Croatia, Again

Posted Sept. 14, 2013 at 22:55

We weathered the first front of the Adriatic season in Kotor, Montenegro.  It has good markets, cheap fuel, low cost for staying berthed on the wall with room for finagling…  not bad.  Very friendly border officials, restaurants, probably partly because of our roots not being too far off.   Our stay in Montenegro re-started our boat's customs-free stay in the EU as we re-entered Croatia, now part of the EU (and de facto our Schengen stay allowance as well).

"Kupari" beach ruins... from different eras: 40 yrs (left),  100+ yrs (right)

We entered Croatia at Cavtat, checking in was a quick breeze, and the harbour-master office lady explained how some procedures were conveniently simplified or eliminated all together for private boats like ours (no vignette stickers, no passenger lists, etc).  The one I liked the most is that they kept their progressive boat-vignette renewal discount, so we got a nice 30% off for our fourth year renewal even though we were a couple of months 'late'…  It IS cheaper compared to Greece (it's assumed you don't use marinas and buoys, and you take your boat elsewhere for the winter, which is not difficult).  Having said that, being at anchor around Cavtat is usually not too pleasant, as it is open to the prevailing NW-ly winds…  So I decided we try out the northern end of the large bay, near a couple of large, abandoned, still ruined with shell-craters like swiss cheese hotels - 'kupari beach' area…   Dora actually was there in her youth with her parents in a car-camp…  It was a bit rolly too, with the NW-ly swell rounding in, but we couldn't have predicted that a little tin-top makeshift shack will transform itself into a megawatt disco until 03:30am… with not more than a dozen of souls in attendance…   There were also strange pick-up trucks/cars coming and going to some basement 'garage' entrances of these 'derelict' hotels and goods were being transferred after midnight under headlights…   We tried to sleep, and everything was 'fine'.

Passing by Dubrovnik early morning...

Getting up early (to get away) the next day (and the following too) we had a fast ride with 20-25kn of bora on the beam… often reaching 9kn in relatively flat sea conditions.   The town of Korcula was our next destination where we had to buy new SIM cards for our phones and internet as the old ones have expired (it beats me why the Cro telecoms chose 270 days for expiry and not 360 or 400…  why? - there is no advantage to them, as the price of a new SIM is completely credited to the account…  seems like a waste of SIMs and phone numbers to me).   Even though we were getting to Korcula at near record speeds, we got to the VIP (telecom) store on Saturday, 15min after it closed for the weekend…  So we had a nice two days at our secret safe-spot across from Badija where no one can come and anchor near us…  and the weather was nice, we could relax and enjoy a bit of a lazy summer…

Monday, with our new SIMs in tow and checked out, we sailed for Loviste, then Scedro on Tuesday…  I think this was our last visit to 'Pine' bay as it is infested with wasps - we've observed it two years ago, now it's confirmed.   At any given time, there were about two dozen wasps zooming around our cockpit - so the only safe spot was below deck, behind our screens.  Such a shame for such a nice little bay... D actually had a stomach-flu with fever there, something probably contracted in Korcula, while drinking and checking wifi in bars there…  We spent two days there, Dora recovering and resting, while the wasps reigned outside…  On the second day, a large Croatia gullet with paying guests on board, pulled in and tied to shore a few meters beside us…  Even though all the guests (8) where waving in the air around their heads vigorously through lunch served on deck, they did not seem to complain too much - so they stayed.   A couple got excited at the sight of our flag - they were Canadians, in their late 70's (e.g.) from Toronto…  Their gullet was running its generator in the evening and I enjoyed Jeff Healey's Live in Montreaux '99 at a good level in return in the cockpit…   '…while my guitar gently weeps…'   If Dora hadn't been below weather, we'd have been though Jimi, Deep Purple, SRV, etc. as well…


We left behind our gullet early in the morning and made a good, long sail further up around Hvar and on to the mainland to the bay of 'Old Trogir'… A day later we got to Kaprije island (the 'free', northern side) and discovered the most beautiful, tight little bay that seems to be frequented only by small power-boats that come during daytime only.  We were lucky none went deep in, so we did…  Once we tied up in less than 3m depths, it felt we'd like to stay there for a week or two… It's a place where you can tie the four corners of your boat to rocks on shore, have your own turquoise pool behind the transom just to yourself, and ride out any (summer) front that may be passing by (open to the E only, but with less than 2nm fetch (to the other shore)…  Nothing on shore, and no one can 'squeeze' in beside you and make noise…


But, as usual, our plans allowed only three beautiful days there…  we headed for Murter, where we were re-united with Allegro ma non troppo for a couple of days while more fronts, thunderstorms, etc were passing over… It was wonderful to see our friends from last year, and again we had a great time together, and a hard time parting at the end…  which is the sad part.  They have decided to take Allegro back to the Baltic sea near their home N of Hamburg…


Since that first front, the weather pattern has shifted to its unstable 'autumn' mode and it seems it will stay like that for the rest of September at least…  Every couple days a front comes through.  As we have no time to wait for a few potentially nice October weeks, we've decided to get it over with…  We're making our way to Italy and haul-out…

- Z -