt asthmatic effects and we had to be very careful not to make it worse.   The farmers fields we passed looked very enticing...


Two sunsets - one after the rain, end of season...

... and one in Punat, early in the season.

Farmer's fields east of Banjole

Once the rain was over, we got our couple of nice days to pass Rovinj and anchor one more time in nice, calm waters.  We then sailed on for Umag, arriving there around 5pm still in nice calm weather, so D asked the question:  why don't we check out and just keep going to Italy?  We docked at the Q dock and had a chat with a Croatian border police about my age, who took his time to have 'fun' with us... After a long line of questioning about when did we come in to Croatia and from where, and how many times, and, but, etc... and how many days were we here...   it turned out that his computer was telling him that this is our last legally available day (out of 90) in Croatia, so if we had turned up next morning to leave he would have been obliged to send us to a judge (available right  next door) where we would have to explain why we are late leaving by a few hours and pay a large fine...  I think he was just enjoying himself a little with ex. YU people, not having too much work at the time. I understood and had some fun back by asking dumb questions to raise his sagging blood pressure.  Since we were not really late, we parted smiling.

We arrived in the night to channels in the swamp, a nice and calm anchorage and next day our pre-arranged haul-out happened...  With a small scratch to Dazzle's port side, visible across the boat-name, but that's a long story and not a big deal.  Keeping it as a battle-scar.  2016 season safely over.

- Z -


12:41 UTC

(Last year) Calm summer weather was holding late September at the time we were done with Molat.  To spice things up, I suggested we could explore the infamous Velebit Channel, where hurricane force winds are the norm with any weather disturbance, and venture into the small Novigrad ("Newtown") Sea (small lake really, but they call everything 'Sea' around here).


But, before I go on, in the last blog (Cruising with Isabell 2016 Part 2), I forgot to mention that we sailed by (or more properly ahead of) a waterspout (water-tornado) near the island of Scedro, just south of Hvar...  Isabell was behind us, hence even closer to the disturbance, but didn't take a photo...   Here's ours:


I guestimated its water-level white spray about 100-200m wide...



Part of the zig-zag passage of Pag, Velebit in the background

We had a nice southerly to use to sail through the zig-zag of channels between the south end of Pag island and the mainland...  This area doesn't have much vegation as the storm force Bora regularly blows here, especially in the winter.   But this time Velebit was welcoming too, so we found a quiet bay under the mountain to spend the night before heading into the Novigrad Sea.  The next morning we crossed under the tall road-bridge over the 'Sea' entrance and found a cozy spot to anchor rafted together with Isabell in the river-like bay of Novigrad.

The first thing we did...

... after having a beer ...

... was to climb to high ground ...

... to the ruins ...

... of the old fort providing spectacular views all around.

We were done with the exploration of Novigrad by lunchtime... As we descended the narrow alleyways looking for a place to have a quick bite, we passed a number of private houses with firepits going and spreading yummy fumes and fish to be grilled ready...  Alas, we didn't make an offer they couldn't refuse, though we showed an interest and appreciation, thinking we would find an open place down on the long quay.

The quay didn't have any restaurants open at lunchtime - tourist season was over and this was September 26, 2016...  Fall, technically.

So, where next?  I was looking for a nice bay in the Novigrad Sea where we could anchor out... The Raymarine charts attached to the navigation computer showed something like a river entrance with no depth information provided.  So I looked it up on my rarely used Raymarine phone app, an lo and behold a much finer accuracy map showed a river snaking its way inland, navigable for 6 miles until a bridge.  The Zrmanja river.   We motored over, and just made it all the way to Obrovac and its bridge by sundown.

We just couldn't stop being awestruck by the beauty of this river canyon...  It kept surprising us with each turn, the scenery slowly changing to more serene as we proceeded further inland


The entrance to the canyon is narrow and scenic...



The Obrovac Welcome Comittee...
(sorry, no pictures of Obrovac and it's bridge. But they are available online...)


The Leader of the Pack coming up to our transom and telling us in a very loud voice to go away from their anchoring spot.  Sorry. Eventually they gave up and left  (I was having dreams of goose soup... mmmm...  medicine).

The morning sun behind our back, Velebit ahead

The duet heading down the river.

This was Mars, when it still had water...

The exit is right around this corner.


- Z -